My clarifications and explanations within quoted statements appear inside [ ]
THE NEW TRINITY: DO WE ALL PRAY TO THE SAME GOD?
While agreeing upon little else, most Jews, Christians and Muslims seem to accept as a truism that they all pray to the same God. This is because the three monotheistic religions all teach that a Supreme Being brought the Universe and all within it into existence, and they tend to view Him as Eternal, Incorporeal, Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent.
Furthermore, due to its acceptance of the Hebrew Bible as the Word of God (except to the extent that the Hebrew Bible is contradicted by its own Scriptures and/or teachings), Christianity declares that its triune god (comprising the “Father” as the First Person of the Christian godhead, the “Son” (i.e., Jesus) as the Second Person of the Christian godhead and the “Holy Spirit” as the Third Person of the Christian godhead (see Matthew 28:19), which components are alternatively labeled as “God the Father”, “God the Son” and “God the Holy Spirit) is the same deity as the God of Israel. Moreover, some sects of Christianity theologically collapse the Christian godhead into the Person of Jesus, and thereby equate him alone with the God of Israel.
Likewise, due to its acceptance of the Hebrew Bible as the Word of God (except to the extent that the Hebrew Bible is contradicted by its own Scriptures and/or teachings), Islam also declares that its Allah is the same deity as the God of Israel.
Alternatively stated, Christianity and Islam each claim that the God of the Hebrew Bible is the same One who made new and improved Covenants, respectively, with the followers of Jesus and with the followers of Mohammed.
However, almost all sects of Christianity practice “Avoda Zara” (literal translation: “Foreign Worship”). This is a designation which is idiomatically translated as “idolatry”, but which is actually much broader, encompassing any belief system which contravenes or deviates from the principles of belief and worship declared by the God of Israel to the Jewish people in the Hebrew Bible. This designation is aptly applied to any sect of Christianity that deifies Jesus (either as God or as the “Son of God”), and/or that believes that the one God is actually a triune god and/or whose adherents kneel and worship before statutes of Jesus and/or other Christian saints. One notable exception is the sect known as “Christadelphians” (meaning: “Brethren in Christ”), which not only rejects the concept of a triune god, but believes that Jesus was only a human being during his purported lifetime.
Unsurprisingly, the theological institution of a divine trinity was ubiquitous throughout the pagan World long before the creation of Christianity. However, each of these pre-Christian trinities always comprised three distinct gods, which continued to maintain their separate identities, powers and temples of worship. Christianity’s innovation to this pagan theological institution was to declare that, while its trinity also comprised three distinct gods, each of these gods represented a different aspect of the one God, thereby theologically permitting multiple gods to inhabit, coexist within, and constitute the one God.
Moreover, all sects of Islam also practice Avoda Zara.
Firstly, it is true (pursuant to Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran [Amram]” at 144) that almost all sects of Islam view Mohammed as only a human being, with one notable exception being the sect known as “Alawites” (being an offshoot of the Shiite sect of Islam), which believes that Mohammed was an incarnation of Allah. However, in practice, even mainstream Islam reveres the human Mohammed as if he were merged with Allah, which is why (in imitation of Christianity’s reverence towards Jesus) Islam forbids any criticism of the character, declarations or actions of Mohammed. Furthermore, just as Islam forbids tangible depictions of Allah as being idolatry, most Islamic theologians also forbid tangible depictions of Mohammed as if that were also idolatry. In fact, criticisms or tangible depictions of Mohammed have frequently led to the murders of the purveyors of such criticisms or depictions, with such murders being theologically justified by asserting that the murder victims were guilty of Blasphemy.
Secondly, Muslims who make pilgrimages to Mecca -- being the holiest city in Islam -- prostrate themselves and worship before the granite building known as “al-Kaaba” (meaning: “the Cube”), into which is embedded the ancient relic of pagan worship known as the “Black Stone, which is the tiny remnant of a meteorite. All other Muslims, wherever they are in the World, prostrate themselves and pray in the direction of the “Black Stone”. It is indisputable that the holiness of Mecca to Islam is predicated upon the presence there of the “Black Stone” and upon the latter’s holiness -- despite its pagan origins -- to Islam. That is precisely why the Great Mosque in Mecca, which encloses “al-Kaaba” and its embedded “Black Stone”, is denominated as “al-Masjid al-Haram” (meaning: “the Sacred Mosque”).
The foregoing raises a theological question:
Why would the God of Israel instruct people to worship Him by prostrating themselves before a structure hosting an idolatrous object?
Obviously, God would not -- and did not -- issue such a Command, as He abhors idolatrous objects and demands their destruction, to wit:
“HaShem spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab, by the Jordan [River], at Jericho, saying, 'Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them, "When you cross the Jordan [River] to the Land of Canaan, you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the Land from before you; and you shall destroy all their prostration stones; all their molten images shall you destroy; and all their cultic places shall you demolish.” (Numbers 33:50-52).
Rather, the requirement imposed upon Muslims to venerate the “Black Stone” was retained by the early leadership of Islam, as that leadership was unable to completely abandon the pagan worship of its ancestors.
Despite the foregoing evidence of the extent to which Avoda Zara has infected both Christianity and Islam, most Jewish theologians incomprehensibly declare that, with certain exceptions, Jews, Christians and Muslims all pray to the same God, namely, the God of Israel.
But, does this view represent the Truth? Is the God of Creation the sum total of all that Judaism, Christianity and Islam attribute to Him? Alternatively stated, is the God of Creation a new Trinity -- a product of religious syncretism -- comprising the God of Israel, the Christian godhead (or Jesus alone) and Allah? Or do the three monotheistic religions instead venerate three different gods, only One of Whom is the Creator of Existence, thereby revealing the other two to be false gods, no different than the ancient pagan gods that preceded them?
Why, when Society’s watchwords are Toleration and Fellowship, is this analysis important? It is important, because the God of Israel enjoined upon the Jewish people one Commandment which, in its simplicity, serves as the foundation stone for all the others. After reminding our people that “‘I am HaShem, your God, Who has taken you out of the Land of Egypt, from the House of Slavery’” (Exodus 20:2 & Deuteronomy 5:6), God immediately thunders:
“‘You shall not recognize the gods of others in My Presence.’” (Exodus 20:3 & Deuteronomy 5:7).
By agreeing that Allah, and the Heavenly Father who purportedly sired Jesus, and the God of Israel are one and the same Creator, we Jews transgress this Commandment and thereby cause a great Chillul HaShem (Desecration of God’s Name).
God has deigned, through the Hebrew Bible (the first five books of which are collectively denominated as the Torah, meaning: “Teaching”), to reveal to us His Eternal Attributes, His Eternal Message and that which He expects of us as His Chosen People. God said of and to us:
“... So said HaShem: ‘My firstborn Son is Israel.’” (Exodus 4:22); and: “‘... My Legions -- My People -- the Children of Israel ...’” (Exodus 7:4); and: “For you are a holy people to HaShem, your God; HaShem, your God, has chosen you to be for Him a treasured people above all peoples that are on the face of the Earth. Not because you are more numerous than all the peoples did HaShem desire you and choose you, for you are the fewest of all the peoples. Rather, because of HaShem’s Love for you and because He observes the Oath that He swore to your forefathers did He take you out with a strong hand and redeem you from the House of Slavery -- from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:6-8); and: “For you are a holy people to HaShem, your God; and HaShem has chosen you for Himself to be a treasured people from among all the peoples on the face of the Earth.” (Deuteronomy 14:2); and: “And HaShem has distinguished you Today to be for Him a treasured people, as He spoke to you, and to observe all His Commandments, and to make you supreme over all the nations that He made, for praise, for renown, and for splendor, and so that you will be a holy people to HaShem, your God, as He spoke.” (Deuteronomy 26:18-19).
Consequently, it stands to reason that the Teaching that God gave to His Chosen People is both complete and final. As a result, our Sages’ understanding of God is based exclusively upon His Words and Actions, as related in its pages alone. If we were to accept that the God of Israel subsequently bestowed upon the Gentile nations Revelation concerning His Attributes, His Message and His Expectations, as expressed through the Christian Bible and/or the Islamic Koran, each of which seek to annul, modify and add neologisms to the passages of the Hebrew Bible, then we would be transgressing yet another Commandment of the Torah. For, as the God of History, in anticipation of this Day, long ago warned His People:
“‘The Entire Word that I command you: that shall you observe to do; you shall not add to it and you shall not subtract from it.’” (Deuteronomy 13:1).
And just to reveal a bit of the Future to our people, God immediately added to the preceding Admonishment this specific Prophetic Warning:
“‘If there should stand up in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream, and he will produce to you a Sign or a Wonder, and the Sign or the Wonder comes about, of which he spoke to you, saying: ‘Let us follow gods of others that you did not know and we shall worship them’ -- do not hearken to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of a dream; for, HaShem, your God, is testing you to know whether you love HaShem, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul. HaShem, your God, shall you follow, and Him shall you fear; His Commandments shall you observe, and to His Voice shall you hearken; Him shall you serve, and to Him shall you cleave.’” (Deuteronomy 13:2-5).
And just so that doubt should not creep into our souls about God’s Faithfulness to His own Word, the Prophet Samuel reminds us that:
“‘Moreover, the Eternal One of Israel does not lie and does not relent, for He is not a human being that He should relent.’” (I Samuel 15:29), thereby echoing the earlier words of the Gentile prophet Balaam that: “‘God is not a human being that He should be deceitful, nor a son of man that He should relent. Would He say and not do, or speak and not confirm?’” (Numbers 23:19).
Since Hebrew Scripture warns us that the nations’ Scriptures, even if otherwise attractive and compelling, are nonetheless False, we are certainly required to treat the deities described in their Scriptures as False, and we are most certainly prohibited from intellectually merging or otherwise identifying their deities with the God of Israel.
Furthermore, Hebrew Scripture not only warns the Jewish people against merging or otherwise identifying the false gods of other peoples with the God of Israel, but it also sends the very same warning to the Gentile nations; for, the Prophet Isaiah says to them:
“‘For thus said HaShem, Creator of the Heavens; He is the God, the One Who fashioned the Earth and its Maker; He established it; He did not create it for emptiness; He fashioned it to be inhabited [and then declared]: ‘I am HaShem and there is no other. I did not speak in secrecy, some place in a land of darkness; I did not tell the descendants of Jacob to seek Me for nothing; I am HaShem Who speaks Righteousness, Who declares Upright Things. Gather yourselves, come and approach together, O survivors of the nations, who do not know, who carry about the wood of their graven image, and pray to a god who cannot save. Proclaim and approach; even [let your leaders] take counsel together: Who let this be heard from aforetimes, or related it from [times] of Old? Is it not I, HaShem? There is no other God besides Me; there is no righteous God besides Me, and no Savior other than Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all ends of the Earth; for, I am God and there is no other. I swear by Myself, Righteousness has gone forth from My Mouth, a Word that will not be rescinded: that to Me shall every knee bend and every tongue swear.’” (Isaiah 45:18-23).
However, proponents of the theological view that we all pray to the same God assert that the foregoing admonitions refer only to polytheistic and/or idol-worshipping religions, and not to religions, such as Christianity and Islam, that accept the God of Israel as the one and only God. The response to this assertion is that the God of Israel (in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 13:2-5) is testing our people by enticing us, not with an obvious form of Avoda Zarah, but rather with one that is fully-cloaked in our own monotheistic garments, and that is consequently much more difficult to identify and expose. For this reason, an analysis of the fundamental tenets of both Christianity and Islam is necessary.
Christianity revolves around the purported birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and teachings of Yeshu ben Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph) -- a Jew who purportedly lived in the Land of Israel approximately 2,000 years ago during the late 1st Century BCE and the early 1st Century CE -- and the purported lives, deaths and teachings of his early disciples. Jesus is purported to have died via crucifixion circa 30 CE.
The Christian Bible is comprised of two conflicting Testaments, denominated as the “Old Testament” and the “New Testament”, which Christianity attempts to bind together in order to create the fraudulent appearance of prophetic continuity.
The first Testament of the Christian Bible is pejoratively denominated by Christianity as the “Old Testament”, which is an intentionally-flawed Greek-language translation of the Hebrew Bible plus (based upon the different inclusion decisions of each Christian sect) certain books of apocryphal literature. Christianity’s flawed translation of the Hebrew Bible was produced by the early Church in order to retroactively manufacture prophetic support in the mistranslated text of the Hebrew Bible for Christianity’s claim that Jesus was the Messiah promised by the Hebrew Bible. This flawed translation of the Hebrew Bible was incorporated into the Christian Bible, because the latter viewed the former as its historical and theological foundation. However, it would not have served Christianity’s purpose to imply parity between the Hebrew Bible and the “New Testament”. So, instead of denominating the Hebrew Bible as the “First Testament” or as the “Original Testament”, Christianity denominated it as the “Old Testament”.
The second Testament of the Christian Bible is triumphantly denominated by Christianity as the “New Testament”, which was composed in the Greek language. The earliest portion of the “New Testament” is the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul”, being those 7 out of 14 letters traditionally attributed to the purported apostle Paul that appear to have been authored by the same person, whether or not that person was the purported evangelist Paul (who had purportedly been born as “Saul of Tarsus”), to wit:
Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, Philippians, and Philemon.
The non-disputed “Epistles of Paul” emerged over a 10-year period beginning approximately 20 years after the purported crucifixion of Jesus (i.e., circa 50 CE - circa 60 CE). It is noteworthy that Paul never claimed to have encountered Jesus during the latter’s purported lifetime -- rather only after the latter’s purported death via a visitation consisting of a blinding light and the latter’s disembodied voice (see the conflicting accounts of that postmortem visitation at Acts 9:3-9, 22:6-11 & 26:12-16).
However, the core of the “New Testament” is the chronologically subsequent “Gospels” portion thereof, comprising the four often-conflicting narratives of the purported birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and teachings of Jesus, created by the unknown authors subsequently “identified” (per their respective order of placement in the “New Testament”) as “Matthew”, “Mark”, “Luke” and “John” by Christian bishop Irenaeus of Lugdunum (which is present-day Lyon, France) in 175 CE -- being approximately 105 years after the earliest gospel narrative (i.e., the “Gospel of Mark”) was written, and approximately 75 years after the latest gospel narrative (i.e., the “Gospel of John”) was written.
The earliest gospel narrative of Jesus -- the “Gospel of Mark” -- was written approximately 20 years after the earliest appearance of the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul” and approximately 40 years after the purported crucifixion of Jesus (i.e., circa 70 CE), while the latest gospel narrative of Jesus -- the “Gospel of John” -- was written approximately 50 years after the earliest appearance of the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul” and approximately 70 years after the purported crucifixion of Jesus (i.e., circa 100 CE). This means that the author of the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul” and his next-generation acolytes were afforded many decades to define -- without hindrance -- the major doctrines of early Christianity, initially in a pre-“Gospels” environment and subsequently in a partial-“Gospels” environment.
The centerpiece of Christianity is the assertion that Jesus is the “Son of God”, that he was consequently the Messiah promised by the Hebrew Bible and that he was -- and, by virtue of his Heavenly Father’s Design, had to be -- tortured and murdered in order to become an Atonement for the Sins of those persons who accepted him as their Savior, after which he was resurrected from death before ascending to his Heavenly Father (regarding Jesus’ purported Death by Design as Atonement for Sin: see Matthew 16:21, 26:2, 26:21, 26:45-46 & 26:56; Mark 10:33-34 & 10:45; Luke 9:22 & 22:14-22; John 1:29, 6:51, 7:1-8, 7:30, 8:20 & 13:10-26; Romans 6:10; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 9:11-14, 9:23-28 & 10:1-10; and Revelation 1:5; and regarding Jesus’ purported Resurrection: see Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-18; Luke 24:1-43; John 20:1-29 & 21:1-14; and 1 Corinthians 15:4; and regarding Jesus’ purported Ascension: see Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; and Acts 1:1-11).
Contrariwise, according to the Hebrew Bible, the true Messiah will not be a demigod. Rather, he will be born only of human parents. Moreover, nowhere in the Hebrew Bible does it declare whether he will be able to perform miracles, as that ability -- if he possesses it -- is irrelevant to his status as the Messiah. Furthermore, nowhere in the Hebrew Bible does it declare that he will be tortured and/or murdered and/or be rendered an Atonement for Sin. Rather, the Messiah promised by the Hebrew Bible is prophesied to accomplish four extraordinary feats, namely:
(1) the complete defeat of Israel’s enemies (see Genesis 12:3; Numbers 24:8-9; Deuteronomy 32:43; Isaiah 52:10 & 59:17-21; Jeremiah 2:3, 30:11 & 33:15-16; Ezekiel 37:24-25 & 38:3 - 39:6; Joel 4:1-2; Amos 9:15; Zephaniah 3:12-20; Zechariah 14:2-13; Malachi 3:19-21; and Daniel 7:14); and
(2) the erection of the Third Temple in Jerusalem (see Isaiah 2:2 & 56:7 and Ezekiel 37:26-28, both of which passages make it clear that the Temple will not then be in existence -- as the Second Temple was during throughout the purported lifetime of Jesus -- when the true Messiah begins his redemptive mission); and
(3) the initiation of the era of universal knowledge of the God of Israel (see Isaiah 2:3 &11:9; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 37:28; Zephaniah 3:9; Micah 4:1-2; and Zechariah 8:20-23 & 14:9); and
(4) the initiation of the era of universal peace among the nations (Isaiah 2:4 & 11:6-8; Micah 4:3-4; and Zechariah 8:3-6 & 9:9-10).
-- and to do all of these things during his lifetime.
Jesus, however, did not accomplish any of these feats during his purported lifetime; nor did he accomplish any of these feats between his purported Resurrection and his purported Ascension. The fact that Jesus failed to fulfill any of these messianic prophecies forced the early Church: (a) to repurpose the Messiah’s mission from fulfilling the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible (the accomplishment of which is subject to empirical proof) to atoning for the Sins of believers (the accomplishment of which is not subject to empirical proof) and (b) to simultaneously claim that Jesus would return to Earth to accomplish that which he failed to accomplish before his purported Ascension (see Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:21-37; John 21:22-23; Acts 1:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Hebrews 9:28; and Revelation 1:7 & 19:11-16). This promised Return is commonly known as the “Second Coming” or the “Second Advent”, although, to be precise, it should be denominated as the “Third Coming” or the “Third Advent” (as, purportedly, Jesus has already appeared twice on Earth, to wit: the first time from his purported birth to his purported crucifixion, and the second time from his purported Resurrection to his purported Ascension). Contrariwise, the true Messiah, who will have accomplished all his assigned tasks during his lifetime, will have no need to resurrect after death or to return after ascension for that purpose.
One of the most fundamental doctrines of Christianity is that of the “Curse of Original Sin”. This doctrine posits that all human beings inherit, at birth, Humanity’s first Sin, namely, the consumption by Adam and Eve of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (see Genesis 2:15-17 & 3:1-23). Consequently, according to Christianity, human beings are, by their very nature, Evil; and such a fatal congenital stain on their souls cannot be expunged except through their acceptance of Jesus as their Savior. As the Christian Bible declares:
“As it is written, there is none righteous; no, not one.” (Romans 3:10)
“Wherefore, as Sin came into the World through one man [i.e., Adam], and Death through [Adam’s] Sin; and so Death spread to all men because all men sinned [through Adam].” (Romans 5:12);
“For, as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)
However, the “New Testament” contradicts itself on this foundational pillar of Christianity when it implies that the parents of John the Baptist were not stained with the “Curse of Original Sin”, by declaring:
“In the time of Herod [the Great] king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the Sight of God, observing all of the Lord’s Commandments and Decrees blamelessly.” (Luke 1:5-6)
Contrariwise, one of the most fundamental doctrines of Judaism is that God has created all human beings in His Image; and, consequently, all human beings are born innocent of Sin, including the “Original Sin”. Judaism teaches that God has bestowed upon every human being the Gift of Free Will to enable each human being to prospectively choose between doing Good and doing Evil, which Gift is the negation of the concept of the “Curse of Original Sin”.
As the Hebrew Bible declares:
“And God said: ‘Let us make Man in Our Image, after Our Likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the bird of the sky, and over the animal, and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the Earth.’ So God created Man in His Own Image, in the Image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the Earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the bird of the sky and over every living thing that moves upon the Earth.’” (Genesis 1:26-28)
“Fathers shall not be put to death because of sons, and sons shall not be put to death because of fathers; a man should be put to death [only] for his own Sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)
“‘His father, because he has cruelly oppressed [his fellow Jew], has robbed loot from [his] brother, and did that which is not good among his people -- behold, he died for his Sin. Yet you say: “Why did the son not bear the Iniquity of the father?”; but the son performed [acts of] Justice and Righteousness, and kept all My Laws and performed them; [consequently,] he shall surely live! The soul that sins, it shall die; a son shall not share the Iniquity of his father, and a father shall not share the Iniquity of his son; the Righteousness of the righteous person shall be upon him, and the Wickedness of the wicked person shall be upon him.’” (Ezekiel 18:18-20)
Furthermore, not only are the descendants of Adam and Eve not stained with the “Curse of Original Sin”, but God also did not curse even Adam and Eve as a punishment for their Sin; rather, their punishment was Exile from the Garden of Eden, together with the harsh consequences that flow naturally therefrom (i.e., they were made subject to the routine hardships of life, such as pain in childbirth and arduous cultivation of crops (see Genesis 3:16-23)).
While it is true that, as soon as a human being has acquired the ability to distinguish between Right and Wrong, the inclination to perpetrate Evil embeds itself within his heart (see Genesis 8:21), it is equally true that the ability to overcome that inclination is simultaneously planted within his heart. For, in the most profound and definitive Declaration to be found anywhere in the Hebrew Bible concerning a human being’s relationship to Sin, Redemption and Free Will, the God of Israel explains to Adam’s son Cain (after He has rejected Cain’s agricultural offering as being insincere) that every human being, even after abysmal failure, has been gifted by Him with the ability to triumph anew over Temptation by exercising his Free Will to choose Good over Evil. As the Hebrew Bible relates:
“And HaShem said to Cain: ‘Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? Surely, if you improve yourself, you will be forgiven. But if you do not improve yourself, Sin rests at the Door. Its desire is towards you; yet you can conquer it.’” (Genesis 4:6-7).
