"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21
By Rav. PhilJ Alcide, PhD.

 

Blessing before reading the Torah: 

 

Praise Hashem, to whom our praise is due! Praised be Hashem, to whom our praise is due now and for ever! Blessed is Hashem our God, Ruler of the universe, who has chosen us from all peoples by giving us the Torah. Blessed is Hashem, Giver of the Torah.

 

Reading: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account” (Deut.18: 18-19)

 

Blessing after reading the Torah:

 

Blessed is the Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has given us a Torah of truth, implanting within us eternal life. Blessed is the Lord, Giver of the Torah.

 

Jesus is the most controversial figure in human history. He has been publicisized by the Christian writings known as the New Testatment. According to Rabbi Cook, the rabbis that arose post-70 had never known Jesus personally nor did they possess reliable traditions about him that had been passed down by their own forebears. The only Jesus they were aware of was the the anti-Jewish image of him portrayed by the Gospel writers (Cook, 2008). Rabbi Boteach stated recently, “whether or not the miracles attributed to Jesus actually occurred, what is clear is that as a devout Pharisee and rabbi, he would have been appalled at how his followers would later define him” (Boteach, 2012). The anonymous author of the epistle to the Hebrews said, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin” (Heb.4: 5).

 

The author of the gospel according to Matthew said, “Jesus will save his people from their sins” (Mt.1: 21). The author of the gospel according to John said, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!…I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God” (Jn.1: 29, 34). It is generally believed that Jesus never sinned and that, according to Christians, justifies the claim that he came to save his people from their sins. But what if we can conclusively show that Jesus sinned at least once, would that change anything? Would he still have the ability to save the world? Would people still accept him as a god? How would that affect Christianity? The aim of this lecture is to explore these questions but first, let us say a blessing:

  • Baruch Atah adonai eloheinu Melekh ha-Olam yihyu l’ratson imrei-fi v’hegyon libi l’fanecha adonai tsuri v’goali [Amen]
  • Blessed are you Hashem our G-d, king of the universe. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you Hashem, my Rock and my Redeemer [Amen]

Outside of academia, only a very small number of people know that:

 

“Pagan critics of Christianity…complained that this recent religion was nothing more than a pale reflection of their own ancient teachings. Early “church fathers”…were understandably disturbed and resorted to the desperate claim that these similarities were the result of diabolical mimicry. Using one of the most absurd arguments ever advanced, they accused the Devil of “plagiarism by anticipation,” of deviously copying the true story of Jesus before it had actually happened in an attempt to mislead the gullible! These church fathers struck us as no less devious than the Devil they hoped to incriminate” (Freke and Gandy, 1999).

 

This ignorance is due partly to the Protestant slogan “Sola Scriptura”, which limits Christians only to the New Testament as source of information about Jesus. They do not know that “it is the winner that writes history–their way” (Ibid.) nor are they aware that Justin Martyr acknowledged the similarities between Jesus’ virgin birth and the mythology, writing:

 

“In saying that the Word was born for us without sexual union as Jesus Christ our teacher, we introduce nothing new beyond what is said of those called the Sons of Zeus” (Apology 3).

 

We will primarily look at what Jesus admitted about himself and what is written about him in the New Testament. Then we will analyze those statements as well as their implications. In the gospel according to Matthew we read that Jesus said on the cross:

  •  “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt.27: 46)

This statement can be looked at in three different ways, at least:

  1. as a prayer,
  2. as a disappointment, or
  3. as a confession

As a prayer, the statement is taken from Psalm 22 and is a plea to be delivered from death as it is written:

  • “But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; saved me from the horns of the wild oxen.” (Ps.22: 19-21)

This would mean that Jesus didn’t expect to die nor did he look at his death as a sacrifice for the sake of others. In fact, though we know that the following verse to be a late addition (Comfort, 2008), it is written in the Christian Bible:

 

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Mt.26: 39)

 

If he came to save his people from their sins through his death, then why did he wish otherwise here, to be saved from death? Of course, this has been “interpreted” to mean that the verse is showing Jesus’ entire submission to the father but what is not emphasized is that he disagrees with the father here and yet he doesn’t have the power to do his own will, which made him rather a victim of the father’s authority as opposed to an obedient son doing his father’s will.

