THE NEW TRINITY: DO WE ALL PRAY TO THE SAME GOD?
While agreeing upon little else, most Jews, Christians and Muslims seem to accept as a truism that they all pray to the same God. This is because the three monotheistic religions all teach that a Supreme Being brought the Universe and all within it into existence, and they tend to view Him as Eternal, Incorporeal, Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent. Furthermore, due to their acceptance of the Hebrew Bible as Holy Writ (except to the extent that it is contradicted by their own respective Scriptures and/or teachings), 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.
However, to the extent that any sect of Christianity deifies Jesus (either as God or as the “Son of God”), Judaism traditionally deems that sect to be a practitioner of avoda 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).
Although all sects of Islam acknowledge that Mohammed was no more than a human being, in practice Islam reveres Mohammed as if he were merged with Allah, as (in conformity to Christianity’s reverence towards Jesus) Islam forbids any criticism of the character, declarations or actions of Mohammed. Moreover, just as Islam forbids tangible depictions of Allah (as being idolatry), it also forbids tangible depictions of Mohammed (as if that were also idolatry). Notwithstanding the forgoing, Judaism does not deem any sect of Islam to be a practitioner of avoda zara. Instead, Judaism 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, Judaism 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 & Deuteronomy 5:6), God immediately thunders:
“‘You shall not recognize the gods of others in My Presence.’” (Exodus 20:3 & Deuteronomy 5:7).
By agreeing that the God of Israel, and the Heavenly Father who purportedly 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, meaning: “Teaching”), to reveal to us His Eternal Attributes, His Eternal Message and that which He expects of us as His Chosen People. God said of and to us:
“... So said HaShem: ‘My firstborn Son is Israel.’” (Exodus 4:22); and: “‘... My Legions -- My People -- the Children of Israel ...’” (Exodus 7:4); and: “For you are a holy people to HaShem, your God; HaShem, your God, has chosen you to be for Him a treasured people above all peoples that are on the face of the Earth. Not because you are more numerous than all the peoples did HaShem desire you and choose you, for you are the fewest of all the peoples. Rather, because of HaShem’s Love for you and because He observes the Oath that He swore to your forefathers did He take you out with a strong hand and redeem you from the House of Slavery -- from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:6-8); and: “For you are a holy people to HaShem, your God; and HaShem has chosen you for Himself to be a treasured people from among all the peoples on the face of the Earth.” (Deuteronomy 14:2); and: “And HaShem has distinguished you Today to be for Him a treasured people, as He spoke to you, and to observe all His Commandments, and to make you supreme over all the nations that He made, for praise, for renown, and for splendor, and so that you will be a holy people to HaShem, your God, as He spoke.” (Deuteronomy 26:18-19).
Consequently, it stands to reason that the Teaching that God gave to His Chosen People is both complete and final. As a result, our Sages’ understanding of God is based exclusively upon His Words and Actions, as related in its pages alone. If we were to accept that the God of Israel subsequently bestowed upon the Gentile nations Revelation concerning His Attributes, His Message and His Expectations, as expressed through the Christian Bible and/or the Islamic Koran, each of which seek to annul, modify and add neologisms to the passages of the Hebrew Bible, then we would be transgressing yet another Commandment of the Torah. For, as the God of History, in anticipation of this Day, long ago warned His people:
“‘The Entire Word that I command you: that shall you observe to do; you shall not add to it and you shall not subtract from it.’” (Deuteronomy 13:1).
And just to reveal a bit of the Future to our people, God immediately added to the preceding Admonishment this specific Prophetic Warning:
“‘If there should stand up in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream, and he will produce to you a Sign or a Wonder, and the Sign or the Wonder comes about, of which he spoke to you, saying: ‘Let us follow gods of others that you did not know and we shall worship them’ -- do not hearken to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of a dream; for, HaShem, your God, is testing you to know whether you love HaShem, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul. HaShem, your God, shall you follow, and Him shall you fear; His Commandments shall you observe, and to His Voice shall you hearken; Him shall you serve, and to Him shall you cleave.’” (Deuteronomy 13:2-5).
And just so that doubt should not creep into our souls about God’s Faithfulness to His own Word, the Prophet Samuel reminds us that:
“‘Moreover, the Eternal One of Israel does not lie and does not relent, for He is not a human being that He should relent.’” (I Samuel 15:29), echoing the earlier words of the Gentile prophet Balaam that: “‘God is not a human being that He should be deceitful, nor a son of man that He should relent. Would He say and not do, or speak and not confirm?’” (Numbers 23:19).
Since Hebrew Scripture warns us that the nations’ Scriptures, even if otherwise attractive and compelling, are nonetheless False, we are certainly required to treat the deities described in their Scriptures as False, and we are most certainly prohibited from intellectually merging or otherwise identifying their deities with the God of Israel.
Furthermore, Hebrew Scripture not only warns the Jewish people against merging or otherwise identifying the false gods of 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 is necessary.
Christianity revolves around the purported birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and teachings of Yeshu ben Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph) -- a Jew who purportedly resided in the Land of Israel approximately 2,000 years ago during the late 1st Century BCE (Before the Common Era) and the early 1st Century CE (Common Era) -- and the purported lives, deaths and teachings of his early disciples. Jesus is purported to have died via crucifixion circa 30.
The Christian Bible is comprised of two conflicting Testaments, which Christianity attempts to bind together in order to create the fraudulent appearance of prophetic continuity.
The first Testament of the Christian Bible is pejoratively denominated by Christianity as the “Old Testament”, which is an intentionally-flawed Greek-language translation of the Hebrew Bible (plus, depending upon the Christian sect, certain books of apocryphal literature). This flawed translation of the Hebrew Bible was created by the early Church in order to retroactively manufacture prophetic support in the mistranslated text of the Hebrew Bible for the Christian claim that Jesus is the Messiah promised by the Hebrew Bible.
The second Testament of the Christian Bible is triumphantly denominated by Christianity as the “New Testament”, which was composed in the Greek language. The earliest portion of the “New Testament” is the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul” (i.e., those 7 out of the 14 letters traditionally attributed to the evangelist Paul that appear to have been authored by the same person, whether or not that person was actually Paul (formerly known as Saul of Tarsus), to wit: 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Romans and Philemon). These non-disputed letters of Paul emerged over a 10-year period beginning approximately 20 years after the purported crucifixion of Jesus. However, the core of the “New Testament” is the subsequent “Gospels” portion thereof, comprising the four often-conflicting narratives of the purported birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and teachings of Jesus, created by the unknown authors subsequently denominated as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The earliest narrative of Jesus -- the “Gospel of Mark” -- was written approximately 20 years after the earliest appearance of the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul” and approximately 40 years after the purported crucifixion of Jesus, while the latest narrative of Jesus -- the “Gospel of John” -- was written approximately 50 years after the earliest appearance of the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul” and approximately 70 years after the purported crucifixion of Jesus. This means that the author of the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul” and his acolytes were afforded many decades to define -- without hindrance -- the major doctrines of early Christianity, initially in a pre-Gospels environment and subsequently in partial-Gospels environment.
The centerpiece of Christianity is the assertion that Jesus is the “Son of God”, that he is consequently the Messiah promised by the Hebrew Bible and that he was -- and, by virtue of his Heavenly Father’s Design, had to be -- tortured and murdered in order to become an Atonement for the Sins of Humankind, after which he was resurrected from death before ascending to his Heavenly Father (see Matthew 16:21, 26:2, 26:21, 26:45-46 & 26:56; Mark 10:33-34 & 10:45; Luke 9:22 & 22:14-22; John 1:29, 6:51, 7:1-8, 7:30, 8:20 & 13:10-26; Romans 6:10; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 9:11-14, 9:23-28 & 10:1-10; and Revelation 1:5 (regarding Jesus’ purported Death by Design as Atonement for Sin); and see Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-18; Luke 24:1-43; John 20:1-29 & 21:1-14; and 1 Corinthians 15:4 (regarding Jesus’ purported Resurrection); and see Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; and Acts 1:1-11(regarding Jesus’ purported Ascension)).
Contrariwise, according to the Hebrew Bible, the Messiah will not be a demigod. Rather, he will be born only of human parents; and he is not prophesied to be tortured or to be murdered or to be an Atonement for the Sins of anyone -- let alone for the Sins of all Humankind. Rather, the Messiah promised by the Hebrew Bible is prophesied to accomplish four extraordinary feats, namely:
(1) the complete defeat of Israel’s enemies (see Genesis 12:3; Numbers 24:8-9; Deuteronomy 32:43; Isaiah 52:10 & 59:17-21; Jeremiah 2:3, 30:11 & 33:15-16; Ezekiel 37:24-25 & 38:3 - 39:6; Joel 4:1-2; Amos 9:15; Zephaniah 3:12-20; Zechariah 14:2-13; and Malachi 3:19-21); and
(2) the initiation of the era of universal knowledge of the God of Israel (see Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 37:28; Zephaniah 3:9; Micah 4:1-2; and Zechariah 8:20-23 & 14:9); and
(3) the initiation of the era of universal peace among the nations (Isaiah 2:4 & 11:6-8; Micah 4:3-4; and Zechariah 8:3-6); and
(4) the erection of the Third Temple atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (see Isaiah 56:7 and Ezekiel 37:26-28)
-- and to do all of these things during his lifetime.