The Hebrew Bible repeats this Redemptive Message many times, including through the Prophet Ezekiel, who -- speaking in God’s Name -- declares:
“‘As for the wicked one, if he repents from all of his Sins that he committed, and he observes all of My Decrees and performs [acts of] Justice and Righteousness, [then] he shall surely live; he shall not die [because of his Sins]! All of his transgressions that he committed shall not be remembered against him; he shall live because of the [acts of] Righteousness that he did. Do I desire at all the death of the wicked one? -- the Oration of the Lord HaShem; is it not rather [that I desire] his repentance from his [evil] ways, that he might live? … And if the wicked one turns away from his Wickedness that he did and performs [acts of] Justice and Righteousness, [then] he will cause his soul to live. Because he contemplated and repented from all of his transgressions that he did he shall surely live; he shall not die [because of his Sins]!’” (Ezekiel 18:21-23 & 27-28); and
“‘Now, O mortal, say to the House of Israel: “This is what you say -- saying: ‘Our Transgressions and our Sins weigh heavily upon us; we are sick at heart about them. How can we survive?’” ‘Say to them: “As I live -- the Oration of the Lord HaShem -- it is not My Desire that the wicked one shall die, but that the wicked one turn from his [evil] ways and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways, that you may not die, O House of Israel!”’” (Ezekiel 33:10-11)
The Prophet Isaiah -- also speaking in God’s Name -- concurs:
“‘Seek HaShem when He can be found; call upon Him when He is near. Let the wicked one forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts; let him return to HaShem, and He will show him mercy -- [let him return] to our God, for He is abundantly forgiving.’” (Isaiah 55:6-7)
Consequently, Judaism rejects the concept of the “Curse of Original Sin”.
Moreover, in contravention of God’s Promise to Cain and God’s serial reiteration of that Redemptive Message, Christianity posits that -- due to the “Curse of Original Sin” -- a person cannot, by his own righteous conduct, hope to receive God’s Love and Salvation. On the contrary, according to Christianity, without God’s extension of Grace to the righteous person as a result of the latter’s acceptance of Jesus as Savior, the latter will nonetheless suffer God’s Wrath. As the “New Testament” declares:
“Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work [i.e., does not perform righteous deeds] but trusts in God Who justifies the Wicked [i.e., the Evildoer who accepts Jesus as his Savior], his Faith is credited as Righteousness.” (Romans 4:4-5); and
“It was not through Law [i.e., adherence to the Commandments of the Torah] that Abraham and his offspring received the Promise that he would be Heir of the World, but through the Righteousness that comes by Faith. For, if those who live by Law are heirs, Faith has no value, and the Promise is worthless. For, [adhering to] Law brings Wrath; and where there is no Law, there is no Transgression [of the Law].” (Romans 4:13-15); and
“For it is by [God’s] Grace that you have been saved -- through Faith; and this is not from [any righteous act done by] yourselves. It is the Gift of God, not by [your good] Works, so that no one can boast [that he has purchased his Salvation by means of righteous conduct].” (Ephesians 2:8-9); and
“But, when [through] the Kindness and Love of God, our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His Mercy.” (Titus 3:4-5)
This seminal Christian doctrine, known as “Justification By Faith Alone”, essentially asserts that, when the God of Israel created and communicated His Commandments for and to the Jewish people, He committed an Act of Frivolity, as He did not actually desire that the Jewish people comply with His Commandments, but rather that they ignore His Commandments and live by Faith alone in hopes of thereby obtaining God’s Grace. Consequently, via this doctrine, Christianity falsely attributes to the God of Israel the Trait of Nonsensicality. This false attribution constitutes a monumental violation of the Torah’s Third Commandment, to wit: “‘Do not take the Name of HaShem your God in vain; for HaShem will not hold him guiltless that takes His Name in vain.’” (Exodus 20:7 and Deuteronomy 5:11), meaning that we are forbidden from misrepresenting the Character of God.
Obviously, in order for Christianity to make any theological sense to its target audience, its earliest evangelists had no choice but to reject righteous conduct as the Way to God’s Love and Salvation in favor of an assertion that God’s Love and Salvation was granted only to those believers in Jesus to whom God extended His Gift of Grace. For, if anyone (whether Jew or non-Jew) could attain God’s Love and Salvation by acting righteously, then any belief in a crucified Jesus as Humanity’s Savior is thereby rendered illogical and, consequently, superfluous. The Apostle Paul, being nascent Christianity’s preeminent and seminal evangelist in the immediate period after the purported lifetime of Jesus, purportedly recognized this logical fallacy in Christian theology when he purportedly declared in a letter to the churches of Galatia (being a Roman province located in present-day central Turkey):
“I do not set aside the Grace of God, for if [God’s Recognition of a person’s] Righteousness could be gained through the Law [i.e., adherence to the Commandments of the Torah], then Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21)
However, notwithstanding its consistent disparagement of righteous conduct as the Way to God’s Love and Salvation, the “New Testament” contradicts itself on the fundamental doctrine of “Justification By Faith Alone”, as it also hosts a contrary declaration in the “Epistle of James”, which declares -- correctly -- that Faith without righteous conduct is worthless (see James 2:14-26).
In contrast, Judaism does not accept the absurd and insolent premise that obedience to God’s Commandments, which -- by definition -- is the embodiment of Righteousness and Justice, constitutes an attempt to bribe one’s way into Heaven. As the Hebrew Bible, in repudiation of Christianity’s misleading characterization (in Romans 4:13-15) of God’s relationship with Abraham, declares:
“And HaShem said: ‘Shall I conceal from Abraham what I do, now that Abraham is surely to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the Earth shall bless themselves by him? For I have loved him [Abraham], because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the Way of HaShem -- [by]doing [acts of] Righteousness and Justice -- in order that HaShem might then bring upon Abraham that which He had spoken of him.’” (Genesis 18:17-19); and
“‘I will make your [Isaac’s] descendants as numerous as the stars of Heaven, and I will assign to your descendants all these lands, so that all the nations of the Earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, because [your father] Abraham obeyed Me and kept My Charge: My Commandments, My Laws and My Teachings.’” (Genesis 26:4-5)
And, reiterating the fundamental Judaic precept that obedience to God’s Commandments is the Key to Life, the Prophet Ezekiel subsequently declares in God’s Name:
“‘…but the son performed [acts of] Justice and Righteousness, and kept all My Laws and performed them; [consequently,] he shall surely live!’” (Ezekiel 18:19)
Clearly, according to Judaism, God showers His Love upon the righteous person precisely because the latter, by virtue of obeying God’s Commandments, acts righteously.
Yet, doesn’t Christianity -- a religion which claims to be based upon the allegedly liberating concept of radiating Love rather the allegedly repressive concept of adhering to God’s Commandments -- favorably distinguish itself from Judaism by virtue of Jesus’ proclamation of the “Golden Rule”? Well, no.
The “New Testament” depicts Jesus as saying:
“‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law [i.e., the Torah] and [the teachings of] the Prophets.’” (Matthew 7:12); and
“‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’” (Luke 6:31)
However, as is conceded by the rendering of the “Golden Rule” in the “Gospel of Matthew”, that laudable concept was already firmly established within Judaism. For, as God declares to the Jewish people:
“‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow, but you shall not incur Sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the members of your people, but you shall love your fellow as yourself; I am HaShem.’” (Leviticus 19:17-18)
Accordingly, the “Golden Rule” is actually a Torah Commandment, which was adopted but rarely practiced by the adherents of normative Christianity.
However, the “New Testament” contradicts itself on the centrality of the “Golden Rule” when it depicts Jesus as demanding that his followers hate their own families, to wit:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate [his] father and mother, [his] wife and children, [his] brothers and sisters -- yes, even their own life -- such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
Even worse, Jesus purportedly claimed that his messianic role required him to incite such familial hatred, to wit:
“‘Do not suppose that I [Jesus] have come to bring peace to the Earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For, I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’” (Matthew 10:34-36; this account also appears with slight variation at Luke 12:49-53)
Moreover, in an unnecessary display of disrespect for his own mother, Jesus purportedly repudiated a blessing purportedly bestowed upon his mother by a woman purportedly attending one of his purported lectures, to wit:
“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’ He [Jesus] replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.’” (Luke 11:27-28)
Jesus thereby contradicted his purported declaration that children are required to honor their parents (see Matthew 19:19; Mark 10:19; and Luke 18:20).
Another seminal doctrine of Christianity is known as “Holy Communion”, by which Christians symbolically cannibalize Jesus by consuming unleavened bread and wine that have been sacramentally transformed -- in a process known as “Transubstantiation” -- into Jesus’ body and blood. Per the synoptic gospels, this doctrine was purportedly enunciated by Jesus to his apostles during the Passover meal later denominated as the “Last Supper” (see Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-24; and Luke 22:19-20). However, per the “Gospel of John”, this same doctrine was purportedly enunciated by Jesus approximately one year before the “Last Supper” (see John 6:4) to the larger Jewish public at a synagogue in Capernaum (which is present-day Kfar Nahum, Israel) on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee (see John 6:48-59). If the occurrence of both pronouncements are to be believed, then we would be confronted with an obvious absurdity, namely, that Jesus revealed one of the paramount doctrines of his ministry to the general public well before he revealed that doctrine to his closest acolytes. Moreover, it is noteworthy, as well as unsurprising, that this doctrine elaborately evolved over the estimated 30 years that elapsed between its terse description in the “Gospel of Mark” (being the earliest Gospel chronologically) and its lavish description in the “Gospel of John” (being the latest Gospel chronologically), to wit:
“While they [Jesus’ apostles] were eating, Jesus took [unleavened] bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup [of wine], and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the [New] Covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them.” (Mark 14:22-24); and
“‘I [Jesus] am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from Heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the World.’ Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man [i.e., Jesus] and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the Last Day. For, my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from Heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.’ He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.” (John 6:48-59)
It is noteworthy that, in the “Gospel of John”, Jesus gruesomely insists that, by engaging in “Holy Communion”, his followers will actually (rather than symbolically) be eating his flesh and drinking his blood by means of “Transubstantiation”.
The doctrine of “Holy Communion” represents Christianity’s appropriation of the theophagy of the pagan world, which was prevalent during the 1st Century CE, whereby it was believed that drinking the blood of the Egyptian god Osiris (who controlled, inter alia, Life, Death, the Afterlife and Resurrection) would transfer to the imbiber a portion of that god’s power over those matters.
Contrariwise, the God of Israel not only abhors cannibalism (whether real or symbolic), but He also explicitly forbids consuming the blood even of animals killed for food, to wit:
“‘Every creature that lives shall be yours to eat; as with the green grasses, I give you all of these. You must not, however, eat flesh with its life-blood in it.’” (Genesis 9:3-4, addressed to Noah and his progeny after the Flood); and
“‘And you must not consume any blood, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements. Anyone who eats blood shall be cut off from his kin.’” (Leviticus 7:26-27, addressed to the Hebrew tribes after the Exodus from Egypt); and
“‘Therefore, I say to the Children of Israel: No person among you shall partake of blood, nor shall the stranger [i.e., Gentile] who resides among you partake of blood. And if any person from the Children of Israel or any stranger [i.e., Gentile] who resides among them hunts down an animal or a bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. For the life of all flesh -- its blood is its life. Therefore, I say to the Children of Israel: You shall not partake of the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Anyone who partakes of it shall be cut off.’” (Leviticus 17:12-14, addressed to the Hebrew tribes after the Exodus from Egypt)
Moreover, nowhere in the Hebrew Bible is there even a hint that the Jewish people must symbolically cannibalize the Messiah in order to achieve Communion with God.
Christianity posits that Judaism’s alleged doctrinal errors caused the God of Israel to raise up Christianity in place of Judaism as the spiritual heir of that superseded religious doctrine and as the bearer of God’s “New Covenant”, as manifested in the “New Testament” portion of the Christian Bible (see Hebrews 8:1-13). As the “New Testament”, in an expression of Christian supremacism, declares: “By calling this Covenant ‘new’, He [God] has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13). Accordingly, Christianity claims that, in order to transmit this “New Covenant” to Humankind, the “Holy Spirit” impregnated a woman named Mary (who was engaged to marry a man named Joseph) with Jesus -- thereby (according to the “Gospel of Matthew” and the “Gospel of Luke”) rendering him, upon his birth, as the “Son of God” -- without altering her prior status as a biological virgin (see Matthew 1:18-25; and Luke 1:26-38).
The dogma of the “Virgin Birth” -- springing from the influence upon early Christianity of pagan mythology in which a male god has sexual intercourse with a female human being, thereby resulting in the birth of a demigod -- is scripturally based upon Christianity’s intentional mistranslation of the Hebrew-language word “alma” in the Prophet Isaiah’s famous declaration in Isaiah 7:14 that “the young woman” would give birth to a son named “Immanuel” (a child whom Christianity identifies as Jesus, despite the fact that nowhere in the “New Testament” is Jesus ever referred to -- either by his family or by others -- as Immanuel). The “New Testament” explicitly relies upon Isaiah’s prophecy, as mistranslated and, more importantly, as truncated, when it asserts: “All of this [the virgin birth of Jesus] took place in order to fulfill what the Lord had said through the Prophet [Isaiah]: ‘A virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son; and they will call him Immanuel’, which means: God with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23). Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the actual meaning of the name “Immanuel”, after the application of standard Hebrew-language syntax, is: “God is with us” (i.e., God is watching over us), and not, as the “New Testament” (under the influence of pagan mythology) translates: “God with us” (i.e., God has become one of us). Moreover, the self-contradictory text of the “New Testament” itself negates any implication that the future son of Joseph and Mary was intended to be called by any name other than “Iesous”, which is rendered from the Greek language into the English language as “Jesus” (see Matthew 1:21 where an unidentified Angel purportedly instructs Joseph in Bethlehem to call his future son by the name “Jesus”; and see the conflicting account in Luke 1:31 where the Angel Gabriel purportedly instructs Mary in Nazareth to call her future son by the name “Jesus”). Alternatively stated, while the Hebrew Bible unequivocally declares that the child of Isaiah 7:14 would be called “Immanuel”, the “New Testament” contradicts itself on the name of the child by repeating (from Isaiah’s prophecy) that the child would be called “Immanuel” even as it simultaneously declares that the child would, instead, be called “Jesus”.
In one of the most egregious examples of Christianity twisting the Hebrew Bible in order to serve its missionary purposes, the “Old Testament” section of the Christian Bible mistranslated the Hebrew-language word “alma” (meaning: “young woman”) in Isaiah 7:14 as “parthenos” (which is a Greek-language word usually meaning: “virgin”), and then imported that very same mistranslation into the flawed and incomplete repetition of Isaiah’s prophecy that is found in Matthew 1:23. The word “alma” does not denote a virgin. Rather, “alma” describes an adolescent female without regard to her virginity. Alternatively stated, the word “alma” describes a woman’s chronological status rather than her sexual status, although the former status does imply the latter status prior to marriage. Conversely, the Hebrew-language word “betulah” means a “virgin”, and consequently that word explicitly describes a woman’s sexual status. As such, “betulah” is the word used in the Hebrew Bible whenever it wishes to explicitly identify a woman by the fact that she has not yet engaged in sexual intercourse; and Isaiah himself elsewhere employs the word “betulah” multiple times to denote a virgin (see Isaiah 23:12, 37:22 & 47:1).
However, even if the “alma” (“young woman”) of Isaiah’s prophecy was, in fact, a “betulah” (“virgin”), as is likely to have been the case before she was married to her husband, the historical context of Isaiah’s Prophecy demonstrates that the Prophecy does not even refer to the time period of Jesus’ purported birth, namely, either circa 6 BCE (during the reign of Judean King Herod the Great according to Matthew 2:1) or circa 6 CE (during the reign of Syrian Governor Publius Sulpicius Quirinius according to Luke 2:2) -- representing an 11-year birth date discrepancy -- when Judea was either a client kingdom (circa 6 BCE per the “Gospel of Matthew”) or a directly-ruled province (circa 6 CE per the “Gospel of Luke”) of the Roman Empire. Rather, the Prophecy refers to events that occurred more than 700 years prior to Jesus’ purported birth, namely, the coordinated invasion of the southern kingdom of Judah (during the reign of King Achaz) by the army of the northern kingdom of Israel (during the reign of King Pekah) and the army of the Empire of Aram (during the reign of King Rezin). Moreover, as discussed elsewhere in this Essay, since the context of the Prophecy renders it certain that “the young woman” in Isaiah 7:14 was someone with whom King Achaz of Judah was personally acquainted circa 735 BCE, it is obvious that: (1) this woman could not have been the “Mary” of the “New Testament”, and (2) this woman’s future son, Immanuel, could not have been the “Jesus” of the “New Testament”.
Furthermore, a review of Isaiah’s complete Prophecy in context also demonstrates that the snippet thereof that heralds the birth of the child Immanuel is not even the subject of the Prophecy. For, that most famous snippet of the Prophecy is merely predicting an interim event, the occurrence of which is intended by the Prophet Isaiah only to provide compelling proof -- in the argot of the Prophet: a “Sign” -- to the faithless King Achaz of Judah that the final events predicted by the Prophecy will, in fact, also come to pass. What are the final events that constitute the subject of the Prophecy? These final events are the impending destructions of the Empire of Aram (in 732 BCE) and of the northern kingdom of Israel (in 722 BCE), both by the Assyrian Empire, and the subsequent invasion of the southern kingdom of Judah (in 701 BCE), also by the Assyrian Empire.
Moreover, the Prophet’s use of the Hebrew-language word “oat” (meaning: “sign”) in the Prophecy to describe that compelling proof (i.e., the interim event) is telling. For, the word “oat” is used in the Hebrew Bible exclusively to denote an empirical event (e.g., the incontestable fact of birth, rather than the contestable means of conception). Had the Prophet intended, instead, to convey to King Achaz that such compelling proof would exist by faith (i.e., a supernatural conception) rather than by observation (i.e., the existence of a birth), then he would not have employed the Hebrew-language word “oat”. Rather, the Prophet would have employed the Hebrew-language word “nes” (meaning: “miracle”).
However, why does God employ such a routine and mundane event (i.e., the birth of a child to a young woman) as a Sign to King Achaz? Alternatively stated, why does God use such a seemingly unimpressive Sign to herald the fulfillment of such an important Prophecy? God does this because the importance of the Sign is not in its content but rather in its timing. The Sign’s message to King Achaz is that the fulfillment of Isaiah’s Prophecy will happen soon (i.e., before the child Immanuel is old enough to choose Good over Evil).
Moreover, in Isaiah 7:14 of the Hebrew Bible, the actual phrase is “ha-alma”, meaning “the young woman”, while in Isaiah 7:14 of the Christian Bible’s “Old Testament”, as imported into Matthew 1:23, that Hebrew-language phrase is incorrectly rendered as “a virgin”. Why did the Christian Bible replace the definite article in Isaiah 7:14 of the Hebrew Bible with the indefinite article in Isaiah 7:14 of the Christian Bible’s “Old Testament” as well as in Matthew 1:23? This portion of the mistranslation of Isaiah 7:14 was done in an effort to obscure the reality that the already-pregnant woman to which Isaiah referred was someone who King Achaz knew, meaning that the birth of her child Immanuel would consequently happen within months of the utterance of Isaiah’s Prophecy -- not 700 years later.
“It happened in the days of Achaz, son of Jotham son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to wage war against Jerusalem, but they could not triumph over it. It was then told to the House of David [i.e., King Achaz of the southern kingdom of Judah], saying: ‘Aram has joined with Ephraim [i.e., the northern kingdom of Israel]’; and his heart shuddered, and [also] the heart of his people, like the shuddering of the trees of the forest in the wind. HaShem said to [the Prophet] Isaiah: ‘Go out and meet [King] Achaz, you and your son Shearjashub, at the edge of the channel of the Upper Pool, at the road of the Launderer’s Field, and say to him, “Be calm and still; do not fear. Let your heart not grow faint before these two smoldering spent firebrands, before the burning anger of [King] Rezin and Aram, and [before] the son of Remaliah [i.e., King Pekah], because Aram, along with Ephraim [the northern kingdom of Israel] and the son of Remaliah [i.e., King Pekah], has counseled evil against you, saying: ‘Let us attack Judah and vex it and annex it to ourselves, and crown the son of Tabeel as king within it’”. Thus said my Lord HaShem/Elohim: ‘It shall not endure and it shall not be! For the capital of Aram is Damascus and the head of Damascus is [King] Rezin. In 65 more years, Ephraim [i.e., the northern kingdom of Israel] will cease to be a people. And the capital of Ephraim [i.e., the northern kingdom of Israel] is Samaria and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah [i.e., King Pekah]. If you do not believe this, it is because you lack faith.’ [The Prophet of] HaShem spoke further to [King] Achaz, saying: ‘Request a Sign for yourself from HaShem your God; request it in the depths [below] or high above.’ But [King] Achaz said: ‘I will not request; I will not test HaShem.’ He [the Prophet Isaiah] responded: ‘Hear now, O House of David [i.e., King Achaz of the southern kingdom of Judah]: Is it not enough for you that you treat men [i.e., the Hebrew Prophets] as being helpless, that you [must] also treat even my God as being helpless? Therefore, my Lord Himself will give you a Sign: Behold, the young woman is pregnant and will bear a son, and she will name him Immanuel. He will eat cream and honey as soon as he knows to refuse Evil and to choose Good. For, before the child will know to refuse Evil and to choose Good, the Land of the two kings whom you fear will be laid waste. [Subsequently,] HaShem will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your ancestral House such days as have not come since the Day that Ephraim [i.e., the northern kingdom of Israel] turned away from [the southern kingdom of] Judah: [namely, the invasion of] the king of Assyria.’” (Isaiah 7:1-17).
To verify the complete fulfillment of Isaiah’s Prophecy during the reign of Achaz, King of Judah, and during the reign of his son and successor Hezekiah, King of Judah (during the 8th Century BCE, approximately 700 years before the purported birth of Jesus), please see II Kings 16:1-9, 17:1-6 & 18:1-37; and II Chronicles 28:1-8 & 32:1-23; and also consult extra-biblical historical sources.
Consequently, Jesus is absurdly purported to have fulfilled a mistranslated sentence in a Prophecy, which sentence is not the subject of the Prophecy, and which Prophecy has nothing to do with the Messiah -- let alone the conception or birth of the Messiah.
The misuse of Isaiah 7:14 in order to justify the fable of the virgin birth of Jesus represents only one -- but is among the most consequential -- of the many intentional mistranslations, interpolations, decontextualizations and erroneous narrations of the Hebrew Bible which appear throughout the Christian Bible.