 

As a disappointment, the statement has two aspects:

 

a—Jesus expected the father to be with him all the way through and succeed in what he intended to do without having to suffer or to die. However, now he’s suffering and about to die but the father distanced himself totally, though it written and Jesus believed that:

  • “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” (Ps.27: 10)

Could this be the result of misinterpreting Scriptures and misappropriating them to him personally? Could this have been the father’s way of saying to Jesus, not you but:

  • “I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.'” (Deut.33: 25)

b—For many early Christians, Jesus was a good or holy man, but only at the moment of his baptism in the Jordan was he suddenly overwhelmed by the power of the divinity, the Logos or Holy Spirit. Early in the second century, the influential Gnostic thinker Cerinthus popularized this idea of Jesus’ being possessed by a divine force at his baptism. The crucifixion would then have marked the moment that the power of Christ abandoned the man Jesus. According to the second-century gospel of Peter, Christ at the cross cried out “My power, my Power, why have you forsaken me?” (Jenkins, 2010). This is totally different from what the gospel of Matthew teaches.

 

As a confession, it is common for people to set their house in order, meaning acknowledging past sins, asking for forgiveness, and repenting from their evil ways before they die. This seems to be implied by the the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, as it is written:

  • “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Heb.5: 8-91)

The only evidence we have that Jesus suffered is his beating and crucifixion. We are also told that he spent forty days in a wilderness fasting (Mt.4: 2), which can’t be counted as suffering since he imposed it upon himself. If this is true, then how could the following verse apply to him:

  • “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering”? (Isa.53: 3)

With this being said, what then was Jesus confessing at the cross?

 

The Psalm that Jesus started to quote doesn’t really say much about him because in its historical and literary context it is all about David’s personal life and situation. Moreover, the Psalm is not a confession of sin but of faith, a hope that G-d would do certain things ultimately because the author seems to be bargaining with G-d. Therefore, since no man is righteous and never sins (Eccl.7: 20), the faults of Jesus must be looked for elsewhere, in the gospels.

 

Jesus himself said if we accept the words as his:

 

“John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’ (Mt.11: 18-19)

 

In his commentary on this passage Matthew Henry wrote:

  • “On the one hand, John came to them, neither eating nor drinking. Now this, one would think, should work upon them; for such an austere, mortified life as this, was very agreeable to the doctrine he preached: and that minister is most likely to do good, whose conversation is according to his doctrine; and yet the preaching even of such a minister is not always effectual. On the other hand, the son of man came eating and drinking, and so he piped unto them. Christ conversed familiarity with all sort of people, not affecting any peculiar strictness or austerity. Those who were not awed by John’s frowns, would be allured by Christ’s smiles.” (Henry, 1961)

This is a traditional commentary on the gospel in the sense that it reflects the church’s polemics against Judaism and the Jewish people. It is good to boost up people’s emotion but the real contrast between Jesus and John is lost in the process. Thus, it lacks objectivity. On the one hand, John the baptist led an ascetic life, which Judaism does not encourage because G-d created us to enjoy the physical world where he put us (Gen.2: 15-16). This is why John was said to have had a demon. On the other hand, Jesus lived a very liberal life, one diametrically opposed to that of John, as he admited.

 

What does it mean to “eat and drink”?

 

According to the passage in Matthew, if “neither eating nor drinking” means an “ascetic lifestyle” or a life of self-denial, then “eating and drinking” means the total opposite. It means an “epicurean lifestyle” or a “self-gratifying lifestyle”.

