Friday, February 8, 2008

You Are My Witnesses

I have a little while before Shabbat starts, so I'll share some thoughts.

"You are My witnesses, says the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He; before Me there was no God formed, neither shall any be after Me." (Isaiah 43:10)

When HaShem created the world, He intended for all of man to recognize and worship Him. After the failure of Adam and the generation of the Flood, HaShem realized that He needed a special nation that would belong directly to Him through which He could spread His truth. "When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the children of men, He set the borders of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. For the portion of the LORD is His people, Jacob the lot of His inheritance." (Deut. 32:8-9). HaShem chose our Father Avraham so bring the message of monotheism and ethics to the world. Avraham was a revolutionary, smashed his father's idols and upset the social order. When brought before the wicked tyrant Nimrod, Avraham chose to have himself thrown into the fiery furnace rather than betray HaShem his G-d, setting a precedent which so many Jews would later follow rather than forsake the faith of their ancestors.

When Yaakov's family descended to Egypt to escape the famine, they eventually settled there and were enslaved by Pharaoh. True to His word, HaShem redeem the Children of Israel, removed the degraded rabble from the humiliation of slavery, and gave them the Torah at Mount Sinai, the very reason for their freedom. Throughout this Torah, HaShem gave His beloved children myriads of mitzvot to bear witness to their Creator and to His redemption. The Jews were to wear tzitzit, fringed tassels on the corners of our garments that "ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go astray; that ye may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy unto your God." (Num.15:39-40) Upon every doorpost, Jews were to inscribe G-d's commandments and place mezuzot in memory of the blood that the Jews placed on their doorposts that G-d could pass over their homes in Egypt. As soon as the Jews left Egypt, they were commanded on several occasions to teach their children about the miracles that G-d performed for them their and to keep the holidays in commemoration of the events of their redemption. The Jew, upon waking up and going to bed, and before he leaves this world, was to proclaim proudly "Hear O Israel, HaShem is Our G-d, HaShem is One!" This was to be his testimony. The Jew was G-d's witness to His Oneness, to His Truth and to His Grandeur.

The entire Jewish people, from old to young, men and women, stood at Mount Sinai and heard G-d's voice declare “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. You shall not have any other gods beside Me.” This is how God demonstrated to His people who it is they are to worship. At the same time God was teaching the people whom they are not to worship. Worship of anyone other than the God who brought the nation out of Egypt, is idolatry. The Jewish scriptures testify that the Sinaitic revelation was an all-inclusive demonstration. After the revelation at Sinai there can be no room for doubt. Concerning this revelation Moses tells the Jewish people “To you it was demonstrated in order that you know that the Lord is the God, there is none beside Him.” It was engraved upon their hearts from that moment when HaShem bought their eternal allegiance that it was the duty of the Jewish people to worship only the G-d that brought us out of Egypt and no other. HaShem identified the idols quite clearly, by saying "that which I have not commanded" or "that which you do not know" (Deut. 13,18). Anything that HaShem did not specifically command to worship at Sinai is an idol.

The Jewish people were exiled across the world, just as the Torah predicted. Also in accorance to the Torah, many Jews left Judaism and they served gods of wood and stones which their fathers knew not (Deut. 28:64), converting en masse to Christianity, which worships a man nailed to wood, or to Islam, whose adherents bow to a black stone in Mecca. The majority of the Jewish people, however, remained faithful to the G-d that took them out of Egypt and continued bearing testimony to His name. Despite all of the attempts to wean them off of their Torah, the Jews knew that no god could claim the same allegiance as HaShem who saved them from the oppression of Egypt. This nation was never moved to reject the testiony of the ancestors, the ones who acted as G-d's Witnesses.

Jews, do not forget your calling, to bear witness to HaShem's Unity, to His Glory. Do not be discouraged at the tauntings of the nations that we are forsaken, that we are in error, that we are dejected. HaShem, who has been with us through the long exile, has never abandonned us. He will redeem us soon, again, like in the days of the Exodus from Egypt. The nations are in error and despite their claims, someday soon we will be vindicated. "In those days it will happen that ten men, of all [different] languages of the nations, will take hold, they will take hold of the corner of the garment of a Jewish man, saying, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you!" (Zech. 8:23). Truth has never left the Jewish nation because we still practice the same ways as we did over 3500 years ago. It is not us who are wrong, but the nations who refuse to listen to G-d's Witnesses or to their tesimony.

"O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and [things] wherein [there is] no profit. Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they [are] no gods?" (Jer. 16:19)


Big Daddy Jew said...

BK, I am moved to tears as I consider how that "man nailed to a cross" loves you and endured that on your behalf. I know you reject that idea now, but please know that one day, whether this side of life or the other, you will say,"How did I miss that? He IS the Messiah. I just pray that it's this side of the grave. G-d bless you, BK, and Shabbat shalom.

