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. 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. 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 Hebrew Bible). 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 instead 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? 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 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 Heavenly 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 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 Nature, 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 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 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 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 refers 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 rather with an avoda zarah 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 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 during the late 1st Century B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) and the early 1st Century C.E. (Common Era) -- and the alleged life, death and teachings of his early disciples.
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 & 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 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 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 our ancestors’ 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 God does not place a Curse even upon Adam and Eve as a punishment for their 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, 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 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, in contravention of God’s Promise to Cain, 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., 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)
“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 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)
“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)
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 4:13-15, concerning God’s relationship with Abraham and his offspring:
“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.
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 and [the teachings of] the Prophets.’” (Matthew 7:12)
“‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’” (Luke 6:31)
However, as is conceded 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 text -- pejoratively denominated by Christianity as the “Old Testament” -- into the Christian Bible, 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. Accordingly, Christianity proclaims that, in order to transmit this “New Covenant” to Humankind, God’s Holy Spirit impregnated a woman named Mary (who was engaged to marry a man named Joseph) 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 male 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 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: ‘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 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 instructs Joseph to call his future son by the name Jesus; and see Luke 1:31 where the Angel Gabriel instructs Mary to call her future son by the name Jesus). Alternatively stated, while the Hebrew Bible unequivocally declares that the prophesied child would be called “Immanuel”, the “New Testament” contradicts itself on the name of the prophesied child by repeating (from Isaiah’s prophecy) that the child would be called “Immanuel” even as it simultaneously declares that the child would be called “Jesus”.
The Christian Bible (comprised of (a) the “New Testament”, which was composed in the Greek language, and (b) the “Old Testament”, which is a flawed Greek-language translation of the Hebrew Bible plus, depending upon the Christian sect, certain books of apocryphal Jewish literature) mistranslates the Hebrew-language word “alma” (meaning: “young woman”) in Isaiah 7:14 as “parthenos” (which is 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, “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. Conversely, 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 “alma” (“young 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’ purported birth, namely, circa 4 B.C.E., when Judea (successor entity to the biblical kingdoms of Judah and Israel) was a captive province 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 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 woman” in Isaiah 7:14 was someone with whom King Achaz of Judah was personally acquainted circa 735 B.C.E., it is obvious that: (1) this woman could not have been the “Virgin 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 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 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 and 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” (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 (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” (meaning: “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 [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 [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 [acting through the Prophet Isaiah] 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 [King Achaz of the southern kingdom of Judah]: Is it not enough for you that you treat men [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 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. [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 [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 (approximately 700 years before the purported lifetime 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 consult extra-biblical historical sources.
Alternatively stated, Jesus is 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 advent of the Messiah.
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 -- but is among the most consequential -- of the many mistranslations, misquotations and erroneous summarizations of the Hebrew Bible which appear throughout the Christian Bible.
In Christian belief, Jesus was the sacrificial “Lamb of God” (see John 1:29), who descended to Earth in human form as the Messiah, was martyred as Atonement for Humankind’s collective Sins and was thereafter resurrected from death (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). 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 (except for the Sin of Blasphemy, which can never be forgiven (see Matthew 12:31-32)), through the active intercession of Jesus, as the Son of God, after acceptance of him as their Savior (see Ephesians, Chapters 1 & 2). However, the “New Testament”, particularly the “Gospel of John”, contradicts itself over whether Jesus is exclusively the Son of God (see John 7:28-29, 7:33, 16:28 & 20:17) or is also God Himself (see John 1:18, 10:30, 10:38 & 14:11).
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).
According to the “New Testament”:
Contradicting his own purported declaration that the Commandments of the Torah are inviolable (“‘… Scripture cannot be set aside …’” (John 10:35)), Jesus purportedly sought to abolish the Torah Commandments 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 purportedly attempted to intimidate the Jewish people into accepting him as the Messiah (“‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.’” (Matthew 12:30)); and, failing that tactic, he purportedly ordered (by means of a parable, 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 kingship (“‘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)); and, perhaps in order to justify such an extreme measure, he purportedly declared that the Jewish people already deserved punishment for every murder perpetuated since the Dawn of Humanity (“‘And so upon you 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
In an expression of Christian supremacy, Jesus purportedly condemned to a hellish existence all of those human beings who refuse to worship and obey him as a demigod. (“‘Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’” (Mark 16:16); 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
Jesus purportedly 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 First 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 purportedly exorcised demons from humans; and, in one case, he purportedly 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 purportedly convened a summit between Moses, the Prophet Elijah and himself in the presence of some of his apostles (“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)); and
Jesus purportedly 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 in new 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 [the sick] will recover.’” (Mark 16:16-18)); and
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 (“‘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) 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); “So from that day on they [the Jewish leadership] plotted to take his [Jesus’] life.” (John 11:53); and “But the Pharisees [i.e., the Jews who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees] went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus” (Matthew 12:14); 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 it 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).