 

In the Torah we read:

  • “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.” (Deut.21: 18-21)

According to Jesus himself, he lacked temperance in food and drink. One can’t be called “drunkard” unless he was caught drunk on several occasions nor can he be called a glutton unless he has a habit of over-eating. Two occasions are enough to support that claim according to the Torah. Here’s a clearer picture obtained from the wisdom literature:

 

“His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” (Job 1: 4-5)

 

The idea of “eating and drinking” is not only the literal partaking of “food and drink” but it is also a set of behaviors forbidden by the Torah. This is why Job purified his children, assuming that they have engaged in those activities all the times while partying, including sexual immorality. If they weren’t guilty of such, then why would they accept to be sanctified?

 

The passage in Deuteronomy says:

  • “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him…”

Amazingly, the Torah connects “eating and drinking” with dishonor of parent, which is a violation of the 5th commandment. Stubbornness or rebellion means purposeful disobedience. Does this help you understand what the author of Hebrews said concerning Jesus, that “he learned obedience from what he suffered”? Since Jesus was the oldest child in the family and that his father supposedly died after his 12th birthday, could this be saying that he didn’t show his mother any respect at all from that time on? Could this be the reason why he told the disciple John:

  • “Here is your mother.” (Jn.19: 27)

Could he have felt guilty knowing that he is going to die? Does that also shed light on the passage:

 

“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mt.12: 46-50)

 

If Jesus believe that it was G-d’s for him to fight Rome, then those who join him in his movement would be the ones that he would consider as mothers, sisters, and brothers. Parashat Pinchas that we covered in the second lecture taught us a deeper meaning of “eating and drinking” in relation to the incident at Ba’al-Peor. As I have said yesterday:

  • “Before G-d there’s no such thing as a spiritual life and a social life. True kedushah (holiness) is to extend the spirit of Hashem and the enhancement of His honor to the areas of life which are most prone to egoistical and pleasure hedonism. We can’t put G-d on like a cloth when we are in religious settings and take Him off when we are in non-religious settings. If we do that, we will never have a chance to witness to others, to be a light in the darkness (Isa.49: 6). As Jews, all our activities are spiritual and we must be mindful of that at all times. We are called not to separate our activities into secular and religious but to act differently and consistently in the crowd. This is how we show our holiness and this is also how we standout, not by assimilating with those that are around us but by demonstrating and living according to a higher moral standard, the Torah.”

Therefore, Jesus’ eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners is no different from the Israelites worshiping Ba’al-Peor with the Moabites at Shittim. Do you need to participate in activities that the Torah forbids in order to reach out to those that practise them? Do you need to steal in order to convince a thief that it is wrong? Do you need to murder people to convince the assassin that he’s wrong? Do you need to commit adultery to convince the adulterer that he’s wrong? This sounds like the same non-sense that Paul taught:

 

“To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.” (1 Cor.9: 20-21)

 

A second statement of Jesus is worth considering. In the Gospel of John it is written:

 

“Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (Jn.14: 5-9)

 

If this passage is true, then it is the most blatant case of blasphemy because Jesus here claims to be the G-d of Israel. After all, is it not written in the Torah:

  • “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory,  working  wonders?” (Exod.15: 11)

Doesn’t the G-d of Israel say:

  • “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exod.20: 4)

Doesn’t Jesus contradict himself when he said:

  • “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.” (Jn.6: 46)

Why would G-d confine himself in a human body for about 50 years or more? What happened to his omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience? Doesn’t the following passage prove that Jesus lacked all of the above:

 

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask”? (Jn.11: 21-22)

 

Doesn’t this passage show that Martha didn’t believe that Jesus was the G-d of Israel? Does G-d have a body? Does Gen.1: 27 imply that G-d is a man or a woman? The problem with Jesus claiming divinity is that there’s no need for G-d to inhabit a body. He told the Israelites to built him a sanctuary but there was never a physical presence there. He led them in the wilderness for 40 years and never did they see any shape or form, as Moses said:

  • “You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice” (Deut.4: 11-12)

Therefore, for Jesus to claim to be G-d and that those who saw him saw G-d is equavalent to calling both G-d and Moses liars. Then he went on to say that no one had seen the father but him. What else is blasphemy? But again, did Jesus say or do any of those things attributed to him?

