TRADITION ABOVE TESTAMENT—In Judaism, authority lay in this required Law, in the rabbinic “tradition” which interpreted the Old Testament.… For Jews, the New Testament is not and cannot be a literature sacred to us.—SAMUEL SANDMEL, A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament, Hebrew Union College Press, 1956, pp. 310, 321.
NO NEED OF SALVATION—Man is not born with taint of sin. He is endowed with potentialities for good or for evil. He need not be “saved,” for he is not “damned.” He can indeed lift himself toward God through his deeds. The Jew’s purpose in life is not to seek salvation but to do mitzvot, good deeds. His life is the response not to the question “How may I be saved?” but “How may I serve?”—ABRAHAM J. KARP, The Jewish Way of Life, Prentice-Hall, 1962, p. 187.
IGNORING CHRIST’S APOSTLES—No Jew could possibly admit these claims, which involve: (1) his right to abrogate the Divine Law; (2) his power to forgive sins; (3) the efficacy of his vicarious atonement; and (4) his ability to reveal God, the Father of man, to whomsoever he will.—GERALD FRIEDLANDER, The Jewish Sources of the Sermon on the Mount, Block, 1911, p. 265.
JEWRY AND MESSIAH—Orthodox Jews, of course, believe in the coming of a Messiah, but only in the form of a man—not a God—who will serve as the “anointed one”—the king of Israel—to lead his people as the “light of the nations.” The Messiah, they believe, will not come until Israel is restored to its place as the Messiah-people, to become a moral example to the world of the teachings of the Lord. Until the Messiah comes, Jews surely must remain Jews! Indeed, they contend, he will not come until all Jews become better Jews—until they scrupulously observe the Law, thus becoming worthy of their special role as the teachers of the nations.—STUART E. ROSENBERG, Bridge to Brotherhood: Judaism’s Dialogue With Christianity, Abelard-Schuman, 1961, p. 157.
WHAT JEWRY REJECTED—What they rejected was the Messianism of Jesus, Paul’s onslaught on the Law, his gospel of redemption through the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus, and the doctrine of God incarnate in man.—ABBA HILLEL SILVER, Where Judaism Differed, Macmillan, 1956, p. 85.
ORTHODOX AND LIBERAL JEW—There is a strange affinity between orthodox and liberal Judaism in their attitude to Jesus Christ: they both tend, with slight variations, to the same conclusions.… Judaism rejects, and rejects categorically, the specific Christology of the Church which removes the Man of Nazareth from his natural environment and from the causality of history. While there is a growing conviction amongst Jews that there ought to be assigned a place of prominence to Jesus in their spiritual history, all are agreed that “there can be no place for Jesus in the religion of Israel.” In this Paul Goodman, an orthodox Jew, and Claude Montefiore, a liberal, stand united.—JAKOB JOCZ, The Jewish People and Jesus Christ. S.P.C.K., 1949, pp. 129 f.
GOD’S DISCLOSURE—It is important to bring the Jew face to face with the fact that there have been actual appearances of God on earth.… Since God has appeared to His people Israel in the past, this at least presupposes the possibility of future appearances. That there will be such appearances is clear from the Scriptures: Psa. 50:1–6; Isa. 33:17–24; 40:3–5; 9–11; Joel 3:12–14 (4:12–17); Mal. 3:1–3.… Since God has appeared and will yet appear, there can be no contradiction in the claim that the Messianic appearance is a Theophany, God manifest in the flesh.… The testimonies of these Scriptures [Col. 1:26, 27; Eph. 3:5, 6; Luke 1:67–79; John 1:29, 36; Acts 3:18; 1 Pet. 1:11, 12; Acts 2:30–34; John 7:42; Num. 24:17] should be quite sufficient to prove that Old Testament believers knew about the person and work of Christ and understood the meaning of such passages as Genesis 3:15; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9.… One of the most important Scriptures in connection with the faith which the believers had before Christ came is Ephesians 1:12b. In the American Revision this reads “we who had before hoped in Christ.”—HENRY J. HEYDT, Studies in Jewish Evangelism, American Board of Missions to the Jews, 1951, pp. 126 f., 140, 142.
ESSENTIAL FOR ATONEMENT—No day in the Jewish religious calendar is of greater importance and of more solemn significance than the Day of Atonement. The Talmud, the teachings of the rabbis through the centuries, has an extended treatment on the day and its observance.… The amount of space given to the matter of the blood of the sacrifice in chapters 16 and 17 [of Leviticus] is quite revealing.… In Yoma, the Talmudic section on the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur, the rabbis said, “There is no atonement except by blood”.… But where is the blood in the Jewish Day of Atonement now?—CHARLES L. FEINBERG, The Day of Atonement—But Where Is the Blood?, Emeth Publications, n.d.
MEANING OF ONE GOD—The entire philosophy of Judaism rests upon that word [echod]. We were taught by the Rabbis, and have been taught for ages that that word echod means absolute unity, and I always took it for granted that it meant absolute unity.… I began to study it. I found that the word echod in the Hebrew does not mean an absolute unity, but a composite unity.… For instance: God created Adam and Eve, and the two became one flesh. The Hebrew word for “one Flesh” is bosor Echod. Instead of being an absolute unity it is a composite unity.…—MAX WERTHEIMER, From Rabbinism to Christ, Wertheimer Publications.
