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 believe that a single Supreme Being brought the Universe and all within it into existence and tend to view Him as Eternal, Incorporeal, Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent. Furthermore, due to their acceptance of the Hebrew Bible as Holy Writ (except to the extent it is contradicted by their own respective Scriptures), Christianity and Islam explicitly identify, respectively, the deity declared to be the Heavenly Father of Jesus and the deity known as Allah as none other than the God of Israel. In other words, 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. Notwithstanding the foregoing, to the extent that any sect of Christianity deifies Jesus, Judaic thought traditionally considers such a sect to be a practitioner of avodah zara (a designation which is generally 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 Torah). In the case of Islam, however, since Mohammed is acknowledged by all sects thereof to be a mere mortal (albeit one beyond mortal criticism), Judaic thought traditionally views all Muslims as fellow believers in the God of Israel and, in fact, views the name Allah as simply another appellation for Him. In this way, Judaic thought traditionally accepts 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 Israel the sum total of all that Judaism, Christianity and Islam attribute to Him? Or do the three monotheistic religions really pray to 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 which preceded them?
Why, when Society's watchwords are Toleration and Fellowship, is this analysis important? -- only because God enjoined upon the Jewish people one Commandment which, in its simplicity, serves as the foundation stone for all of 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; and Deuteronomy 5:6), God immediately thunders:
"You shall not recognize the gods of others in My Presence." (Exodus 20:3; and Deuteronomy 5:7).
By agreeing that the God of Israel, and the Father who sired Jesus, and Allah 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), to reveal to us His Eternal Attributes, His Message and that which He expects of us as His Chosen People. God said of and to us:
"... So said HaShem: My first-born 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 on 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 Nature, His Message and His Expectations, as expressed through the Christian New Testament 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 that He should relent.'" (I Samuel 15:29), echoing the earlier words of the Gentile prophet Balaam that: "'God is not a man 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 nevertheless 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 identifying their deities with the God of Israel.
Furthermore, Hebrew Scripture not only warns the Jewish people against merging or identifying the false gods of others 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).
But the refrain will be heard that all of the foregoing refer only to polytheistic and/or idol worshipping nations and religions, but neither to those sects of Christianity which limit Jesus to his messianic pretensions nor to the sects of Islam, all of which are monotheistic and do not engage in idol worship. The response to this is that God (in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 13:2-5) is testing our people by enticing us, not with an obvious form of polytheistic and/or idol worshipping avoda zarah but with one which is fully-cloaked in our own monotheistic garments and, consequently, much more difficult to identify and expose. For this reason, a brief analysis of the some of the basic tenets of Christianity and Islam are required.
Christianity revolves around the alleged birth, life, death and teachings of Yeshu ben Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph) -- a Jew who is alleged to have resided in the Land of Israel approximately 2,000 years ago.
One of the 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 and 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 [Adam], and Death through 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)
In contrast, 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 Humanity’s first Sin. Postpartum, 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 Justice and Righteousness, and observed all My Decrees and performed them; [consequently,] he should 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 nowhere in the Hebrew Bible are even Adam and Eve cursed by God as a punishment for their own Sin; rather, their punishment is exile from the Garden of Eden together with the harsh consequences that naturally flow therefrom (i.e., they were made subject to the routine hardships of life, e.g., 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 choosing 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).
Consequently, Judaism rejects the concept of the “Curse of Original Sin”.
Moreover, Christianity posits that a person does not, by his righteous conduct, entitle himself to receive God’s Love. On the contrary, according to Christianity, without God’s extension of Grace to the righteous person, 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., perform righteous deeds] but trusts God who justifies the Wicked, his faith is credited as Righteousness.” (Romans 4:4-5)
“It was not through [adhering to God’s] Law 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 the] Law brings Wrath; and where there is no Law there is no Transgression.” (Romans 4:13-15)
“For it is by [God’s] Grace 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)
“But when 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)
In contrast, Judaism does not accept the absurd and insolent premise that obeying God’s Law, which -- by definition -- is the embodiment of Righteousness, constitutes an attempt to bribe one’s way into Heaven. As the Hebrew Bible declares, in direct repudiation of the claim made in Romans 4:13, concerning God’s relationship with Abraham:
“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, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the Way of HaShem, doing Charity and Justice [i.e., performing righteous deeds], in order that HaShem might then bring upon Abraham that which He had spoken of him.’” (Genesis 18:17-19)
Clearly, according to Judaism, God showers His Love upon the righteous person precisely because the latter, by adhering to God’s Law, acts righteously,
Yet, doesn’t Christianity -- a religion which claims to be based upon the (allegedly) liberating concept of radiating Love rather the (allegedly) harsh concept of adhering to the Law -- favorably distinguish itself from Judaism by virtue of Jesus’ proclamation of the “Golden Rule”? Well, no.