 

A third statement of Jesus is pretty puzzling. He says:

  • “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.” (Lk.18: 19)

Isn’t Jesus saying that he is not G-d, which contradicts what he said in Jn.14: 5-9? Is he also not agreeing with Solomon who said:

  • “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins…a righteous man falls seven times” (Eccl.7: 20; Prov.24: 16)

Obviously, in Lk.18: 19, Jesus makes no distinction between him, you, me, and the rest of mankind. He acknowledges his humanity and all that it entails and implies.

 

A fourth statement is the following:

 

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his lifeh will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Mt.16: 24-28)

 

Since Jesus has not yet returned in “his Father’s glory with his angels and…reward each person according to what he has done…” we can confidently say that some of his disciples are still live and in good health today. They are over 2000 years old. However, we know that there is no human that is this old or that has even reached 1000 years of age. Moreover, it is well documented that all of his disciples have died in the first century CE and no later than early second century CE. Thus, the only conclusion we can draw is that Jesus not only lied but he deceived his disciples when he said “I tell you the truth”. Which one will you accept: that there are disciples of Jesus that are still alive or that Jesus took G-d’s name in vain, lying and deceiving his disciples?

 

A fifth problem with Jesus is found in the gospel of Mark where it is written:

  • “A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.” (Mk.14: 51-52)

Who was this young man? Why was he following Jesus wearing only a linen garment? Why did he flee naked? In his book “The man Jesus loved”, Theodore Jennings carefully analyzes the gospel of John from chapters 13, 18 through 21 and points out the substantial similarity between the relationship between Jesus and the “beloved disciple” and that between a lover and a beloved in a Hellenistic gymnasium. In fact, Jesus warned his disciples not to be angry with gay people or call them names, for they will be brought into judgment, as it is written:

 

“I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin.” (Mt.5: 22)

 

Did Jesus change the Torah, for it is written therein:

  • “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable…’If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” (Lev.18: 22; 20: 13)

More specifically, in the gospel of John there is an interesting exchange between Jesus and Peter concerning foot-washing. What is that all about? It is written there:

 

“He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (Jn.13: 6-8)

 

Why did Peter oppose the foot-washing? What is this ceremony? Let us decode the symbolism, using the Tanakh. It is written in the second book of Samuel:

 

“David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house. When David was told, “Uriah did not go home,” he asked him, “Haven’t you just come from a distance? Why didn’t you go home?” Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!” (2 Sam.11: 6-11)

 

What, then, was this foot-washing ceremony that Jesus instituted and that was so central and important to him that “Unless he washes someone’s feet, that person has no part with him”? Where is this ceremony practised today without impunity or that people are paid to relocate after having been accused of it? Yes, you got that right. You said it!

 

A sixth problem with Jesus is his statement that:

 

“What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'” (Mt.15: 11)

 

Since Jesus came, “eating and drinking”, besides living a non-ascetic life is Jesus here saying that he eats whatever he wants, given that nothing has the intrinsic value to make a Jew unclean? Did Jesus only eat kosher food or did he eat whatever he wanted? Thus, can this be seen as Jesus encouraging his followers and the crowd to eat whatever they wanted? It is clearly written in the Torah:

  • “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud. “‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you…Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales. But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to detest.” (Lev.11: 1-4, 9-10)

Since Jesus admitted that he was called a glutton he also admits that his inability to control his appetite led him to eat anything he found, clean or unclean, just to satisfy him”self”. Moreover, on several occasions we are told that he ate fish and gave it to more than 5,000 other people (Jn.6: 11; Mt.15: 36). Could it be possible that Jesus ate fish that didn’t have fins or scales? After all, why would he care if what goes into his mouth doesn’t make him unclean? Thus, Jesus violated the Dietary Laws of the Torah, called Kashrut Laws, even if one could demonstrate conclusively that he never ate unclean food.