For example, one of the prophecies uttered by the Prophet Micah was also twisted by Christianity in order to support its claim that Jesus was the Messiah prophesied by the Hebrew Bible. Replicating what it did with Isaiah 7:14, the “Gospel of Matthew” also distorted the meaning of Micah 5:1 by using that snippet of Micah’s complete Prophecy (which snippet was itself subjected to interpolation in an effort to create an image of prestige for Bethlehem) in order to make it appear that, according to the Hebrew Bible, the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, to wit:
“When he [Judean king Herod the Great] had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the Law [i.e., the Torah], he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. They replied, ‘In Bethlehem in Judea; for, this is what the Prophet [Micah] has written: “But you, Bethlehem, in the Land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for, out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”’” (Matthew 2:4-6)
Once the “Gospel of Matthew” was able to fabricate a Bethlehem-birthplace prophecy by truncating, interpolating and decontextualizing Micah’s Prophecy (which is set forth in Micah 5:1-5), it became easy for this abridged and altered “prophecy” to be fulfilled by portraying Jesus as having been born in Bethlehem.
Here is Micah’s complete Prophecy in context:
“‘And you Bethlehem [on the way] to Efrat are to be least among the thousands of [the clans of] Judah, [but] from you will emerge [a person] to be a ruler in Israel for Me, whose origin is from old [times], from ancient days. So, He [God] will abandon them [the Hebrew tribes] until she who is to bear [a child] has given birth, and the rest of his [the child’s] countrymen shall return to the Children of Israel. And he [the new king of Judah] shall stand and lead by the Strength of HaShem, by the Power of the Name of HaShem his God, and they [the Hebrew tribes] shall dwell [securely]; for, at that time, he [the new king of Judah] shall become great to the ends of the Earth. And there will be peace. If Assyria invades our Land and treads upon our fortresses, we will set up over it [Assyria] seven shepherds and eight mortal princes. And they will shepherd the Land of Assyria with the sword and the Land of Nimrod within its gates; and He [God] will rescue [us] from Assyria, if it invades our Land, and if it treads upon our borders.’” (Micah 5:1-5).
The Prophet Micah was a contemporary of the Prophet Isaiah. It is clear that Micah’s Prophecy has nothing to do with the Messiah -- let alone the birthplace of the Messiah. Rather, the Prophecy deals with the strained relationship between the Kingdom of Judah and the Empire of Assyria at the end of the 8th Century BCE, and specifically refers to the reign of a new king of Judah during that era -- most likely Jerusalem-born Hezekiah, a descendent of King David, the latter having been born in Bethlehem many generations earlier. And Micah’s Prophecy also speaks of an era of peace that did not exist during Jesus’ purported lifetime. Further refuting the claim that Micah’s Prophecy foretells the birthplace of the Messiah, the transliterated Hebrew-language phrase “bet lechem efrata”, which is usually translated as the name of a place in Micah 5:1, to wit: “Bethlehem [on the way] to Efrat” (see the same geography-based translation of “bet lechem” and “efrata” in Genesis 35:19), can instead be translated as the name of a person, to wit: “Bethlehem [of the clan of] Efrata”, referring to a man named Bethlehem, who was a descendant of Efrata, who was a descendant of Judah (see 1 Chronicles 2:3, 2:50-51, 4:1 & 4:4). If this alternative translation is the correct translation, then Micah 5:1 does not even refer to a place -- let alone the birthplace of the Messiah.
Alternatively stated, like Isaiah’s Prophecy (which has nothing to do with the Messiah being born of a virgin), Micah’s Prophecy (which has nothing to do with the Messiah being born in Bethlehem) deals with events that happened approximately 700 years before the purported birth of Jesus.
Moreover, the “New Testament” also quotes nonexistent prophecies in the Hebrew Bible.
One such nonexistent prophecy in the Hebrew Bible is that the Messiah would be known as a resident of Nazareth (which town is not even mentioned in the Hebrew Bible), to wit:
“And he [i.e., Joseph, together with his wife Mary and their child Jesus] went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the [Hebrew] Prophets, that he [the Messiah] would be called a Nazarene [i.e., a resident of Nazareth].” (Matthew 2:23)
Another such nonexistent prophecy in the Hebrew Bible is that the Messiah would be tortured, murdered and resurrected, to wit:
“He [Jesus] told them [his apostles], ‘This is what is written [in the Hebrew Bible]: “The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.”’” (Luke 24:46).
It bears repeating that there are no such prophecies in the Hebrew Bible.
Furthermore, in an example that encompasses both nonsensicality and irrationality, there is another passage in the “New Testament” (in addition to Matthew 1:22-23) that claims to fulfill a snippet of a non-prophecy passage of the Hebrew Bible, to wit:
“So he [Joseph] got up, took the child [Jesus] and his mother [Mary] during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the Prophet [Hosea]: ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’” (Matthew 2:14-15)
The full verse uttered by the Prophet Hosea, only the second half of which is quoted in Matthew 2:15, is as follows:
“‘When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt [i.e., in order to initiate the Exodus of the Hebrew tribes from Egypt] I called My Son [Israel].’” (Hosea 11:1)
Firstly, Hosea 11:1 is not a prophecy, as it does not address the Future. Nor is the Messiah even the subject of this verse. Rather, this verse constitutes a brief historical review of God’s initial relationship with the nation of Israel. So, it is nonsensical of the “New Testament” (via Matthew 2:14-15) to claim that Joseph fulfilled Hosea 11:1, or that this nonprophetic verse is even capable of fulfillment.
Secondly, it is irrational for the “New Testament” (via Matthew 2:14-15) to claim that bringing Jesus to Egypt fulfilled an alleged prophecy that Jesus would be removed from Egypt.
Moreover, in addition to quoting nonexistent prophesies from the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament also conjures its own prophecies. For example, Jesus purportedly utters the following prophecy (which he fails to fulfill), to wit:
“Then some of the Pharisees [i.e., adherents of rabbinic Judaism] and teachers of the Law said to him [Jesus], ‘Teacher, we want to see a Sign from you.’ He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a Sign! But none will be given to it except for the Sign of the Prophet Jonah. For, as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man [i.e., Jesus] will be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth.’” (Matthew 12:38-40)
This “New Testament” prophecy fails for the following two reasons:
Firstly, according to the “New Testament”, Jesus was not buried in the Earth -- let alone deep in the Earth. Rather, his corpse was purportedly placed inside a hollowed-out rock tomb (see Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-46; and Luke 23:50-53).
Secondly, according to the “New Testament”, Jesus was not dead for three days and three nights. Rather, he purportedly died shortly after 3:00 pm on Friday afternoon (see Matthew 27:45-50; Mark 15:33-37; and Luke 23:44-46), and he was purportedly resurrected prior to dawn on Sunday (see Matthew 28:1-6; Mark 16:1-6; and Luke 24:1-6), meaning that he was purportedly dead for approximately 1.5 days (i.e., half of daytime Friday and all of daytime Saturday) and 2 nights (i.e., Friday night and Saturday night) -- well short of the prophesized 3 days and 3 nights.
Moreover, in another example of a failed “New Testament” prophecy, which constitutes one of the theological pillars of Christianity, the chronologically-earliest gospel portrays Jesus as repeatedly prophesying that his purported Return and the ensuing Apocalypse is imminent -- so imminent that some of Jesus’ interlocutors in that gospel would still be alive when it happened, to wit:
“And he [Jesus] said to them [the crowd, including his disciples, to whom he was preaching], ‘Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the Kingdom of God [i.e., Jesus’ Return to Earth in order to execute Judgment upon Humankind] has come with Power.’” (Mark 9:1); and
“‘Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that Summer is near. Even so, when you see all of these things happening [i.e., the many signs portending the Day of Judgment], you will know that it [i.e., Jesus’ Return to Earth in order to execute Judgment upon Humankind] is near -- right at the door. Truly, I [Jesus] tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.’” (Mark 13:28-31; this account also appears with slight variation at Matthew 24:32-35); and
“But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the [Jewish] high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am. And you [the Jewish high priest] will see the Son of Man [i.e., Jesus] sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One [i.e. God] and coming [back to Earth in order to execute Judgment upon Humankind] on the Clouds of Heaven.’” (Mark 14:61-62).
Tellingly, the author of the “Gospel of Mark” attempted to remove the obvious risk to Jesus’ credibility -- and consequently to Christianity’s credibility -- by appending to the account at Mark 13:28-31 the following exculpatory statement:
“But about that day or hour [of Jesus’ Return to Earth in order to execute Judgment upon Humankind] no one knows, not even the Angels in Heaven, nor the Son [i.e., Jesus], but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32; this statement also appears at Matthew 24:36).
But, obviously, Jesus’ purported ignorance of the exact time of the Apocalypse did not prevent him from purportedly declaring that it was nonetheless imminent.
Moreover, the last portion of the “New Testament”, entitled “Revelation”, serially repeats the same falsifiable prophecy, to wit:
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time [of Jesus’ Return to Earth in order to execute Judgment upon Humankind] is near.” (Revelation 1:3); and
“‘Look, I [Jesus] am coming soon!’ …” (Revelation 22:7); and
“Then he [the Angel sent by Jesus] told me [the author of “Revelation”], ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time [of Jesus’ Return to Earth in order to execute Judgment upon Humankind] is near.’ …” (Revelation 22:10); and
“‘Look, I [Jesus] am coming soon!’ …” (Revelation 22:12); and
“He [Jesus] who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I [Jesus] am coming soon.’ …” (Revelation 22:20)
Yet, as everyone knows, the generation of Humankind alive during the purported lifetime of Jesus did expire, and approximately 100 additional generations of Humankind have also expired -- without any purported Return of Jesus. Consequently, the fundamental “New Testament” prophecy of Jesus’ imminent Return to Earth is a failed prophecy.
Its failed prophecy of Jesus’ imminent Return is not the only patent defect in “Revelation”. That book also prophesizes that, during the Apocalypse, 144,000 thousand descendants of the 12 Hebrew tribes of Israel -- being 12,000 people per tribe -- will be marked on their foreheads with God’s Seal. However, there are actually 13 Hebrew tribes if one recognizes the two sons of Joseph, namely, Manasseh and Ephraim, as distinct tribes in substitution for Joseph (see Genesis 48:5). Consequently, there is either (a) the Hebrew tribe of Joseph (thereby rendering the number of tribes as 12) or (b) the Hebrew tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim (thereby rending the number of tribes as 13). Alternatively stated, if one counts Joseph as a tribe, then one cannot count Manasseh and Ephraim as tribes; and if one counts Manasseh and Ephraim as tribes, then one cannot count Joseph as a tribe. Yet, in its confused enumeration of the Hebrew tribes, “Revelation” includes the tribe of Joseph (thereby recognizing the existence of only 12 tribes) and the tribe of Manasseh (thereby alternatively recognizing the existence of 13 tribes), while it omits the tribe of Ephraim (which is one of the 13 tribes if one recognizes 13 tribes) and the tribe of Dan (which is one of the 12 tribes if one recognizes only 12 tribes) (see Revelation 7:1-8). In light of the fact that “Revelation” -- like all other books of the “New Testament” -- is deemed by Christianity to be the Word of God, the following question must be asked:
In mainstream Christian belief, Jesus was the sacrificial “Lamb of God” (John 1:29), who descended to Earth in human form as the Messiah, so that he could be tortured and murdered as an Atonement for Humankind’s Sins. Notwithstanding the foregoing recitation of Christianity’s most fundamental creed, this purported sacrificial Atonement did not erase every Sin; and it was not available to every human being. For, it did not erase the Christian Sin of Blasphemy, which can never be forgiven (see Matthew 12:31-32 & Mark 3:28-29); and it was available only to those human beings who accepted Jesus as their Savior (see Mark 16:16; John 3:16-18 & 3:35-36; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; and Revelation 21:8).
However, as demonstrated by the previously-quoted portions of the Hebrew Bible (and despite some seemingly-contrary statements in post-biblical Jewish literature -- e.g., see Babylonian Talmud, Moed Katan 28a), the God of Israel rejects the Christian notion that harming -- let alone torturing and murdering -- an innocent person could ever serve as a “Substitutionary Punishment” (i.e., punishing a person for the Sin of another person) effecting a “Substitutionary Atonement” (i.e., forgiving the Sin of a person, because another person has atoned for that Sin).
Furthermore, although many ancient cultures practiced both human sacrifice and animal sacrifice for various purposes (e.g., to atone for affronting a god’s honor; to palliate a god’s anger; to secure a bountiful harvest; etc.), the God of Israel restricted the Jewish people to animal sacrifice (and He even permitted paupers to make a flour sacrifice instead of an animal sacrifice -- see Leviticus 5:11-12); but even animal sacrifice could not atone for every type of Sin that might be committed by a Jew (e.g., an intentional Sin, the atonement for which required -- and still requires -- the sinner’s confession and repentance, and a modification of the sinner’s thoughts and behaviors in order to avoid repeating that Sin).
Moreover, the God of Israel has explicitly forbidden the practice of human sacrifice, which is an abomination to Him. As the Hebrew Bible states, in God’s Name:
“‘Do not allow any of your offspring to be offered up [as a fire sacrifice] to [the pagan god] Moloch, and do not profane the Name of your God: I am HaShem.’” (Leviticus 18:21); and
“And HaShem spoke to Moses: ‘Say further to the Children of Israel: “Anyone among the Children of Israel, or among the strangers residing in Israel, who gives any of his offspring [as a fire sacrifice] to [the pagan god] Moloch, shall be put to death; the people of the Land shall pelt him with stones. And I will set My Face against that man and I will cut him off from among his people, because he gave of his offspring to Moloch and so defiled My Sanctuary and profaned My Holy Name. And if the people of the Land should shut their eyes to that man when he gives of his offspring to Moloch, and should not put him to death, then I Myself will set My Face against that man and his kin, and will cut off from among their people both him and all who follow him in going astray after Moloch.’” (Leviticus 20:1-5); and
“You shall not act in this way towards HaShem your God; for, they [the surrounding nations] perform for their gods every abhorrent act that HaShem detests; they even offer up their sons and daughters in fire to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:31); and
“Thus said HaShem [to the Prophet Jeremiah]: ‘Go, and get a potter's earthen bottle, and take of the elders of the people, and of the elders of the priests, and go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the gate Harsith, and proclaim there the Words that I shall tell you, and say: “Hear the Word of HaShem, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says HaShem of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring Evil upon this place, and whoever hears of it, his ears shall tingle, because they [the people of Jerusalem] have forsaken Me, and they have estranged this place, and have offered [sacrifices] in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah [have known]; and they have filled this place with the blood of innocents; and they have built the high places of [the pagan god] Baal, to burn their sons in the fire for burnt offerings unto [the pagan god] Baal; which I did not command, nor have I spoken of it, neither did it come it into My Mind.”’’” (Jeremiah 19:1-5); and
“They [the people of Jerusalem] turned their backs to Me, not their faces; although I have taught them persistently, they do not give heed or accept rebuke. They placed their abominations in the House which bears My Name and defiled it; and they built the high places of [the pagan god] Baal, which are in the Valley of the son of Hinnom, where they offered up their sons and daughters [as a fire sacrifice] to [the pagan god] Moloch, which I never commanded, nor did it come into My Mind, that they should do such an abomination, and so cause Judah to sin.” (Jeremiah 32:33-35).
Notwithstanding the biblical principle that God does not punish a person for the Sin of another person, there are times when a person is seemingly punished for the Sin of another person. (e.g., those residents of Sodom and Gomorrah who were killed by bursts of fire and sulfur although they might not have personally engaged in evil activities; those firstborn sons of Pharaonic Egypt who were killed during the 10th Plague although they might not have personally oppressed the Hebrew tribes; and those members of the civilian population of Nazi Germany who were killed during the Anglo-American aerial bombardments of German cities although they might not have personally engaged in the genocidal activities of the Nazi regime). However, such a person was not actually punished for the individual Sin of another person, but rather for the collective Sin of the government to which the person owed his allegiance. Alternatively stated, such a person was actually punished for his own Sin, namely the Sin of belonging to an evil collective. Consequently, although the God of Israel has inflicted collective punishment upon entire peoples in appropriate circumstances, that type of punishment is not imposed upon a person for the individual Sin of another person. Moreover, it cannot be logically claimed that the purported killing of one person (i.e., Jesus) is an example of the collective punishment that is sometimes inflicted by the God of Israel upon an entire people.
The “New Testament”, insists that, after the purported crucifixion of Jesus, a person may only achieve forgiveness for “Original Sin”, as well as for their individual Sins -- except for the Christian Sin of Blasphemy -- through the active intercession of Jesus, as the “Son of God”, after that person’s acceptance of Jesus as his Savior.
Yet, the “New Testament”, particularly the “Gospel of John”, contradicts itself over whether Jesus is merely the “Son of God”, as evidenced by the following passages:
“… ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One Who sent me.’” (John 7:16); and
“…‘… I am not here on my own authority, but He Who sent me is True. … I am from Him, and He sent me.’” (John 7:28-29); and
“Jesus said, ‘I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going [back] to the One Who sent me.’” (John 7:33); and
“‘… the Father is greater than I. … I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.’” (John 14:28-30); and
“‘I came from the Father and entered the World; now I am leaving the World and going back to the Father.’” (John 16:28); and
“…‘… and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’” (John 20:17);
or whether Jesus is also God Himself, joined together with Him in a hypostatic union, whereby Jesus is both fully human and fully God, as evidenced by the following passages:
“In the Beginning [of Creation] was the Word [i.e., Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1); and
“… the one and only Son, who is Himself God …” (John 1:18); and
“‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before [the Hebrew Patriarch] Abraham was born, I am!’” (John 8:58); and
“‘I and the Father are One.’” (John 10:30); and
“‘… the Father is in me, and I [am in] in the Father.’” (John 10:38); and
“‘Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me …’” (John 14:11); and
“[The apostle] Thomas said to him [the resurrected Jesus], ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:28).
However, the notion that any human being (including Jesus) is -- or could be -- God Incarnate was long ago repudiated by God Himself, Who demonstrated and emphasized to the Jewish people that He is Incorporeal, to wit:
“‘And HaShem spoke unto you out of the midst of the Fire; a Voice of Words you heard, but you saw no Form -- only a Voice. … And you should beware greatly for your souls -- for, you saw no manner of Form on the Day that HaShem spoke unto you at [Mount] Horeb out of the midst of the Fire -- lest you will act corruptly by making for yourselves a graven image, even the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female.’” (Deuteronomy 4:12 & 4:15-16)
Moreover, the Hebrew Bible explicitly declares that God is not a person, to wit:
“‘God is not a human being …’” (Numbers 23:19); and
“‘… He [God] is not a human being …’” (I Samuel 15:29)
Moreover, the Hebrew Bible makes it clear that the Jewish people do not require any supernatural intermediary between themselves and God. As declared by the Gentile prophet Balaam concerning the Children of Israel:
“‘It is God [Himself] Who brought them [the tribal descendants of Jacob who are called the Children of Israel] out of Egypt according to the Power of His Loftiness. For, there is no [need to use] Divination in Jacob and no [need to use] Sorcery in Israel [in order to achieve Communion with God]; now it is said [directly] to Jacob and Israel what God has wrought [for them].’” (Numbers 23:22-23)
And as the Hebrew Bible later imparts to the Jewish people:
“Close is HaShem to all who call upon Him; to all that will truly call upon Him.” (Psalms 145:18); and
“‘Return, Israel, unto HaShem your God; for, you have stumbled in your Sin. Take words with you and return to HaShem; say to Him: “May You forgive all Sin and accept Good [from us], and let our lips [i.e., prayer] substitute for bulls [i.e., animal sacrifice].”’” (Hosea 14:2-3); and
“Say unto them [the Jewish people]: ‘Thus said HaShem, Master of Legions: “Return unto Me -- the Oration of Hashem, Master of Legions -- and I will return unto you” said HaShem, Master of Legions.’” (Zechariah 1:3)
According to the “New Testament”:
Contradicting his own purported declaration that the Commandments of the Torah are inviolable (“‘… [Hebrew] Scripture cannot be set aside …’” (John 10:35)), Jesus purportedly abrogated the Torah Commandments of Kashrut (by which the God of Israel declared to the Jewish people those creatures which are spiritually clean and consequently permissible to eat, and those creatures which are spiritually unclean and consequently prohibited to eat), to wit:
“He [Jesus] said to them [his apostles]: ‘Are you also lacking in understanding? Are you not aware that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and [then] goes out into the latrine?’ Thus, he [Jesus] declared all foods clean.” (Mark 7:18-19).
Even worse, Jesus purportedly declared that only half (i.e., 5th - 9th) of the Ten Commandments (plus the “Golden Rule”) need be observed, to wit:
“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the Commandments.’ ‘Which ones?’ he inquired. Jesus replied, ‘You shall not murder [6th], you shall not commit adultery [7th], you shall not steal [8th], you shall not give false testimony [9th], honor your father and mother [5th], and love your neighbor as yourself [Golden Rule].’” (Matthew 19:16-19; this account also appears with slight variation at Mark 10:17-19 and Luke 18:18-20).
Jesus purportedly attempted to intimidate the Jewish people into accepting him as the Messiah, to wit:
“‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.’” (Matthew 12:30).
Furthermore, Jesus purportedly ordered (by means of a metaphorical story, known as the “Parable of the Ten Minas”, concerning the Advent of the Kingdom of God) the annihilation of the Jewish people due to their rejection of his purported kingship, to wit:
“‘But these enemies of mine who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here, and kill them in my presence.’” (Luke 19:27).
Moreover, Jesus purportedly declared that the Jewish people also deserved punishment for every murder perpetuated since the Dawn of Humanity, to wit:
“‘And so upon you [the Jewish people] will come all the righteous blood poured upon the Earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar.’” (Matthew 23:35).
It is noteworthy that the author of the “Gospel of Matthew” misidentified which Zechariah was a murder victim, as Zechariah, son of Berechiah, was the famous Prophet Zechariah (see Zechariah 1:1); and nowhere in the Hebrew Bible does it report that the Prophet Zechariah was murdered. Instead, murder-victim Zechariah was a different person, namely, Zechariah, son of Jehoiada (see 2 Chronicles 24:20-22).
That the “Gospel of Matthew” was written prior to the “Gospel of Luke” can be discerned from the fact that the latter gospel “corrects” that particular error in the former gospel (see Luke 11:50-51, which surreptitiously corrects Matthew 23:35 by omitting any mention of the father of murder-victim Zechariah rather than by correctly identifying him as Jehoiada, which would have highlighted the identification error in the “Gospel of Matthew”).
Jesus purportedly declared to a gathering of Jews -- who had described themselves as the Children of Abraham and who regarded Jesus as merely a human being -- that they were really the Children of the Devil, to wit:
“‘You [Jews] belong to your Father, the Devil, and you want to carry out your Father’s desire; He was a Murderer from the Beginning [of Creation], not holding to the Truth; for, there is no Truth in Him; when He lies, He speaks his native language; for, He is a Liar and the Father of Lies. Yet because I tell the Truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of Sin? -- if I am telling the Truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says; the reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.’” (John 8:44-47), which declaration was later repackaged by the evangelist John in his First Epistle, to wit: “‘Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the Antichrist -- denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.’” (1 John 2:22-23).