As the New Testament declares in Jesus’ name:
“‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and [the teachings of] the Prophets.’” (according to Matthew 7:12)
“‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’” (according to Luke 6:31)
However, as is suggested by Matthew’s rendering of the “Golden Rule”, that laudable concept was already firmly established within Judaism. For, as the Hebrew Bible declares in God’s Name:
“‘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 adopted, but -- historically -- rarely practiced, by the adherents of normative Christianity.
Essentially, Christianity, while ostensibly revering the Hebrew Bible and even incorporating its Greek-language translation -- pejoratively denominated by Christianity as the “Old Testament” -- into the Christian Bible, believes that Judaism's doctrinal errors caused the God of Israel to raise up Christianity in its place as its true spiritual heir and the bearer of God's “New Covenant”, as manifested in the “New Testament” portion of the Christian Bible. Accordingly, Christianity proclaims that, in order to transmit the “New Covenant” to Humankind, God's Holy Spirit impregnated Mary with Jesus -- thereby rendering him 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 god has sexual intercourse with a human female, thereby resulting in the birth of a demigod -- is scripturally based upon Christianity's mistranslation of the Hebrew-language word "alma" in the Prophet Isaiah's famous declaration (see 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 -- 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: 'The 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 pointed out that the 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 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, in its English-language translation, an unidentified Angel instructs Joseph to call his future son by the name Jesus; and see Luke 1:31 where, in its English-language translation, the Angel Gabriel instructs Mary to call her future son by the name Jesus). Stated another way, while the Hebrew Bible unequivocally states that the prophesied child would be called “Immanuel”, the New Testament contradicts itself on the name of the prophesied child by repeating (from the Hebrew Bible) that the child would be called “Immanuel” even as it simultaneously declares that the child would be called “Jesus”.
The Christian Bible -- consisting of the “New Testament”, which was composed in the Greek language, and the “Old Testament”, which is a Greek-language translation of the Hebrew Bible -- mistranslates the Hebrew-language word "alma" ("young woman") in Isaiah 7:14 as "parthenos", being a Greek-language word meaning "virgin", and then imports 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, that word describes an adolescent female without regard to her virginity. In other words, the word "alma" describes a woman's chronological status rather than her sexual status, although the latter is certainly implied by the former. The Hebrew-language word "betulah" means "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, despite the fact that the Hebrew Bible often employs the term "alma" ("young woman") with the implication that the identified woman is also a "betulah" ("virgin").
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 the Prophecy demonstrates that the Prophecy does not even refer to the time period of Jesus, namely, the very end of the First Century B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) through the beginning of the First Century C.E. (the Common Era) when Judea (successor entity to the biblical kingdoms of Judah and Israel) was a captive province of the Roman Empire, but rather to events that had occurred more than 700 years prior to Jesus' purported birth circa 4 BCE, namely, the coordinated invasion, then in progress, of the southern kingdom of Judah during the reign of King Achaz by the armies of the northern kingdom of Israel (during the reign of King Pekah) and the Empire of Aram (during the reign of King Rezin). Moreover, since the context of the Prophecy renders it certain that the young women was someone with whom King Achaz was personally acquainted circa 735 BCE, it is obvious that: (1) this woman could not have been the “Virgin Mary” of the “New Testament”, and (2) this woman’s prospective son Immanuel could not have been the “Jesus” of the “New Testament”.
Furthermore, a review of the complete Prophecy in context also demonstrates that the small portion 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 Words of the Prophecy: 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 and then of the northern kingdom of Israel, both by the Assyrian Empire (under King Shalmaneser IV and under his successor King Sargon II), and the subsequent (unsuccessful) invasion of Judah, also by the Assyrian Empire (under King Sennacherib, son of and successor to King Sargon II).