 

A seventh issue with Jesus is his behavior on Shabbat. In the Christian Bible it is written:

 

“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?” (Mt.12: 1-5)

 

Here we are more concerned not with what the disciples did but with Jesus’ response to it. It is one thing for a student to do something wrong but it is quite another and worse thing for his teacher to justify the wrongdoing. Did Jesus forget that a man was put to death for picking sticks on the Sabbath in the wilderness (Num.15: 32-36)? Could it be possible that, like the disciples, the man had a need to pick them up? Is Jesus saying that the people that arrested the man, Moses, and G-d are all wrong for putting the man to death for violating the Sabbath?

 

In both of the cases presented here, what are Jesus’ disciples and the men in the wilderness guilty of?

 

In the Torah it is written:

  • “Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omersb for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’” (Exod.16: 21-23)

So it is clear from the Torah that we are commanded to prepare before Shabbat whatever we will need for Shabbat, especially food. Thus, Jesus and his disciples are guilty of not preparing food for Shabbat and this is what caused them to “pick some heads of grain and eat them.” The man in the wilderness is also guilty for not gathering his sticks of wood before Shabbat, which led him to go out to pick sticks, though it is forbidden. This is why our sages taught:

 

Ben (the son of) Azzai said, run to perform [even] a minor mitzvah (commandment) and flee from sin, for one mitzvah leads to another mitzvah, and one sin leads to another sin; for the reward of a mitzvah is a mitzvah and the ‘reward’ of a sin is a sin.”” (Avot 4: 2)

 

How could Jesus, the great teacher as they say he was, fail to understand this simple and basic teaching of the Torah? The Pharisees, then, were justified in saying to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”  The Pharisees were not being legalist there, for this is exactly what the Torah says, even if one takes into consideration the need of the disciples or of the man in the wilderness. After all, what were they doing in the grainfields, given that the Torah says:

  • “Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” (Exod.16: 29)

My questions are the following: Why didn’t Jesus and the disciples prepare food for Shabbat? How far were they going that they couldn’t wait to get there for them to eat? If they didn’t have the means to make preparation, then why didn’t they go to eat with the Pharisees that were with them? Why didn’t Jesus take the time to find out whether the Pharisees were correct instead of presenting an excuse and used David’s situation out of context to justify his disciples? Did Jesus have an ego problem? Did the Yetzer Hara rule over him instead of mastering it (Gen.4: 7)? Was he so stubborn that he rufused to accept a rebuke? According to the Torah, the Pharisees were not judgmental of Jesus in this situation. Rather, they acted with love as it is written:

  • “Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.” (Lev.19: 17b)

From history we learn that desecrating the Sabbath was one of the main sins that caused the Babylonian Captivity, as it is written:

 

“I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day? Didn’t your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity upon us and upon this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.” (Neh.13: 17-18)

 

In making excuses for his disciples and himself for violating two commandments, Jesus ended up violating his own command, where it says:

 

“Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt.5: 19).

 

Can we start to understand that since Paul said that Jesus taught him the gospel personally (Gal.1: 12), then when he said:

  • “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all” (Gal.5: 1-2)

Paul, indeed, would be faithful to the teaching of Jesus who taught his disciples NOT to keep the Torah, as I have just shown you. Therefore, by his own admission, Jesus will not be in the kingdom of Heaven nor is he in heaven either. The same is true about Paul. Could the rabbis of old have made a valid point in saying that Jesus led Israel astray? (Cook, 2008)

 

There’s another event that is worth mentioning, the so-called transfiguration. In the gospel of Matthew we read:

 

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.” (Mt.17: 1-8)

 

This event is glorified because Christians believe that Jesus gave proof of his divinity to his inner circle of friends. However, this raises several questions:

 

1–Given that no picture of Moses and Elijah Existed anywhere, how did they know who were the two men that appeared to them?

 

2–Where did Moses and Elijah come from?

 

3–What does it mean to transfigure?

 

4–Why doesn’t John, Luke, or Mark talk about this most celebrated event?