Jesus purportedly exorcised demons from humans; and, in one case, he purportedly conversed with these demons and gave them permission to enter a herd of swine upon leaving a possessed person, to wit:
“They [Jesus and his disciples] sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time, this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!’ For, Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it [the demon] had seized him [the man], and though he [the demon-possessed man] was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. Jesus asked him [the demon-possessed man]: ‘What is your name?’ -- ‘Legion’, he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they [the demons] begged him [Jesus] repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside; the demons begged Jesus to let them [the demons] go into them [the pigs], and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd [of pigs] rushed down the steep bank into the lake and [the herd of pigs] was drowned.” (Luke 8:26-33; this account also appears with slight variation at Matthew 8:28-32 and Mark 5:1-13).
Moreover, not only did Jesus purportedly converse with demons, but he also purportedly interacted with the purported master of demons -- Satan -- for 40 days in the Wilderness in an incident known as the “Temptation of Christ” (see Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; and Luke 4:1-13).
In an incident known as the “Transfiguration”, Jesus purportedly convened a summit between Moses, the Prophet Elijah and himself in the presence of some of his apostles, to wit:
“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.” (Matthew 17:1-3).
It is clear that the “New Testament”, in recounting Jesus’ purported transfiguration, shamelessly plagiarized the episode of Moses’ transfiguration, which occurred when Moses descended Mount Sinai with the second set of Tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were engraved (see Exodus 34:29-35).
After Jesus’ purported resurrection, he purportedly declared the five objective criteria by which his true followers would be identified, to wit:
“He [Jesus] said to them [his apostles], ‘Go into all the World and preach the Gospel to all Creation. Whoever believes [in me] and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe [in me] will be condemned. And these Signs will follow those who believe [in me]:  In my name they will cast out demons;  they will speak in new tongues [i.e., languages]; and  with their hands they will pick up [poisonous] snakes; and  if they drink anything deadly it will not hurt them at all;  they will lay hands upon the sick, and they [the sick] will recover [without medical intervention].’” (Mark 16:15-18).
It is noteworthy that, while there are Christian sects predicated on satisfying one or more of the foregoing tests set forth in the “Gospel of Mark” (e.g., “The Church of Christ, Scientist”, commonly known as “Christian Scientists”; and “Pentecostal Church of God of America, Inc.”, commonly known as “Pentecostalists”), there are no Christian sects which attempt to satisfy the fourth Marcan test by drinking undiluted poison. It seems that the instinct for self-preservation reigns supreme even among those who are convinced that Christianity requires them to satisfy all of the Marcan tests.
However, despite Jesus’ purported assertion that his followers would be able to survive the foregoing deadly perils, he nonetheless purportedly encouraged them to martyr themselves as proof of their devotion to him, to wit:
“‘For, whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.’” (Matthew 16:25).
And, most infamously, the “New Testament” incites Christians to the most virulent form of Jew-hatred through its imposition upon the Jewish people of full and exclusive responsibility for the alleged hunting, capture, torture and murder of Jesus by means of:
(a) serially declaring that the Jerusalem rabbinic establishment sought to murder Jesus, to wit:
“But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus” (Matthew 12:14); and
“After this, Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.” (John 7:1) -- however, Jesus’ purported fear of prematurely dying is rendered nonsensical in light of the subsequent statement in the very same chapter of the “Gospel of John” that: “At this they [the Jews] tried to seize him [Jesus], but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.” (John 7:30); and
“So from that day on they [the Jewish leadership] plotted to take his [Jesus’] life.” (John 11:53); and
“As soon as the [Jewish] chief priests and their [Jewish] officials saw him [Jesus], they shouted: ‘Crucify! Crucify!’” (John 19:6); and
(b) ultimately fabricating the infamous self-damning public declaration which the “New Testament” attributes and attaches to the Jewish people -- collectively and in perpetuity -- in response to the purported assertion by Roman Governor Pontius Pilate that Jesus was not guilty of any crime against the Roman Empire and that, consequently, Rome’s soul would remain pure in the event of Jesus’ murder by Rome at the insistence of the Jewish people, to wit: “And all of the [Jewish] people said [in response to Pilate’s assertion of Jesus’ innocence]: ‘His [Jesus’] blood shall be upon us and upon our descendants.’” (Matthew 27:25).
Furthermore, all four “Gospels” assert that Jesus was betrayed by an apostle, whose name in the Greek language is “Ioudas”, and whose name in the English language is consequently rendered is “Judas” (see Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:4-6; and John 13:26-27). The name “Ioudas” is also the Greek-language translation of the Hebrew-language tribal name “Yehudah”, which is rendered as the English-language name “Judah”, from which is derived the English-language designation “Jew”. The English-language designation “Jew” is rendered into the Greek language as “Ioudaios”, which is an obvious cognate of the Greek-language name “Ioudas” (“Judas”).
However, despite the unanimous assertion by the authors of the “Gospels” that Judas was the betrayer of Jesus, it is noteworthy that nowhere in the chronological first portion of the “New Testament”, namely, the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul”, is Judas even mentioned -- let alone accused of betraying Jesus -- leading to the firm conclusion that this villain had not yet become a part of the Christian narrative. Consequently, it is likely that the later authors of the four “Gospels”, in an effort to further inflame Jew-hatred among Christians, chose to conjure a betrayer whose name in the Greek language (and, for obvious linguistic reasons, in many other languages) was synonymous with the designation “Jew”.
The “New Testament” subsequently accuses the Jewish leadership of attempting to orchestrate a vast conspiracy in order to conceal from the populace the purported final proof of the truth of Christianity, namely, Jesus’ alleged postmortem resurrection, by declaring: “When the [Jewish] chief priests had met with the [Jewish] elders and devised a plan, they gave the [Roman] soldiers a large sum of money, telling them: ‘You are to say, “His [Jesus’] disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this report gets to the [Roman] Governor [Pontius Pilate], we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the [Roman] soldiers took the money, and did as they were instructed; and this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very Day.” (Mathew 28:12-15).
Moreover, the apostle Paul further propagated the blood libel of Deicide and implicitly advocated genocide against the Jewish people in his purported letter to the Christian residents of Thessalonica, Macedonia (which is present-day Thessaloniki, Greece) by purportedly declaring on behalf of God:
“For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus. You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the Prophets, and also drove us out. They [the Jews] displease God and are the enemies of all Humanity in their effort to keep us from speaking to the [pagan] Gentiles, so that they [the pagan Gentiles] may be saved [by becoming Christians]. In this way they [the Jews] always heap up their Sins to the limit. The Wrath of God has come upon them [the Jews] at last.” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16)
Furthermore, according to the “Acts of the Apostles” (commonly known as “Acts”) portion of the “New Testament”, the purported apostle Peter, purportedly speaking on behalf of God, also accused the Jewish people of Deicide in his purported speeches to groups of Jews, to wit:
“‘Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by Miracles, Wonders and Signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s Deliberate Plan and Foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.’” (Acts 2:22-23); and
“‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.’” (Acts 2:36); and
“‘The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Author of Life, but God raised him from the dead.’” (Acts 3:13-15); and
“‘The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead, whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.’” (Acts 5:30)
However, it is noteworthy that Jesus himself purportedly contradicted the Deicide accusations spread by Peter and Paul, as he purportedly placed responsibility, not upon the Jewish people, but rather upon unidentified Gentiles for his impending torture and murder, to wit:
“Jesus took the Twelve [apostles] aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man [i.e., Jesus] will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They [the Gentiles] will mock him, insult him and spit on him. They [the Gentiles] will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.’” (Luke 18:31-33)
Moreover, in an enigmatic but prescient statement to a Gentile follower, which reaffirms the exclusive Truth of Scriptural Judaism, Jesus purportedly declared:
“‘... You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know; for Salvation is from the Jews.’” (John 4:22).
Per the “New Testament”, Jesus was initially sent by his Heavenly Father to minister to the Jewish people rather than to the pagan Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire, to wit:
“These twelve [apostles] Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the [pagan] Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: “The Kingdom of Heaven is near.”’” (Matthew 10:5-7); and:
“He [Jesus] answered [to his apostles]: ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’” (Matthew 15:24).
As the “New Testament” further relates, even after the purported death and the purported resurrection of Jesus, his purported apostles continued to believe that his sole mission was to bring redemption to the Jewish people, to wit:
“‘but we [Jesus’ apostles] had hoped that he [Jesus] was the one who was going to redeem Israel. …’” (Luke 24:21); and
“Then they [Jesus’ apostles] gathered around him [the resurrected Jesus] and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’” (Acts 1:6).
Moreover, in a challenge to the enormous power of the Roman Emperor, Jesus purportedly declared -- from the very beginning of his ministry -- that the Dominion of God was imminent, to wit:
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.’” (Matthew 4:17); and
“After John [the Baptist] was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the Good News of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the Good News!’” (Mark 1:14-15)
This being the case, and in light of the fact that the Roman Empire habitually executed persons who challenged the Emperor’s primacy in the temporal realm and/or in the spiritual realm, why does the “New Testament” falsely place the guilt for the alleged hunting, capture, torture and execution of Jesus upon “the lost sheep of Israel” rather than upon the Roman Empire? After all, the entire Land of Israel was a possession of imperial Rome, and was subject to the latter’s authority in all matters. The notion that the subjugated Jewish people were able to impose upon the Roman Empire’s provincial governor their alleged desire to murder an innocent person is patently ludicrous. This is especially so in the case of Roman Governor Marcus Pontius Pilatus (commonly known as “Pontius Pilate”), who has been described by historians as being ruthless, headstrong, unprincipled and dismissive of public opinion -- in repudiation of his portrayal in the “Gospels” as being sensitive, indecisive, solicitous of the innocent and intimidated by public opinion (see Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:1-15; Luke 23:1-25; and John 18:28-40 & 19:1-16). The reason for Christianity’s false portrayal of this Roman official is clear. In order for Christianity’s culpability claim against the Jewish people to seem plausible to future generations of potential Christians, the “New Testament” had to conjure a powerful Jewish mob and a weak Pontius Pilate.
Likewise, the notion that a Jewish militia under the command of the Jerusalem rabbinic establishment was permitted by the Roman Empire to hunt, capture and murder people that displeased the Jewish leadership is absurd and lacks any attestation in the historical record. In fact, during the purported lifetime of Jesus, there were many other Jews who also claimed to be the Messiah (e.g., according to 1st Century CE Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus, some of these pretenders were Theudas, Simon of Peraea and Athronges); but none of them were murdered or otherwise harmed by the rabbinic establishment for making such false claims. Instead -- like the purported Jesus -- they were killed by the Roman Empire for challenging the absolute authority claimed by the Roman Emperor. Alternatively stated, it defies logic to assert that the Jerusalem rabbinic establishment, which brazenly rejected the pagan religions of Rome, would nonetheless be permitted by that same Rome to punish -- let alone murder -- those Jews who rejected rabbinic Judaism. However, if the ludicrous assertion in the “Gospel of John” that the Jerusalem rabbinic establishment not only possessed the legal authority to hunt, capture and murder Jesus but had actually attempted to use that power against Jesus more than six months prior to his arrest by the Roman authorities (see John 7:1-3) is to be believed, then that same gospel’s claim that Jesus had avoided harm merely by restricting himself to nearby Galilee (see John 7:1) is rendered nonsensical.
This is especially so in light of the apostle Paul’s subsequent assertion -- if accepted as true -- that, while in the employ of the Jerusalem rabbinic establishment as Saul of Tarsus, he had acquired the legal right to abduct, imprison and condemn to death the Jewish followers of postmortem Jesus, not only in the Land of Israel, but also well beyond its borders (see Acts 9:1-2, 22:4-5 & 26:9-12). However, this postmortem claim by the “New Testament” is as ludicrous as its premortem claim. For, with respect to the period subsequent to the purported death of Jesus, it is likewise ludicrous to suggest that the same Rome whose paganism was scorned by the Jerusalem rabbinic establishment would authorize the latter (via agents such as the purported Saul of Tarsus) to abduct, imprison and condemn to death wayward Jews both within and beyond the borders of the Land of Israel.
In fact, the “New Testament” itself repudiates its own assertion that the Jerusalem rabbinic establishment possessed either the power or the inclination to murder Jesus or anyone else for their religious pretensions. For, the “New Testament” triumphantly asserts that the apostles Peter and John, without suffering any punishment therefor, were able to openly disrespect the Jerusalem rabbinic establishment by: (a) harshly rebuking it for its refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah, and (b) informing it that they would ignore its order against proclaiming to the Jewish people that Jesus was the Messiah and that he had been resurrected postmortem (see Acts 4:1-21).
Moreover, as the apostle Paul purportedly possessed Roman citizenship (see Acts 16:37-38), it is highly unlikely that he would have agreed to work for a Jewish organization known for its loathing of Rome.
Clearly, the “New Testament” had only one purpose in making its culpability claim, namely, to shift the blame for the purported death of Jesus and the purported persecution of his postmortem acolytes from the leadership of the Roman Empire to the leadership of the Jerusalem rabbinic establishment and consequently, via the doctrine of collective guilt, to all (non-converting) Jews.
This culpability strategy was integral to the survival and growth of Christianity. For, before the four “Gospels” had become substantially finalized circa 100 CE, it had become clear to the leaders of early Christianity that the paucity of Jewish converts to the new religion would soon relegate Christianity to obscurity unless it welcomed pagan Gentiles in addition to Jews. Since the target Gentile population most available to early Christian evangelists was that of the Roman Empire, the first generation of Christian evangelists realized that condemning the leadership of the Roman Empire and consequently, via the doctrine of collective guilt, all pagan residents of the Empire for the Crime of Deicide was likely to make a dangerous enemy of the former and was unlikely to make Christians of many of the latter.
However, in the Jews, the leaders of early Christianity found a people that, conveniently, were already despised by both the Roman Empire and the early Church. The Roman Empire hated the Jewish people due to their stubborn -- and, in the view of Rome, incomprehensible -- refusal to regard Rome’s subjugation of Judea as a victory of Rome’s gods over the God of Israel. Moreover, the Jews’ refusal to accept their defeat as the defeat of their God was so subversive to Rome’s goal of uncontested imperial rule that it rightly feared the spread of this rejectionist doctrine to the other conquered peoples of the Empire. In fact, as the early Church was well aware, Rome’s enmity towards and ideological fear of the Jewish people had already manifested itself in Roman-occupied Alexandria, Egypt via the creation of the first known Jewish ghetto in 38 CE. For its part, the early Church hated the Jewish people due to their refusal (in other than insignificant numbers) to convert to Christianity.
By promulgating the charge of Deicide against the Jewish people, the “New Testament” was able to provide a theological basis for the subsequent persecutions of, including the perpetration of genocides against, Jewish communities throughout the lands of Christendom. Ironically, based upon the Christological status of Jesus as a preexistent deity, and based upon this preexistent deity’s purported resurrection and ascension, Christianity itself provided a theological repudiation (albeit a repudiation that was never acknowledged by the leaders of the new religion) of its own charge of Deicide against the Jewish people.
Consequently, concocting a new religion in which the Jewish people, collectively and in perpetuity -- rather than the Roman Empire, collectively and in perpetuity -- was the perfidious villain would serve two goals, namely, (a) making Christianity more palatable to the pagan Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire and (b) taking revenge upon the Jewish people for rejecting the Doctrine of Supersessionism (also known as the Doctrine of Replacement Theology), namely the belief that God has superseded and replaced Judaism with Christianity as the Source of His Revelation to Humanity.
Proof of this deliberate shift in conversionary strategy is found in the “New Testament” account of the apostle Paul’s purported visit to the Jews of Antioch-in-Pisidia (which is located near present-day Yalvac, Turkey):
“As [the evangelists] Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the [Jewish] people invited them to speak further about these things [i.e., the tenets of Christianity] on the next Sabbath. When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the Grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the Word of the Lord [about Christianity]. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: ‘We had to speak the Word of God [about Christianity] to you first. Since you reject it, and do not consider yourselves worthy of Eternal Life, we now turn to the [pagan] Gentiles.’” (Acts 13:42-46)
The “New Testament”, after dramatically changing the locale to Rome, essentially repeats this explanation in the final verses of the “Acts of the Apostles”:
“They [the Jews] arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning until evening, explaining about the Kingdom of God; and from the Law of Moses [i.e. the Torah] and from the [Hebrew] Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: ‘The Holy Spirit spoke the Truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet: “Go to this people and say: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.’ For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Therefore, I want you to know that God’s Salvation has been sent to the [pagan] Gentiles, and they will listen!’” (Acts 28:23-28)
Adding to the other mendacities of the “New Testament”, not only did Paul lie about persecuting (and having the legal authority to persecute) the Jewish followers of postmortem Jesus, but it is likely that he also lied about originally being Saul of Tarsus -- a purported Jew. As Paul purportedly boasted in his respective letters to the Church in Corinth, Greece and to the Church in Philippi, Macedonia (which is near present-day Filippoi, Greece):
“‘To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the Law [i.e., those Jews who adhere to the Torah] I became like one under the Law, although 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 -- although I am not free from God’s Law, but I am under Christ’s Law -- so as to win those not having the Law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings.’” (1 Corinthians 9:20-23); and
“‘But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.’” (Philippians 1:18)
This raises an important question. If Christianity is the Revelation of God, why was it necessary for its premier evangelist to deceive people in order to persuade them to embrace the new religion? For, the God of Israel is the God of Truth.
As part of a marketing campaign to sell Christianity to the Greek-speaking Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire, the “New Testament” bestowed upon the purported apostle Simon the honorific Greek-language name “Petros” (meaning: “Rock”), which, in the English language, is rendered as the name “Peter” (see Matthew 4:18-20 & 16:17-18; Mark 3:16; Luke 5:1-11; and John 1:35-42). If the claimed motive for the bestowal of a Greek-language name upon the purported apostle Simon is doubted, and if it instead asserted that Jesus’ apostles received new names because they were “reborn” when they accepted him as their Savior, then the following two questions must be asked:
1. Why was the “reborn” Simon renamed with a Greek-language name rather than a Hebrew-language name?
2. Why didn’t any of the other “reborn” apostles receive new names?
The answer is that Simon, as the purported first apostle and as the purported preeminent apostle during the purported lifetime of Jesus and in the immediate period after the purported death of Jesus -- was deemed to be special by the early Church and its acolytes. In fact, the purported apostle Simon is deemed by many sects of Christianity to be the first “Bishop of Rome”, who was the first Pope of the early Church. That is why the purported apostle Simon -- and only the purported apostle Simon -- purportedly received a new name, and why -- in order to ingratiate itself with the Greek-speaking Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire -- Christianity chose a new name for him that was Greek rather than Hebrew.
Finally, perhaps the most definitive proof that early Christianity ultimately came to view the Greek-speaking Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire rather than the Jewish people as its primary conversionary target is to be found in the fact that -- although the purported words of Jesus, as memorialized in the “New Testament”, would have been uttered in the Hebrew language and/or in the Aramaic language (being the main languages spoken by the Jewish people in the Land of Israel during the purported lifetime of Jesus) -- the authors of the “New Testament” nonetheless chose to issue their conversionary missives in the Greek language (being the primary language of the pagan Gentile peoples residing in the eastern Mediterranean and Anatolian districts of the Roman Empire, as well as being an official language of the Empire).
The author of the “Gospel of Matthew” certainly understood the importance of gaining converts among the Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire and beyond. For this reason, his gospel includes a purported instruction from Jesus to his apostles, known as the “Great Commission”, to wit:
“Then [the resurrected] Jesus came to them [his apostles] and said, ‘All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And, surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the Age.”” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Of course, in order for the “Great Commission” to be successful, it was necessary to make Christianity attractive to its new audience.
For example, it is obvious that Jesus’ purported repudiation of the Torah Commandments of Kashrut in Mark 7:18-19 was intended by the early Church to make Christianity less rigorous for, and consequently more appealing to, the pagan peoples of the Roman Empire. However, Jesus’ purported repudiation of Kashrut was probably a later addition to the “Gospel of Mark”, as is evidenced by the fact that the purported apostle Peter, despite being the preeminent apostle of Jesus during the latter’s purported lifetime and in the immediate period after the latter’s purported death, purportedly had no knowledge of this repudiation, to wit:
“… Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw Heaven opened, and something like a large sheet being let down to Earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of [non-Kosher] four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a Voice told him, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ ‘Surely not, Lord!’, Peter replied. ‘I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.’ The Voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’” (Acts 10:9-15).
Contrariwise, if Jesus’ purported repudiation of Kashrut was not subsequently interpolated into the “Gospel of Mark” (i.e., if Jesus’ purported repudiation of Kashrut always existed in the “Gospel of Mark”), then the author of the “Acts of the Apostles” neglected to carefully read that earlier gospel before conjuring the foregoing interaction between the unidentified Voice and the purported apostle Peter.
Similarly, the early Church, after debate, decided to excuse Gentile converts to Christianity from compliance with the Torah Commandment of Circumcision, so “… that we should not make it difficult for the [pagan] Gentiles who are turning to God” (Acts 15:19; for the full debate on this issue, see Acts 15:1-29).
Moreover, at the same time as the early Church was reducing its ties to Judaism, it was increasing its ties to the Roman Empire. For example, many of the deities venerated throughout various regions of the Empire were believed to have been born on December 25 of the Empire’s Julian calendar (e.g., Rome’s Attis, Greece’s Dionysius, Egypt’s Osiris, Persia’s Mithra and Babylonia’s Ishtar), as that was the time of the Winter Solstice during which the Roman Empire’s Saturnalia festivities in honor of the god Saturn were held. These pagan festivities included feasting, merrymaking, gift giving (especially the giving of toys to children), group singing, candle lighting and decorating homes with evergreen wreaths; and these pagan customs soon became major cultural components of Christianity’s nascent Christmas holiday in the 4th Century CE. Consequently, in light of the concerted efforts of the Church to conflate Jesus with the other gods of the Roman Empire, and to conflate Christmas with Saturnalia, it is unsurprising that, in 336 CE, the Church -- at the instruction of Rome’s first Christian Emperor Constantine I (commonly known as Constantine the Great) -- also adopted December 25 as Jesus’ birthdate (thereby taking advantage of the fact that the “New Testament” is silent on the matter).