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 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, Paul -- nascent Christianity’s preeminent and seminal evangelist in the immediate period after the purported lifetime of Jesus -- 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 (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 [the Jews] 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)
Furthermore, according to the “Acts of the Apostles” portion of the “New Testament”, Paul frequently and directly accused the Jewish people of Deicide, e.g.:
“‘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)
“‘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)
“‘The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead, whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.’” (Acts 5:30)
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 purportedly declared:
“‘... 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 the purported birth, life, death and teachings of Jesus, rendered by purported authors known as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) that Jesus was purportedly sent by his Heavenly Father to minister to the Jewish people rather than to the pagan Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire. As the “New Testament” relates: “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). This being the case, 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, Judea was a captive province 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 governor of Judea their alleged will to murder an innocent man is patently ludicrous.
Nonetheless, before the “Gospels” had become finalized, it became 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 Roman Empire and (via the doctrine of collective guilt), consequently, all residents of the Empire for the Crime of Deicide was likely to make a dangerous enemy of the former and was unlikely to convince many of the latter to convert to the new religion.
However, in the Jews, the leaders of early Christianity found a people that, conveniently, were already despised by both the Roman Empire as well as 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 C.E. For its part, the early Church hated the Jewish people due to their refusal (in other than insignificant numbers) to convert to Christianity.
Consequently, concocting a new religion in which the Jews -- collectively and in perpetuity -- were the perfidious villains would serve two goals, namely, (a) making Christianity more palatable to the Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire and (b) taking revenge upon the Jewish people for their rejection of the new religion.
Proof of this deliberate shift in conversionary strategy is found in the “New Testament” itself:
“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)
Moreover, in order to further endear nascent Christianity to the Greek-speaking Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire, the “New Testament” bestowed upon Jesus’ first apostle, Simon, the honorific Greek-language name “Petros” (which, in the English-language, is rendered as the name “Peter”, meaning: “Rock”) (see Matthew 4:18-20 & 16:17-18; Luke 5:1-11; and John 1:35-42).
Furthermore, Jesus’ purported repudiation of the Torah Commandments of Kashrut in Mark 7:18-19 was clearly intended by the early Church to make Christianity less rigorous for, and consequently more appealing to, the Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire. However, this repudiation was probably a retroactive addition to the “Gospel of Mark”, as is evidenced by the fact that Peter, despite being the preeminent apostle of Jesus during the latter’s purported lifetime, had no knowledge of it (see Acts 10:9-15).
Finally, perhaps the most definitive proof that early Christianity ultimately came to view 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”, were spoken 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 missive in the Greek language (being the primary language of the Gentile peoples residing in the eastern Mediterranean and Anatolian districts of the Roman Empire, as well as being an official language of the Empire).
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 Jews inheres in the “New Testament”.
It is no surprise that Christianity seeks to know God, not only through a flawed translation of the Hebrew Bible, but also through the “New Testament”; and, in cases of conflict between the “Old Testament” 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. Consequently, to the extent that the “New Testament” 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 latter deity that Christianity recognizes and to which Christians pray.
Obviously, we do not accept:
that Jesus is God; or
that Jesus is the Son of God; 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; or
that the God of Israel impregnated a human female (whether or not a virgin), and did so for the purpose of creating a demigod, who was destined to be hunted, captured, tortured and murdered, in order to absolve Humankind of its collective Sins (in that, contrariwise, the practice of human sacrifice, especially to obtain absolution from a deity, is abhorrent to the God of Israel (see Leviticus 18:21 and Jeremiah 19:5)); 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 time of Jesus, without employing any intermediary, Himself forgives a person’s forgivable Sins -- including (in contrast to Christianity) the Sin of Blasphemy -- after that person repents, and thereafter modifies his thoughts and behaviors in order to avoid repeating those Sins (see Ezekiel 18:30-32)); or, alternatively stated, that the God of Israel has decreed that a person will be able to absolve himself from responsibility and punishment for his Sins merely by accepting Jesus as his Savior; 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 for their refusal to convert to Christianity or 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 and/or as God Himself 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 resurrected Jesus after his purported death; or
that the God of Israel resurrected Moses and the Prophet Elijah from death, so that Jesus would be able to meet and converse with them; or
that the God of Israel instructs His followers, as proof of their faith in Him (via Jesus), to: (a) cast out demons, (b) speak gibberish, (c) handle deadly snakes, (d) ingest poison, and (e) heal the sick without seeking medical intervention; or
that the God of Israel instructs His followers, as a sign of their devotion to Him (via Jesus), to martyr themselves (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).