 

5–If Jesus wanted Matthew to know, wouldn’t have taken him as well? How did Matthew come to know that?

 

6–Doesn’t the Torah say:

 

“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you”? (Deut.18: 9-12)

 

If this event really occurred as written in the Christian Bible, then weren’t Jesus, Peter, James, and John guilty of consulting the Dead? How would Jesus be different from King Saul who went to the witch of Endor to call up the prophet Samuel? In the Tanakh we read:

  • “The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all the Israelites and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” “There is one in Endor,” they said. So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.” But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?” Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.” (1 Sam.28: 4-10)

Let us notice that the woman knew that consulting the dead will be punished by death and was afraid that she was being set up only to be killed. The main difference between this scene of the Witch of Endor and the Transfiguration of Jesus is that Jesus himself is the medium that called up both the spirit of Moses and Elijah from the dead. This connects directly with Jesus’ word on the cross, “My G-d, my G-d, why have you forsaken me”? Like king Saul, Jesus would have consulted the spirit of Moses and Elijah because he couldn’t access G-d. Would he not deserve the same punishment as Saul who consulted Samuel and witch that performed the incantation? It is to hide to blatant violation of the Torah that the event, was dubbed the Transfiguration of Jesus. It’s all laid out in the book as if the authors want the reader to read in between the lines. They are telling a story but it is not what the orthodox church teaches. What does this event really teach about Jesus? If it didn’t really occur, then what does that say about the author and his message? Thus, saying that “Jesus cast out demons by the prince of demons Beelzebub” (Mt.9: 34) is a roundabout way of saying that he was a magician.

 

With all that I have just demonstrated as the sins of Jesus the G-d of Israel would be justified in hiding his face, which would have prompted Jesus to cry: “My G-d, My G-d, why have you forsaken me”? Thus, we can say that, as a first conclusion, Jesus died for his own sin. A second conclusion is that the author of Hebrews got it all wrong when s/he said that Jesus was without sin because the evidence found in the gospels narrative says the contrary. Third conclusion, since Jesus was a sinner he cannot take away the sin of the world, for if he died for his own sins, then every men can die for their own sins as well. After all that’s the Divine Law (Ezek.18: 20). Since by definition G-d cannot sin he will not violate the Torah that he gave to Moses, as it is written:

  • “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” (Deut.7: 9)

which is confirmed when G-d said:

  • “I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.” (Ps.89: 34)

Therefore, Jesus is not G-d at all. What I have presented here is not news to Christianity. However, Christianity will continue to exist as long as people continue to believe in the hopeless promises that the institution continue to make. What is clear, however, from a critical reading of the New Testament is that Christianity is paganism under a new clothing, as the Pagan critics of Christianity said earlier on. Christianity doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. The Christianity of the masses is not the Christianity of the elite. In fact,

 

“Some earlier followers of Jesus saw him as prophet or messiah, but not as divine figure or an incarnate God. These Jewish-Christians groups were usually termed Ebionites, and it is an open question whether they represented a fossil of the very earliest Jesus movement” (Jenkins, 2010)

 

On another note, it is important to know that:

 

“The Mysteries were divided into various levels of initiation, which led an initiate step by step through ever deepening levels of understanding. The number of levels of initiation varied in different Mystery Traditions, but essentially the initiate was led from the Outer Mysteries, in which the myths were understood superficially as religious stories, to the Inner Mysteries, in which the myths were revealed as spiritual allegories. First, the initiate was ritually purified. Then they were taught the secret teachings on a one-to-one basis. The highest stage was when the initiate understood the true meaning of the teachings and finally experienced what Theon of Smyrna calls ‘Friendship and interior communion with God’.” (Freke and Gandy, 1999)

 

It is unfortunate that many are practicing a tradition of which they know very little. This lecture also shows, at least, why people in the time of Jesus didn’t believe what people believe today about him. In fact, could it be that orthodox Christianity was a later deviation from Gnosticism and that Gnosticism was a synthesis of Judaism and the Pagan Mystery religion?