Moreover, the Prophet’s use of the Hebrew-language word “oat” (“sign”) in his 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 (e.g., a supernatural conception) rather than by observation, then he would not have employed the inappropriate word “oat”. Rather, the Prophet would have employed the Hebrew-language word “nes” (“miracle”) or one of its equivalents.
Here, then, is Isaiah's complete Prophecy in context:
"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 [King Achaz of the southern kingdom of Judah], saying, 'Aram has joined with Ephraim [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 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 [King Pekah]. Because Aram, along with Ephraim [the northern kingdom of Israel] and the son of Remaliah [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 [the northern kingdom of Israel] will cease to be a people. And the capital of Ephraim [the northern kingdom of Israel] is Samaria and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah [King Pekah]. If you do not believe this, it is because you lack faith."' HaShem spoke further to [King] Achaz, saying, 'Request a Sign for yourself from HaShem your God; request it in the depths or high above.' But [King] Achaz said, 'I will not request; I will not test HaShem.' He [Isaiah] responded, 'Hear now, O House of David [King Achaz of the southern kingdom of Judah]: Is it not enough for you that you treat men [the 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 will become pregnant and 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. [Later] 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 [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 discover 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 (approximately 700 years before the purported time of Jesus), please see II Kings 16:1-9; 17:1-6; and 18:1-37; and II Chronicles 28:1-8; and 32:1-23. The misuse of Isaiah 7:14 in order to justify the fable of the virgin birth of Jesus and the latter’s messianic pretensions represents only one of the many mistranslations, misquotations and erroneous summarizations of the Hebrew Bible which appear throughout the “New Testament” and form the theological basis of Christianity. (For a more blatant -- albeit less scripturally significant -- example of such dishonesty, the reader is referred to Jude 1:14-15 which quotes a prophecy of doom allegedly uttered by Enoch, an antediluvian descendant of Adam, despite the fact that nowhere in the Hebrew Bible does Enoch utter even a word, let alone a prophecy.)
In Christian belief, Jesus descended to Earth in human form as the Messiah, was martyred for Humankind's collective sins and was thereafter resurrected from death. Through the “New Testament”, the Christian deity informs all human beings that, henceforth, they may only achieve forgiveness for “Original Sin” (as well as for their individual sins) through the active intercession of Jesus, as Son of God, after acceptance of him as their Savior (see Ephesians, Chapters 1 & 2).
In contrast, the Torah 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).
In the meantime, while on Earth, inter alia:
Jesus sought to abolish the Torah laws of Kashrut, by which God 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 ("He [Jesus] said to them [his disciples]: '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); and
Jesus ordered (by means of a parable, known as the Parable of the Ten Minas, concerning the advent of the Kingdom of God) the murder of those Jews who did not accept his kingship and who, consequently, deserved punishment, not only for their own sins, but also for the sins of the entire World -- retroactive to the dawn of Humanity ("'But these enemies of mine who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here, and slay them in my presence.'" -- Luke 19:27; and: "'And so upon you [Jews] will come all the righteous blood poured upon the Earth from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar.'" -- Matthew 23:35); and
Jesus condemned to a hellish existence those who refuse to worship and obey him as a demigod ("'The Father loves the Son, and has committed everything into his 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
Jesus declared to a gathering of Jews -- who had described themselves as the Children of Abraham and regarded Jesus as a mere mortal -- that they were really the Children of Satan ("'You belong to your Father, the Devil, and you want to carry out your Father's desire; He was a Murderer from the Beginning, 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 Second Epistle ("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); and
Jesus exorcised demons from humans; and, in one case, he even granted such expelled demons permission to enter a herd of swine ("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 herd of swine], and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned." -- Luke 8:30-33); and
Jesus declared the objective criteria by which his true followers would be identified ("He that believes and is baptized will be saved, but he that does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those that believe: in my name they will cast out demons, they will speak with tongues, 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 will recover." -- Mark 16:16-18).
