Monotheism and Idolatry
I’m confused. I know that Christianity is pure paganism. I still believe that Yeshua ben Josef from Nazaret is not only the Messiah, but he is God. Not the second part of a three-part- God, but God himself. I am looked down upon because of my belief. I have been buried by my family, and the other Jews through out the world that I communicate with via internet do not consider me a Jew any more, even though I am more orthodox in my observance of Judaism then most of them are. The Christians do not accept me either because of the way I feel about their faith. I believe that God gave his life to forgive me and gave me the ability to obey his law without breaking the smallest of his commandments. Why is Judaism so unforgiving?
I am surprised that you, who I presume firmly embraces the core tenets advanced in the New Testament, are wondering “Why is Judaism so unforgiving?” I think that the ideas attributed to Jesus, or “Yeshua,” as you call him, should haunt your soul.
The Christian Bible triumphantly declares that those who don’t believe in Jesus are condemned to hell and everlasting damnation (Mark 16:16, II, Thessalonians 1:8). If you consider forgiveness a sacred virtue, how do you find comfort in a religion that regards Anne Frank, a girl murdered by the Nazis during the spring of 1945, as a permanent citizen of hell for not believing in Jesus? Why is the God of the New Testament so unforgiving?
A forgiving God would consider the hell on earth that Anne endured at Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen sufficient to atone for unwillingness to accept “Yeshua.”
The Jewish Scriptures, the Fountain of the Living Waters, is the only cornerstone of the Jewish faith. Although you apparently adopted some the traditions of the Jewish people, perhaps your family and friends recognize that your core beliefs are indistinguishable from the Christianity that you outwardly condemn.
Why does Judaism regard your professed beliefs as hostile to the God of Israel? There is no greater sin than idolatry. Your worship of a man as God violates the very first of the Ten Commandments:
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:1-2)
Moreover, the Bible warns:
God is not a man that He should lie, nor a mortal that He should change His mind. (Numbers 23:19)
And also the Eternal One of Israel will not lie nor change His mind; for he is not a man, that He should change His mind. (I Samuel 15:29)
Do not put your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no salvation! (Psalm 146:3)
The Merciful One repeatedly warns the Jewish people to turn away from foreign gods. As a result of this sin, ten tribes were exiled by Assyria 2,700 years ago. The prophet Hosea warned the Northern Kingdom of Israel that idol worship would lead to their demise. There is, however, wonderful news conveyed in Tanach. Listen to the words of Isaiah:
Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon, for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:6-9)
In his startling and uplifting sermon, the prophet promises that repentance alone atones for sin. This is Judaism.
I find it difficult to understand why you have chosen this belief that Jesus was God when John’s Jesus says:
...because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)
Clearly, the author of the fourth Gospel did not regard Jesus as equal with God, as you profess. Below, I enclosed some Bible references for you to study.
If you are not sure Who the God of Israel is, the Bible gives us a hint in this matter. Scripture warns us that one day you will worship other gods that your fathers did not know (Deuteronomy 28) and this iniquity will bring about national disaster. So ask yourself the following question: “Did my great grandfather worship ‘Yeshua ben Josef’ as God?” If the answer to that question is “no,” then it is time has arrived for you to return to your God and your people.
I look forward to welcoming you home.
Rabbi Tovia Singer
(c) Copyright Tovia Singer 2011