Jesus, however, did not accomplish any of these feats during his purported lifetime; nor did he accomplish any of these feats between his purported resurrection and his purported ascension. The fact that Jesus failed to fulfill any of these messianic prophecies forced the early Church: (a) to repurpose the Messiah’s mission from fulfilling the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible (the accomplishment of which is subject to empirical proof) to atoning for the Sins of Humankind (the accomplishment of which is not subject to empirical proof) and (b) to simultaneously claim that Jesus would return to Earth to accomplish what he failed to accomplish before his purported ascension (see Mark 13:21-37; John 21:22-23; Acts 1:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Hebrews 9:28; and Revelation 1:7 & 19:11-16). This promised Return is commonly known as the “Second Coming” or the “Second Advent”, although, to be precise, it should be denominated as the “Third Coming” or the “Third Advent” (as, purportedly, Jesus has already appeared twice on Earth, to wit: the first time from his purported birth to his purported crucifixion, and the second time from his purported resurrection to his purported ascension). Contrariwise, the true Messiah, who will have accomplished all of his assigned tasks during his lifetime, will have no need to resurrect after death or to return after ascension for that purpose.
One of the most fundamental doctrines of Christianity is that of the “Curse of Original Sin”. This doctrine posits that all human beings inherit, at birth, Humanity’s first Sin, namely, the consumption by Adam and Eve of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (see Genesis 2:15-17 & 3:1-23). Consequently, according to Christianity, human beings are, by their very nature, Evil; and such a fatal congenital stain on their souls cannot be expunged except through their acceptance of Jesus as their Savior. As the Christian Bible declares:
“As it is written, there is none righteous; no, not one.” (Romans 3:10)
“Wherefore, as Sin came into the World through one man [i.e., Adam], and Death through [Adam’s] Sin; and so Death spread to all men because all men sinned [through Adam].” (Romans 5:12);
“For, as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)
However, the “New Testament” contradicts itself on this foundational pillar of Christianity when it implies that the parents of John the Baptist were not stained with the “Curse of Original Sin”, by declaring:
“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the Sight of God, observing all of the Lord’s Commandments and Decrees blamelessly.” (Luke 1:5-6)
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 the “Original Sin”. Judaism teaches that God has bestowed upon every human being the Gift of Free Will to enable each human being to prospectively choose between doing Good and doing Evil, which Gift is the negation of the concept of the “Curse of Original Sin”.
As the Hebrew Bible declares:
“And God said: ‘Let us make Man in Our Image, after Our Likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the bird of the sky, and over the animal, and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the Earth.’ So God created Man in His Own Image, in the Image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the Earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the bird of the sky and over every living thing that moves upon the Earth.’” (Genesis 1:26-28)
“Fathers shall not be put to death because of sons, and sons shall not be put to death because of fathers; a man should be put to death [only] for his own Sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)
“‘His father, because he has cruelly oppressed [his fellow Jew], has robbed loot from [his] brother, and did that which is not good among his people -- behold, he died for his Sin. Yet you say: “Why did the son not bear the Iniquity of the father?”; but the son performed [acts of] Justice and Righteousness, and kept all My Laws and performed them; [consequently,] he shall surely live! The soul that sins, it shall die; a son shall not share the Iniquity of his father, and a father shall not share the Iniquity of his son; the Righteousness of the righteous person shall be upon him, and the Wickedness of the wicked person shall be upon him.’” (Ezekiel 18:18-20)
Furthermore, not only are the descendants of Adam and Eve not stained with the “Curse of Original Sin”, but God also did not curse even Adam and Eve as a punishment for their Sin; rather, their punishment was Exile from the Garden of Eden, together with the harsh consequences that flow naturally therefrom (i.e., they were made subject to the routine hardships of life, such as pain in childbirth and arduous cultivation of crops (see Genesis 3:16-23)).
While it is true that, as soon as a human being has acquired the ability to distinguish between Right and Wrong, the inclination to perpetrate Evil embeds itself within his heart (see Genesis 8:21), it is equally true that the ability to overcome that inclination is simultaneously planted within his heart. For, in the most profound and definitive Declaration to be found anywhere in the Hebrew Bible concerning a human being’s relationship to Sin, Redemption and Free Will, the God of Israel explains to Adam’s son Cain (after He has rejected Cain’s agricultural offering as being insincere) that every human being, even after abysmal failure, has been gifted by Him with the ability to triumph anew over Temptation by exercising his Free Will to choose Good over Evil. As the Hebrew Bible relates:
“And HaShem said to Cain: ‘Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? Surely, if you improve yourself, you will be forgiven. But if you do not improve yourself, Sin rests at the Door. Its desire is towards you; yet you can conquer it.’” (Genesis 4:6-7).
The Hebrew Bible repeats this Redemptive Message many times, including through the Prophet Ezekiel, who -- speaking in God’s Name -- declares:
“‘As for the wicked one, if he repents from all of his Sins that he committed, and he observes all of My Decrees and performs [acts of] Justice and Righteousness, [then] he shall surely live; he shall not die [because of his Sins]! All of his transgressions that he committed shall not be remembered against him; he shall live because of the [acts of] Righteousness that he did. Do I desire at all the death of the wicked one? -- the Oration of the Lord HaShem; is it not rather [that I desire] his repentance from his [evil] ways, that he might live? … And if the wicked one turns away from his Wickedness that he did and performs [acts of] Justice and Righteousness, [then] he will cause his soul to live. Because he contemplated and repented from all of his transgressions that he did he shall surely live; he shall not die [because of his Sins]!’” (Ezekiel 18:21-23 & 27-28)
The Prophet Isaiah -- also speaking in God’s Name -- concurs:
“‘Seek HaShem when He can be found; call upon Him when He is near. Let the wicked one forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts; let him return to HaShem, and He will show him mercy -- [let him return] to our God, for He is abundantly forgiving.’” (Isaiah 55:6-7)
Consequently, Judaism rejects the concept of the “Curse of Original Sin”.
Moreover, in contravention of God’s Promise to Cain and God’s serial reiteration of that Redemptive Message, Christianity posits that -- due to the “Curse of Original Sin” -- a person cannot, by his own righteous conduct, entitle himself to receive God’s Love and Salvation. On the contrary, according to Christianity, without God’s extension of Grace to the righteous person through the latter’s acceptance of Jesus as Savior, the latter will nonetheless suffer God’s Wrath. As the “New Testament” declares:
“Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work [i.e., does not perform righteous deeds] but trusts in God Who justifies the Wicked [i.e., the Evildoer who accepts Jesus as his Savior], his faith is credited as Righteousness.” (Romans 4:4-5)
“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 [God’s] Law are heirs, Faith has no value, and the Promise is worthless. For, [adhering to God’s] Law brings Wrath; and where there is no Law there is no Transgression [of the Law].” (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)
This seminal Christian doctrine, known as “Justification By Faith Alone”, essentially asserts that, when the God of Israel created and communicated His Commandments for and to the Jewish people, He committed an Act of Frivolity, as He did not actually desire that the Jewish people comply with His Commandments, but rather that they ignore His Commandments and live by Faith alone. Consequently, via this doctrine, Christianity falsely attributes to the God of Israel the Trait of Nonsensicality. This false attribution constitutes a monumental violation of the Torah’s Third Commandment, to wit: “‘Do not take the Name of HaShem your God in vain; for HaShem will not hold him guiltless that takes His Name in vain.’” (Exodus 20:7 and Deuteronomy 5:11).
However, notwithstanding its consistent disparagement of righteous conduct as the Way to God’s Love and Salvation, the “New Testament” contradicts itself on the fundamental doctrine of “Justification By Faith Alone”, as it also hosts a contrary declaration in the “Epistle of James”, which declares -- correctly -- that faith without righteous conduct is worthless (see James 2:14-26).
In contrast, Judaism does not accept the absurd and insolent premise that obedience to God’s Commandments, which -- by definition -- is the embodiment of Righteousness and Justice, constitutes an attempt to bribe one’s way into Heaven. As the Hebrew Bible, in repudiation of Christianity’s misleading characterization (in Romans 4:13-15) of God’s relationship with Abraham, declares:
“And HaShem said: ‘Shall I conceal from Abraham what I do, now that Abraham is surely to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the Earth shall bless themselves by him? For I have loved him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the Way of HaShem -- [by]doing [acts of] Righteousness and Justice -- in order that HaShem might then bring upon Abraham that which He had spoken of him.’” (Genesis 18:17-19)
And, reiterating the fundamental Judaic precept that obedience to God’s Commandments is the Key to Life, the Prophet Ezekiel subsequently declares in God’s Name:
“‘…but the son performed [acts of] Justice and Righteousness, and kept all My Laws and performed them; [consequently,] he shall surely live!’” (Ezekiel 18:19)
Clearly, according to Judaism, God showers His Love upon the righteous person precisely because the latter, by virtue of obeying God’s Commandments, acts righteously.
Yet, doesn’t Christianity -- a religion which claims to be based upon the allegedly liberating concept of radiating Love rather the allegedly repressive concept of adhering to God’s Commandments -- favorably distinguish itself from Judaism by virtue of Jesus’ proclamation of the “Golden Rule”? Well, no.
The “New Testament” depicts Jesus as saying:
“‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law 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 the rendering of the “Golden Rule” in the “Gospel of Matthew”, that laudable concept was already firmly established within Judaism. For, as God declares to the Jewish people:
“‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow, but you shall not incur Sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the members of your people, but you shall love your fellow as yourself; I am HaShem.’” (Leviticus 19:17-18)
Accordingly, the “Golden Rule” is actually a Torah Commandment, which was adopted but -- historically -- rarely practiced by the adherents of normative Christianity.