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 responsibility for the alleged capture, torture and execution of Jesus by means of (a) declaring: "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); (b) subsequently propounding the narratives which detail the several alleged conspiracies of the Jewish leadership to murder Jesus (see John 11:47-57; and John 18:12 - 19:18); and (c) ultimately fabricating the infamous self-incriminating public declaration attributed to the Jewish people, collectively and in perpetuity, in response to the dramatic assertion by Roman governor Pontius Pilate that Jesus was not guilty of any crime against the Roman Empire and that, accordingly, Rome's hands would remain clean 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). Yet, in an effort to further inflame Jew-hatred among Christians, the “New Testament” subsequently accuses the Jewish leadership of attempting to orchestrate a vast conspiracy in order to conceal from the populace the alleged 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 governor [Pontius Pilate], we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.' So the 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). During the succeeding generation, Paul -- nascent Christianity’s seminal evangelist -- further propagated the blood libel of Deicide in his epistle to the Christian residents of Thessalonica, Macedonia (modern-day Thessaloniki, Greece), declaring: "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 displease God and are hostile to all men 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).
Yet, despite all of the foregoing, in an enigmatic but prescient statement to a Gentile follower which reaffirms the exclusive Truth of Scriptural Judaism, Jesus declares:
"'... You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know; for Salvation is from the Jews.'" (John 4:22).
It is obvious from the “Gospels” portion of the “New Testament” (consisting of the four often conflicting narratives of Jesus’ life rendered by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) that Jesus was sent by the Christian deity to minister to the Jewish people rather than to the Gentile peoples. As the New Testament relates: “These twelve [apostles] Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the 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). This being the case, why does the “New Testament” falsely place the guilt for the alleged capture, torture and execution of Jesus upon “the lost sheep of Israel” rather than upon the Roman Empire? After all, Judea was a captive province of imperial Rome, and was subject to the latter’s authority in all things. The idea that the subjugated Jewish people were able to impose upon the Roman governor of Judea their alleged will to murder an innocent man is patently ludicrous. Nonetheless, after the death of Jesus but before the Gospels had become finalized, it became clear to the leaders of the early Church that the paucity of Jewish converts to Christianity would soon relegate the new religion to Oblivion unless Christianity welcomed Gentiles as well as Jews. Since the target Gentile population most available to early Christian proselytizers was the citizenry of the Roman Empire, the first evangelists realized that condemning the Roman Empire and, consequently (via the doctrine of collective guilt) all Roman citizens for the Crime of Deicide was likely to make a dangerous enemy of the leadership of the former and was unlikely to convince many of the latter to convert to the new religion. However, condemning a people which was already despised by the Roman Empire (due primarily to the Jewish people’s stubborn -- and, in the view of Rome, incomprehensible -- refusal to deem Rome’s subjugation of Judea as a victory of Rome’s gods over the God of Israel, which enmity had already manifested itself in 38 CE in Roman-ruled Alexandria, Egypt via the creation of the first known Jewish ghetto) as well as by the early Church (due to the Jewish people’s refusal to convert to Christianity in other than insignificant numbers) would serve multiple goals, namely, making Christianity more palatable to the Roman Empire and taking revenge upon the Jewish people for their collective rejection of the new religion. Accordingly, contempt and hatred for the Jewish people logically inhere throughout the “New Testament”.
Christianity seeks to know God, not only through the Hebrew Bible, but also through the “New Testament”; and, in cases of conflict between the two Scriptures, the “New Testament” prevails in the eyes of Christians simply because that Scripture is deemed by Christianity to be the corrective and final Word of God. Consequently, to the extent that the Christian Bible distorts the Nature, Message and Expectations of the God of Israel it does not describe our God at all but another deity entirely -- and it is this deity that Christianity recognizes and to which Christians pray.