Anonymous said...

"converting en masse to Christianity, which worships a man nailed to wood"

Give us a break!

Please allow me to explain the Pelagian understanding of the trinitarian nature of G_d , without the aid of a shamrock.

There are three aspects of G_d, one of which is necessary and two of which are contingent.

The necessary nature of G_d (the father) is stated in the KJV as "I am that I am" - the necessity that phenomena should exist and the logical impossibility of utter nothingness.

The two other aspects are contingent and dependent on the choices made by 'The Necessary Being' .

The second one is the recognition by the Necessary Being that material creation will inevitably give rise to states of suffering, and His contingent choice to rescue all suffering sentient beings by manifesting to them as a leader to enlightenment (in the form of the son(s))

The third aspect is the contingent choice of the Necessary Being to implant the seeds of conscience and compassion within the minds of all sentient beings (the holy spirit)., which enables them to recognize and follow righteous paths even if they have to go against their lower animal nature and apparent immediate 'best interests'.

Since (as the Buddha pointed out) all functioning phenomena are necessarily composite, all spects of G_d other than 'I am that I am' will appear multiplexed in a contingent universe, and may have to be dealt with as such. Nevertheless, 'I am that I am' is the ultimate unity, even if it can never be understood intellectually but must be experienced intuitively.

- Pax vobiscum

Papa Frank said...

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonia,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.
El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkamka na Adonai,
We will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

Through your love and through the ram,
You saved the son of Abraham;
Through the power of your hand,
Turned the sea into dry land.
To the outcast on her knees,
You were the God who really sees,
And by Your might,
You set Your children free.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonia,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.
El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkamka na Adonai,
We will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

Through the years You've made it clear,
That the time of Christ was near,
Though the people couldn't see
What Messiah ought to be.
Though Your Word contained the plan,
They just could not understand
Your most awesome work was done
Through the frailty of Your Son.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonai,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.
El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkamka na Adonai,
I will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonai,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.
El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkamka na Adonai,
I will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

Big Daddy Jew said...

That's a beautiful song, Jason! They didn't see Him when He came and walked among them. BK often asks how the Sanhedren rejected Him if He was supposedly the Messiah? I would then ask in return, "Why did our people kill every prophet that God sent? Why couldn't they see the holiness that they contained, that they were speaking the very words of Hashem?" Yet they killed them. They blew it with the prophets, and then they really blew it when Messiah came. The good news is that it's not too late!

Avi said...

I hope you know that not everything's about Christianity here. So who's the one bringing that up?

But once we're on that subject...

The idea of the Trinity is certainly pagan and not Jewish, something which was established by a vote.

What would G-d have had to say in the Torah to dispel the notion of the Trinity? Surely the Torah foresaw every situation that could arise and would have to take a clear stand on such an issue. Here's what the Torah says:

I Kings 8:60 - "And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that He maintain the cause of His servant, and the cause of His people Israel, as every day shall require; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD, He is God; there is none else."

- Isaiah 43:10 - "Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He; before Me there was no God formed, neither shall any be after Me."

- Isaiah 46:5 - "To whom will ye liken Me, and make Me equal, and compare Me, that we may be like?"

- Isaiah 44:6 - "Thus saith the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the LORD of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God."

- Deut. 4:39 - "Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other."

- Isaiah 45:4 - "I am the LORD, and there is none else, beside Me there is no God; I have girded thee, though thou hast not known Me"

- Hosea 13:4 - "Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt; and thou knowest no God but Me, and beside Me there is no saviour."

- Exodus 20:1 - "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me"

Pagans used the same aguments as Christian today. Hindus claim to believe in One Supreme G-d but they worship his many aspect as gods although they all form one Unity. Is this acceptable to you?

Essentially, the Torah says repeatedly that HaShem is the One and Only. At the same time, Christians believe that JC is co-equal to G-d, that the two can be compared, that he was formed after G-d. How could the Torah be any cleared? Honestly, I would like to know, besides obviously saying "JC is a deceptive lie". Does G-d ever say that He wishes to shared glory, rather that He is the only one who should be worshipped and the only divine being.

Please answer this: If G-d had wanted to convey the message that there are no other heavenly beings and that He is an Absolute Unity, how could He have made Himself any clearer?

BDJ, I do not need your man-god. The idea that one can atone for another is simply ridiculous. (BTW, I noticed that you must have commented on Shabbat. Now that's a real sin and you'd better do some serious teshuva to wipe that away, otherwise the punishment is karet, which is also the punishment for idolatry. You should check that out.)

No one can die for the sins of another. Judaism believes in personal responsibility meaning that one must do teshuva for this own sins.

"Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book." Exodus 32:32-33 (KJV)

"The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin." Deuteronomy 24:16 (KJV)

"In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge." Jeremiah 31:29-30 (KJV)

"Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:4 (KJV)

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." Ezekiel 18:20 (KJV) Repeats Verse 4 in Ezekiel 18. (above)

Last point (and I do hope that you will address all of them rather than ignoring those that contradict you, as you are fond of doing), at the great Disputation of Barcelona when the Ramban wiped the floor with Paolo Christiani, an apostate Jew like you, he said: "I am amazed. The word said in our presence to convince us that the Nazarene was the Messiah, were said by the Nazarene himself when he brought this same message himself to our ancestors and tried to persuade them. They refuted him to his face with a perfect and strong rejection despite the fact that it was he who spoke, who knew and could argue his claim that he is divine, in accordance to your opinion, better than you can today. Now, if our ancestors who saw him and knew him did not heed him, how then can we believe and heed the voice of the king, whose only knowledge of the matter stems merely from the hearsayof distant reporters who heard it from people who neither knew him nor were his countrymen as our ancestors knew him and witnessed his life.” The Jews of the Era of the Second Temple were not wicked sinners like in the early days but quite pious. It was the time of some of the greatest of rabbis, rabbi Akiva, Hillel and Shammai, Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nassi. They heard all of his arguments (provided that he actually existed which I doubt) and still rejected him. They refuted him to his face.

I am wondering, if his coming is so clear from the Torah, why are the ones who convert usually (practically always) so ignorant and uneducated about their Judaism? Why do we not see more converts straight out of yeshivot in Meah Shearim or Bnei Brak? I also want to know, what is your level of Jewish education? I doubt that it was extensive.

Anonymous said...

I have always found it funny... the concept of Messianic "Judaism". The Sh'ma reads: "Listen Israel: The L-rd Our G-d, The L-rd is ONE". How can G-d be one and be a trinity? Also, if Jesus was G-d, and G-d Fathered Jesus, was Jesus his own father? If he is the Messiah, where is the Third Temple. Where is the World to Come? It is not here; the Moshiach has not come.

Big Daddy Jew said...

BK, you said "At the same time, Christians believe that JC is co-equal to G-d, that the two can be compared, that he was formed after G-d."

Yeshua is not co-equal to G-d. He is G-d. They are one and the same. Yeshua wasn't created. He didn't come after G-d. He is pre-existant. Are you familiar with the Targums? Many times the sages would translate a verse using the word, "Memra," which means the Word, ie "In the beginning, the Word created the Heavens and the Earth.." there are countless others...

Interestingly, the opening verses of the book of John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G-d and the was was G-d." The Memra.

There are several examples of the manifestations of Hashem, (I hate the word Trinity), in the Tanakh. Gen 18 is the first that comes to mind.

As for why Yeshua was rejected byHis own...the same reason our ancestors killed all the prophets. Also, there were MANY thousands that followed Yeshua...even to the most horrific deaths imaginable because they knew the truth. These were not ignorant Jews...they knew the Tanakh inside out. Many in the Sanhedren came to belief in Him as well. You make Him sound like a solitary loner that had a couple guys tag along. That was hardly the case. All Yerushalayim was in an uproar during Pesach because they wanted to see Him.

Regarding your comment that those who follow recognize Yeshua as ignorant and uneducated, please refer to the videos I posted on my blog of an Orthodox Rabbi who lays out why Yeshua is the Mashiach.

Anonymous said...

All functioning phenomena must be composite.

G_d cannot be an absolute unchanging unity:

G_d decides on a course of action.
G_d performs an action.
G_d knows he has performed an action.

The G_d who knows that he has not yet performed an action is not absolutely identical with the G_d who knows that he has performed an action.

Of course it would be stupid to claim that there are two G_ds, a 'Before' G_d and an 'After' G_d.

But it would also be stupid to claim that the 'Before' G_d and the 'After' G_d are one single identical unity (otherwise G_d would have no memory!).

All functioning phenomena are composite: in order to function an entity must both give and take something of itself in the action of functioning.

Avi said...

BD"J", there is no such thing as an Orthodox rabbi who believes in JC. It is like saying kosher pork. Just by dressing somebody up with a black hat and a beard doesn't make them kosher. He is a priest or a minister, or whatever you call it. You are essentially a Christian in denial.

The Christian Bible gives contradictory reports. One moment JC is G-d, the other he's subordinate and the next he's equal.

If Jesus were the “true” God, why would he need to request from himself legions of angels,

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father and he will at once put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53)?