However, the “New Testament” contradicts itself on the centrality of the “Golden Rule” when it portrays Jesus as demanding that his followers hate their own families, to wit:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate [his] father and mother, [his] wife and children, [his] brothers and sisters -- yes, even their own life -- such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
Christianity posits that Judaism’s alleged doctrinal errors caused the God of Israel to raise up Christianity in place of Judaism as the spiritual heir of that superseded religious doctrine and as the bearer of God’s “New Covenant”, as manifested in the “New Testament” portion of the Christian Bible (see Hebrews 8:1-13). As the “New Testament”, in an expression of Christian supremacy, declares: “By calling this Covenant ‘new’, He [God] has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13). Accordingly, Christianity claims that, in order to transmit this “New Covenant” to Humankind, God’s “Holy Spirit” impregnated a woman named Mary (who was engaged to marry a man named Joseph) with Jesus -- thereby (according to the “Gospel of Matthew” and the “Gospel of Luke”) rendering him, upon his birth, as the “Son of God” -- without altering her prior status as a biological virgin (see Matthew 1:18-25; and Luke 1:26-38).
The dogma of the “Virgin Birth” -- springing from the influence upon early Christianity of pagan mythology in which a male god has sexual intercourse with a female human being, thereby resulting in the birth of a demigod -- is scripturally based upon Christianity’s intentional mistranslation of the Hebrew-language word “alma” in the Prophet Isaiah’s famous declaration in Isaiah 7:14 that “the young woman” would give birth to a son named “Immanuel” (a child whom Christianity identifies as Jesus, despite the fact that nowhere in the “New Testament” is Jesus ever referred to -- either by his family or by others -- as Immanuel). The “New Testament” explicitly relies upon Isaiah’s prophecy, as mistranslated and, more importantly, as truncated, when it asserts: “All of this [the virgin birth of Jesus] took place in order to fulfill what the Lord had said through the Prophet: ‘A virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son; and they will call him Immanuel’, which means: God with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23). Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the actual meaning of the name “Immanuel”, after the application of standard Hebrew-language syntax, is: “God is with us” (i.e., God is watching over us), and not, as the “New Testament” (under the influence of pagan mythology) translates: “God with us” (i.e., God has become one of us). Moreover, the self-contradictory text of the “New Testament” itself negates any implication that the future son of Joseph and Mary was intended to be called by any name other than “Iesous”, which is rendered from the Greek language into the English language as “Jesus” (see Matthew 1:21 where an unidentified Angel instructs Joseph to call his future son by the name “Jesus”; and see the contrasting account in 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 child would be called “Immanuel”, the “New Testament” contradicts itself on the name of the child by repeating (from Isaiah’s prophecy) that the child would be called “Immanuel” even as it simultaneously declares that the child would, instead, be called “Jesus”.
In one of the most egregious examples of Christianity twisting the Hebrew Bible in order to serve its purposes, the Christian Bible mistranslates the Hebrew-language word “alma” (meaning: “young woman”) in Isaiah 7:14 as “parthenos” (which is a Greek-language word usually meaning: “virgin”), and then 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 prior to marriage. Conversely, the Hebrew-language word “betulah” means a “virgin”, and consequently that word explicitly describes a woman’s sexual status. As such, “betulah” is the word used in the Hebrew Bible whenever it wishes to explicitly identify a woman by the fact that she has not yet engaged in sexual intercourse; and Isaiah himself elsewhere employs the word “betulah” multiple times to denote a virgin.
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, either circa 6 BCE (during the reign of Judean King Herod according to Matthew 2:2) or circa 6 CE (during the reign of Syrian Governor Publius Sulpicius Quirinius according to Luke 2:2) -- representing yet another major contradiction within the “Gospels” -- 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 BCE, it is obvious that: (1) this woman could not have been the “Mary” of the “New Testament”, and (2) this woman’s future son, Immanuel, could not have been the “Jesus” of the “New Testament”.
Furthermore, a review of 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 Hebrew-language word “oat”. Rather, the Prophet would have employed the Hebrew-language word “nes” (meaning: “miracle”).
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.”‘ [The Prophet of] HaShem spoke further to [King] Achaz, saying: ‘Request a Sign for yourself from HaShem your God; request it in the depths [below] or high above.’ But [King] Achaz said: ‘I will not request; I will not test HaShem.’ He [the Prophet Isaiah] responded: ‘Hear now, O House of David [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 is pregnant and will bear a son, and she will name him Immanuel. He will eat cream and honey as soon as he knows to refuse Evil and to choose Good. For, before the child will know to refuse Evil and to choose Good, the Land of the two kings whom you fear will be laid waste. [Subsequently,] HaShem will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your ancestral House such days as have not come since the Day that Ephraim [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 also 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 intentional mistranslations, interpolations, deceptive contextualizations and erroneous narrations of the Hebrew Bible which appear throughout the Christian Bible.
Moreover, the “New Testament” also quotes nonexistent prophecies from the Hebrew Bible.
One nonexistent prophecy is that the Messiah would be known for having resided in the town of Nazareth (which town is not even mentioned in the Hebrew Bible), to wit:
“And he [i.e., Joseph, together with his wife Mary and their child Jesus] went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the [Hebrew] Prophets, that he [the Messiah] would be called a Nazarene [i.e., a resident of Nazareth].” (Matthew 2:23)
Another nonexistent prophecy is that the Messiah would be tortured, murdered and resurrected, to wit:
“He [Jesus] told them [his apostles], ‘This is what is written [in the Hebrew Bible]: “The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.”’” (Luke 24:46).
There are no such prophecies in the Hebrew Bible.
In mainstream Christian belief, Jesus was the sacrificial “Lamb of God” (John 1:29), who descended to Earth in human form as the Messiah, so that he could be martyred as an Atonement for Humankind’s Sins.
However, as demonstrated by the previously-quoted portions of the Hebrew Bible, the God of Israel rejects the Christian doctrines of “Substitutionary Atonement” and “Substitutionary Punishment”. A person’s Sins may not be expiated via the actions -- let alone the torture and murder -- of another person, rather only through the sinner’s own confession and repentance. Nor may an innocent person be punished -- let alone tortured and murdered -- for the Sins of another person.
The “New Testament”, insists that, after the purported crucifixion of Jesus, a person may only achieve forgiveness for “Original Sin”, as well as for their individual Sins -- except for the Christian Sin of Blasphemy, which can never be forgiven (see Matthew 12:31-32 & Mark 3:28-29) -- through the active intercession of Jesus, as the “Son of God”, after that person’s acceptance of Jesus as his Savior (see Ephesians 1:3-14).
Yet, the “New Testament”, particularly the “Gospel of John”, contradicts itself over whether Jesus is merely the “Son of God”, as evidenced by the following passages:
“… ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One Who sent me.’” (John 7:16); and
“…‘… I am not here on my own authority, but He Who sent me is True. … I am from Him, and He sent me.’” (John 7:28-29); and
“Jesus said, ‘I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going [back] to the One Who sent me.’” (John 7:33); and
“‘… the Father is greater than I. … I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.’” (John 14:28-30); and
“‘I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.’” (John 16:28); and
“…‘… and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’” (John 20:17);
or whether Jesus is also God Himself, as evidenced by the following passages:
“… the one and only Son, who is Himself God …” (John 1:18); and
“‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before [the Hebrew Patriarch] Abraham was born, I am!’” (John 8:58); and
“‘I and the Father are One.’” (John 10:30); and
“‘… the Father is in me, and I [am in] in the Father.’” (John 10:38); and
“‘Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me …’” (John 14:11); and
“[The apostle] Thomas said to him [the resurrected Jesus], ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:28).
However, the notion that any human being (including Jesus) is -- or could be -- God Incarnate was long ago repudiated by God Himself, Who demonstrated and emphasized to the Jewish people that He is Incorporeal, to wit:
“‘And HaShem spoke unto you out of the midst of the Fire; a Voice of Words you heard, but you saw no Form -- only a Voice. … And you should beware greatly for your souls -- for, you saw no manner of Form on the Day that HaShem spoke unto you at [Mount] Horeb out of the midst of the Fire -- lest you will act corruptly by making for yourselves a graven image, even the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female.’” (Deuteronomy 4:12 & 4:15-16)
Moreover, the Hebrew Bible explicitly declares that God is not a person, to wit:
“‘God is not a human being …’” (Numbers 23:19); and
“‘… He [God] is not a human being …’” (I Samuel 15:29)
Moreover, the Hebrew Bible makes it clear that the Jewish people do not require any supernatural intermediary between themselves and God. As declared by the Gentile prophet Balaam concerning the Children of Israel:
“‘It is God [Himself] Who brought them [the tribal descendants of Jacob who are called the Children of Israel] out of Egypt according to the Power of His Loftiness. For, there is no [need to use] Divination in Jacob and no [need to use] Sorcery in Israel [in order to achieve communion with God]; now it is said [directly] to Jacob and Israel what God has wrought [for them].’” (Numbers 23:22-23)
And as the Hebrew Bible later imparts to the Jewish people:
“Close is HaShem to all who call upon Him; to all that will truly call upon Him.” (Psalms 145:18); and
“Say unto them [the Jewish people]: ‘Thus said HaShem, Master of Legions: “Return unto Me -- the Oration of Hashem, Master of Legions -- and I will return unto you” said HaShem, Master of Legions.’” (Zechariah 1:3)
According to the “New Testament”:
Contradicting his own purported declaration that the Commandments of the Torah are inviolable (“‘… Scripture cannot be set aside …’” (John 10:35)), Jesus purportedly abrogated 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), to wit: “He [Jesus] said to them [his apostles]: ‘Are you also lacking in understanding? Are you not aware that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and [then] goes out into the latrine?’ Thus, he [Jesus] declared all foods clean.” (Mark 7:18-19); and
Jesus purportedly attempted to intimidate the Jewish people into accepting him as the Messiah, to wit: “‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.’” (Matthew 12:30); 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 purported kingship, to wit: “‘But these enemies of mine who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here, and kill them in my presence.’” (Luke 19:27); 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, to wit: “‘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).