After the replacement of the Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar in 1582 (which subsequently became the World’s universal civil calendar), December 25 remained the fictitious date of Jesus’ purported birth, despite the fact that December 25 in the old Julian calendar had become January 7 of the succeeding year in the new Gregorian calendar, thereby causing different sects of Christianity to celebrate the fictitious date of Jesus’ purported birth on different dates in the new Gregorian calendar (e.g., Catholics and Protestants celebrate Christmas on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar -- which was December 12 in the Julian calendar; and Eastern Orthodox celebrate Christmas on January 7 of the succeeding year in the Gregorian calendar -- which was December 25 in the Julian calendar).
However, the deified Jesus had much more in common with these other gods than a conjured birthdate; for, the purported circumstances of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection bear a striking resemblance to the purported circumstances of the births and/or ministries and/or deaths and/or resurrections of the other gods of the Roman Empire. Also, the pagan peoples of the Roman Empire could readily identify with a deified Jesus who was purportedly born from the union of a god and a human woman, as Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome, were also purportedly born from the union of a god (i.e., the god Mars) and a human woman.
Yet, the “New Testament” contradicts itself over when Jesus actually became deified as the “Son of God”. If one reads the “New Testament” according to the chronological emergence of its components, one can see that, in order to make Jesus more appealing to a predominantly-pagan audience, Jesus had to biographically evolve over a relatively short period of time --approximately 50 years -- from being the biological son of two human parents to being a preexistent deity:
Per the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul” (written circa 50 CE - 60 CE), Jesus became the “Son of God” only upon his purported resurrection (see Romans 1:4; and the purported declaration of Paul, as quoted in Acts 13:30-33), as until that time he was only a human Messiah, born of two human parents (see Romans 1:3; and the purported declaration of Paul, as quoted in Acts 13:23), to wit:
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God -- the gospel he promised beforehand through his Prophets in the Holy Scriptures [i.e., the Hebrew Bible] regarding His Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of [King] David, and who through the Spirit of Holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:1-4); and
“‘From this man’s [King David’s] descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as He promised.’” (Acts 13:23); and
“‘But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. We tell you the Good News: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: “You are My Son. Today, I have become your Father.”’” (Acts 13:30-33).
It is noteworthy that the author of the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul” (which non-disputed letters are hereinafter labeled as the “Pauline Letters”) was unaware of the “Virgin Birth” narrative, which, inter alia, claimed that, despite being known as an adult resident of Nazareth (in Galilee), Jesus was actually born of a virgin in Bethlehem (in Judea), being the city of King David’s birth, as that narrative had not yet been conjured; so, the “Resurrection” narrative became that author’s deification device. In fact, the “Pauline Letters” mention neither Bethlehem nor Nazareth, because the author thereof was either (a) unaware of the purported birthplace or purported subsequent domicile of Jesus (as Jesus’ purported connections thereto had not yet been conjured and integrated into the mainstream narrative of early Christianity), or (b) believed that Jesus’ purported connections to either of those towns were not relevant to Jesus’ post-resurrection status as the “Son of God”. It is also noteworthy that the author of the “Pauline Letters” was either (a) unaware of the purported identities of Jesus’ parents (as their purported identities had not yet been conjured and integrated into the mainstream narrative of early Christianity), or (b) believed that their purported identities were not relevant to Jesus’ post-resurrection status as the “Son of God”.
However, per the “Gospel of Mark” (written circa 70 CE), Jesus became the “Son of God” much earlier than his purported resurrection, namely, upon his purported adult baptism, to wit:
“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan [River]. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw Heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a Voice came from Heaven: ‘You are My Son, whom I love. With you I am well pleased.’” (Mark 1:9-11).
It is noteworthy that, like the author of the “Pauline Letters”, the author of the “Gospel of Mark” was unaware of any “Virgin Birth” narrative, as that narrative had not yet been conjured; so, the “Baptism” narrative became that author’s deification device. In fact, the “Gospel of Mark” begins, not with the birth (or even adolescence) of Jesus, but rather with an introduction to John the Baptist and his purported baptism of the adult Jesus (see Mark 1:1-11). Moreover, Bethlehem is not mentioned even once in the “Gospel of Mark”; and, instead, Jesus is serially identified only with Nazareth (e.g., Mark 1:9, 1:24, 10:47 & 16:6). However, despite being unaware of the “Virgin Birth” narrative, the author of the “Gospel of Mark” was aware of the purported identity of Jesus’ mother, as he references her by name in his gospel. Curiously, the author of the “Gospel of Mark” was either (a) unaware of the purported identity of Jesus’ father (because his purported identity had not yet been conjured and integrated into the mainstream narrative of early Christianity) or (b) believed that the purported identity of Jesus’ father was not relevant to Jesus’ post-baptism status as the “Son of God”.
However, sometime after the issuance of the “Gospel of Mark”, the notion that Jesus was purportedly born of a union between his mother and the Holy Spirit in Bethlehem began to circulate among Christians, and this notion thereby entered the mainstream narrative of early Christianity. So, per the “Gospel of Matthew” and the “Gospel of Luke” (both written circa 85 CE, although the former gospel was likely written before the latter gospel, as discussed elsewhere in this Essay), Jesus became the “Son of God” much earlier than his purported adult baptism, namely, upon his purported birth as the progeny of Mary and the Holy Spirit, to wit:
“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18); and
“The Angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you [Mary], and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [Mary]. So, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’” (Luke 1:35).
So, the “Virgin Birth” narrative, whereby Jesus lacked a human father, became those authors’ deification device. However, treating the “Virgin Birth” narrative as one narrative is very misleading, as this purported event together with its purported prologue and its purported epilogue, collectively known as the “Infancy” narrative, actually encompasses two incompatible accounts. In fact, except for the claim that Jesus was born in Bethlehem to a virgin named Mary (who was betrothed to a man named Joseph) and the Holy Spirit, every element of the “Infancy” narrative is the subject of dispute between the “Gospel of Matthew” and the “Gospel of Luke”. It is noteworthy that the purported existence of Joseph (which was unknown to or ignored by both the author of the “Pauline Letters” and the author of the “Gospel of Mark”) appears for the first time in these two gospels -- approximately 55 years after the purported death of Jesus.
Below are the main points of dispute in the “Infancy” narrative disseminated by these two gospels:
Conflicting Pre-birth Accounts:
The “Gospel of Matthew” claims that, during the reign of Judean king Herod the Great (see Matthew 2:1), Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married and, by implication, were residing in Bethlehem (see Matthew 1:24, 2:1 & 2:11) when Joseph discovered that Mary had already become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, after which an unidentified Angel informed Joseph in a dream that he must name the child Jesus (see Matthew 1:18-22). If this account is to be believed, then it happened circa 6 BCE.
Contrariwise, the “Gospel of Luke” claims that, during the much later reign of Syrian legate governor Publius Sulpicius Quirinius (see Luke 2:2), Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married and were residing in Nazareth when the Angel Gabriel, during a visitation with Mary, informed her that she would soon become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, and that she must name the child Jesus (see Luke 1:26-35). If this account is to be believed, then it happened circa 6 CE. However, this gospel contradicts itself on this issue when it elsewhere implies that Jesus was purportedly born during the much earlier reign of Judean king Herod the Great (see Luke 1:5-36, especially at 5, 26-27 & 36).
Conflicting Post-birth Accounts:
The “Gospel of Matthew” claims that as much as 2 years (see Matthew 2:16) after Jesus’ birth in the family’s hometown of Bethlehem (see Matthew 2:1), a delegation of gift-bearers identified as “Magi” (which was a title given to Zoroastrian priests from Persia and India, who were believed to be practitioners of magic) visited toddler Jesus in his house in Bethlehem and worshipped him, thereby becoming the first people to treat Jesus as a demigod (see Matthew 2:7-11), after which the family fled from Bethlehem to Egypt and resided there until the death of King Herod the Great in order to avoid an attempt by the latter to murder toddler Jesus (see Matthew 2:13-15). In the meantime, in an incident commonly known as the “Massacre of the Innocents, King Herod the Great, being unaware that the family had already fled to Egypt, murdered all of the male children in Bethlehem and its environs who were 2 years old or younger (see Matthew 2:16). After the king’s death, the family returned to the Land of Israel and chose to reside in Nazareth in order to fulfill a nonexistent prophecy that the Messiah would be known as a resident of Nazareth (see Matthew 2:19-23).
It is noteworthy that there is no historical evidence that the “Massacre of the Innocents” happened. It seems that this purported incident was meant to equate Jesus with Moses by mimicking Pharaonic Egypt’s earlier massacre of male Hebrew babies (see Exodus 1:15-22).
Unsurprisingly, in the “Gospel of Matthew”, there is no mention of newborn-baby Jesus being placed in a livestock feeding trough due to a lack of lodging accommodations (as the family already resided in a house in Bethlehem), and no mention of newborn-baby or toddler Jesus being visited by a group of non-gift-bearing and non-worshipping local shepherds; nor is there any mention of the family taking newborn-baby or toddler Jesus from Bethlehem to Jerusalem for the performance of Jewish religious rites (during which Jesus might have been captured and murdered by King Herod the Great).
Contrariwise, the “Gospel of Luke” claims that Joseph and Mary were residing in the family’s hometown of Nazareth (see Luke 1:26), and that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem (see Luke 2:6-7) was effected by an empire-wide Roman census that illogically required people to return to their ancestral villages in order to register and be counted (see Luke 2:1-3), which caused the family to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem (see Luke 2:4-5), and that, after Jesus’ birth, Mary placed him in a livestock feeding trough due to a lack of lodging accommodations in Bethlehem (see Luke 2:7), and that a group of non-gift-bearing and non-worshipping local shepherds subsequently visited newborn-baby Jesus (see Luke 2:8 & 15-16), after which the family took baby Jesus from Bethlehem to Jerusalem for the performance of Jewish religious rites (see Luke 2:22), and that, after completing their activities in Jerusalem, the family immediately returned to Nazareth (see Luke 2:39).
It is noteworthy that, although the Roman Empire did conduct a tax census of those provinces that were then under the direct rule of the Empire in 6 CE, the census did not require men to return to their ancestral villages for purposes of taxation, as the census logically counted men only according to their present domiciles. Moreover, while the census did apply to residents of the directly-ruled province of Judea (where Bethlehem was situated), which was under the authority of Syrian legate governor Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, it did not apply to residents of the client-territory of Galilee (where Nazareth was situated), which was under the authority of local tetrarch Herod Antipas (the son of King Herod the Great) -- because the Empire did not directly tax client-territories. Consequently, Joseph -- being a resident of Nazareth at the beginning of the “Infancy” narrative of the “Gospel of Luke” -- was not subject to this census.
Unsurprisingly, in the “Gospel of Luke”, there is no mention of any royal threat to the life of newborn-baby or toddler Jesus (either in Bethlehem or in Jerusalem) and, consequently, no mention of the family fleeing (or needing to flee) to Egypt; nor is there any mention of a delegation of gift-bearing foreign magicians who visited and worshipped newborn-baby or toddler Jesus, or any mention of the “Massacre of the Innocents” by King Herod the Great (who had died in 4 BCE, being approximately 9 years before the purported birth of Jesus in the “Gospel of Luke” in 6 CE).
However, in an effort to cope with the cognitive dissonance triggered by these discordant accounts, normative Christianity conjured a unitary “Infancy” narrative by combining elements of both accounts, as follows:
In Nazareth, the Angel Gabriel informs Mary about the impending birth of Jesus (from the “Gospel of Luke”). Subsequently, Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the Roman census, where Mary gives birth to Jesus and places him in a livestock feeding trough (from the “Gospel of Luke”). After Jesus’ birth, a delegation of gift-bearing foreign magicians visits and worships newborn-baby Jesus lying in the livestock feeding trough (from mixing elements of both gospels, as the visit of the foreign magicians is from the “Gospel of Matthew”, while Jesus being a newborn baby lying in a livestock feeding trough is from the “Gospel of Luke”). Subsequently, the family immediately flees from Bethlehem to Egypt in order to escape King Herod the Great, after which the king commits infanticide in the Bethlehem area (from the “Gospel of Matthew”). However, after the death of the king, the family returns to the Land of Israel and chooses to reside in Nazareth (from the “Gospel of Matthew”).
Finally, per the “Gospel of John” (written circa 100 CE), Jesus became the “Son of God” much earlier than his purported birth, namely, at the very beginning of Creation, thereby purportedly rendering him a preexistent deity, to wit:
“In the Beginning [of Creation] was the Word [i.e., Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He [i.e., Jesus, being the Word] was with God in the Beginning [of Creation]. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his [Jesus’] Glory, the Glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of Grace and Truth.” (John 1:1-14); and
“‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” (John 8:58).
It is noteworthy that, although the author of the “Gospel of John” was likely aware of the “Virgin Birth” narrative, as that narrative had already been disseminated more than a decade earlier in the “Gospel of Matthew” and the “Gospel of Luke”, he had no need to utilize that narrative as a deification device, because it hardly mattered where or how Jesus, as a purported preexistent deity, had first appeared on Earth. For this reason, the author of the “Gospel of John”, although being likely aware of the purported identity of Jesus’ mother (who was so integral to the “Virgin Birth” narrative), does not bother to reference her by name in his gospel.
Consequently, the author of the “Gospel of John” did not explicitly refer to the “Virgin Birth” narrative in his gospel. However, he implicitly referred to and rejected that narrative by conjuring an interaction between Jesus and the Jews of Jerusalem, in which it is made clear that Jesus was born in Galilee (i.e., Nazareth, which is in the Galilee region of the Land of Israel) rather than in Bethlehem, to wit:
“On hearing his [Jesus’] words, some of the people said, ‘Surely this man is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘He is the Messiah.’ Still others asked, ‘How can the Messiah come from Galilee [i.e., Nazareth]? Does not Scripture [i.e., the Hebrew Bible] say that the Messiah will come from [King] David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where [King] David lived?’ Thus, the people were divided because of Jesus.” (John 7:40-43).
Even worse, in the “Gospel of John”, some of Jesus’ own disciples also believed that he was born in Nazareth, to wit:
“Philip found Nathaniel and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law [i.e. the Torah], and about whom the [Hebrew] prophets also wrote -- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ Nathaniel asked, ‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’,. …” (John 1:45-46).
Tellingly, in the “Gospel of John”, the Jewish people -- including Jesus’ own disciples -- are completely unaware of the claim made in the “Gospel of Matthew” and in the “Gospel of Luke” that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (meaning that they are also completely unaware of the claim made in those two gospels that Jesus was prophesied to be born -- and was subsequently born -- of a virgin in that city). Moreover, Jesus, as portrayed in the “Gospel of John”, remains silent on the issue, thereby implicitly confirming that he was born in Nazareth rather than in Bethlehem.
Towards the end of this gospel, its author decided to reinforce his implicit rejection of Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus by portraying Roman Governor Pontius Pilate as declaring that the purportedly-crucified Jesus was from Nazareth rather from Bethlehem, to wit:
“Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.’” (John 19:19).
This last opinion of Jesus’ Christological status (i.e., that Jesus was a preexistent deity originating from the very beginning of Creation, joined together with God Himself in a hypostatic union) eventually became the mainstream view of Jesus within Christianity and the Roman Empire. This Christological status, together with early Christianity’s disengagement from Judaism and its embrace of the Roman Empire’s pagan beliefs, customs and celebrations, allowed Christianity to obtain parity for the deified Jesus with -- and ultimately supremacy for the deified Jesus over -- the other gods of the Empire.
The progression from parity to supremacy took only 67 years.
Parity was achieved in 313 CE when the Empire issued its Edict of Milan, which decree legalized Christianity as a permitted religion of the Empire.
Favoritism ensued when Emperor Constantine I convened and supervised a conference commonly known as the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, consisting of Christian bishops from throughout the Empire, whose purpose was to create a uniform set of Christian beliefs acceptable to the Emperor, which uniform creed became known as the “Nicene Creed”. The main issue of longstanding credal dispute that the Council of Nicaea needed to settle was whether the deified Jesus, as the Second Person (i.e., the Son) of the Christian godhead, was: (1) created by the First Person (i.e., the Father) and was consequently of lesser divinity than the First Person, or (2) of the same substance as the First Person and was consequently of equal divinity with the First Person. Relying upon the preexistent deity formulation in the prologue of the “Gospel of John”, the Council ruled that the Son was equal in divinity to the Father, meaning that, although they were distinct Persons, they possessed co-equal status within the Christian godhead. However, notwithstanding the creation of the Nicene Creed, over the succeeding millennia, the Church serially splintered into the myriad Christian sects that exist Today -- numbering approximately 320 -- due, inter alia, to continuing disagreement over the Christological status of Jesus.
Supremacy was finally achieved in 380 CE when the Empire issued its Edict of Thessalonica, which decree established Nicene Christianity as the official religion of the Empire.
Consequently, it is a gross mischaracterization to assert that Rome became Christianized. Rather, by deifying Jesus, Christianity became Romanized.
Moreover, as the “Virgin Birth” narrative had quickly become a fundamental tenet of early Christianity, a major dilemma that the early Church needed to resolve was whether to arrange all books of the “New Testament” in chronological order. This approach would have enabled Christian audiences to understand the historical development of Christianity, but this approach would have also discredited the “Virgin Birth” narrative, as it would have required that the first four books be arranged in the following order:
1st position: “Pauline Letters” (written circa 50 CE - 60 CE) -- if all “Pauline Letters” were to be placed in one book;
2nd position: “Gospel of Mark” (written circa 70 CE)
3rd position: “Gospel of Matthew” (written circa 85 CE)
4th position: “Gospel of Luke” (written circa 85 CE)
As the “Pauline Letters” begin with a postmortem Jesus, and as the “Gospel of Mark” begins with an adult Jesus, a decision to place all books of the “New Testament” in chronological order would have highlighted the fact that the two earliest Christian authors knew nothing of the “Virgin Birth” narrative (or the broader “Infancy” narrative) that would be promoted only decades later by the “Gospel of Matthew” and the “Gospel of Luke”, thereby leading Christian audiences to logically conclude that the “Virgin Birth” narrative had been conjured by imaginative authors seeking to insert Jesus into the Roman Empire’s pantheon of gods who had also been miraculously born. Christian audiences would have come to this conclusion, because they would have realized that the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth in Bethlehem -- if true -- would have been widely known among Jesus’ earliest followers, and would have been transmitted from that first generation of acolytes to succeeding generations thereof. Consequently, such a stupendous event would never have been ignored by the author of the “Pauline Letters” and by the author of the “Gospel of Mark” -- unless this event never happened and was, for this reason, unknown to and unmentioned by these earliest “New Testament” authors.
As the “New Testament” in its entirety was being marketed as the Word of God, the early Church realized that undermining the credibility of the belated “Virgin Birth” narrative would undermine the credibility of the “New Testament” in its entirety as the Word of God.
Consequently, in order to avoid undermining the “Virgin Birth” narrative and thereby the “New Testament”, the editors of the final version of the “New Testament” decided, in the late 4th Century CE, to deviate from chronological order by arranging those same books in the following order:
1st position: “Gospel of Matthew” (written circa 85 CE)
2nd position: “Gospel of Mark” (written circa 70 CE)
3rd position: “Gospel of Luke” (written circa 85 CE)
6th & later positions: “Pauline Letters” (written circa 50 CE - 60 CE)
By placing the “Gospel of Matthew” in first position -- immediately before the “Gospel of Mark” and well before the “Pauline Letters” -- the editors of the final version of the “New Testament” succeeded in misleading Christian audiences into believing that the “Virgin Birth” narrative constitutes the earliest -- and consequently the most reliable -- narrative of Jesus.
Moreover, just as the chronologically-dishonest first-position placement of the “Gospel of Matthew” was intended to create false credibility for the “Virgin Birth” narrative and to thereby protect the credibility of the “New Testament”, the chronologically-dishonest sixth (and later) position placement of the “Pauline Letters” (i.e., after all four “Gospels” and the “Acts of the Apostles”, which collectively constitute the entire narrative portion of the “New Testament”) was also intended to accomplish the same purpose. For, this manipulative placement of the “Pauline Letters” was intended to:
(a) conceal from Christian audiences the fact that the “Pauline Letters”, which contain no mention of a miraculous birth, constitute the earliest -- and consequently the most reliable -- writings about Jesus (as these letters were issued approximately 30 years prior to the publications of the “Gospel of Matthew” and the “Gospel of Luke”), and
(b) thereby create the false belief among Christian audiences that the “Pauline Letters” were instead written well after the purported events described in the narrative portion of the “New Testament (including the “Gospel of Matthew” and the “Gospel of Luke”), in hopes that the absence of any mention of a miraculous birth in the “Pauline Letters” would not undermine the credibility of the “Virgin Birth” narrative and thereby the “New Testament” in the estimation of Christian audiences.
Ironically, despite purportedly calling himself the “Son of God”, and despite purportedly allowing his disciples to worship him in that capacity (see Matthew 14:33 & 28:17; Luke 24:52; and John 20:28), Jesus -- by ridiculing the rabbinic establishment for instituting the Jewish tradition of washing one’s hands before touching food -- proved himself to be astoundingly ignorant about basic hygiene, to wit:
“The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around him [Jesus] when they had come from Jerusalem, and had seen that some of his [Jesus’] disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots. The Pharisees and the scribes asked him [Jesus], ‘Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?’ And he [Jesus] said to them, ‘Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: “This people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as [Torah] Doctrines the precepts of Men.”’” (Mark 7:1-7; this account also appears with a truncated narrative but with additional dialogue in Matthew 15:1-9)
Obviously, the foregoing rabbinic custom was instituted for the purpose of achieving ritual purity rather than for the purpose of exterminating pathogens present on the surface of one’s hands and upon the surface of one’s drinking and cooking receptacles, as the medical disciplines of bacteriology and virology did not yet exist in the 1st Century CE; and, consequently, a mere human being living in that time period would not have been cognizant of the existential health benefits of washing one’s hands before touching food and of washing one’s drinking and cooking receptacles before reuse. However, according to the “Gospels”, Jesus denied that he was a mere human being, and he instead claimed, not only that he was the Messiah, but also that he was the “Son of God”, thereby enjoying the most intimate Communion with God. If those majestic claims are to be accepted as true, then why didn’t Jesus know that this rabbinic custom was beneficial to all of Humanity, including to himself and to his apostles? Consequently, this purported interaction between Jesus and the rabbinic establishment constitutes perhaps the most persuasive empirical refutation of the Christological status of Jesus.
Conversely, if Jesus qua the “Son of God” did know about the existential health benefits of washing one’s hands before touching food and of washing one’s drinking and cooking receptacles before reuse, but he chose to withhold that information from his apostles (merely because he did not want to endorse any custom, however beneficial, practiced by the rabbinic establishment), then he is guilty of a heinous medical crime against many future generations of Christians, resulting in innumerable unnecessary fatalities via the transmission of communicable diseases.