Obviously, we do not accept:
that Humanity is born with the stain of “Original Sin”; or
that a righteous person might be denied God’s Love; 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 the God of Israel impregnated a human female (whether or not a virgin), and did so for the purpose of causing His Offspring to be born as a human being, only to be captured, tortured and murdered, in order to redeem Humankind from its collective sins ( -- in that, the practice of human sacrifice, especially to appease a deity, is abhorrent to the God of Israel (see Leviticus 18:21 and Jeremiah 19:5) -- ); or
that, after the death of Jesus, the God of Israel has decreed that the sins of a Jew can be forgiven only by accepting Jesus as his Savior ( -- in that, the God of Israel, before, during and after the time of Jesus, without employing any intermediary, Himself forgives an individual's forgivable sins, but only after that individual has repented, and thereafter modifies his thoughts and behaviors in order to avoid repeating those sins (see Ezekiel 18:30-32) -- ); 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 murdered or otherwise persecuted as punishment for their refusal to accept Jesus as their Savior and King; or
that the God of Israel has decreed that Jews who don’t accept Jesus as the Son of God are Children of the Devil or, alternatively, that such Jews are the Antichrist (or even that there exists such supernatural and autonomous creatures as the Devil and the Antichrist, representing Evil Incarnate, which vie with God for Supremacy over the Universe); or
that the God of Israel created demonic creatures, and permits them to enter human beings in order to possess their souls; or
that the God of Israel instructs his followers, as proof of their faith in Him (via Jesus), to cast out demons, speak gibberish, handle deadly snakes, ingest poison, and heal the sick without seeking medical intervention; 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 -- ).
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.
It is no different with Islam.
Islam revolves around the alleged teachings of Mohammad ibn Abdullah (Mohammad son of Abdullah), a pagan who resided in Arabia approximately 1,400 years ago.
Islam posits that, after having given the Torah (being the Instrument of Islam) to the Jewish people, the God of Israel -- which it calls Allah -- sent Issa (Jesus) as the Prophet of Christianity (also being the Instrument of Islam) in order to correct the doctrinal errors of Judaism; and that He, seeing 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 errors of both Judaism and Christianity (see Koran, Sura 5 "The Dinner Table" at 44-49). The repository of this Message, the Koran (sometimes spelled: Quran or Qur’an) -- purportedly authored by Mohammed (although not put into written form until decades after his death) at the behest of the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) -- is, by design, the complete and final Scripture of God, thereby superseding, in Revelation, both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible. This is reflected 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 also explains why the Koran states: "No; 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). According to Islam, since Allah is the God of Creation, it is He Who spoke to our forefather Abraham. And since the only true Religion is Islam, it is only Islam that He imparted to Abraham, as a result of which Abraham became the first Muslim. Consequently, since Abraham was a Muslim, and since Abraham's Jewish progeny of Seventh Century C.E. Arabia rejected any return to the true and only Religion of God, God's eternal Promises to, and Covenant with, the descendants of Abraham devolved exclusively upon Abraham's Arab progeny (descended from Abraham's elder son, Ishmael) who accepted the gift of Islam, as revealed by the text of the Koran, and as supplemented by the Hadith (comprising the competing compilations, known as “Sahih al-Bukhari” and “Sahih Muslim”, created by two 9th Century Muslim scholars, Mohammed al-Bukhari and Muslim al-Hajjaj, of the alleged extra-Koranic words and deeds of Mohammed and his coterie).
The Koran also declares that Allah sequentially created two species of self-aware beings: first, the Jinn and, only afterward, the Humans ("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). 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. ("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).
Like the Christian Bible, the Koran suffers from many misunderstandings, misquotations and erroneous summarizations of the Hebrew Bible. For example, the Koran:
misidentifies “Haman”, who was chief minister of Persia's Emperor in the Purim story, as being a minister of Egypt's Pharoah in the Exodus story (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 “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 “Mary”, the mother of Jesus, as being the “sister of Aaron” (i.e., Miriam, who was the sister of Aaron and Moses) (see Koran, Sura 19 "Mary" at 16-34, especially at 28); and
accepts, based upon false Christian dogma (stemming from Christianity’s mistranslation and misunderstanding of Isaiah 7:14), the virgin birth of Jesus (see Koran, Sura 19 "Mary" at 16-34, especially at 20-22), even while rejecting both the divinity and the divine lineage of Jesus (see Koran, Sura 5 "The Dinner Table" at 17, 72-75 & 116; and see Koran, Sura 9 "The Immunity" at 30-32).
Yet, in declaring Jesus to be a revered Prophet of Islam, Mohammed inexplicably ignored the fact that Jesus, per the “New Testament”, had permitted that which Islam -- “the only true Religion” -- had explicitly prohibited (i.e., Jesus, having attempted to abrogate the Torah laws of Kashrut, thereby sanctioned the consumption of pig meat, which the Koran explicitly forbids -- see Koran, Sura 5 "The Dinner Table" at 3).