Jesus purportedly declared to a gathering of Jews -- who had described themselves as the Children of Abraham and who regarded Jesus as merely a human being -- that they were really the Children of Satan, to wit: “‘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, to wit: “‘Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the Antichrist -- denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.’” (1 John 2:22-23)).
Jesus purportedly exorcised demons from humans; and, in one case, he purportedly granted such expelled demons permission to enter a herd of swine, to wit: “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).
Jesus purportedly convened a summit between Moses, the Prophet Elijah and himself in the presence of some of his apostles, to wit: “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the Sun, and his clothes became as white as the Light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” (Matthew 17:1-3).
Jesus purportedly declared the objective criteria by which his true followers would be identified, to wit: “‘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). However, despite Jesus’ purported assertion that his followers would be able to survive the foregoing deadly perils, he nonetheless purportedly encouraged them to martyr themselves as proof of their devotion to him, to wit: “‘For, whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.’” (Matthew 16:25).
And, most infamously, the “New Testament” incites Christians to the most virulent form of Jew-hatred through its imposition upon the Jewish people of full and exclusive responsibility for the alleged hunting, capture, torture and murder of Jesus by means of:
“After this, Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.” (John 7:1) -- however, Jesus’ purported fear of prematurely dying is rendered nonsensical in light of the subsequent statement (in the very same Chapter of the “Gospel of John”) that: “At this they [the Jews] tried to seize him [Jesus], but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.” (John 7:30); and
“So from that day on they [the Jewish leadership] plotted to take his [Jesus’] life.” (John 11:53); and
“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 the “New Testament” attributes and attaches to the Jewish people -- collectively and in perpetuity -- in response to the purported assertion by Roman governor Pontius Pilate that Jesus was not guilty of any crime against the Roman Empire and that, consequently, Rome’s soul would remain pure in the event of Jesus’ murder by Rome at the insistence of the Jewish people, to wit: “And all of the [Jewish] people said [in response to Pilate’s assertion of Jesus’ innocence]: ‘His [Jesus’] blood shall be upon us and upon our descendants.’” (Matthew 27:25).
Furthermore, all four “Gospels” assert that Jesus was betrayed by his apostle Ioudas, which, in the English language, is rendered as the name “Judas” (see Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:4-6; and John 13:26-27). The name “Ioudas” is the Greek-language translation of the Hebrew tribal name “Yehudah”, which, in the English language, is rendered as “Judah”, from which is derived the designation “Jew” (i.e., one who is an adherent of the religion and/or a member of the tribe of Judah). In the Greek language, “Jew” is “Ioudaios”, which is an obvious cognate of “Ioudas” (“Judas”). However, despite the unanimous assertion by the authors of the “Gospels” that Judas was the betrayer of Jesus, it is noteworthy that nowhere in the chronological first portion of the “New Testament”, namely, the non-disputed “Epistles of Paul”, is Judas even mentioned -- let alone accused of betraying Jesus -- leading to the firm conclusion that this villain had not yet become a part of the Christian narrative. Consequently, it is likely that the later authors of the “Gospels”, in an effort to further inflame Jew-hatred among Christians, chose to conjure a betrayer whose name in the Greek language (and, for obvious linguistic reasons, in many other languages) was synonymous with the designation “Jew”.
The “New Testament” subsequently accuses the Jewish leadership of attempting to orchestrate a vast conspiracy in order to conceal from the populace the purported final proof of the truth of Christianity, namely, Jesus’ alleged postmortem resurrection, by declaring: “When the [Jewish] chief priests had met with the [Jewish] elders and devised a plan, they gave the [Roman] soldiers a large sum of money, telling them: ‘You are to say, “His [Jesus’] disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this report gets to the [Roman] governor [Pontius Pilate], we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the [Roman] soldiers took the money, and did as they were instructed; and this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very Day.” (Mathew 28:12-15).
Moreover, 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).
Per the “New Testament”, Jesus was initially sent by his Heavenly Father to minister to the Jewish people rather than to the pagan Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire. 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, and in light of the fact that the Roman Empire habitually executed persons who challenged the Emperor’s primacy in the temporal realm and/or the spiritual realm, why does the “New Testament” falsely place the guilt for the alleged hunting, capture, torture and execution of Jesus upon “the lost sheep of Israel” rather than upon the Roman Empire? After all, 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 Empire’s provincial governor their alleged desire to murder an innocent man is patently ludicrous. This is especially so in the case of Governor Marcus Pontius Pilatus (commonly known as Pontius Pilate), who has been described by historians as being headstrong, arrogant, cruel and dismissive of Jewish public opinion -- in repudiation of his portrayal in the “Gospels” as being sensitive, weak-willed, indecisive, and malleable.
Nonetheless, before the four “Gospels” had become substantially finalized circa 100, 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, consequently (via the doctrine of collective guilt), 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 and the early Church. The Roman Empire hated the Jewish people due to their stubborn -- and, in the view of Rome, incomprehensible -- refusal to regard Rome’s subjugation of Judea as a victory of Rome’s gods over the God of Israel. Moreover, the Jews’ refusal to accept their defeat as the defeat of their God was so subversive to Rome’s goal of uncontested imperial rule that it rightly feared the spread of this rejectionist doctrine to the other conquered peoples of the Empire. In fact, as the early Church was well aware, Rome’s enmity towards and ideological fear of the Jewish people had already manifested itself in Roman-occupied Alexandria, Egypt via the creation of the first known Jewish ghetto in 38. 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 Jewish people -- collectively and in perpetuity -- rather than the Roman Empire -- collectively and in perpetuity -- was the perfidious villain would serve two goals, namely, (a) making Christianity more palatable to the 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” (meaning: “Rock”), which, in the English language, is rendered as the name “Peter” (see Matthew 4:18-20 & 16:17-18; Mark 3:16; Luke 5:1-11; and John 1:35-42).
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 purportedly 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 missives 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).
For this reason, in what is likely a later addition to the “Gospel of Matthew”, the “New Testament” narrates:
“Then [the resurrected] Jesus came to them [his apostles] and said, ‘All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And, surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the Age.”” (Matthew 28:18-29)
Undoubtedly, Jesus’ purported repudiation of the Torah Commandments of Kashrut in Mark 7:18-19 was intended by the early Church to make Christianity less rigorous for, and consequently more appealing to, the Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire. However, Jesus’ purported repudiation of Kashrut was probably a later addition to the “Gospel of Mark”, as is evidenced by the fact that Peter, despite being the preeminent apostle of Jesus during the latter’s purported lifetime, purportedly had no knowledge of it (see Acts 10:9-15).
Similarly, the early Church, after debate, decided to excuse Gentile converts to Christianity from compliance with the Torah Commandment of Circumcision, so “… that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God” (Acts 15:19; for the full debate on this issue, see Acts 15:1-29).
Furthermore, at the same time as the early Church was reducing its ties to Judaism, it was increasing its ties to the Roman Empire. For example, many of the gods venerated throughout various regions of the Empire were believed to have been born on December 25 of the Empire’s Imperial Calendar (e.g., Rome’s Attis, Greece’s Dionysius, Egypt’s Osiris, Persia’s Mithra and Babylonia’s Ishtar), as that was the date of the Winter Solstice during which Rome’s Saturnalia festivities (including feasting, merrymaking and gift giving) in honor of the god Saturn were held. It is, consequently, no surprise that the early Church, seeking to introduce its new god to the Empire, also adopted December 25 for his birthday. However, the deified Jesus had much more in common with these other gods than a mere birthday; for, the purported circumstances of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection bear a striking resemblance to the purported circumstances of the births and/or ministries and/or deaths and/or resurrections of these other gods. Also, the Gentile peoples of the Roman Empire could readily identify with a deified Jesus who was purportedly born from the union of a god and a human woman, as Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome, were also purportedly born from the union of a god (i.e., the god Mars) and a human woman.
Yet, the “New Testament” contradicts itself over when Jesus actually became deified as the “Son of God”. If one reads the “New Testament” according to the chronological emergence of its components, one can see that, in order to make Jesus more appealing to a predominantly-pagan audience, Jesus evolved over a relatively short period of time --approximately 50 years -- from being Joseph’s biological son to being a preexistent deity:
Per the “Epistles of Paul” (written circa 50 - 60), Jesus became the “Son of God” only upon his purported resurrection (see Romans 1:4; also see the purported declaration of Paul, as quoted in Acts 13:30-33), as until that time he was only a human being, born of two human parents (see Romans 1:3; also see the purported declaration of Paul, as quoted in Acts 13:23). Note that the author of the Pauline letters was unaware of the “Virgin Birth” narrative, as it had not yet been written; so, the “Resurrection” narrative became that author’s deification device.
However, per the “Gospel of Mark” (written circa 70), Jesus became the “Son of God” much earlier than the Resurrection, namely, upon his adult baptism (see Mark 1:9-11). Note that, like the author of the Pauline letters, the author of the “Gospel of Mark” was unaware of the “Virgin Birth” narrative, as it had not yet been written; so, the “Baptism” narrative became that author’s deification device.