One last issue requires comment. Did the early apostles of Jesus attempt to evangelize the populations of the eastern Mediterranean Sea area solely for altruistic reasons, namely, to save the souls of these human beings from the otherwise unalterable damnation caused by the “Curse of Original Sin”? It seems not, as the “New Testament” itself provides evidence that the apostles possessed a pecuniary motive for their activities, and that they condemned their own followers as sinners in league with Satan for not maximizing their donations to the apostles. Moreover, in order the intimidate and terrify future generations of Christians, the “New Testament” implies that a husband and wife were killed by God for their failure to give the apostles 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their land, to wit:
“Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned; and he brought [all] the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge, he kept back part of the money for himself; but he brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then [the apostle] Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it [the land] belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.’ When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. [The apostle] Peter asked her, ‘Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘that is the price.’ [The apostle] Peter said to her, ‘How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.’ At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole Church [i.e., the followers of the early apostles] and all who heard about these events. (Acts 4:36 - 5:11)
Moreover, the “New Testament” explains why the apostles were entitled to be generously compensated for their evangelistic activities, via a purported speech by the apostle Paul to the Church in Corinth, Greece, to wit:
“‘Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Even though I may not be an apostle to others, certainly I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. Don’t we have the right to food and drink? Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law [i.e., the Torah] say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely, he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the Gospel of Christ. Don’t you know that those who serve in the Temple get their food from the Temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the Gospel should receive their living from the Gospel.’” (1 Corinthians 9:1-14)
It is noteworthy that this demand for compensation (being a portion of the “Pauline Letter” known as 1 Corinthians) was made approximately two decades before the first gospel (i.e., the “Gospel of Mark”) was written.
Consequently, based upon the foregoing evidence, it is possible that Christianity originated as a business opportunity created by the early apostles, and that the “Gospels” were subsequently written to provide theological support for this business enterprise. At the very least, it is obvious that even the early apostles did not actually believe in the “New Testament” doctrine of “Justification by Faith Alone”, because faith in Jesus as Savior, by itself, was clearly insufficient to save the souls of devoted Christians, because the giving of maximized donations from devoted Christians to the early apostles was also necessary for their Salvation.
In fact, the notion that faith in Jesus requires the impoverishment of Christians via a transfer of their wealth to the Church explains why the “New Testament” condemns accumulated wealth via such passages as the following:
“Jesus looked at him [the wealthy man] and said, ‘How hard it is for the wealthy [person] to enter the Kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is wealthy to enter the Kingdom of God.’” (Luke 18:24-25; this account also appears with slight variation at Matthew 19:23-24 and Mark 10:23-24)
However, the “New Testament” yet again contradicts itself, as it elsewhere implicitly praises accumulated wealth. For, in the metaphorical story known as the “Parable of the Bags of Gold”, Jesus purportedly employed the increase or the lack of increase in eight bags of gold , which were distributed by a master among his servants, as a metaphor for spiritual merit or spiritual demerit (see Matthew 25:14-30).
Unfortunately, with deadly historical consequences for the Jewish people, in tandem with its message of Divine Love for those who accept Jesus as their Savior, a message of hatred and contempt for (non-converting) Jews inheres in Christianity.
Obviously, we do not accept:
that Jesus, if he existed, was the God of Israel rendered Corporeal (or that Incorporeal God would ever transform Himself into one of His Creations); or
that Jesus, if he existed, was the biological “Son of God”; or
that Unitary God is, instead, a three-Person godhead, comprising the “Father” (being the First Person thereof), Jesus the “Son” (being the Second Person thereof) and the “Holy Spirit” (being the Third Person thereof); or
that the “New Testament” is a Scripture of the God of Israel; or
that Christianity has superseded Judaism as the Revelation of the God of Israel; or
that Humanity is born with the stain of “Original Sin”; or
that a righteous person might be denied God’s Love and Salvation; or
that the God of Israel despises wealthy people (in that, contrariwise, God judges -- and requires us to judge -- a person, not according to his wealth or poverty, but according to his character and deeds (see Leviticus 19:15)); or
that the God of Israel kills -- let alone immediately kills -- people who refuse to donate less than 100% of their liquidated assets to religious institutions; or
that the God of Israel endorses the use of deception to convince people to embrace Him; or
that the God of Israel is unable to correctly identify the tribes of Israel; or
that the God of Israel desires that we comply with only half of the Ten Commandments; or
that the God of Israel created and communicated His Commandments to the Jewish people as an Act of Frivolity; or
that the God of Israel commands the Jewish people to engage in symbolic cannibalism of the true Messiah in order to achieve Communion with God; or
that the God of Israel impregnated a human woman (whether or not a virgin), and did so for the purpose of siring a demigod, who was destined to be hunted, captured, tortured and murdered, in order to absolve a person of his Sins, provided that such person accepts that crucified demigod as his Savior (in that, contrariwise, with respect to intentional Sins, the God of Israel has explicitly repudiated the doctrines of “Substitutionary Punishment” (see Deuteronomy 24:16; and Ezekiel 18:14-20) and “Substitutionary Atonement” (see Ezekiel 18:21-32), and He has explicitly forbidden the practice of human sacrifice, which is an abomination to Him (see Leviticus 18:21 & 20:1-5; Deuteronomy 12:31; and Jeremiah 19:1-5 & 32:33-35)); or
that the God of Israel has decreed that a person cannot be forgiven for his Sins unless he accepts Jesus as his Savior (in that, contrariwise, the God of Israel, before, during and after the purported lifetime of Jesus, without employing any supernatural intermediary as Humankind’s Savior, Himself forgives a person’s forgivable Sins, but only after that person confesses, repents, and thereafter modifies his thoughts and behaviors in order to avoid repeating those Sins (see Psalms 145:18; Hosea 14:2-3; and Zechariah 1:3); or, alternatively stated, that the God of Israel has decreed that, even without repentance and modification, a sinner will nonetheless be able to absolve himself from responsibility and punishment for his Sins (except for the Christian Sin of Blasphemy) merely by accepting Jesus as his Savior; or
that the God of Israel requires people to hate their own families and their own lives, or that the Messiah will be tasked with inciting such hatred; or
that the God of Israel gave Jesus the Power to abrogate the Divine -- and thus unalterable -- Commandments of the Torah, which God Himself bestowed upon the Jewish people; or
that the God of Israel has decreed that the Jewish people be massacred or otherwise persecuted as punishment in this Life for their refusal to convert to Christianity (or to otherwise accept Jesus as their Savior and King); or
that the God of Israel has decreed that the Jewish people be cast into the Fires of Hell as punishment in the Afterlife for their refusal to convert to Christianity (or to otherwise accept Jesus as their Savior and King); or
that the God of Israel created all-powerful supernatural creatures, such as Satan and the Antichrist, representing Evil Incarnate, which compete with God for Supremacy over the Universe; or
that the God of Israel created lesser demonic creatures, and permits them to enter human beings in order to control their actions and possess their souls; or
that the God of Israel resurrected Jesus after his purported crucifixion; or
that the God of Israel resurrected Moses and the Prophet Elijah, so that Jesus would be able to meet and converse with them; or
that the God of Israel instructs the Jewish people, as proof of our faith in Him (via Jesus), to: (a) cast out demons (which would require a belief in the existence of demons and demonic possession), (b) speak gibberish, (c) handle deadly snakes, (d) ingest poison, and (e) heal the sick without resort to medical intervention; or
that the God of Israel instructs the Jewish people, as a sign of our devotion to Him (via Jesus), to martyr ourselves (in that, contrariwise, the God of Israel urges us to honor Him by choosing Life over Death (see Deuteronomy 30:19-20)); or
that the Jewish people bear collective and perpetual guilt for the Crime of Deicide (as if it were actually possible to kill the Creator of all Existence); or
that the God of Israel directed the various authors of the “New Testament” to employ mistranslated and/or truncated and/or nonexistent verses from the Hebrew Bible in order to prove that Jesus is the Messiah promised by the Hebrew Bible; or
that the God of Israel endorses the use of deception in order to persuade people to believe in Him; or
that the true Messiah will -- at any point in time (i.e., prior to his birth or during his lifetime or after his death) -- be a demigod rather than exclusively a human being; or
that the true Messiah will be tortured and/or murdered as part of his mission; or
that the true Messiah will fail during his lifetime to accomplish the tasks with which he has been entrusted by the God of Israel.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, assuming that Jesus and his early acolytes actually existed, it must be conceded that, without knowing which verses, if any, of the “New Testament” accurately describe the words and conduct of Jesus and his apostles, it may be unfair to assign blame to any of those individuals for the Antisemitism inherent in the “New Testament” or for the horrific historical consequences thereof.
It is axiomatic that Christianity seeks to know God, not only through an intentionally-flawed translation of the Hebrew Bible plus (depending on the particular Christian sect) certain books of apocryphal literature, which are collectively known as the “Old Testament”, but also through the “New Testament”; and, in cases of conflict between the Hebrew Bible and the “New Testament”, the latter prevails in the eyes of Christians simply because that Scripture is deemed by Christianity to be the corrective and final Word of God. Accordingly, to the extent that the Christian Bible distorts the Attributes, Message and Expectations of the God of Israel, it does not describe our God at all but another deity entirely -- and it is this latter deity that Christianity recognizes and to which Christians pray.
Consequently, we cannot possibly accept the postulate that the deity depicted in the “New Testament” and the God of Israel are one and the same -- or that, after so thorough a baptism in the falsehoods of the “New Testament”, Christians (even those who do not worship Jesus as a god) nevertheless pray to the God of Israel.
Ironically, Christianity unintentionally declares this very Truth about itself: “For the time will come when people will no longer accept sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they [the people] will gather around them a great number of teachers who will say what their [the people’s] itching ears want to hear. They [the people] will turn their ears away from the Truth and turn aside to Myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
It is no different with Islam.
Islam (meaning: “Submission”) revolves around the purported life and teachings of Mohammed ibn Abdullah (Mohammed son of Abdullah) (sometimes spelled: Muhammad), a pagan Arab who purported lived in the Arabian Peninsula approximately 1400 years ago during the 7th Century CE. Mohammed is purported to have died in 632 CE.
Islam asserts that the God of Israel -- Whom Islam calls “Allah” -- initially gave the Taurat (Torah) to the Jewish people as an Instrument of Islam; and that He, in order to correct the doctrinal errors that had infiltrated Judaism, thereafter sent Isa (Jesus) as His Prophet and bestowed upon him the Injeel (i.e., a mythical Islamic Gospel of Christianity) as a subsequent Instrument of Islam; and that He, observing that Christianity had also fallen into false doctrine, thereafter sent His final Prophet, Mohammed, in order to transmit God’s original and perfect Message to Humankind, which is Islam, devoid of the prior doctrinal errors of both Judaism and Christianity (see Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 19; Sura 4 “The Women” at 44-52; Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 17, 44-51, 61-86 & 116; and Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 30-33).
The repository of this Message, purportedly revealed to Mohammed over a 22-year period spanning 610 CE to 632 CE, is the Koran (sometimes spelled: Quran or Qur’an; meaning: “Recitation”), which is a chaotic stream-of-consciousness narrative (arranged, expect for the first chapter, from the longest chapter to the shortest chapter) that fragments and spreads its topics over many of its 114 chapters (each of which is called a “sura”). The Koran was purportedly recited by Mohammed at the command of the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) -- the same Angel who had, more than 600 years earlier, purportedly announced the prospective birth of Jesus to Mary according to the “Gospel of Luke”. Consequently, the Koran purports to be the complete and final Scripture of God, thereby superseding, in Revelation, both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible. This doctrine of Muslim supremacism is expressed in the Islamic dogma that: “The only true Religion in Allah’s Eyes is Islam. ...” (Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 19). It is for this reason that Islam declares: “It is He [Allah] Who has sent His Messenger [i.e., Mohammed] with guidance and the Religion of Truth [i.e., Islam], in order for it to be dominant over all other religions, even though the unbelievers will oppose it.” (Koran, Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 33). This also explains why the Koran states: “No; Ibrahim [Abraham] in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim, and one pure in faith. ...” (Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 67). Since, according to Islam, Allah is the God of Creation, it is He Who spoke to our forefather Abraham. And since, according to the Koran, “the only true Religion” is Islam, it is only Islam that Allah imparted to Abraham, as a result of which Abraham became the first Muslim. Consequently, since, according to the Koran, Abraham was a Muslim, and since Abraham’s Jewish progeny of 7th Century CE Arabia rejected any “return” to Islam, God’s Eternal Promises to, and Eternal Covenant with, the descendants of Abraham were purportedly transferred from his Jewish progeny to his alleged Arab progeny (who dubiously claim descent from Abraham’s elder son Ishmael) who accepted Islam (as well as those non-Arabs who subsequently converted, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to Islam). It is noteworthy that although Mohammed purportedly asserted that the Arab people are descended from Ishmael, the latter was not an Arab. Rather, as the child of Abraham and his secondary wife Hagar, Ishmael was part Hebrew and part (pre-Arabic) Egyptian (see Genesis 14:13; and Genesis 16:1, 3 & 15).
Yet, despite the Koran’s claimed purity (i.e., that God Himself is the Author of every word in the Koran and that -- per Koran, 85 “The Celestial Stations” at 21-22 -- He has preserved the Koran on a Heavenly Tablet), and despite the Koran’s claimed continuity (i.e., that no portion of the Koran has been altered by human intervention from the time that its words were revealed to Mohammed until Today), the oral verses of the original Koran were not compiled into a unified written text during the lifetime of Mohammed.
So, what is the origin of Today’s standardized version of the Koran? Muslim apologists claim that 100% of the oral verses of the original Koran were compiled into an approved written text by the instruction of Caliph Othman ibn Affan (in a process which involved the destruction of all variant written texts of the Koran) in 652 CE -- 20 years after the purported death of Mohammed -- and that Today’s standardized version of the Koran is provably identical to Othman’s approved written text of the Koran. However, this claim is demonstrably false, as:
a. no copy of Othman’s written Koran (if it ever existed) presently exists (rendering to impossible to compare Othman’s written Koran to Today’s standardized version of the Koran; and
b. the earliest extant written Korans -- numbering 6 parchment manuscripts -- are dated only to the 8th Century CE, being approximately 100 years after the purported death of Mohammed and approximately 80 years after the purported date of Othman’s written Koran; and
c. these early written Korans contain approximately 4,000 significant textual variances from each other (e.g., variant diacritical dots within the same series of consonants at the same position within the text, resulting in the creation of variant words with different meanings from each other at the same position within the text; additions of text; erasures of text; additions of text over erasures of text; patches covering text; and/or additions of text over patches); and
d. each of these early written Korans continued to be serially revised for hundreds of years after their respective creations; and
e. none of these early written versions (either in their original forms or in their mutated forms) are the same version of the Koran as the standardized version that is universally accepted Today as being “the Koran”.
Astonishingly, Today’s “standardized” version of the Koran was created by a panel of scholars at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University only in 1924. That panel had before it 37 competing versions of the Koran then in routine use throughout the World, and it chose as the true Koran a version of the Koran purportedly transcribed by Abu Amr Hafs Ibn Sulayman in the 8th Century CE (commonly known as the “Hafs Koran”). The Hafs Koran was eventually adopted as the true Koran by Saudi Arabia (and, consequently, by most of the Islamic World) only in 1985.
Yet, even Today’s standardized version of the Koran contains numerous internal textual contradictions. The way that the serial redactors of the Koran dealt with this problem was to include two verses in the Koran that proclaimed the “Doctrine of Abrogation”, whereby textual contradictions were to be resolved by permitting a later verse to cancel an earlier verse, to wit:
“Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We [then] bring one better than it -- or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah has Power over all things?” (Koran, Sura 2 “The Cow” at 106); and
“And when We change [one] communication for [another] communication, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they [the unbelievers] say: ‘You are only a forger.’ Nay, most of them do not know [that Allah has reserved to Himself the right to repeal and replace Revelation].” (Koran, Sura 16 “The Bee” at 101)
Moreover, the tenets of Islam are presently drawn not only from the standardized version of the Koran adopted in the 20th Century CE, but also from Muslim biographies of Mohammed, the earliest preserved versions of which were created in the 9th Century CE -- approximately 200 years after the purported death of Mohammed -- and from the compilations of Muslim literature, the earliest preserved versions of which were also created in the 9th Century CE, that are collectively denominated as the Hadith (which corpus of literature purports to have memorialized the extra-Koranic words and deeds of Mohammed and his contemporary acolytes). The two most authoritative Hadith compilations are known as “Sahih al-Bukhari” (created by Mohammed al-Bukhari) and as “Sahih Muslim” (created by Muslim al-Hajjaj).
In a monumental departure from the Hebrew Bible, the Koran claims that Allah sequentially created two species of self-aware beings: first, the Jinn and, only afterward, the Humans (to wit: “And certainly We created Man of clay that gives forth sound, of black mud fashioned in shape. And the Jinn We created before, of intensely-hot fire.” (Koran, Sura 15 “The Rock” at 26-27)). According to the Koran, the Jinn are not Angels (who lack Free Will), but rather supernatural creatures who use their Free Will to obey or disobey Allah and to tempt Humans to do likewise (to wit: “Say: It has been revealed to me that a band of Jinn listened, and they [the Jinn] said: ‘Surely we have heard a wonderful Koran. Guiding to the Right Way, so we believe in it, and we will not elevate anyone together with our Lord. And He -- exalted be the majesty of our Lord -- has not taken a Consort, nor a Son. And [yet] the foolish among us [Jinn] used to utter falsehoods against Allah. And we had [previously] thought that Men and Jinn did not utter a lie against Allah. And [moreover] persons from among Men used to seek refuge with persons from among Jinn, but they [the Jinn] caused them [the Men] to increase in wrongdoing. … And some of us [Jinn] are righteous while some of us are not; we are sects following different ways.’” (Koran, Sura 72 “The Jinn” at 1-6); and: “On the Day when He [Allah] shall gather them all together, He [Allah] will say: ‘O assembly of Jinn, you have seduced Mankind in great numbers. …’” (Koran, Sura 6 “The Cattle” at 128); and: “And certainly We have created for [entry to] Hell many of the Jinn and the Men. …” (Koran, Sura 7 “The Elevated Places” at 179)).
Tellingly, the Koran does not view all Muslims as being equal in worth and dignity, as it commands husbands to beat their disobedient wives until they become obedient, to wit:
“Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them [i.e., men] to excel others [i.e., women], and because they spend [money for women’s welfare] out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen [i.e., their female form] as Allah has guarded; and [as to] those [women] on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then, if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High [and] Great. (Koran, Sura 4 “The Women” at 34).
Furthermore, the Koran permits Muslim men to rape slaves, to wit:
And these [i.e., Muslim men] must guard their private parts [i.e., their penises], except in the case of their wives or those whom their right hands possess [i.e., slaves]; for, these [i.e., Muslim men] surely are not to be blamed [for imposing sexual relations upon such women]. (Koran, Sura 70 “The Ways of Ascent” at 29-30)
Contrariwise, the Hebrew Bible, while acknowledging the then existence of slavery as a societal norm, prohibits Jewish men from raping slaves, including women captured during war, to wit:
“‘When you go out to battle against your enemies, and HaShem your God delivers them into your hand and you take them away captive, and you see among the captives a woman of beautiful form, and you desire [to have sexual intercourse with] her, then you may take her for yourself as a wife. [However, first,] you shall bring her to the midst of your house, and she shall shave her head and grow her nails. She shall remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and she shall mourn her father and her mother for a full month; and afterwards you may come to her and be her husband, and she shall be for you a wife. [However,] it shall be that if [after all of the foregoing] you no longer desire her, then you must let her go wherever she wishes; and you shall certainly not sell her for money; you shall not mistreat her, because you have afflicted her.’” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)
As the preceding Torah Commandment reveals, instead of instructing the Jewish soldier of 3,400 years ago that he could neither make a slave of nor rape his female captive -- prohibitions which that ancient soldier would never have comprehended -- the God of Israel fashioned a series of steps which would gradually dissipate that soldier’s feelings of superiority mixed with lust, and would thereby permit him, no longer being so influenced by his passions, to choose between: (1) elevating his captive to spousal status, and (2) freeing her unconditionally.
Like the Christian Bible, the Koran suffers from erroneous and fictitious narrations of the Hebrew Bible. For example, the Koran:
misidentifies “Haman”, who was the chief minister of Persia’s Emperor in the Purim account, as being a minister of Egypt’s Pharoah in the Exodus account, despite the fact that the events of the Exodus occurred approximately 900 years before the events of Purim (see Koran, Sura 28 “The Narratives” at 1-42, especially at 6, 8 & 38); and
misidentifies the “two righteous spies” (i.e., Joshua and Caleb) -- who advocated conquering the Land of Israel despite the apparent strength of the Canaanite nations then occupying the Land -- as being “Musa [Moses] and his brother” (i.e., Moses and Aaron) (see Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 20-26, especially at 23 & 25); and
misidentifies “Marium [Mary]”, the purported mother of Jesus, as being the “sister of Haroun [Aaron]” (i.e., Miriam of the Exodus account), despite the fact that the events of the Exodus occurred approximately 1,400 years before the purported events described in the “Gospels” (see Koran, Sura 19 “Mary” at 16-34, especially at 28); and
falsely asserts (when Moses delayed returning to the Hebrew encampment from Mount Sinai) that a “Samiri [Samaritan]” was instrumental in the creation of the golden calf, despite the fact that the events of the Exodus took place approximately 700 years before the emergence of the Samaritan people (see Koran, Sura 20 “Ta Ha” at 83-97, especially at 85-87 & 95-96); and
tells a fictitious tale about Moses and his unidentified servant journeying together to the junction of two rivers and then to a city, during which journey the servant, after disabling a boat and killing a child, serially rebukes Moses for questioning the servant’s actions, and ultimately proves to Moses that the servant has been acting upon Revelations from Allah, and that Moses has been an uncomprehending fool (see Koran, Sura 18 “The Cave” at 60-82).
Moreover, Islam accepts, based upon false Christian dogma (stemming from Christianity’s intentional mistranslation of Isaiah 7:14), the purported virgin birth of Jesus (see Koran, Sura 19 “Mary” at 16-34, especially at 20-22), yet rejects both the purported divinity and the purported divine lineage of Jesus (see Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 17, 72-75 & 116; and Koran, Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 30-32). Yet, in declaring Jesus to be a revered Prophet of Islam, the Koran inexplicably ignores the fact that Jesus, per the “New Testament”, purportedly permitted that which Islam -- “the only true Religion” -- explicitly prohibits (i.e., Jesus, in purportedly abrogating the Torah Commandments of Kashrut, implicitly sanctioned the consumption of pig meat, which the Koran explicitly forbids (see Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 3)).