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 life and purported teachings of Mohammed ibn Abdullah (Mohammed son of Abdullah), a pagan Gentile who resided in the Arabian Peninsula approximately 1400 years ago during the 7th Century C.E.
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 (Gospels) 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 errors of both Judaism and Christianity (see Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 44-51). The repository of this purported Message is the Koran (sometimes spelled: Quran or Qur’an), purportedly recited by Mohammed (although not put into written form until decades after his death) at the purported Command of the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) -- the same Angel who had, more than 600 years earlier, purportedly announced the prospective birth of Jesus 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 supremacy 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 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 C.E. 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). Yet, despite the claimed perfection of the text of the Koran, the tenets of Islam are drawn not only from the Koran but also from two subsequent compilations of literature, both created in the 9th Century C.E., collectively denominated as the Hadith, which purports to have memorialized the extra-Koranic words and deeds of Mohammed and his coterie hundreds of years after his death. One Hadith compilation is known as “Sahih al-Bukhari” (created by Mohammed al-Bukhari), and the other Hadith compilation is known as “Sahih Muslim” (created by Muslim al-Hajjaj).
The Koran claims 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)). 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 (“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 the chief minister of Persia’s Emperor in the Purim account, as being a minister of Egypt’s Pharoah in the Exodus account (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) (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), yet rejects both the divinity and the 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 ignored the fact that Jesus, per the “New Testament”, had purportedly permitted that which Islam -- “the only true Religion” -- had explicitly prohibited (i.e., Jesus, in purportedly attempting to abrogate the Torah laws of Kashrut, purportedly 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, Isaac, as a Prophet, Islam views his brother, 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 not being specified in the Koran, Ishmael (rather than Isaac) is deemed by normative Islam to be the son whom God ostensibly ordered Abraham to sacrifice as a test of the Patriarch’s faith. Consequently, according to the Koran, 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 (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).
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 [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
“Thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land [Land of Israel]; 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
“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 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 Allah.’ The Christians say: ‘The Messiah is the Son of Allah.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming to the [false doctrines of the] unbelievers before them. Allah 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:
“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: 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: 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: Book 19, Hadith 1812 and Book 31, Hadith 7034).
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 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 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. 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 supreme religion. So important did he consider this effort that he initially incorporated into Islam the following decrees based upon Judaism:
1. The original Muslim “kibla” (direction of prayer) was 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 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 cleansed of Jews; and he forbade Jews from ever reestablishing communities there. So it has remained until this Day.
However, annihilating the Jews of Arabia was not sufficient for Mohammed. In order to remove all 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 1st to the 9th 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, including Jews, 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 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 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 [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).
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).
Unfortunately, with deadly consequences for the Jewish people, in tandem with its message of Divine Love for (some of) those who accept Allah as God and Mohammed as His Prophet, a message of hatred and contempt for Jews inheres in the Koran.
Obviously, we do not accept:
that Mohammed is a Prophet of God; 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 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, contrary to the repeated Declaration 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 Muslims rather than by the Jewish people; 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, contrariwise, 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 to accept Mohammed as a Prophet; or
that the God of Israel has commanded Muslims to make War upon and subjugate the non-Muslim World, including Israel.
Furthermore, Mohammed’s soul is stained red with the blood of massacred 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.’ [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 -- purportedly 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 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: “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).
Finally, based upon their respective Scriptures, there is one monumental difference between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, namely, their respective views of the importance of Life versus Death.
The Hebrew Bible is a life-affirming Scripture. 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)
Contrariwise, the “New Testament” is a death-affirming scripture. Not only does Christianity celebrate the purported death 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: Holy War) 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 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 are 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 are 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, stated 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.”
Clearly, the Jewish people do not believe that Death is more important than Life, or that Death is otherwise a Cherished Objective or a Cause for Celebration.
Just as clearly, the Jewish people do not believe in either 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, 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 (being the very Sin which 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)), 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 -- misleading simulacra -- of Him are unfortunately 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 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 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, 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.
© 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, based upon each individual’s moral worth. The Hebrew Bible itself is proof of this, as it abounds with accounts 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). Moreover, the Hebrew Bible even contains an example of God extending His Mercy to the entire population of Nineveh, capital city of the pagan Assyrian Empire, over the strenuous objection of the Prophet Jonah (see Jonah 1:1 - 4:11). For a deeper analysis of this issue please see my Essay entitled “The Meaning Of Being The Chosen People” -- Mark Rosenblit]