WHO IS DAVID’S SEED?—Some of our orthodox Jewish friends believe the Messiah will come any day in fulfillment of the Messianic hope. Is it possible for Him to be born today? No, because He must come from the seed of Abraham, from the house of David, and from the Tribe of Judah.… Since the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, all authentic genealogies (of genuine origin) respecting the twelve tribes of Israel have been lost. No one today could prove his identity authentically.—COULSON SHEPHERD, Jewish Holy Days: Their Prophetic and Christian Significance, Loizeaux Brothers, 1961.
ON LEAVING JUDAISM—Baptism is an almost insurmountable obstacle to a Jew in accepting Jesus as the Mo-chi-ach (Messiah) for baptism cuts him off effectively from the Jews. Were it not for baptism, I would have embraced Christianity [sooner].… When a Jew is baptized, he becomes a renegade, traitor, an outcast, and is depicted in the darkest colors as a mortal enemy to his former co-religionists.—STEPHEN D. ECKSTEIN, From Sinai to Calvary, Eckstein, 1959, pp. 83 f.
PERSONAL DISCLOSURE—Judaism had been for me a matter of mere tradition, sacred because it is a great tradition, with a great and wonderful history behind it. But Christianity I have experienced for myself by the help of Christ, and it has become my personal conviction of religious truth as Judaism never was, and, for lack of the Personality of God as manifested in Jesus Christ, never could be.—GEORGE BENEDICT, Christ Finds a Rabbi, The Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, 1932, p. 396.
ISAIAH 53—When she read the history of Christ’s crucifixion, and I pointed out to her the many prophecies that were accomplished in the space of those few memorable hours; and when He who caused the light to shine out of darkness shone into her heart she clearly saw it was the true Messiah—the Lord Jesus Christ, who was wounded for her transgressions, bruised for her iniquities, and by His stripes she had been healed. When once she was convinced by the Spirit of God that this was so, she was anxious to confess Him before men.—J. P. COHEN, The Conversion of Lydia Montefiore, Aunt of the late Sir Moses Montefiore, Morgan & Scott, n.d., pp. 32 f.
PROMISES TO THE JEW—The Gospel of Christ … is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith [Habakkuk 2:4].… For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 1:16, 17; 10:12, 13).
RELUCTANCE TO WITNESS—In the matter of our responsibility under the Great Commission of including the Jews among all others in the universal gospel witness of the Church, the great deterring factor again has been popular opinion. The witness to the Jew’s has been regarded a violation of the traditional boundaries between Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Jew’s.… Any violation of these boundaries is regarded as un-American and as an act of bigotry.—HAROLD FLOREEN, “The Great Commission and the Proclamation of the Gospel to the Jew’s,” The Church Meets Judaism, Augsburg, 1960, pp. 62 f.
APOSTOLIC RENEWAL—Whatever method or machinery, the great problem is, “How shall we reach the heart of the Jew and constrain him to accept Christ as Saviour and Lord?” In the days of the Apostles this could be done only by messengers filled with the Holy Ghost. The work has been no easier in the nineteenth than it was in the first century. If there has been a lack in the last century, it has not been in devices, but in power. If there be a need in the twentieth century, it is not for new methods, but for missionaries filled with the Spirit and with power, who can meet innumerable and almost insurmountable difficulties, with unwavering faith, undaunted courage, undiminished zeal and unfailing love.—A. E. THOMPSON, A Century of Jewish Missions, Revell, 1902, pp. 84 f.
CHRISTIANITY’S DEBT TO THE JEWS
The world-famous statesman Benjamin Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield) was Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister and chief counselor. A Christian Jew, his policies brought the British Empire to its greatest glory during the latter half of the last century.
Here are Disraeli’s comments on Christianity’s indebtedness to the Jews:
In all church discussions we are apt to forget that the second Testament is avowedly only a supplement. Jesus came to complete the “law and the prophets.” Christianity is completed Judaism, or it is nothing. Christianity is incomprehensible without Judaism, as Judaism is incomplete without Christianity.
The law was not thundered forth from the Capitolian mount; the divine atonement was not fulfilled upon Mons Sacer. No, the order of our priesthood comes directly from the God of Israel; and the forms and ceremonies of the church are the regulations of His supreme intelligence.
Rome indeed boasts that the authenticity of the second Testament depends upon the recognition of her infallibility. The authenticity of the second Testament depends upon its congruity with the first.
I recognize in the church an institution thoroughly, sincerely Catholic; adapted to all climes, and to all ages. I do not bow to the necessity of a visible head in a defined locality; but were I to seek for such, it would not be at Rome. I cannot discover in its history, however memorable, any testimony of a mission so sublime.
When Omnipotence deigned to be incarnate, the ineffable Word did not select a Roman, but a Jewish frame. The prophets were not Romans but Jews; the apostles were not Romans but Jews; I never heard that she, who was blessed above all women, was a Roman maiden.
The first preachers of the gospel were Jews, and none else; the historians of the gospel were Jews, and none else. No one has ever been permitted to write under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, except a Jew. For nearly a century no one believed in the good tidings except Jews. They nursed the sacred flame of which they were the consecrated and hereditary depositaries.
And when the time was ripe to diffuse the truth among the nations, it was not a senator of Rome or a philosopher of Athens who was personally appointed by our Lord for that office, but a Jew of Tarsus.
And that greater church, great even amid its terrible corruptions, that has avenged the victory of Titus, and has changed every one of the Olympian temples into altars of the God of Sinai and of Calvary, was founded by another Jew, a Jew of Galilee.
Christians may continue to persecute the Jews and Jews may persist in disbelieving Christianity, but who can deny that Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnate Son of the most high God, is the eternal glory of the Jewish race.
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