Additionally, while accepting Abraham’s son, Ishaq (Isaac) as a Prophet, Islam views his elder brother, Ismail (Ishmael), to be the greater Prophet due to the dubious Islamic assertion that Ishmael is the ancestor of the Arab people, which would mean that Ishmael is the purported ancestor of Mohammed. This is probably the reason why, despite it not being specified in the Koran, Ishmael (rather than Isaac) is presently deemed by normative Islam to be the son whom God ostensibly ordered Abraham to sacrifice as a test of the Patriarch’s faith. Moreover, according to the Koran, Ishmael was given the high honor of accompanying Abraham to Mecca (located in modern Saudi Arabia), where together they purportedly built and dedicated the structure known as “al-Kaaba” (which is the holiest shrine in Islam, because it hosts the ancient pagan relic known as the “Black Stone”), and where they purportedly implored Allah to create of their descendants (i.e., the purported Arab progeny of Ishmael) a holy nation to whom Allah’s Truth would be revealed (see Koran, Sura 2 “The Cow” at 125-129). This fanciful tale of Abraham and Ishmael in Mecca serves as the basis for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to al-Kaaba in Mecca, which culminates in the Muslim holiday known as “Eid al-Adha” (meaning: “Festival of the Sacrifice”).
Furthermore, with respect to the Jewish people, although certain verses of the Koran contain high praise for them, acknowledge God’s Eternal Covenant with them and recognize that the Land of Israel belongs to them (and exclusively to them), such as:
“O Children of Israel! Remember My Favor which I bestowed on you, and be faithful to [the] Covenant with Me; I will fulfill [the] Covenant with you; and of Me, Me alone, should you be afraid.” (Koran, Sura 2 “The Cow” at 40); and
“Children of Israel, remember My Favor which I have bestowed upon you, and that I exalted you above the nations.” (Koran, Sura 2 “The Cow” at 122); and
“Bear in mind the words of Musa [Moses] to his people. He said: ‘Remember, my people, the favor which Allah has bestowed upon you. He has raised up prophets among you, made you into kings, and given to you that which He has given to no other nation. Enter, my people, the Holy Land [Land of Israel] which Allah has assigned for you. Do not turn back, or you shall be ruined.’” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 20-21); and
“And We made the [Jewish] people who were deemed to be weak to inherit the eastern lands [i.e., territory lying east of the Jordan River] and the western lands [i.e., territory lying west of the Jordan River] which We had blessed; and the Good Word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel because they bore [sufferings] patiently; and We utterly destroyed what Firon [Pharaoh] and his people had wrought and what they built.” (Koran, Sura 7 “The Elevated Places” at 137); and
“Thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land [i.e., the Land of Israel]; and when the Promise of the Hereafter is near fulfillment, We shall gather you all together.’” (Koran, Sura 17 “The Night Journey” at 104); and
“And certainly We delivered the Children of Israel from the abasing chastisement -- from Firon [Pharaoh] -- surely he was haughty, one of the extravagant. And certainly We chose them, knowingly, [to be] above the nations.” (Koran, Sura 44 “The Smoke” at 30-32); and
“And certainly We gave the Book [i.e., the Torah] and the Wisdom and the Prophecy to the Children of Israel, and We gave them of the goodly things, and We made them excel [among] the nations.” (Koran, Sura 45 “The Kneeling” at 16)
yet other verses viciously attack the Jewish people (and sometimes Christians), such as:
“O Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians as your friends; they are friends of each other. Whoever of you makes them his friends is one of them! God guides not the people of the Evildoers!” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 51); and
“Humiliation is imposed upon them [the Jews] wherever they are overtaken, except under a Covenant from Allah and a covenant from the [Muslim] people [which stipulate the surrender and subjugation of the Jews to the Muslims]; and they have invited Wrath from Allah; and Shame has attached itself to them. This is because they disbelieved in the Revelations of Allah and killed the [Hebrew] prophets unjustly. This is because they disobeyed [Allah] and exceeded the limits [of permissible behavior].” (Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 112); and
“... [Jews are] those whom Allah has cursed and with whom He has been angry, [consequently] transforming them into apes and pigs, and [into] those who serve Shaitan [Satan].” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 60; and the transformation of Jews into apes during the Exodus from Egypt is also declared in Sura 2 “The Cow” at 65 and in Sura 7 “The Elevated Places” at 166); and
“You will see many among them [the Jews] competing with each other in Sin and Wickedness and in practicing that which is unlawful. Evil is what they do. Why do their rabbis and leaders not forbid them to blaspheme and practice that which is unlawful? Evil indeed are their doings. The Jews say: ‘Allah’s Hand is chained.’ May their own hands be chained! May they be cursed for what they say. ...” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 62-64); and
“You will find that the most implacable of men in their hostility to the faithful [followers of Allah] are the Jews and the pagans. ...” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 82); and
in a stunning display of Koranic ignorance concerning the monotheistic credo of Judaism: “The Jews say: ‘Uzair [Ezra] is the Son of Allah.’ The Christians say: ‘The Messiah [i.e., Jesus] is the Son of Allah.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming to the [false doctrines of the] unbelievers before them. Allah destroy them! How they are perverted!” (Koran, Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 30).
Even worse, the Hadith spews forth a cascade of calumnies and incitements against the Jewish people, the most infamous of which is:
“Allah’s Apostle [i.e., Mohammed] said: ‘You [the Muslims] will war with the Jews until some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will [betray the Jews], saying: “O Servant of Allah! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.”’” (Hadith compilation of Sahih al-Bukhari at Volume 4, Book 52, Hadith 176, as narrated by Abdullah bin Umar);
and its variant version:
“Allah’s Apostle [i.e., Mohammed] said, ‘The Hour [of Judgment] will not be established until you [the Muslims] war with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say: “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.”’” (Hadith compilation of Sahih al-Bukhari at Volume 4, Book 52, Hadith 177, as narrated by Abu Huraira).
The foregoing apocalyptic declarations are connected to the well-entrenched Islamic belief that, during the time of God’s Judgment upon Humankind, Dajjal (the Antichrist) will begin to dominate the Earth together with his army of 70,000 Jews until Isa (Jesus) is resurrected from death and thereafter destroys Dajjal as well as his Jewish minions (see Hadith compilation of Sahih Muslim, Hadiths 2937a, 2940a & 2944).
In order to understand the foregoing enigma, namely, the intermingling in the Koran of philo-Jewish and anti-Jewish declarations, a brief history of Mohammed’s rise to power and his interactions with the Jews of Arabia -- according to the traditional history of early Islam -- is necessary. When Mohammed created Islam and declared himself to be its prophet, he attempted to gain adherents among the pagan Arab tribes of Mecca, which city was renowned for its ancient place of worship, known as al-Kaaba. The Arabs of Mecca venerated a pantheon of gods (consisting of 7 primary deities and hundreds of secondary deities), the foremost of which was the male Moon deity “Allah” (also known, when being entreated as the chief deity of al-Kaaba, as “Hubal”). In order to make his new monotheistic religion more palatable to Arab converts, Mohammed -- while discarding all of the other Meccan gods -- retained “Allah” as an object of worship, declaring that deity to be the Creator of the Universe. In light of the fact that Mohammed was probably born into a family which already worshipped the Moon deity “Allah”, as evidenced by his pagan father’s name “Abdullah” (meaning: “Servant of Allah”), it is unsurprising that Mohammed would declare the Moon deity “Allah” to be the one and only God.
Although Mohammed gained some converts among the Meccans, the leadership of the City rejected his overtures and expelled him and his acolytes from the City in 622. Mohammed and his followers thereafter fled to Medina (then known as Yathrib) and encountered Jewish tribes there, whom he also attempted to convert. So important did he consider this effort that -- according to his Muslim biographers -- he initially incorporated into Islam the following decrees based upon Judaism:
1. The original Muslim “qibla” (meaning: “direction of prayer”) was purportedly towards Jerusalem (-- the same as in Judaism).
2. The consumption of pig meat was prohibited (-- the same as in Judaism).
3. The 10th day of the first Muslim lunar month was originally declared to be a complete fast day (-- this was in imitation of Yom Kippur, Judaism’s fast day, which is observed on the 10th day of the first Jewish lunar month after the turn of the Jewish calendar year).
4. Prayers were originally required three times a day (-- the same as in Judaism).
5. The Muslim Sabbath was originally decreed to be Saturday (-- the same as in Judaism).
When the Jews of the Medina region, except in insignificant numbers, nonetheless rejected Islam and, even worse, mocked Mohammed’s claim to be a prophet, he felt humiliated and took personal affront; and, when he had built a powerful Muslim army, he went to war against them for 5 years, from 624 - 628 -- expelling some, enslaving some, slaughtering the remainder, and confiscating their wealth (with 80% of Jewish assets being distributed to Mohammed’s army and 20% of Jewish assets being retained by Mohammed himself). The last refuge of the Jews was at Kuraitah, a town near Medina. For 14 days the Jews withstood the Mohammed’s army. When the Jews finally surrendered, Mohammed personally gave the order to massacre the adult men and the pubescent boys, and to enslave the women and surviving children. He then watched as at least 600 Jewish men and boys were decapitated before an assembled Muslim audience in the marketplace of Medina.
In a display of theological triumphalism, the Koran describes Mohammed’s vanquishment of the Jews of Arabia in celebratory terms, to wit:
“And Allah turned back the unbelievers [i.e., the pagan Meccans] in their rage; they did not obtain any advantage, and Allah sufficed the believers [i.e., the Muslims] in fighting; and Allah is Strong [and] Mighty. And He drove down those of the followers of the Book [i.e., the Jews] who supported them [i.e., the pagan Meccans] from their [i.e., the Jews’] fortresses and He cast awe into their [i.e., the Jews’] hearts; some [of the Jews] you [Muslims] slaughtered, and you [Muslims] took captive another part [of the Jews]. And He made you [Muslims] heirs to their [i.e., the Jews’] land and their [i.e., the Jews’] dwellings and their [i.e., the Jews’] property, and a land which you have not yet trodden; and Allah has Power over all things.” (Koran, Sura 33 “The Clans” at 25-27)
Thereafter, Mohammed declared those portions of Arabia under his control to be cleansed of Jews; and, on his purported deathbed in 632, he purportedly issued an order to prevent Jews from ever reestablishing communities there. So it has remained until this Day.
In order to ennoble Mohammed’s genocidal war against the Jewish people, the 9th Century CE Muslim biographers of Mohammed and the 9th Century CE Muslim purveyors of the Hadith claim that the major Jewish clans of Arabia conspired with Mohammed’s enemies (i.e., the pagan Meccans) against him. This claim is bolstered by passages such as the above-recited Koran 33:25-27. Moreover, these sources claim that Jews serially attempted to murder Mohammed, and they further claim that the fever from which Mohammed died was caused by poisoned food prepared by a Jew. Alternatively stated, Muslim apologists assert that Mohammed’s horrific treatment of the Jewish people was well deserved on account of their alleged perfidy.
However, ridding Arabia of its Jews was not sufficient for Mohammed. In order to remove all Jewish influences upon Islam, he purportedly changed the qibla from Jerusalem to Mecca; he converted the complete fast day into a semi-fast month, and he moved it from the 1st to the 9th Muslim lunar month (-- this is the Muslim Fast of Ramadan); he added two additional times for prayer to the original three times for prayer (making prayer five times a day); and he changed the Muslim Sabbath from Saturday to Friday.
The Koranic passages that are complimentary to Jews reflect the earlier period during which Mohammed believed that would be successful in enticing the Jews of Arabia to convert to Islam, while those that spew hatred of Jews reflect the later period during which Mohammed saw his conversionary enticements rebuffed by virtually all of them.
Furthermore, the Koran imposes upon Muslims the collective obligation to make War upon and to subjugate the entire non-Muslim world, including the Jewish people, declaring:
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Apostle [i.e., Mohammed] and strive to make mischief in the Land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified, or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides, or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this World, and in the Afterlife they shall have a grievous chastisement.” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 33); and
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day [i.e., Day of Judgment], nor prohibit what Allah and His Messenger [i.e., Mohammed] have prohibited, nor follow the Religion of Truth [i.e., Islam], including those who have been given the Book [i.e., the Jews and the Christians], until they pay the [subjugation] tax in acknowledgment of [Islam’s] superiority and that they are in a state of subjection [to the Muslims].” (Koran, Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 29); and
“O you who believe: Fight those of the unbelievers who are nearby to you and let them find in you harshness; and know that Allah is with those who fulfill [their duty].” (Koran, Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 123); and
“So, fight against them [i.e., non-Muslims] until there is no more Strife and the Religion of Allah [i.e., Islam] reigns supreme; but if they submit [to you], then surely Allah sees what they do.” (Koran, Sura 8 “The Spoils” at 39).
Unfortunately, with deadly consequences for the Jewish people, in tandem with its message of Divine Love for those who accept Allah as God and Mohammed as His Prophet, a message of hatred and contempt for (non-converting) Jews inheres in Islam.
Obviously, we do not accept:
that Mohammed is a Prophet of the God of Israel; or
that the Koran is a Scripture of the God of Israel; or
that Islam has superseded Judaism as the Revelation of the God of Israel; or
that the God of Israel has declared Islam to be the “only true Religion”; or
that the God of Israel permits -- let alone requires -- people to worship Him by prostrating themselves before buildings hosting idolatrous objects; or
that the God of Israel created supernatural creatures from fire (i.e., the Jinn), who influence human beings to obey or disobey Him; or
that the Jewish people regard the 5th Century BCE Jewish leader Ezra as being the “Son of God”; or
that the God of Israel has commanded husbands to beat their wives in order to resolve family disagreements; or
that the God of Israel has given permission for men to rape women; or
that our forefather Abraham was a Muslim; or
that Moses was a buffoon; or
that the God of Israel has misremembered people and events described in the Hebrew Bible; or
that, contrary to the repeated Declarations of the God of Israel in the Torah (see Genesis 17:19 & 17:21), God’s Eternal Covenant with our forefather Abraham was inherited by the Arab people (and later by the non-Arab peoples) who converted to Islam rather than by the Jewish people; or
that the God of Israel transformed some Jews into apes and pigs and servants of Satan (or even that the God of Israel created all-powerful supernatural creatures, such as Satan, representing Evil Incarnate, which compete with God for Supremacy over the Universe); or
that Jews will be the soldiers of the Army of the Antichrist (or even that the God of Israel created all-powerful supernatural creatures, such as the Antichrist, representing Evil Incarnate, which compete with God for Supremacy over the Universe); or
that the God of Israel has condemned the Jewish people as Evildoers for their rejection of Islam; or
that the God of Israel has decreed that the Jewish people be massacred or otherwise persecuted as punishment in this Life for their refusal to convert to Islam and to accept Mohammed as a Prophet; or
that the God of Israel has decreed that the Jewish people be cast into the Fires of Hell as punishment in the Afterlife for rejecting Islam; or
that the God of Israel has commanded Muslims to make War upon and subjugate the entire non-Muslim World, including the Jewish people.
Furthermore, according to the Muslim sources, Mohammed’s soul is stained red with the blood of massacred Jews. As such, if the Muslim sources are to be believed, not only should Mohammed be viewed as a great Evildoer, but we are required even to curse his name whenever it is uttered. As it says in the Babylonian Talmud (at Bereshit Rabbah 49:1): “Whoever mentions an Evildoer without cursing him misses out on a Torah Commandment: ‘The name of the Wicked shall rot.’ [Proverbs 10:7]”; and, consequently, it inexorably follows that Mohammed can never be considered by the Jewish people to be a Prophet of God. This is because God is pure Goodness. He does not favor or reward those who murder His Beloved People. In fact, the Torah explicitly establishes the principle that the Jewish people’s enemies are, by Divine Definition, God’s enemies. God initially declared to Abraham that: “‘I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you, I will curse ...’” (Genesis 12:3); and the Gentile prophet Balaam, speaking in God’s Name, later confirmed that this Declaration had been made for the benefit of the Jewish people by declaring about us: “‘... Those who bless you are blessed, and those who curse you are cursed.’” (Numbers 24:9). Subsequently, Moses internalized this principle during the war against Midian when: “HaShem spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Take Vengeance for the Children of Israel against the Midianites ...’”, but “Moses spoke to the people, saying: ‘... inflict HaShem’s Vengeance against Midian.’” (Numbers 31:2-3). As, per the Muslim sources, Mohammed is the enemy of the Jewish people, he is, by Divine Definition, also the enemy of God. Accordingly, the Koran -- revealed to Humanity by the enemy of God -- cannot be considered to embody the Word of God, even if that Islamic book did not otherwise contain within it all of the other infirmities discussed above.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, some major -- and astounding -- caveats are in order, which challenge everything that has long been accepted about the early history of Islam, which -- until now -- has been imparted to us exclusively via Islamic sources.
For example, Mohammed’s purported interactions with -- including his purported expulsions, enslavements and slaughters of -- the Jewish clans of Arabia are known only from Muslim sources, such as: (1) Koranic verses (e.g., Koran 33:25-27), which may have been interpolated into 8th Century CE manuscripts of the Koran (either contemporaneously or, as those early manuscripts subsequently underwent serial revisions, in succeeding centuries), and (2) the Hadith and the biographies of Mohammed, the earliest preserved versions of which were created in the 9th Century CE. Consequently, it is possible that some (or even all) of these reported interactions were conjured by triumphalist Muslim apologists in the 9th Century CE, during a period of Islamic ascendancy, for the purpose of justifying the Islamic Caliphate’s ongoing subjugation of Jews from dual perspectives, namely, the macro and the micro. The macro perspective was the theological perspective, holding that Islam, as the “only true Religion”, having allegedly vanquished Judaism on the battlefield in the 7th Century CE, would forever continue to vanquish Judaism on the battlefield. The micro perspective was the interactional perspective, holding that the Jews, having allegedly acted treacherously towards Mohammed, were to be forever treated with suspicion and relegated to an inferior status within the territories of the Caliphate.
Moreover, it is plausible that these 9th Century CE Muslim apologists, having become familiar with Christianity’s allegations that the Jews conspired against and were responsible for the death of Jesus, believed those allegations, and were thereby inspired to create an Islamicized version thereof, which resulted in one of the most unlikely coincidences in History, namely, that the Jewish people allegedly conspired against and were allegedly responsible for the deaths of both Jesus and Mohammed.
Furthermore, there is substantial archeological evidence that the original qibla was not towards Jerusalem but towards Petra (located in present-day Jordan). This evidence suggests that all references to Mecca in the standardized version of the Koran, in the Hadith and in the biographies of Mohammed (the earliest extant version of which was authored by Ibn Hisham only in 833 CE -- more than 200 years after the purported death of Mohammed) are the result of historical revisionism and textual interpolation by the Abbasid Caliphate, which dominated the Islamic World from the mid-8th Century CE to the mid-9th Century CE. For geopolitical reasons, the Abbasid Caliphate sought to replace the memory of Petra (which was designated as holy by the defeated Damascus-based Umayyad Caliphate, and towards which all mosques faced during the first 100 years after the purported death of Mohammed) with Mecca (which was designated as holy by the triumphant Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate). This redesignation required the demolition and relocation of “al-Kaaba”, together with the latter’s “Black Stone”, from Petra to Mecca. In fact, it was only in 822 CE -- almost 200 years after the purported death of Mohammed -- that all newly-constructed mosques faced towards Mecca. Previously-constructed mosques had, instead, faced: (1) first towards Petra, (2) then, with some exceptions, towards the mid-point between Petra and Mecca, and (3) then, with some exceptions, parallel to the geographical line proceeding from Petra to Mecca).
Furthermore, in light of its present centrality to Islam, it is puzzling that Mecca is identified by name only once in the Koran (in Sura 48 “The Victory” at 24) and is allegedly identified by pseudonym (namely, “Bakkah”) only once in the Koran (in Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 96). All other references in the Koran to Islam’s holiest city are via descriptions of the City’s various attributes, such as its trade route prominence and agricultural fertility. The problem is that none of these references accurately describes the 7th Century CE City of Mecca, which was not on any trade route and was inhospitable to the cultivation of crops. However, all of these references accurately describe the 7th Century CE City of Petra.
Moreover, the earliest-known extra-Koranic reference to Mecca occurred only in 741 CE -- more than 100 years after the purported death of Mohammed. However, this single mention of Mecca was made in the written account by an anonymous author (or authors) of an untitled history of the warfare between the Arab Empire and the Byzantine Empire (commonly known as the “Chronicle of 741” or the “Byzantine-Arab Chronicle”), which places Mecca in Mesopotamia (which is present-day Iraq) rather than in Arabia (which is present-day Saudi Arabia). Moreover, the earliest known map depicting the present location of Mecca was written only in 900 CE, which -- considering the alleged centrality of Mecca to Islam since 610 CE -- is hard to explain.
All of the foregoing makes it probable that Arabia’s Mecca was irrelevant -- perhaps even unknown -- to Islam for at least the first 100 years of that religion’s existence, and that the Koran’s one reference to Mecca by name, as well as the Koranic and Hadith references to Allah changing the qibla to an unidentified “Sacred Mosque” (see Koran, Sura 2 “The Cow” at 142-150; and Hadith compilation of Sahih Muslim, Hadith 527), constitute textual interpolations made at the instruction of the Abbasid Caliphate. For, although there is presently a mosque in Mecca known as “al-Masjid al-Haram” (meaning: “the Sacred Mosque”), which encloses “al-Kaaba”, that mosque did not exist in Mecca during the era of Mohammed.
Lastly, the earliest-known extra-Koranic identification of Mohammed as the founder of Islam was made only in 691 CE (via an inscription etched inside the Dome of Rock on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount rather than via any inscription made in Mecca or Medina) -- approximately 60 years after Mohammed’s purported death. Consequently, it is possible that the presumed existence of Mohammed is the invention of later Muslim apologists; or, alternatively, it is possible that, while Mohammed may have existed, his connection to the development of the Koran was invented by later Muslim apologists, their objective being to conjure an extraordinary progenitor, meant to be superior in eminence to Judaism’s Moses and to Christianity’s Jesus.
However, it must be conceded that if the events described in the Koran actually took place in Petra rather than in Mecca and Medina, then one would not expect to find any early epigraphs referencing Mohammed in either Mecca or Medina. Nonetheless, if Mohammed never existed, or if he lacked any connection to the development of the Koran, then the Koran -- like the “New Testament” -- is the imaginative product of anonymous authors.
In sum, the archeological and historical evidence now indicates that (1) the original direction of Muslim prayer was towards Petra (rather than towards Jerusalem), (2) the formative events of Islam took place in Petra (rather than in Mecca and Medina) and (3) Mohammed, if he actually existed, may have had little or no connection to the development of the Koran and the creation of Islam.