 

Fideism is the theory that faith is independent of reason and it is immortalized in Tertulian’s saying:

  • “Credo quia absurdum”

which means,

  • “I believe because it is absurd.”

Therefore, Pascal wrote:

 

“Who then will blame Christians for not being able to give reasons for their beliefs, since they profess belief in a religion which they cannot explain? They declare, when they expound it to the world, that it is foolishness, stultitiam; and then you complain because they do not prove it! If they proved it, they would not keep their word; it is through their lack of proofs that they show they are not lacking in sense.” (Pascal & Eliot, 1958).

 

One last statement of Jesus that is problematic is found in the gospel of John where it is written:

 

“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (Jn.5: 39-40)

 

The question is “Where is any reference about Jesus in the Scriptures?” Many have tried to quote many passages out of context and one of them, besides Gen.3: 15, is the following:

 

“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account” (Deut.18: 18-19)

 

However, this cannot be true for at least two reasons. First of all, none of the people that Moses spoke to by the Jordan was alive at the time of Jesus in order to listen to or obey him. Secondly, It is clearly written in the Torah that Joshua son of Nun succeeded Moses in leading the Israelites in the Promised Land, as is is written:

  • “Your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it…Commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.” (Deut.1: 38; 3: 28)

Also, it is written that:

  • “Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses…Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel.” (Deut.34: 9; Joshua 24: 31)

One of the Most beautiful statement in the Tanakh is:

  • “Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” (Joshua 21: 45)

which was later corroborated in the book of the Kings, as it is written:

 

“Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” (1 Kings 8: 56)

 

This is how we know that the anonymous author of Hebrews was lying and did not know what s/he was talking about, saying:

 

“For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God” (Heb.4: 8-9)

 

It was never Joshua’s job to give the Israelites rest. It was G-d’s and G-d gave the Israelites rest by taking out of Egypt into the Promised Land. This is why Joshua told the people:

  • “Now that the LORD your God has given your brothers rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan.” (Joshua 22: 4)

Therefore, Christianity is in no way the fulfillment of any promises that the G-d of Israel made to the people nor is it Judaism perfected as many claim. The Torah is clear and G-d cannot lie. If Jesus had to save his people, it was not from their sins but from Rome, for this was one of the things that the Messiah was supposed to do as a Davidic figure. Why then do people continue to believe what they are told? Why don’t they take the time to investigate for themselves? What about those who have investigated the matter, why do they close their eyes on the truth? What are they afraid of? What are they protecting? What is in it for them?

 

It was a blessing being here.

 

Shalom,

 

 

 

BOTEACH, S. (2012). Kosher Jesus. Jerusalem, Gefen.

 

COMFORT, P. W. (2008). New Testament text and translation commentary: commentary on the variant readings of the ancient New Testament manuscripts and how they relate to the major English translations. Carol Stream, IL, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

 

COOK, M. J. (2008). Modern Jews engage the New Testament: enhancing Jewish well-being in a Christian environment. Woodstock, Vt, Jewish Lights Pub.

 

FREKE, T., & GANDY, P. (2000). The Jesus mysteries: was the “original Jesus” a pagan god? New York, Harmony Books.

 

HENRY, M. (1961). Commentary on the whole Bible, Genesis to Revelation. Grand Rapids, Zondervan Pub. House.

 

JENKINS, P. (2010). Jesus wars: how four patriarchs, three queens, and two emperors decided what Christians would believe for the next 1,500 years. New York, HarperOne.

 

JENNINGS, T. W. (2003). The man Jesus loved: homoerotic narratives from the New Testament. Cleveland, Pilgrim Press.

 

JUSTIN, & KAYE, J. (1912). The first apology of Justin Martyr addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius : prefaced by some account of the writings and opinions of Justin Martyr. Edinburgh, John Grant.

 

PASCAL, B., & ELIOT, T. S. (1958). Pascal’s Pensées. New York, E.P. Dutton.

 

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