In addition, the Koran, while accepting Abraham's son and heir, Isaac, as a Prophet, nevertheless declares his expelled brother, Ishmael, to be the greater Prophet and the one through whom God's Eternal Covenant with Abraham was transmitted to the generations; for, according to Islam, Ishmael -- rather than Isaac -- was the son whom God seemingly ordered Abraham to sacrifice in the Land of Moriah as a test of the Patriarch’s faith. And, consequently, according to Islam, Ishmael was given the high honor of accompanying Abraham to Mecca (located in modern Saudi Arabia), where together they built and dedicated the symmetrical structure known as “al-Kaaba” (meaning: “the Cube”), which is the holiest shrine in Islam, and where they thereupon implored Allah to create of their descendants a holy nation to whom Allah's Truth would be revealed (see Koran, Sura 2 "The Cow" at 125-129). This fanciful tale serves as the basis for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the Kaaba that culminates in the Muslim holiday known as Eid al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice).
Moreover, although certain verses of the Koran contain high praise for the Jewish people, such as:
"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 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 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
"Thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely in the Promised Land, and when the Promise of the Hereafter is near fulfillment, We shall gather you all together.'" -- Koran, Sura 17 "The Children of Israel" at 104;
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
"... [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 Satan." -- Koran, Sura 5 "The Dinner Table" at 60 (and the transformation of Jews into apes, allegedly 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; and that the nearest in affection to the faithful [followers of Allah] are those who say: 'We are Christians.' ..." -- Koran, Sura 5 "The Dinner Table" at 82; and
"The Jews say: 'Ezra is the Son of God.' The Christians say: 'The Messiah is the Son of God.' That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming to the [false doctrines of the] unbelievers before them. God assail 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:
"The Resurrection of the Dead will not come until the Muslims will war with the Jews, and the Muslims will kill them; ... the trees and rocks will say, 'O Muslim, O Servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.'" (see Hadith compilation of Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 52, Hadith 176, as narrated by Abdullah bin Umar, and Volume 4, Book 52, Hadith 177, as narrated by Abu Huraira).
The foregoing apocalyptic declaration is 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 Issa (Jesus) is resurrected and thereafter destroys Dajjal as well as his Jewish minions (see Hadith compilation of Sahih Muslim: Book 19, Hadith 1812 and Book 31, Hadith 7034).
In order to understand this last enigma, namely, the intermingling in the Koran of philo-Jewish and anti-Jewish declarations, a brief history of Mohammed's rise to power is necessary. When Mohammed first created Islam, he publicly preached his new religion in Mecca among the pagan Arab tribes who controlled the City and its ancient pagan place of worship, 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 born into a family who worshipped the Moon, as evidenced by his father’s name “Abdullah” (meaning: “Servant of Allah”), it is unsurprising that Mohammed would declare Allah to be the one and only God. At that time, Mecca had a large community of Jewish merchants. Mohammed, who had learned about the Hebrew Bible and Judaism through his contact with these Jews, unsuccessfully sought to convince them to abandon Judaism and accept Islam as the superior religion. So important did he consider this effort that he initially incorporated into Islam the following laws based upon Judaism:
1. The original Muslim “kibla” (direction of prayer) was towards Jerusalem (-- the same as in Judaism).
2. Pig meat was prohibited (-- the same as in Judaism).
3. The tenth 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 although being the tenth day of the seventh Jewish lunar month, is also the tenth 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 Arabia, except in insignificant numbers, still rejected Islam, Mohammed felt humiliated and took personal affront; and, when he had built a powerful army, he went to war against them. He first slaughtered the Jews of Medina (then known as Yathrib), to which city he had fled after his expulsion from Mecca by the pagan Quraysh tribe. After returning to and conquering Mecca, he also destroyed the Jewish community there. The last refuge of the Jews was at Kuraitah, a town near Medina. For 14 days the Jews held out against Mohammed and his army. When the Jews were finally defeated, Mohammed personally gave the order to massacre them. He then watched as 600 of the assembled Jewish elders were decapitated in the marketplace of Medina. Thereafter, he declared those portions of Arabia under his control to be Judenrein (cleansed of Jews), and he forbade Jews from ever reestablishing residence there. So it has remained until this Day.