However, per the “Gospel of Matthew” and the “Gospel of Luke” (both written circa 85), Jesus became the “Son of God” much earlier than his adult baptism, namely, upon his birth (see Matthew 1:18-22 & 2:1-2; and Luke 1:26-35); so, the “Virgin Birth” narrative became those authors’ deification device.
Finally, per the “Gospel of John” (written circa 100), Jesus became the “Son of God” much earlier than any of the foregoing events, namely, eons before his birth, as he was a preexistent deity (see John 1:1-18 & 8:58). Note that, although the author of the “Gospel of John” was likely aware of the “Virgin Birth” narrative, as it had already been written, he had no need of it as a deification device; so, he ignored it.
This last opinion of Jesus’ Christological status (i.e., that Jesus was a preexistent deity), together with the “Virgin Birth”, “Baptism” and “Resurrection” narratives, eventually became the mainstream view of Jesus within Christianity and the Roman Empire. This Christological status, together with early Christianity’s disengagement from Judaism and its embrace of the Roman Empire’s pagan beliefs, customs and celebrations, allowed Christianity to obtain parity for the deified Jesus with -- and ultimately supremacy for the deified Jesus over -- the other gods of the Empire.
Unfortunately, with deadly historical consequences for the Jewish people, in tandem with its message of Divine Love for those who accept Jesus as their Savior, a message of hatred and contempt for (non-converting) Jews inheres in Christianity.
Obviously, we do not accept:
that Jesus is God rendered Corporeal (or that God would ever transform Himself into a human being); or
that Jesus is the biological “Son of God”; or
that the one and only God of the Hebrew Bible is, instead, a three-person Godhead, comprising the “Father”, the “Son” and the “Holy Spirit” (regardless of whether such component Persons are deemed to be equal or unequal to each other); or
that the “New Testament” is a Scripture of the God of Israel; or
that Christianity has superseded Judaism as the Revelation of the God of Israel; or
that Humanity is born with the stain of “Original Sin”; or
that a righteous person might be denied God’s Love and Salvation; or
that the God of Israel created and communicated His Commandments as an Act of Frivolity; or
that the God of Israel impregnated a human woman (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 God of Israel has repudiated the doctrines of “Substitutionary Atonement” (see Ezekiel 18:21-32) and “Substitutionary Punishment” (see Deuteronomy 24:16; and Ezekiel 18:14:20), and He has forbidden the practice of human sacrifice as an abomination to Him (see Leviticus 18:21 & 20:1-5; Deuteronomy 12:31; and Jeremiah 19:1-5 & 32:33-35)); or
that the God of Israel has decreed that a person cannot be forgiven for his Sins unless he accepts Jesus as his Savior (in that, contrariwise, the God of Israel, before, during and after the purported lifetime of Jesus, without employing any intermediary, Himself forgives a person’s forgivable Sins, but only after that person confesses, repents, and thereafter modifies his thoughts and behaviors in order to avoid repeating those Sins (see Ezekiel 18:21-32)); or, alternatively stated, that the God of Israel has decreed that, even without repentance and modification, a sinner will nonetheless be able to absolve himself from responsibility and punishment for his Sins (except for the Christian Sin of Blasphemy) merely by accepting Jesus as his Savior; or
that the God of Israel requires people to hate their own families and their own lives; or
that the God of Israel gave Jesus the Power to abrogate the Divine -- and thus unalterable -- Commandments of the Torah, which God Himself bestowed upon the Jewish people; or
that the God of Israel has decreed that the Jewish people be massacred or otherwise persecuted as punishment in this Life for their refusal to convert to Christianity (or to otherwise accept Jesus as their Savior and King); or
that the God of Israel has decreed that the Jewish people (or any other non-Christian) will be cast into the Fires of Hell as punishment in the Afterlife for rejecting Christianity; or
that the God of Israel has decreed that Jews who don’t accept Jesus as the Messiah and/or as “Son of God” and/or as God Himself are Children of the Devil and/or that they 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 crucifixion; 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); or
that the God of Israel directed the various authors of the “New Testament” to employ mistranslated and/or truncated and/or nonexistent passages from the Hebrew Bible in order to prove that Jesus is the Messiah promised by the Hebrew Bible; or
that the true Messiah will -- at any point in time (i.e., either prior to his birth or during his lifetime or after his death) -- be a demigod rather than a human being; or
that the true Messiah will be tortured and/or murdered as part of his mission; or
that the true Messiah will fail during his lifetime to accomplish the tasks with which he has been entrusted by the God of Israel.
It is no surprise that Christianity seeks to know God, not only through an intentionally-flawed translation of the Hebrew Bible, but also through the “New Testament”; and, in cases of conflict between the Hebrew Bible and the “New Testament”, the latter prevails in the eyes of Christians simply because that Scripture is deemed by Christianity to be the corrective and final Word of God. Accordingly, to the extent that the Christian Bible distorts the 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.
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 (meaning: “Submission”) revolves around the purported life and teachings of Mohammed ibn Abdullah (Mohammed son of Abdullah) (sometimes spelled: Muhammad), a pagan Gentile who is purported to have resided in the Arabian Peninsula approximately 1400 years ago during the 7th Century CE. Mohammed is purported to have died in 632.
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 (Gospel) 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 3 “The Family of Imran” at 19; Sura 4 “The Women” at 46; Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 17, 44-51, 62-64, 72-75 &116; and Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 30-33).
The repository of this purported Message, purportedly revealed to Mohammed over a 22-year period spanning 610 to 632, is the Koran (sometimes spelled: Quran or Qur’an; meaning: “Recitation”), which is a chaotic stream-of-consciousness narrative that fragments and spreads its topics over many of its 114 chapters. The Koran was purportedly recited by Mohammed at the Command of the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) -- the same Angel who had, more than 600 years earlier, purportedly announced the prospective birth of Jesus to Mary according to the “Gospel of Luke”. Consequently, the Koran purports to be the complete and final Scripture of God, thereby superseding, in Revelation, both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible. This doctrine of Muslim supremacy is expressed in the Islamic dogma that: “The only true Religion in Allah’s Eyes is Islam. ...” (Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 19). It is for this reason that Islam declares: “It is He [Allah] Who has sent His Messenger [i.e., Mohammed] with guidance and the Religion of Truth [i.e., Islam], in order for it to be dominant over all other religions, even though the unbelievers will oppose it.” (Koran, Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 33). This also explains why the Koran states: “No; Ibrahim [Abraham] in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim, and one pure in faith. ...” (Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 67). Since, according to Islam, Allah is the God of Creation, it is He Who spoke to our forefather Abraham. And since, according to the Koran, “the only true Religion” is Islam, it is only Islam that Allah imparted to Abraham, as a result of which Abraham became the first Muslim. Consequently, since, according to the Koran, Abraham was a Muslim, and since Abraham’s Jewish progeny of 7th Century CE Arabia rejected any “return” to Islam, God’s Eternal Promises to, and Eternal Covenant with, the descendants of Abraham were purportedly transferred from his Jewish progeny to his alleged Arab progeny (who dubiously claim descent from Abraham’s elder son Ishmael) who accepted Islam (as well as those non-Arabs who subsequently converted, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to Islam).
Yet, despite the Koran’s claimed purity (i.e., that God Himself is the Author of every word in the Koran) and despite the Koran’s claimed continuity (i.e., that no portion of the Koran has been altered by human intervention from the time that its words were revealed to Mohammed until Today), the oral verses of the original Koran were not compiled into a unified written text during the lifetime of Mohammed.
So, what is the origin of Today’s standardized version of the Koran? Muslim apologists claim that 100% of the oral verses of the original Koran were compiled into an approved written text by the instruction of Caliph Uthman ibn Affan (in a process which involved the destruction of all preexisting written texts of the Koran) in 652 -- 20 years after the purported death of Mohammed -- and that Today’s standardized version of the Koran is provably identical to Uthman’s approved written text of the Koran. However, this claim is false, as:
a. no copy of Uthman’s written Koran (if it ever existed) presently exists; and
b. the earliest extant written Korans -- numbering 10 -- are dated only to the 8th Century CE, being approximately 100 years after the purported death of Mohammed and approximately 80 years after the purported date of Uthman’s written Koran; and
c. these early written Korans contain more than 1,000 significant textual variances from each other; and
d. each of these early written Korans continued to be revised for hundreds of years after their respective creations; and
e. none of these early written versions (either in their original forms or in their mutating revised forms) are the same version of the Koran as the standardized version that is universally accepted Today as being “the Koran”.
Astonishingly, Today’s standardized version of the Koran was created only recently -- in 1924 -- by a panel of scholars at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.
Yet, even Today’s standardized version of the Koran contains numerous internal contradictions. The way that the serial redactors of the Koran dealt with this problem was to include two verses in the Koran that proclaimed the “Doctrine of Abrogation”, whereby textual contradictions were to be resolved by permitting a later verse to cancel an earlier verse, to wit:
“Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We [then] bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?” (Koran, Sura 2 “The Cow” at 106); and
“And when We change [one] communication for [another] communication, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they [the unbelievers] say: ‘You are only a forger.’ Nay, most of them do not know [that Allah has reserved to Himself the right to abrogate Revelation].” (Koran, Sura 16 “The Bee” at 101)
Moreover, the tenets of Islam are presently drawn not only from the standardized version of the Koran created in the 20th Century CE, but also from Muslim biographies of Mohammed, the earliest preserved versions of which were created in the 9th Century CE -- approximately 200 years after the purported death of Mohammed -- and from the compilations of Muslim literature, the earliest preserved versions of which were also created in the 9th Century CE, that are collectively denominated as the Hadith (which corpus of literature purports to have memorialized the extra-Koranic words and deeds of Mohammed and his contemporary acolytes). The two most authoritative Hadith compilations are known as “Sahih al-Bukhari” (created by Mohammed al-Bukhari) and as “Sahih Muslim” (created by Muslim al-Hajjaj).
