"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 R’ Yosef Barzillai

My Life’s work

Ever since the first appearance of the christian cult in the early fourth century, my family has been at the forefront of the battle to combat its deceptions and lies about the Biblical Prophets’ prophecies concerning the King-Mashi’ah who is yet to be. I myself willingly accepted the mantle handed on to me by my honoured father, the late Ga’on Tzaddik R’ Ovad’yah Barzillai zecher tzaddik liv’rachah and, having trained at three of the greatest y’shivot in the Holy City and received s’michah from one of the g’dolei hador, the late Ga’on Tzaddik R’ Y’rah’m’el Haggai ben Harav Tz’vi Mor’dochai Hakohen zecher tzaddik liv’rachah in 1952, I travelled to the United Kingdom to read a Degree in English at the University of Oxford. I am the first member of my family ever to have been educated at a christian university and the experience of face-to-face dealings with christians that I gained during my several years at Oxford, together with the fluent command of the English language that resulted from my studies there, have proved invaluable for the better discharge of my vocation.

I should emphasise that it is not my task or even my desire to “convert” christians to “Judaism”. We Hebrews are not a missionising or proselytising nation. We do not care whom, or what, any other group of people may be misguided enough to wish to worship; that is their business, not ours. We are to be a “light” for the nations of the World, not a raging bushfire that spreads out and devours all in its path. Just as a “light” reveals the way forward in a passive manner, so it is our task to reveal the right way by the example of how we live and conduct ourselves. Put another way, people come to a light to read, but they flee from a bushfire to avoid being consumed.

Well, then, you’re now wondering, if I do not desire to “convert” christians, what is my purpose, what is my motivation, what is the reason for my antipathy towards the christian cult? The answer to this is simple: Christianity itself is a huge lie built on a mountain of deceptions, and those deceptions are achieved by twisting, distorting, corrupting, perverting and falsifying the sacred writings of our holiest and most honoured scholars, teachers and leaders of Antiquity: God’s Prophets. Those writings, the Hebrew Scriptures, embody God’s Own Message to us, His people, which He entrusted to us for safe-keeping so that we, like the “light” I mentioned in the last paragraph, should reveal knowledge of Him to the nations of the World. It was we, the Sons of Jacob [Israel], who were commissioned to be His “kingdom of preachers” – This is what you [Moses] are to tell the Sons of Israel: “You are going to be a ‘kingdom of preachers’ and a holy nation for Me” (Exodus 19:6) – but the christian churches have created their own “versions” of the Scriptures and, in appointing their own unauthorised “preachers” to spread their perversion of God’s Message, they have set themselves up against God Himself.

I am often asked, what makes me so sure that we are right and the christians are wrong about what the Scriptures say and mean? This question, too, has a simple answer: the Scriptures are not documents that originated from some third source, separate from both christians and ourselves. If that were so, it might, perhaps, be true that the two differing “interpretations” could compete for validity on a level playing-field. But it is not so. The Scriptures were written by us, about us, and for us. They are written in our language – Hebrew – which very, very few christians can speak at all, and none can read through the eyes and comprehend with the mind of an Israelite: christians forget that when attempting to discern what a particular writer meant, one must consider his writings in the context of his culture and beliefs: the reader’s beliefs can have no relevance to what the writer was trying to say. Yet christians repeatedly try to impose their own beliefs on the Hebrew writers, thereby being guilty of both deceit and anachronism, because the doctrines and teachings of the christian cult did not even exist at the time our Prophets were active, and were not created until many centuries later.

Christians use several devices to attempt to justify how their “interpretations” of the sacred writings can be at least as valid as, if not more valid than, ours. One of these is the assertion that we do not really understand our own writings, because for many centuries, according to them, the Hebrew language was somehow “lost” and was only “revived” as “Modern Hebrew” a little over one hundred years ago with the emergence of “Zionism”. We stopped speaking and using it even before the time of their “carpenter’s son”, they say, and so we can’t be precisely sure about the vocabulary and grammar of the “Biblical language”. Nice try, guys, but it just ain’t true. My paternal grandfather, Gamaliel Barzillai, died 3½ years before I was born, but my late father told me that his father (who was born in 1869) was a native Hebrew-speaker, and had told him that his grandfather – my great-great-grandfather, Jeremiah Barzillai (who was born in 1811) – had been a native Hebrew-speaker too. Add to this eyewitness testimony the large quantities of manuscript documents, including personal diaries and social and commercial correspondence, all written in pure and often very colloquial Hebrew and dating back for many hundreds of years, that are in our possession and in the possession of the other ancient families of the Old Jerusalem Community, and it becomes very apparent that this christian claim simply doesn’t hold water.

Another claim that christians sometimes make is that “unscrupulous and wicked scribes” conspired to “alter” the texts of the Scriptures to conceal the truth and “cover up” our collective “guilt” for the death of their “god”. Well, all I can say is that they must have beat Marconi or Bell to their inventions and had either radios or telephones available to them, because the Scrolls of the Scriptures have been copied and re-copied countless times, generation after generation, in each and every Hebrew community all over the known World, from the time of the Babylonian Exile (6th century BCE) onwards and yet, even after more than 25 centuries, every single copy to be found in every single Hebrew community anywhere in the World is identical, word for word, to any other. Even more compelling is the evidence of the “Dead Sea Scrolls” discovered at Kumr’an in 1947, which include parts of almost every one of the Twenty-Four Books of the Hebrew Scriptures (and a complete copy of probably the most hotly contested Book of all, namely Isaiah) and date from more than a century before the supposed time of the “carpenter’s son” – these, too, agree word for word with all contemporary copies.

But the ultimate truth as to who is “right” and who is “wrong” about the meaning of the Books of the Scriptures is this: imagine that you are one of the Prophets, for example, Isaiah, or maybe Jeremiah. Suppose you have just completed the manuscript of your magnum opus – you have just put down your quill and the final folio lies still spread out before you on your writing desk, while you wait for the ink of the last few lines to dry. When all the ink has dried, you carefully roll up the Scroll: what do you do now? Do you hide the Scroll away, trusting that in one thousand years’ time, God Almighty will guide some wise and learned christians to discover it and help them discern what you have been writing about? Of course you don’t – you would gather around you the leading Scholars of your time and teach them what your writings meant. This is exactly what all our Prophets did (in several cases, the text actually records them having done so); and those Scholars who had heard directly from the author’s own mouth what his writings meant then dispersed among the people and passed those teachings on to other Scholars, who taught all the people, who taught their children, who in time grew up and passed the teachings on to their children, and so on, right down to the present day. All of us – every Hebrew living today who has ever been instructed in Scripture by his father or a Rav (teacher) – has received the same teachings of the meaning of the ancient sacred writings, and this very uniformity attests to its truth. For how could it possibly happen that a false interpretation could be propagated in every family in every community all over the World?

 

 

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