However, annihilating the Jews of Arabia was not sufficient for Mohammed. In order to remove all former Jewish influences upon Islam he changed the kibla from Jerusalem to Mecca; he converted the complete fast day into a semi-fast month, and he moved it from the first to the ninth Muslim lunar month (-- this is the 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 subjugate all non-Muslims, declaring: "Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day [i.e., Day of Judgment], nor prohibit what Allah and His Apostle [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 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 reigns supreme; but if they submit [to you], then surely Allah sees what they do.” -- Koran, Sura 8 “The Spoils” at 39.
Moreover, the Koran does not even view all Muslims as being equal in worth and dignity, as it commands husbands to beat their disobedient wives until they become obedient (see Koran, Sura 4 “The Women” at 34).
Obviously, we do not accept:
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 His true and only Religion; 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 God of Israel has commanded husbands to beat their wives in order to resolve family disagreements; or
that our forefather Abraham was a Muslim; or
that God's Eternal Covenant with Abraham was inherited by Ishmael rather than by our forefather Isaac, thereby falsifying the Torah (see Genesis 17:19 & 17:21); or
that the God of Israel transformed some Jews into apes and pigs and servants of the Devil (or even that there exists such a supernatural and autonomous creature as the Devil, representing Evil Incarnate, which vies with God for Supremacy over the Universe -- in that, the Satan, as a philosophical construct of the Hebrew Bible, is subservient to, rather than a rival of, God (see Job 1:1 - 2:7); or
that Jews will comprise the Army of the Antichrist (or even that there exists such a supernatural and autonomous creature as the Antichrist, representing Evil Incarnate, which vies 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 murdered or otherwise persecuted as punishment for their refusal to convert to Islam or accept Mohammed as a Prophet; or
that the God of Israel has commanded Muslim nations to make War upon and subjugate the rest of the World, including Israel.
Furthermore, Mohammed's own hands are red with the blood of Jews. As such, not only do we consider him to be a great Evildoer, but we are required even to curse his name whenever it is uttered. As it says in the 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' [citing 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 Mohammed is the enemy of the Jewish people, he is, by Divine Definition, also the enemy of God. Accordingly, the Koran -- authored 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.
Since Muslims pray to a deity revealed through a book which so distorts the Nature, Message and Expectations of the God of Israel, whose authorship is attributed to a monster who so mercilessly massacred the People of the God of Israel, it strains credulity that any Jew could believe that the deity depicted in the Koran and the God of Israel are one and the same -- or that Muslims, by imbibing the heresies 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: "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 Disbelievers" at 1-6).
Clearly, the Jewish people do not believe either in the god of the New Testament or in the god of the Koran. That being the case, it is ludicrous for us to insist that while we do not believe in their gods, they believe in our God. Unless the Jewish people wish to embrace the Gentile nations' distorted conceptions of God (-- the very Sin which led to the destruction of the biblical northern kingdom of Israel at the hands of the Assyrian Empire: "The Children of Israel imputed concepts that were not so to HaShem their God ..." (II Kings 17:9) --), we cannot continue to entertain the erroneous notion that Jews, Christians and Muslims all pray to the same God. For, although there is only one God, those who presently pray to ersatz versions (-- simulacra --) of Him are merely engaged in avoda zarah (like their polytheistic and idol worshipping ancestors before them) rather than in the worship of the God of Israel. This Truth is reflected in the statement 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 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 repeating that the God of Israel -- and only the God of Israel -- is God: "You shall know this Day and take to your heart that HaShem, He is the God -- in 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: "Thus said HaShem, [sole] King of Israel and its [sole] Redeemer -- HaShem, Master 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 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.
© 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 beloved by God than any particular Gentile, as that Judgment can only be made by God, based upon each person’s individual moral worth. The Hebrew Bible itself is proof of this, as it abounds with tales of worthy Gentiles -- from Adam and Eve to Noah to the Amorite brothers Mamre, Aner and Eshcol to Malchizedek to Job to Jethro to Rahab 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). For a deeper analysis of this issue, please see my Essay entitled “The Meaning Of Being The Chosen People” -- Mark Rosenblit]