Based upon this recent evidence which contradicts the traditional history of Mohammed and early Islam, but nonetheless assuming that Mohammed actually existed, it must be conceded that, without knowing which verses (if any) of the Koran, and which verses (if any) of the Hadith, and which biographical narratives (if any) accurately describe the words and conduct of Mohammed, it may be unfair to assign blame to him for the Antisemitism inherent in the Koran or for the horrific historical consequences thereof.
Since Muslims pray to a deity revealed through a book which so distorts the Attributes, Message and Expectations of the God of Israel, whose recitation is attributed to a purported Evildoer, it strains credulity that any Jew could (a) believe that the deity depicted in the Koran and the God of Israel are one and the same or (b) believe that Muslims, by imbibing the falsehoods of the Koran and praying to its god, are really praying to the God of Israel. Ironically, ever sure of its own false righteousness, Islam also recognizes this Truth, to wit:
“Say: ‘O Unbelievers, I do not worship that which you worship, nor do you worship Him whom I worship. I shall never worship that which you worship, nor will you ever worship Him whom I worship. You shall have your religion, and I shall have my religion.’” (Koran, Sura 109 “The Unbelievers” at 1-6)
Furthermore, in addition to all of the foregoing, there are yet other profound differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
For example, the three faiths differ in their respective attitudes towards the importance of Life versus the importance of Death.
The “New Testament” is a death-affirming scripture. Not only does Christianity celebrate the purported crucifixion of Jesus and urge Christians to prove their devotion to him by martyring themselves, but the “New Testament” declares that Christians are actually more alive in Death than in Life, to wit:
“Then he [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their Cross and follow me [into death]. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the Gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole World [by pursuing a productive life], yet forfeit their soul [by recoiling from their death]?’” (Mark 8:34-36)
“Jesus replied: ‘The Hour has come for the Son of Man [i.e., Jesus] to be glorified [through death]. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this World will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me [into death]; and where I am [after death], my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me [in death].’” (John 12:23-26)
The Koran is also a death-affirming scripture. Not only does Islam command Muslims to conduct Jihad (meaning: “War for the Glory of Allah”) against the non-Muslim World until the latter submits to Islam, but -- in order to alleviate the fear of death in battle -- the Koran elevates Death above Life, by asserting that the dead are not actually dead, to wit:
“And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah's Way [i.e., pursuing Jihad] as being dead; nay, [they are] alive, but you [the living] do not perceive [this Truth].” (Koran, Sura 2 “The Cow” at 154); and
“And do not think of those who are killed in Allah's Way [i.e., pursuing Jihad] as being dead; nay, they are alive [and] they are provided with sustenance [after death] from their Lord, rejoicing in what Allah has given them [through death] out of His Grace; and they [the dead] rejoice for the sake of those, who [remaining] behind them [in life], have not yet joined them [in death], that they [the living] shall have no fear [of death]; nor shall they [the living] grieve [for those who remain alive in death]. [Instead] they [the living] rejoice on account of Favor from Allah and [His] Grace, and that Allah will not dissipate the Reward of the believers [who remain alive in death].” (Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 169-171)
This Sanctification of Death continues to resonate among those Muslim leaders and their acolytes who desire to fulfill the Islamic obligation to pursue Jihad. For example, Hassan Nasrallah, an Islamic scholar who claims descent from Mohammed and who leads the Jihadist sect Hezbollah (meaning: “Party of Allah”), declared in 2004:
“We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love Life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love Life, and we love Death.”
Contrariwise, the Hebrew Bible is a life-affirming Scripture. As the God of Israel declares to us:
“‘I have caused to [serve as a] witness for you Today the Heavens and the Earth, [that] I have set before you the Life and the Death, [which are] the Blessing and the Curse; so choose Life, in order that you will live -- you and your offspring -- to love HaShem, your God, to listen to His Voice, and to cleave unto Him; for, He is your life and the length of your days to dwell upon the Land which HaShem swore to your forefathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob -- to give to them.’” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Moreover, as the Hebrew Bible points out:
“The dead do not praise God; nor do any of those who descend into silence.” (Psalms 115:17)
Clearly, the Jewish people do not believe that Death is more important than Life, or that Death is a Cherished Objective or a Cause for Celebration.
Another profound difference between the three faiths is to be found in their respective beliefs about the purported existence, nature and power of Satan. It is noteworthy that “ha-Satan” is a Hebrew-language word that translates into the English language “the Adversary”, in the sense of being “the Accuser” before God against suspected sinners. As such, in the Hebrew Bible, there is no causal relationship between Satan and the creation and/or propagation of Evil. On the contrary, in the Hebrew Bible, Satan is an Angelic Adversary of sinners and Sin (see Job 1:1 - 2:7).
However, despite the actual meaning of “Satan”, both Christianity and Islam teach that he is a powerful supernatural creature who opposes God, thereby rendering him the embodiment of and the initiator of Evil. Moreover, both religions insist that Satan effectuates Evil in the World by tempting human beings (sometimes through demonic possession) to perpetrate acts of Evil.
“At once the Spirit sent him [Jesus] out into the Wilderness; and he [Jesus] was in the Wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan. He [Jesus] was with the wild animals, and Angels attended him [Jesus].” (Mark 1:12-13, being the earliest account of the purported incident known as the “Temptation of Christ”); and
“Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the Law [i.e., the Torah] were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve [apostles]. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the Temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.” (Luke 22:1-6); and
“‘Then I [apostle Paul] asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The Lord replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people [i.e., the Jews] and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of Sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”’” (Acts 26:15-18); and
“The one who does what is sinful is of the Devil, because the Devil has been sinning from the Beginning [of Creation]. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the Work of the Devil.” (1 John 3:8).
The subsequent accounts of the “Temptation of Christ”, appearing in the “Gospel of Matthew” and in the “Gospel of Luke” (both of which extensively embellish the sparse narrative in the “Gospel of Mark”), portray Satan as an all-powerful supernational creature who can grant enormous wealth and power to human beings in exchange for their worship of him, to wit:
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan [River], and was led by the Spirit into the Wilderness, where for 40 days he was tempted by the Devil. He [Jesus] ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The Devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone.”’ The Devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the World. And he [the Devil] said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”’ The Devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the Temple. He [the Devil] said, ‘If you are the Son of God, then throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “He will command his Angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus answered, ‘It is said: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ When the Devil had finished all this tempting, he left him [Jesus] until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:1-13).
Examples of the mainstream Islamic view of Satan are as follows:
“They [i.e., unbelievers] do not call besides Him [Allah] on anything but idols, and they do not call on anything but a rebellious Shaitan [Satan]. Allah has cursed him [Satan]; and he [Satan] said: ‘Most certainly I will take of Your servants an appointed portion. And most certainly I will lead them astray and excite in them vain desires, and bid them so that they shall slit the ears of the cattle, and most certainly I will bid them so that they shall alter Allah's creation’, and whoever takes the Shaitan [Satan] for a Guardian rather than Allah, he indeed shall suffer a manifest loss. He [Satan] gives them promises and excites vain desires in them, and the Shaitan [Satan] does not promise them, except to deceive [them]. These [followers of Satan] are they whose abode is Hell, and they shall not find any refuge from it.” (Koran, Sura 4 “The Women” at 117-121); and
“The Shaitan [Satan] only desires to cause enmity and hatred to arise among you by means of alcohol and gambling, and to keep you away from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you then desist?” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 91); and
“He [Satan] said [to Allah]: ‘As You have caused me to remain disappointed, I will certainly lie in wait for them [i.e., Humankind] in Your straight path. Then I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from their right-hand side and from their left-hand side; and You shall not find most of them thankful [to You].’ He [Allah] said [to Satan]: ‘Get out of this [place], despised, driven away; whoever of them [i.e., Humankind] will follow you, I will certainly fill Hell with all of you.’” (Koran, Sura 7 “The Elevated Places” at 16-18); and
“And Shaitan [Satan] will say when the Matter is decided [at the Hour of Judgment]: ‘It was Allah Who gave you a Promise of Truth. I too promised, but I failed in my promise to you. I had no authority over you except to call you [to follow me] -- but you listened to me. …’” (Koran, Sura 14 “Abraham” at 22); and
“So, when you recite the Koran, seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaitan [Satan]. Surely, he [Satan] has no authority over those who believe and rely on their Lord. His [Satan’s] authority is only over those who befriend him …” (Koran, Sura 16 “The Bee” at 98-100); and
“Surely the Shaitan [Satan] is your enemy, so treat him as an enemy; he only invites his followers so that they may be inmates of the Burning [at the Hour of Judgment].” (Koran, Sura 35 “The Originator” at 6).
Contrariwise, Judaism teaches that God Himself, as the Creator of All, is the Creator of Evil. This is because God has knowingly and intentionally placed Humankind’s conduct, which includes both acts of Good and acts of Evil, on its inevitable course towards the Day of Judgment. As the God of Israel declares to us:
“‘I form Light and create Darkness; I make Peace and create Evil; I, HaShem, make all of these.’” (Isaiah 45:7); and
“‘… Shall there be Evil in a city, and HaShem has not done it?’” (Amos 3:6)
And, as the Hebrew Bible further explains:
“‘… Is it only the Good that we shall receive from the [one and only] God, but the Evil we shall not receive [from God]? …’” (Job 2:10)
In the context of God’s relationship to Evil, it is crucial to comprehend the difference between “God is the Creator of Evil” and “God is Evil”, as accepting the former constitutes a huge Kiddush HaShem (Sanctification of God’s Name), while believing the latter constitutes a huge Chillul HaShem (Desecration of God’s Name). As God is the Source of Evil, it follows that Satan (whether he be an accusatory Angel or, as is more likely, a pedagogical and philosophical construct of the Hebrew Bible) is neither the embodiment of Evil nor the initiator of Evil in the World. On the contrary, Satan, as an accusatory Angel, is subservient to -- rather than an opponent of -- God. This is so, because Satan is always doing the bidding of his Master and is never acting for his own account, because, as an Angel, he lacks Free Will to deviate from his assigned tasks (see Job 1:1 - 2:7, where Satan, in several conversations with God, accuses Job of possessing insincere faith in God, and is consequently granted serial permissions from God to severely test the sincerity of Job’s faith in God).
Moreover, as is now known, demons and demonic possession have nothing to do with Satan, and everything to do with the varied manifestations of mental illness. Consequently, neither Satan nor demons are responsible for the acts of Evil that have been perpetrated by human beings throughout History. Rather, human beings, precisely because they possess Free Will, are exclusively responsible for their own conduct.
Of course, it is undeniable that for thousands of years, many Jews (including ancient rabbis who added discussions of demonology to the Babylonian Talmud -- e.g., see Talmud, Pesachim 110a – 110b), did believe in the existence of demons and demonic possession -- despite the fact that the Hebrew Bible does not validate this erroneous belief. Nonetheless, this belief seemed reasonable to those ancient Jews primarily because (a) they were strongly influenced by the pagan Gentile belief systems that surrounded them, and (b) they, including the purportedly-enlightened Jesus, did not know about dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder), schizophrenia and other types of mental illness. This is hardly surprising, as the medical disciplines of neurology and psychiatry did not yet exist in the 1st Century CE; and, consequently, a mere human being living in that time period would not have been cognizant of the scourge of mental illness. However, according to the “Gospels”, Jesus denied that he was a mere human being, and he instead claimed, not only that he was the Messiah, but also that he was the “Son of God”, thereby enjoying the most intimate Communion with God. If those majestic claims are to be accepted as true, then why didn’t Jesus know that people who acted abnormally (e.g., “… For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the [burial] tombs.” -- Luke 8:27) and/or who harmed themselves (e.g., “Night and day among the tombs and in the hills, he would cry out and cut himself with stones.” -- Mark 5:5) were suffering from mental illness rather than demonic possession? Consequently, the purported interactions between Jesus and alleged demon-possessed people as well as between Jesus and alleged demons (see Matthew 8:28-32 &12:22; Mark 3:11 & 5:1-13; and Luke 4:41, 8:26-33 & 11:14) constitute another persuasive empirical refutation of the Christological status of Jesus.
Conversely, if Jesus qua the “Son of God” did know that such people were suffering from mental illness rather than demonic possession, but -- due to the superstitious beliefs of the people -- he chose to pretend otherwise (via fake exorcisms and fake conversations with demons), then he is guilty of perpetuating a severe medical crime against many future generations of Christians -- both mentally-ill persons and their distraught families -- who, due to their longstanding ignorance of the existence of mental illness, continued to engage in worthless rituals to counteract purported demonic possession.
Even worse than believing in the existence of demons and demonic possession is the fact that, throughout our long existence, many Jews -- in rank violation of the First Commandment and the Second Commandment -- also believed in pagan deities, such as the Canaanite gods Baal and Moloch, as well as the subsequent Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman pantheons. And, even Today, many Jews mistakenly embrace Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and other Gentile belief systems. However, mistaken beliefs by even large numbers of Jews throughout History do not -- and will never -- change the Identity, Attributes, Message and Expectations of the one and only God, as revealed through the Hebrew Bible.
Yet another profound difference between the three faiths is to be found in their respective attitudes towards non-believers.
In serial expressions of Christian supremacism and exclusivity, the “New Testament” declares:
“‘Whoever believes [in Jesus] and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe [in Jesus] will be condemned.’” (Mark 16:16); and
“‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him [the Son] shall not perish but have eternal life. For, God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him [the Son]. Whoever believes in him [the Son] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.’” (John 3:16-18); and
“‘The Father loves the Son, and He [the Father] has committed everything into his [the Son’s] hand. He who believes in the Son has Eternal Life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see Life, but the Wrath of God rests upon him.’” (John 3:35-36); and
“… This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven in blazing Fire with his powerful Angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They [non-Christians] will be punished with Everlasting Destruction and shut out from the Presence of the Lord and from the Glory of his Might on the Day he [Jesus] comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. …” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10); and
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- they will be consigned to the fiery Lake of Burning Sulfur. …” (Revelation 21:8).
Likewise, in serial expressions of Muslim supremacism and exclusivity, the Koran declares:
“The only true Religion in Allah’s Eyes is Islam. ...” (Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 19); and
“You [Muslims] are the best of the nations raised up for Humanity; you command Right and forbid Evil, and believe in Allah; and if the people of the Book [i.e., Jews and Christians] had believed [in Allah], it would have been better for them; among them are believers [in Allah], but most of them are transgressors.” (Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 110); and
“Surely, those who disbelieve, even if they had what [wealth] is in the Earth, all of it, and the like of it with it, that they might ransom themselves with it [i.e., their wealth] from the Punishment of the Day of Resurrection, it [i.e., the ransom] shall not be accepted from them, and they shall have a painful Punishment. They would desire to escape from the Fire [of Hell], but they shall not escape from it, and they shall have a lasting Punishment.” (Koran 5 “The Dinner Table” at 36-37); and
“O Prophet [i.e., Muhammed]! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them, as their abode is Hell, and their destination is Evil.” (Koran 9 “The Immunity” at 73); and
“And among men there is he who disputes about Allah, without knowledge and without guidance [from Muhammad] and without an illuminating book [i.e., the Koran], turning away [from Allah] haughtily, that he may lead [others] astray from the Way of Allah; for him [there] is Disgrace in this World; and on the Day of Resurrection We will make him taste the Punishment of Burning [in Hell].” (Koran 22 “The Pilgrimage” at 28-29); and
“And whoever does not believe in Allah and His Apostle [i.e., Mohammed], then surely We have prepared a burning Fire [of Hell] for the unbelievers.” (Koran 48 “The Victory” at 13).
Moreover, tellingly, both Christianity and Islam falsely project their own intolerance of nonbelievers onto Judaism, to wit:
“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.’ Jesus did not answer a word. So, his disciples came to him and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’ The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. He replied, ‘It is not right to take the [Jewish] children’s bread and toss it to the [Gentile] dogs.’ ‘Yes it is, Lord,’ she said. ‘Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed at that moment.” (Matthew 15:21-28); and
“While talking with him [the Roman centurion Cornelius], Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: ‘You are well aware that it is against our [Jewish] law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.’” (Acts 10:27-28) (i.e., anyone, whether Jew or Gentile, who accepts Jesus as Lord is spiritually pure -- see Acts 10:34-36); and
“And the Jews will not be pleased with you [Muslims], nor the Christians, until you [Muslims] follow their religion. Say: ‘Surely Allah’s Guidance -- that is the [true] Guidance. And if you [Muslims] follow their [the Jews’] desires after the knowledge [of Islam] that has come to you, you shall have no guardian from Allah, nor any helper.’” (Koran, Sura 2 “The Cow” at 120).
On the contrary, Judaism declares that the God of Israel loves all righteous people, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. As stated in the very first chapter of the Hebrew Bible, God created the first human being, Adam, “in the Image of God” (Genesis 1:27). Thus, Judaism declares that each descendant of Adam -- i.e., every human being -- is deemed to have been individually chosen to bear the Image of God. Consequently, every righteous person -- whether Jew or Gentile -- has equal status in his individual relationship with the God of Israel, even if he follows a false religious doctrine.
Ancient rabbinic commentaries express this egalitarian concept by declaring:
“The Righteous of all nations have a share in the World To Come.” (Tosefta, Sanhedrin 13); and
“Therefore only a single man [Adam] was created [by God] to teach you that if anyone destroys a single soul from the Children of Man, Scripture charges him as though he had destroyed a whole World, and whoever rescues a single soul from the Children of Man, Scripture credits him as though he had saved a whole World, and [only a single man was created] for the sake of Peace among Humanity -- that no man might say to his fellow, ‘My ancestor was greater than your ancestor.’ ...” (Mishna, Sanhedrin 4:5).
The Hebrew Bible provides ample proof of the foregoing, as it abounds with accounts of worthy Gentiles -- from Adam and Eve to Noah to the Amorite brothers Mamre, Aner and Eshcol to the priest Melchizedek to Abraham’s servant Eliezer to Pharaoh’s unidentified daughter to Moses’ father-in-law Jethro to the prostitute Rahab to Job to Ruth (the last of whom, by joining herself to the Jewish people, became the ancestress of King David as well as of the future Messiah). Moreover, the Hebrew Bible even contains an example of the God of Israel extending His Mercy to an entire Gentile populace, namely, the population of Nineveh, capital city of the pagan Assyrian Empire, over the strenuous objection of the Prophet Jonah (see Jonah 1:1 - 4:11).
As God declares to the Prophet Jonah:
“‘And should not I care about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not yet know their right hand from their left [i.e., who lack sufficient knowledge of the God of Israel], and many beasts as well.’” (Jonah 4:11)
Moreover, the Prophet Isaiah, speaking in God’s Name, declares:
“‘I will bring them [all the righteous persons] to My Holy Mountain, and I will gladden them in My House of Prayer; their elevation offerings and their feast offerings will find favor on My Altar; for, My House will be called a House of Prayer for all the peoples.’” (Isaiah 56:7)
Clearly, the Jewish people do not believe in either the god of the “New Testament” or the god of the Koran. That being the case, it is ludicrous for us to insist that, although we do not believe in their gods, they believe in our God. Consequently, unless the Jewish people wish to embrace the Gentile nations’ distorted conceptions of God, we cannot continue to entertain the pleasing but erroneous notion that Jews, Christians and Muslims all pray to the same God, as such false attributions to the God of Israel constitute unforgiveable violations of the Torah’s Third Commandment -- this being the very Sin that led to the destruction of the biblical northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrian Empire, to wit:
“The Children of Israel imputed concepts that were not so to HaShem their God ...” (II Kings 17:9)
For, although there is only one God, those who presently pray to ersatz versions -- misleading simulacra -- of Him are unfortunately engaged in Avoda Zarah (like their polytheistic and idol worshipping ancestors) rather than in the worship of the God of Israel. This Truth is reflected in the declaration of the Prophet Zechariah, made concerning the aftermath of the future messianic War of Gog and Magog, that:
“HaShem will be the King over all of the Earth; on that Day HaShem will be One and His Name will be One.” (Zechariah 14:9);
and in the earlier declaration of the Prophet Isaiah, speaking in God’s Name, that:
“‘I swear by Myself, Righteousness has gone forth from My Mouth, a Word that will not be rescinded: that to Me shall every knee bend and shall every tongue swear.’” (Isaiah 45:23).
However, until that Day of Judgment, when the Gentile nations, due to their defeat at the hands of the Messiah, are forced to crown the God of Israel as their one and only King, it bears remembering and reiterating that the God of Israel -- and only the God of Israel -- is God, to wit:
“You shall know this Day and take to your heart that HaShem, He is the God -- in the Heaven above and on the Earth below -- there is none other.” (Deuteronomy 4:39); and
“Hear [this Declaration], Israel: HaShem is our God; HaShem is One.” (Deuteronomy 6:4); and
“See, now, that I am; I [alone] am He; and no [other] god is with Me.” (Deuteronomy 32:39); and
“Thus said HaShem, King of Israel and its Redeemer -- HaShem of Legions: ‘I am the First, and I am the Last, and aside from Me there is no god.’” (Isaiah 44:6).
Accordingly, when, in defiance of our Scriptural sources, we continue to flatter the Gentile nations by proclaiming that we all pray to the same God, we not only cause them to fall deeper into the abyss of Avoda Zarah (thereby transgressing the Torah Commandment: “‘... You shall not place a stumbling block before the Blind. ...’” (Leviticus 19:14)), but we also render ourselves guilty of a great Chillul HaShem (Desecration of God’s Name).
© Mark Rosenblit
[Note: Nothing in the foregoing Essay is meant to conflate the Jewish people (due to its Jewishness) with Righteousness or to conflate the Gentile peoples (due to their lack of Jewishness) with Evil. Indeed, a Jew who believes in the God of Israel may perpetrate evil deeds, while a Gentile who believes in a false god may perform righteous deeds. Consequently, under normal circumstances, it cannot be determined by Humankind whether any particular Jew is more -- or less -- beloved by God than any particular Gentile, as that Judgment can only be made by God alone, based upon each individual’s moral worth. For a deeper analysis of this issue please see my website Essay entitled “The Meaning Of Being The Chosen People”]
[Note: Not only are there major contradictions in narrative and theology between the four “Gospels”, but each of those gospels underwent significant revisions long after it was initially written. Rabbi Tovia Singer has done exhaustive research on the history and mutating credos of Christianity that have spanned the past two millennia. The following question & answer section is from his website https://outreachjudaism.org/, setting forth some of the additions and deletions that were made to the “New Testament”, and especially to the “Gospels” portion thereof, in order to create the final version of the Christian Bible that was favored by its serial redactors.]