In a monumental departure from the Hebrew Bible, the Koran claims that Allah sequentially created two species of self-aware beings: first, the Jinn and, only afterward, the Humans (“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)).
Tellingly, the Koran does not view all Muslims as being equal in worth and dignity, as it commands husbands to beat their disobedient wives until they become obedient, to wit:
“Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them [i.e., men] to excel others [i.e., women], and because they spend [money for women’s welfare] out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen [i.e., their female form] as Allah has guarded; and [as to] those [women] on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then, if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High [and] Great. (Koran, Sura 4 “The Women” at 34).
Furthermore, the Koran permits Muslim men to rape slaves, to wit:
And these [i.e., Muslim men] must guard their private parts [i.e., their penises], except in the case of their wives or those whom their right hands possess [i.e., slaves]; for, these [i.e., Muslim men] surely are not to be blamed [for imposing sexual relations upon such women]. (Koran, Sura 70 “The Ways of Ascent” at 29-30)
Contrariwise, the Hebrew Bible, while acknowledging the then existence of slavery as a societal norm, prohibits Jewish men from raping slaves, including women captured during war, to wit:
“‘When you go out to battle against your enemies, and HaShem your God delivers them into your hand and you take them away captive, and you see among the captives a woman of beautiful form, and you desire [to have sexual intercourse with] her, then you may take her for yourself as a wife. [However, first,] you shall bring her to the midst of your house, and she shall shave her head and grow her nails. She shall remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and she shall mourn her father and her mother for a full month; and afterwards you may come to her and be her husband, and she shall be for you a wife. [However,] it shall be that if [after all of the foregoing] you no longer desire her, then you must let her go wherever she wishes; and you shall certainly not sell her for money; you shall not mistreat her, because you have afflicted her.’” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)
As the preceding Torah Commandment reveals, instead of instructing the Jewish soldier of 3,400 years ago that he could neither make a slave of nor rape his female captive -- prohibitions which that ancient soldier would never have comprehended -- the God of Israel fashioned a series of steps which would gradually dissipate that soldier’s feelings of superiority mixed with lust, and would thereby permit him, no longer being so influenced by his passions, to choose between: (1) elevating his captive to spousal status, and (2) freeing her unconditionally.
Like the Christian Bible, the Koran suffers from erroneous and fictitious narrations of the Hebrew Bible. For example, the Koran:
misidentifies “Haman”, who was the chief minister of Persia’s Emperor in the Purim account, as being a minister of Egypt’s Pharoah in the Exodus account, despite the fact that the events of the Exodus occurred approximately 900 years before the events of Purim (see Koran, Sura 28 “The Narratives” at 1-42, especially at 6, 8 & 38); and
misidentifies the “two righteous spies” (i.e., Joshua and Caleb) -- who advocated conquering the Land of Israel despite the apparent strength of the Canaanite nations then occupying the Land -- as being “Musa [Moses] and his brother” (i.e., Moses and Aaron) (see Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 20-26, especially at 23 & 25); and
misidentifies “Marium [Mary]”, the mother of Jesus, as being the “sister of Haroun [Aaron]” (i.e., Miriam of the Exodus account), despite the fact that the events of the Exodus occurred approximately 1400 years before the purported events described in the Gospels (see Koran, Sura 19 “Mary” at 16-34, especially at 28); and
falsely asserts (when Moses delayed returning to the Hebrew encampment from Mount Sinai) that a “Samiri [Samaritan]” was instrumental in the creation of the golden calf, despite the fact that the events of the Exodus took place approximately 700 years before the emergence of the Samaritan people (see Koran, Sura 20 “Ta Ha” at 83-97, especially at 85-87 & 95-96); and
tells a fictitious tale about Moses and his unidentified servant journeying together to the junction of two rivers and then to a city, during which journey the servant, after disabling a boat and killing a child, serially rebukes Moses for questioning the servant’s actions and ultimately proves to Moses that the servant has been acting upon Revelations from Allah and that Moses has been an uncomprehending fool (see Koran, Sura 18 “The Cave” at 60-82).
Moreover, Islam accepts, based upon false Christian dogma (stemming from Christianity’s intentional mistranslation of Isaiah 7:14), the 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 ignores the fact that Jesus, per the “New Testament”, purportedly permitted that which Islam -- “the only true Religion” -- explicitly prohibits (i.e., Jesus, in purportedly abrogating the Torah Commandments of Kashrut, implicitly sanctioned the consumption of pig meat, which the Koran explicitly forbids (see Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 3)).
Additionally, while accepting Abraham’s son, Ishaq (Isaac), as a Prophet, Islam views his elder brother, Ismail (Ishmael), to be the greater Prophet due to the dubious Islamic assertion that Ishmael is the ancestor of the Arab people, which would mean that Ishmael is the purported ancestor of Mohammed. This is probably the reason why, despite it not being specified in the Koran, Ishmael (rather than Isaac) is 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).
Furthermore, 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 Musa [Moses] to his people. He said: ‘Remember, my people, the favor which Allah has bestowed upon you. He has raised up prophets among you, made you into kings, and given to you that which He has given to no other nation. Enter, my people, the Holy Land [Land of Israel] which Allah has assigned for you. Do not turn back, or you shall be ruined.’” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 20-21); and
"And We made the [Jewish] people who were deemed to be weak to inherit the eastern lands [i.e., territory lying east of the Jordan River] and the western lands [i.e., territory lying west of the Jordan River] which We had blessed; and the Good Word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel because they bore [sufferings] patiently; and We utterly destroyed what Firon [Pharaoh] and his people had wrought and what they built." (Koran, Sura 7 “The Elevated Places” at 137); and
“Thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land [i.e., the Land of Israel]; and when the Promise of the Hereafter is near fulfillment, We shall gather you all together.’” (Koran, Sura 17 “The Children of Israel” at 104); and
“And certainly We delivered the Children of Israel from the abasing chastisement -- from Firon [Pharaoh] -- surely he was haughty, one of the extravagant. And certainly We chose them, knowingly, [to be] above the nations. (Koran, Sura 44 “The Smoke” at 30-32); and
“And certainly We gave the Book [i.e., the Torah] and the Wisdom and the Prophecy to the Children of Israel, and We gave them of the goodly things, and We made them excel [among] the nations. (Koran, Sura 45 “The Kneeling” at 16)
yet other verses viciously attack the Jewish people (and sometimes Christians), such as:
“O Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians as your friends; they are friends of each other. Whoever of you makes them his friends is one of them! God guides not the people of the Evildoers!” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 51); and
“Humiliation is imposed upon them [the Jews] wherever they are overtaken, except under a Covenant from Allah and a covenant from the [Muslim] people [which stipulate the surrender and subjugation of the Jews to the Muslims]; and they have invited Wrath from Allah; and Shame has attached itself to them. This is because they disbelieved in the Revelations of Allah and killed the [Hebrew] prophets unjustly. This is because they disobeyed [Allah] and exceeded the limits [of permissible behavior].” (Koran, Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 112); and
“... [Jews are] those whom Allah has cursed and with whom He has been angry, [consequently] transforming them into apes and pigs, and [into] those who serve Satan.” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 60; and the transformation of Jews into apes during the Exodus from Egypt is also declared in Sura 2 “The Cow” at 65 and in Sura 7 “The Elevated Places” at 166); and
“You will see many among them [the Jews] competing with each other in Sin and Wickedness and in practicing that which is unlawful. Evil is what they do. Why do their rabbis and leaders not forbid them to blaspheme and practice that which is unlawful? Evil indeed are their doings. The Jews say: ‘Allah’s Hand is chained.’ May their own hands be chained! May they be cursed for what they say. ...” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 62-64); and
“You will find that the most implacable of men in their hostility to the faithful [followers of Allah] are the Jews and the pagans. ...” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 82); and
in a stunning display of Koranic ignorance concerning the monotheistic credo of Judaism: “The Jews say: ‘Uzair [Ezra] is the Son of Allah.’ The Christians say: ‘The Messiah [i.e., Jesus] is the Son of Allah.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming to the [false doctrines of the] unbelievers before them. Allah destroy them! How they are perverted!” (Koran, Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 30).
Even worse, the Hadith spews forth a cascade of calumnies and incitements against the Jewish people, the most infamous of which is:
“Allah’s Apostle [i.e., Mohammed] said: ‘You [the Muslims] will war with the Jews until some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will [betray the Jews], saying: ‘O Servant of Allah! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.’” (Hadith compilation of Sahih al-Bukhari: 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, to wit: 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 and his interactions with the Jews of Arabia is necessary. When Mohammed created Islam and declared himself to be its prophet, he attempted to gain adherents among the pagan Arab tribes of Mecca, which city was renowned for its ancient place of worship, al-Kaaba. The Arabs of Mecca venerated a pantheon of gods (consisting of 7 primary deities and hundreds of secondary deities), the foremost of which was the male Moon deity “Allah” (also known, when being entreated as the chief deity of al-Kaaba, as “Hubal”). In order to make his new monotheistic religion more palatable to Arab converts, Mohammed -- while discarding all of the other Meccan gods -- retained “Allah” as an object of worship, declaring that deity to be the Creator of the Universe. In light of the fact that Mohammed was probably born into a family which already worshipped the Moon deity “Allah”, as evidenced by his pagan father’s name “Abdullah” (meaning: “Servant of Allah”), it is unsurprising that Mohammed would declare the Moon deity “Allah” to be the one and only God.
