When I say something positive about Christianity in my posts, many readers assume I have to be a Christian. When speaking positively about Christianity I mention I am a Jew, many Jews suspect I should be a member of a sect ‘Jews for Christ’. When I respond by saying, I am a proud Jew who likes the true Christians and believes the ‘Jews for Jesus’ have lost their Jewish identity by converting to Christianity, I feel a complete mistrust.
I have decided to clarify all that.
Here is my Torah-based understanding of Jewish-Christian relations. This understanding is based on an intellectual study of the very essence of what we called One God, based on His actions described in the Torah. My understanding is not based on an opinion of any one of the truly revered religious authorities – too many contradictory interpretations.
God revealed Himself to the entire humanity through the Jewish people beginning with Abraham and delivered His guidance in the Torah (the Old Testament) at Mount Sinai through Moses.
Then the Jews formed two spiritual movements, which were shaping the future Jewish-Christian relations.
One of the movements worked to tailor the Torah-based God’s guidance into a sort of mandatory rules for the Jewish communities themselves, and this movement produced the Talmud and many follow-up rabbinical rulings. Some known to us groups in this movement were Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots. This movement created the religion of Judaism with many different internal opinions on the essence of Judaism – from ultra-Orthodox to ultra-Secular.
The other movement, led by Rabbi Joshua who after his death had become Jesus Christ, worked to transfer the Torah-based God’s guidance to the non-Jews, and this movement produced the New Testament and religion of Christianity with many follow-up diversified spiritual streams.
Then, Judaism and Christianity – each of them – split into two fundamental spiritual groups.
Some Jewish and Christian religious leaders followed the Torah’s revelation that God the Creator created all humans in His image and likeness as equal individuals to continue His creative work along the lines of His guidance – with the same fundamental spiritual rules for Jews and Christians. Those Jewish and Christian leaders were reinforcing and strengthening Judeo-Christian spiritual unity and encouraging the ability of diversified religious streams to work with each other, and compete with each other, for a better creative design for the God’s world (God’s Free Will). This group is searching for the true meaning of the image and likeness of God – the true image that reinforces the common Jewish-Christian spiritual ground, based on which the Jews and Christians are creating the God’s better world without interfering into each other faiths (for example, Evangelical Christians led by Pastor John Hagee).
However, many Jewish and Christian religious leaders were fighting for their own authoritative power over the humans, trying to convince everybody that God revealed only to them the ultimate God’s guidance, and everybody who does not follow them is a sinner and God will punish him. The spiritual leaders of this group were reinforcing their own power over their community.
As the readers may see from my writings, I am with the first group, which is searching for the true meaning of the image and likeness of God, and I am a proud Jew who is searching for the inspiration mostly directly from God – in my spiritual world the rabbis are teachers, not a substitution for God.
As to the question of who are the Jews for Jesus, they are not spiritually Jewish at all – they were born to the Jewish families and they decided to change their mission – from being the Chosen to being the Christians – they have stopped being Jewish.
I do not accuse them of betrayal; that is their choice. It is difficult to be the Chosen and feel being responsible for the God’s world; it is much easier to be led and obey (I say this without any negativity). The Jews for Jesus are a tiny minority among the Jews who decided not to follow the rituals of their faith although they were born to Jewish families. The Jewish-Christian intermarriage and secularism takes from the organized Jewish communities much more “human souls”.
We the Jews are 10-20 million strong throughout most of our history. If we have followed our birthrate progression for the last two millenniums, our numbers now might be close to a billion. However, we are not here. Why? A guess: God is satisfied with this number of the Chosen – it is enough to move the world in the right God’s direction. Of course, we the Jews prefer another explanation – we are just in small millions since in the history we were massacred and pogromed. However, many non-Jewish peoples were massacred and pogromed as well – Christians was killing Christians and Muslims, Muslims were killing Muslims and Christians, Indians were killing Indians, Syrians are killing Syrians, and so on.
The Jews and the Christians should be spiritual friends competing with each other for a better God’s design for the better world for everybody. We the Jews have to be proud of our God’s mission of the Chosen – we are doing our best in searching for this God’s design. As concerned to the Jews for Jesus, they are not Jewish.