Apparently Matthew did not consider that Jesus was God because Matthew clearly said it was the Father not Jesus who granted the sons of Zebedee to sit at the right and left of Jesus in heaven as he wrote:

“It is not mine to grant but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:20-23). If JC was G-d, he could have anyone sit next to him.

If Jesus was God, why did he cry out:

“My Father, if it is possible may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will”,

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 26:39 & 27:46)

Jesus, knowing he was going to die, showed who was his superior. He prayed in the Garden (not to himself):

“Father, if you wish, remove this cup from me, not by my will, but yours” (Luke 22:42).

Luke continues:

“Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

Would God need to beg and cry to himself to save himself from death? Jesus offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the one who was able to save him from death and apparently he was not crying to himself!

When Jesus was near death on the cross, Mark wrote that Jesus cried out:

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Mark 15:34).

Was Jesus co-equal to God then? Was Jesus God then? Was Jesus God incarnate then?

Even John had trouble associating Jesus to being the one and only God. John showed a Jesus that insist that the Father is the “only true God.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus spoke:

“Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son - as you have given him power over all flesh”

John continues:

“…know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:1-3).

Time and time again, Jesus showed that he was separate from God; having a God above him, a God whom he worshiped and a God whom he called “Father.” Ergo, Jesus is subordinate to God―not God, not God incarnate!

Jesus supposedly made statements such as:

“The Son cannot do anything at his own pleasure, he can only do what he sees his Father doing” (John 5:19).

Jesus states that he and God are two separate beings as he said:

“I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me” (John 8:18).

As the Son of God he could not be God himself, for John says:

“No one has ever seen God at anytime” (John 1:18).

The New Testament is very clear about the relationship of God to Jesus and Jesus could never be co-equal with God in power or strength. Why would John say Jesus told Mary that he considered her Father as his Father and her God as his God?

“Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father…I ascend unto my Father and your Father and to my God and your God” (John 20:17).

John sums it up when he wrote,

“I (Jesus) go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).

Mark did not believe that Jesus was the “true God” either. Mark had Jesus say to the women,

“Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:17-18).

Paul saw JC as an intermediary (although this violates the 2nd commandment). “For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

If JC was G-d, how could he die? The Torah says that G-d is not a man and not a mortal, and yet JC died. If G-d died, even for a billionth of a second, the world would stop existing. Can g-d be His own prophet? Can He be His own son?

Hicth yourself off to the nearest Orthodox beit midrash.

Anonymous said...

I just wrote a hateful note and erased it all. I want to stick to what I wrote on my blog. But BK: how long will this last? How long are you going to let this guy talk Yeshu on your blog. This is becomming ridiculous. I'm going to stay away from here till he's gone.

Papa Frank said...

Eitan -- I don't mean to upset you but I undoubtedly will. When you or others rail against Yeshua and call him names and attempt to disparage him it only serves to show exactly how much power there is in the name of Jesus. The New Testament says that one day at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. I don't write this to antagonize but rather to show the belief of Christians. Since we believe this we really don't care what you say about Jesus because we believe that this is the future. We also do not feel the need to defend God because He will defend Himself. BDJ has met the Messiah in a personal way and as such he cannot help but want to share that. Since he is a Jew he wants to share that with his own people who he considers his own brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

Frank, the "power" tied to the Name of YESHU is that for centuries Jews were murdered and persecuted and had our children stolen for the sake of a cult leader nailed to 2 pieces of wood, otherwise he would have been a forgotten footnote as one of many failed cult leaders.

Papa Frank said...

Actually the power derives from him being the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. To believe that the name of Jesus is only remembered because of Jewish affliction is an argument that the simplest of people would see through.

Anonymous said...

Jason: I didn't address your Moshiach as "Yeshu" out of enmity or bitterness. You've got me wrong if you think I want to continue on that path. That is just the Hebrew name for Jesus.

If it were up to me I would not discuss religion. Why can't you guys let B.K. conduct a Torah lesson without intruding with your beliefs? He's agreed not to instigate you and so have I but you seem to want to slam Jesus in our faces. Don't you understand that this is offensive--that Jesus is not our Moshiach?

Papa Frank said...

My apologies Eitan. Going back over the post you are completely right. That is my fault. Sorry BK for interrupting your teaching.

Anonymous said...

Jason: as far as I'm concerned it's all good (just don't let me hear you saying "Giant are champs" come next year and we're square).

Papa Frank said...

Next year it's the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS BABY!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

If you don't agree that Da Bears are rolling to dreamland next year I don't like you anymore.

Papa Frank said...

I will agree if they rehire Ditka and Walter Payton!!! If not, I'm going to have to stick with my Chiefs.

Anonymous said...

...And if I buy the team, right!? If I do, I promise to rehire Da Coach, but Walter (may he rest in peace) isn't a coming back unfortunately...