Although Mohammed gained some converts among the Meccans, the leadership of the City rejected his overtures and expelled him and his acolytes from the City in 622. Mohammed and his followers thereafter fled to Medina (then known as Yathrib) and encountered Jewish tribes there, whom he also attempted to convert. So important did he consider this effort that -- according to his Muslim biographers -- he initially incorporated into Islam the following decrees based upon Judaism:
1. The original Muslim “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 the Medina region, except in insignificant numbers, nonetheless rejected Islam and, even worse, mocked Mohammed’s claim to be a prophet, he felt humiliated and took personal affront; and, when he had built a powerful Muslim army, he went to war against them for 5 years, from 624 - 628 -- expelling some, enslaving some, slaughtering the remainder, and confiscating their wealth (with 80% of Jewish assets being distributed to Mohammed’s army and 20% of Jewish assets being retained by Mohammed himself). The last refuge of the Jews was at Kuraitah, a town near Medina. For 14 days the Jews withstood the Mohammed’s army. When the Jews finally surrendered, Mohammed personally gave the order to massacre the adult men and the pubescent boys, and to enslave the women and children. He then watched as at least 600 Jewish men and boys were decapitated before an assembled Muslim audience in the marketplace of Medina.
In a display of theological triumphalism, the Koran describes Mohammed’s vanquishment of the Jews of Arabia in celebratory terms, to wit:
“And Allah turned back the unbelievers [i.e., the pagan Meccans] in their rage; they did not obtain any advantage, and Allah sufficed the believers [i.e., the Muslims] in fighting; and Allah is Strong [and] Mighty. And He drove down those of the followers of the Book [i.e., the Jews] who supported them [i.e., the pagan Meccans] from their [i.e., the Jews’] fortresses and He cast awe into their [i.e., the Jews’] hearts; some [of the Jews] you [Muslims] slaughtered, and you [Muslims] took captive another part [of the Jews]. And He made you [Muslims] heirs to their [i.e., the Jews’] land and their [i.e., the Jews’] dwellings and their [i.e., the Jews’] property, and a land which you have not yet trodden; and Allah has Power over all things.” (Koran, Sura 33 “The Clans” at 25-27)
Thereafter, Mohammed declared those portions of Arabia under his control to be cleansed of Jews; and, on his deathbed in 632, he issued an order to prevent Jews from ever reestablishing communities there. So it has remained until this Day.
In order to ennoble Mohammed’s genocidal war against the Jewish people, the 9th Century CE Muslim biographers of Mohammed and the 9th Century CE Muslim purveyors of the Hadith claim that the major Jewish clans of Arabia conspired with Mohammed’s enemies (i.e., the pagan Meccans) against him. This claim is bolstered by passages such as Koran 33:25-27. Moreover, these sources claim that Jews serially attempted to murder Mohammed, and they further claim that the fever from which Mohammed died was caused by poisoned food prepared by a Jew. Alternatively stated, Muslim apologists assert that Mohammed’s horrific treatment of the Jewish people was well deserved on account of their alleged perfidy.
However, ridding Arabia of its Jews was not sufficient for Mohammed. In order to remove all Jewish influences upon Islam, he 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 to subjugate the entire non-Muslim world, including the Jewish people, declaring:
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Apostle [i.e., Mohammed] and strive to make mischief in the Land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified, or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides, or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this World, and in the Afterlife they shall have a grievous chastisement.” (Koran, Sura 5 “The Dinner Table” at 33); and
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day [i.e., Day of Judgment], nor prohibit what Allah and His Messenger [i.e., Mohammed] have prohibited, nor follow the Religion of Truth [i.e., Islam], including those who have been given the Book [i.e., the Jews and the Christians], until they pay the [subjugation] tax in acknowledgment of [Islam’s] superiority and that they are in a state of subjection [to the Muslims].” (Koran, Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 29); and
“O you who believe: Fight those of the unbelievers who are nearby to you and let them find in you harshness; and know that Allah is with those who fulfill [their duty].” (Koran, Sura 9 “The Immunity” at 123); and
“So, fight against them [i.e., non-Muslims] until there is no more Strife and the Religion of Allah [i.e., Islam] reigns supreme; but if they submit [to you], then surely Allah sees what they do.” (Koran, Sura 8 “The Spoils” at 39).
Unfortunately, with deadly consequences for the Jewish people, in tandem with its message of Divine Love for those who accept Allah as God and Mohammed as His Prophet, a message of hatred and contempt for (non-converting) Jews inheres in Islam.
Obviously, we do not accept:
that Mohammed is a Prophet of 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 Jewish people regard the Jewish leader Ezra as being the “Son of God”; or
that the God of Israel has commanded husbands to beat their wives in order to resolve family disagreements; or
that the God of Israel has given permission for men to rape women; or
that our forefather Abraham was a Muslim; or
that Moses was a buffoon; or
that, 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 the Arab people (and later by the non-Arab peoples) who converted to Islam rather than by the Jewish people; or
that the God of Israel transformed some Jews into apes and pigs and servants of 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 compose 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 massacred or otherwise persecuted as punishment in this Life for their refusal to convert to Islam and to accept Mohammed as a Prophet; or
that the God of Israel has decreed that the Jewish people (or any other non-Muslim) will be cast into the Fires of Hell as punishment in the Afterlife for rejecting Islam; or
that the God of Israel has commanded Muslims to make War upon and subjugate the entire non-Muslim World, including the Jewish people.
Furthermore, according to the Muslim sources, Mohammed’s soul is stained red with the blood of massacred Jews. As such, 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, per the Muslim sources, Mohammed is the enemy of the Jewish people, he is, by Divine Definition, also the enemy of God. Accordingly, the Koran -- revealed to Humanity by the enemy of God -- cannot be considered to embody the Word of God, even if that Islamic book did not otherwise contain within it all of the other infirmities discussed above.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, some major -- and astounding -- caveats are in order, which challenge everything that has long been accepted about the early history of Islam.
For example, Mohammed’s purported interactions with -- including his purported expulsions, enslavements and slaughters of -- the Jewish clans of Arabia are known only from Muslim sources, such as: (1) Koranic passages, such as Koran 33:25-27, which may have been interpolated into 8th Century CE manuscripts of the Koran (either contemporaneously or, as those early manuscripts subsequently underwent serial revisions, in succeeding centuries), and (2) the Hadith and the earliest biographies of Mohammed, the earliest preserved versions of which were created in the 9th Century CE. Consequently, it is possible that some (or even all) of these reported interactions were conjured by triumphalist Muslim apologists in the 9th Century CE, during a period of Islamic ascendancy, for the purpose of justifying the Islamic Caliphate’s ongoing subjugation of Jews from dual perspectives, namely, the macro and the micro. The macro perspective was the theological perspective, holding that Islam, as the “only true Religion”, having allegedly vanquished Judaism on the battlefield in the 7th Century CE, would forever continue to vanquish Judaism on the battlefield). The micro perspective was the interactional perspective, holding that the Jews, having allegedly acted treacherously towards Mohammed, were to be forever treated with suspicion and relegated to an inferior status within the territories of the Caliphate).
Moreover, it is plausible that these 9th Century CE Muslim apologists, having become familiar with Christianity’s allegations that the Jews conspired against, and were responsible for the death of, Jesus, believed those allegations and were thereby inspired to create an Islamicized version thereof, which resulted in one of the most unlikely coincidences in History, namely, that the Jewish people (allegedly) conspired against, and were (allegedly) responsible for the deaths of, both Jesus and Mohammed.
Furthermore, there is substantial archeological evidence that the original kibla was not towards Jerusalem but towards Petra (located in modern Jordan), and that all references to Mecca in the standardized version of the Koran, in the Hadith and in the earliest biographies of Mohammed are the result of historical revisionism by the Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate, which dominated the Islamic World from the mid-8th Century CE to the mid-9th Century CE, and which for geopolitical reasons, sought to replace the memory of Petra with Mecca. In fact, in light of its present centrality to Islam, it is puzzling that Mecca is identified by name only once in the Koran (in Sura 48 “The Victory” at 24) and is allegedly identified by pseudonym (which is “Bekka”) only once in the Koran (in Sura 3 “The Family of Imran” at 96). All other references in the Koran to Islam’s holiest city are via Koranic descriptions of the City’s various attributes, such as its trade route prominence and agricultural fertility. The problem is that none of these references accurately describes 7th Century CE Mecca, which was not on any trade route and was incapable of growing crops. However, all of these references accurately describe 7th Century CE Petra. The foregoing makes it likely that Koran 48:24 constitutes (in whole or in part) a textual interpolation made at the instruction of the Abbasid Caliphate.
Lastly, the first public identification of Mohammed as the founder of Islam was enunciated only in 691 CE (via an inscription in the Dome of Rock on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount) -- approximately 60 years after Mohammed’s purported death. Consequently, it is possible that even the presumed existence of Mohammed is the invention of Muslim apologists, whose purpose was to conjure an extraordinary progenitor, meant to be superior in eminence to Judaism’s Moses and to Christianity’s Jesus. If Mohammed is an invented personality, then the Koran -- like the “New Testament” -- is the work product wholly of anonymous authors.
Since Muslims pray to a deity revealed through a book which so distorts the Nature, Message and Expectations of the God of Israel, whose recitation is attributed to a purported Evildoer, it strains credulity that any Jew could (a) believe that the deity depicted in the Koran and the God of Israel are one and the same or (b) believe that Muslims, by imbibing the falsehoods of the Koran and praying to its god, are really praying to the God of Israel. Ironically, ever sure of its own false righteousness, Islam also recognizes this Truth, to wit:
“[A Muslim is instructed to] Say: ‘O Unbelievers, I do not worship that which you worship, nor do you worship Him whom I worship. I shall never worship that which you worship, nor will you ever worship Him whom I worship. You shall have your religion, and I shall have my religion.’” (Koran, Sura 109 “The Unbelievers” at 1-6)
Furthermore, in addition to all of the foregoing, there is yet another profound difference between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, namely, their respective attitudes towards the importance of Life versus the importance of Death.
The “New Testament” is a death-affirming scripture. Not only does Christianity celebrate the purported crucifixion of Jesus and urge Christians to prove their devotion to him by martyring themselves, but the “New Testament” declares that Christians are actually more alive in Death than in Life, to wit:
“Then he [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their Cross and follow me [into death]. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the Gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole World [by pursuing a productive life], yet forfeit their soul [by recoiling from their death]?’” (Mark 8:34-36)
“Jesus replied: ‘The Hour has come for the Son of Man [i.e., Jesus] to be glorified [through death]. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this World will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me [into death]; and where I am [after death], my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me [in death].’” (John 12:23-26)
The Koran is also a death-affirming scripture. Not only does Islam command Muslims to conduct Jihad (meaning: “War for the Glory of Allah”) against the non-Muslim World until the latter submits to Islam, but -- in order to alleviate the fear of death in battle -- the Koran elevates Death above Life, by asserting that the dead are not actually dead, to wit:
“And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah's Way [i.e., pursuing Jihad] as being dead; nay, [they are] alive, but you [the living] do not perceive [this Truth].” (Koran, Sura 2 “The Cow” at 154)
“And 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 (meaning: “Party of Allah”), declared in 2004:
“We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love Life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love Life, and we love Death.”
Contrariwise, the Hebrew Bible is a life-affirming Scripture. 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)
Clearly, the Jewish people do not believe that Death is more important than Life, or that Death is a Cherished Objective or a Cause for Celebration.
Another profound difference between Judaism, Christianity and Islam is to be found in their respective attitudes towards non-believers.
In serial expressions of Christian supremacy and exclusivity, the “New Testament” declares:
“‘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
“… This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven in blazing Fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with Everlasting Destruction and shut out from the Presence of the Lord and from the Glory of his Might on the Day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. …” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10); and
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- they will be consigned to the fiery Lake of Burning Sulfur. …” (Revelation 21:8).
Likewise, in serial expressions of Muslim supremacy and exclusivity, the Koran declares:
“Surely, those who disbelieve, even if they had what [wealth] is in the Earth, all of it, and the like of it with it, that they might ransom themselves with it [i.e., their wealth] from the Punishment of the Day of Resurrection, it [i.e., the ransom] shall not be accepted from them, and they shall have a painful Punishment. They would desire to escape from the Fire [of Hell], but they shall not escape from it, and they shall have a lasting Punishment.” (Koran 5 “The Dinner Table” at 36-37); and
“O Prophet [i.e., Muhammed]! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them, as their Abode is Hell, and their Destination is Evil.” (Koran 9 “The Immunity” at 73); and
“And among men there is he who disputes about Allah, without knowledge and without guidance and without an illuminating book, turning away haughtily [from Allah] that he may lead [others] astray from the Way of Allah; for him [there] is Disgrace in this World, and on the Day of Resurrection We will make him taste the Punishment of Burning [in Hell].” (Koran 22 “The Pilgrimage” at 28-29); and
“And whoever does not believe in Allah and His Apostle [i.e., Mohammed], then surely We have prepared a burning Fire [of Hell] for the unbelievers.” (Koran 48 “The Victory” at 13).
Contrariwise, Judaism declares that the God of Israel loves the righteous person, whether that person is a Jew or a Gentile. As stated in the very first chapter of the Hebrew Bible, God created the first human being, Adam, “in the Image of God” (Gen. 1:27). Thus, Judaism declares that each descendant of Adam -- i.e., every human being -- is deemed to have been individually chosen to bear the Image of God. Consequently, every righteous person -- whether Jew or Gentile -- has equal status in his individual relationship with the God of Israel, even if he follows a false religious doctrine. The Talmud, an expansive discussion of Jewish law and tradition completed some 1,500 years ago in the early 6th Century CE, expresses this egalitarian concept by declaring: “The Righteous of all nations have a share in the World To Come.” (Tosefta, Sanhedrin 13). And the Mishna, the earliest foundation of the Talmud completed some 1,800 years ago in the early 3rd Century CE, declares, regarding the purpose of God in having created only one Adam: “Therefore only a single man was created to teach you that if anyone destroys a single soul from the Children of Man, Scripture charges him as though he had destroyed a whole World, and whoever rescues a single soul from the Children of Man, Scripture credits him as though he had saved a whole World, and [only a single man was created] for the sake of Peace among Humanity -- that no man might say to his fellow, ‘My ancestor was greater than your ancestor.’ ...” (Sanhedrin 4:5). The Hebrew Bible provides ample proof of the foregoing, as it abounds with accounts of worthy Gentiles -- from Adam and Eve to Noah to the Amorite brothers Mamre, Aner and Eshcol to the priest Melchizedek to Abraham’s servant Eliezer to Pharaoh’s daughter to Moses’ father-in-law Jethro to the prostitute Rahab to Job to Ruth (the last of whom, by joining herself to the Jewish people, became the ancestress of King David as well as of the future Messiah). Moreover, the Hebrew Bible even contains an example of the God of Israel extending His Mercy to an entire Gentile populace, namely, the population of Nineveh, capital city of the pagan Assyrian Empire, over the strenuous objection of the Prophet Jonah (see Jonah 1:1 - 4:11).
As God declared to the Prophet Jonah:
“And should not I care about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not yet know their right hand from their left [i.e., who still lack sufficient knowledge of the God of Israel], and many beasts as well.” (Jonah 4:11)
Clearly, the Jewish people do not believe in either the god of the “New Testament” or the god of the Koran. That being the case, it is ludicrous for us to insist that, although we do not believe in their gods, they believe in our God. Consequently, unless the Jewish people wish to embrace the Gentile nations’ distorted conceptions of God, we cannot continue to entertain the pleasing but erroneous notion that Jews, Christians and Muslims all pray to the same God, as such false attributions to the God of Israel constitute unforgiveable violations of the Torah’s Third Commandment -- this being the very Sin that led to the destruction of the biblical northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrian Empire, to wit:
“The Children of Israel imputed concepts that were not so to HaShem their God ...” (II Kings 17:9)
For, although there is only one God, those who presently pray to ersatz versions -- misleading simulacra -- of Him are unfortunately engaged in avoda zarah (like their polytheistic and idol worshipping ancestors) rather than in the worship of the God of Israel. This Truth is reflected in the declaration of the Prophet Zechariah, made concerning the aftermath of the future messianic War of Gog and Magog, that:
“HaShem will be the King over all of the Earth; on that Day HaShem will be One and His Name will be One.” (Zechariah 14:9);
and in the earlier declaration of the Prophet Isaiah, speaking in God’s Name, that:
“‘I swear by Myself, Righteousness has gone forth from My Mouth, a Word that will not be rescinded: that to Me shall every knee bend and shall every tongue swear.’” (Isaiah 45:23).
However, until that Day of Judgment, when the Gentile nations, due to their defeat at the hands of the Messiah, are forced to crown the God of Israel as their one and only King, it bears remembering and reiterating that the God of Israel -- and only the God of Israel -- is God, to wit:
“You shall know this Day and take to your heart that HaShem, He is the God -- in Heaven above and on the Earth below -- there is none other.” (Deuteronomy 4:39); and
“Hear [this Declaration], Israel: HaShem is our God; HaShem is One.” (Deuteronomy 6:4); and
“See, now, that I am; I [alone] am He; and no [other] god is with Me.” (Deuteronomy 32:39); and
“Thus said HaShem, King of Israel and its Redeemer -- HaShem of Legions: ‘I am the First and I am the Last, and aside from Me there is no god.’” (Isaiah 44:6).
Accordingly, when, in defiance of our Scriptural sources, we continue to flatter the Gentile nations by proclaiming that we all pray to the same God, we not only cause them to fall deeper into the abyss of avoda zarah (thereby transgressing the Torah Commandment: “‘... You shall not place a stumbling block before the Blind. ...’” (Leviticus 19:14)), but we also render ourselves guilty of a great Chillul HaShem.
© Mark Rosenblit
[Note: Nothing in the foregoing Essay is meant to conflate the Jewish people (due to its Jewishness) with Righteousness or to conflate the Gentile peoples (due to their lack of Jewishness) with Evil. Indeed, a Jew who believes in the God of Israel may perpetrate evil deeds, while a Gentile who believes in a false god may perform righteous deeds. Consequently, under normal circumstances, it cannot be determined by Humankind whether any particular Jew is more -- or less -- beloved by God than any particular Gentile, as that Judgment can only be made by God alone, based upon each individual’s moral worth. For a deeper analysis of this issue please see my Essay entitled “The Meaning Of Being The Chosen People”]
[Note: Not only are there major contradictions in narrative and theology between the four “Gospels”, but each of those “Gospels” underwent significant revisions long after it was initially written. Rabbi Tovia Singer has done exhaustive research on the history and mutating credos of Christianity that have spanned the past two millennia. The following question & answer is from his website https://outreachjudaism.org/, concerning the additions and deletions that were made to the “New Testament”, and especially to the “Gospels” portion thereof, in order to create the Christianity that was favored by its serial redactors.]