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Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

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Question:

I was accosted at the beach today by a guy from Jews for Jesus. He offered me a New Testament in Yiddish and said that many Jews have been "saved" by accepting Jesus as the messiah. I just ignored him. Then I saw a big ad in the newspaper from the same people. My question: Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

Answer:

Of course a Jew can believe in Jesus. Just like a vegetarian can enjoy a rump steak, a peace activist can join a violent demonstration, and a dictator who preaches martyrdom can surrender himself to his enemies. As long as logic and clear thinking are suspended, anything makes sense!

I think your response to that missionary was the best one - to ignore him. Missionising is not a new phenomenon. Certain Christian sects believe that their messiah will only return when the Jews accept him. Throughout history Jews have been threatened with death, torture and expulsion if they don't convert. More recently, missionaries targeted the weak of our community - the elderly, new immigrants, and the underprivileged - in an attempt to exploit their vulnerability. All these attempts have had little or no success. Whether religious or not, Jews are reluctant to give up their Jewishness.

So they came up with a new ploy. Rather than demand conversion, they offered Jews to remain Jewish, and even "complete" their Jewishness by accepting Jesus. Thus Jews for Jesus was born.

This is a movement of non-Jews who pose as Jews by taking on Jewish names. They do usually have a token Jewish member, who is invariably either ignorant of Judaism at best or psychologically imbalanced at worst. They are a sham.

All religions are free to present their beliefs in the open market of ideas. But if they have to resort to slimy tactics like Jews for Jesus does, then they obviously have nothing to offer a thinking person.

Editor's Note: Visit Jews for Judaism for a comprehensive counter-missionary handbook.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Discussion (287)
February 13, 2015
Part of the problem here (I am sure) is that both Rabbinical Judaism and Christianity are products of a split in Judaism of the 2nd temple and therefore each is partially defined by its rejection of the other. For example it is implicit that Buddhism rejects Judaism, but does it explicitly reject Judaism? No, to a Buddhist Judaism is neither wrong nor right, It is simply irrelevant. To a Christian or Jew, by contrast, the faith of the other is wrong as codified during the prolonged period in which they split. One rejects Jesus the Messiah, the other is idolatrous, and so on. On top of this Jews lived mainly among Christians affording plenty of opportunity for this rejection of the other to become familiar, fester and assume the form of sectarian bigotry.
A better question than whether Jews can believe in Jesus (no) is whether the faiths can stop defining themselves according to rejection of each other and start to see value in each other?
Anonymous
uk
February 2, 2015
I'd suggest tthose who believe STAY Jewish
Listen, we need to open up our understanding. With the Internet many are doing their own research and finding their own conclusions which is personal. If in your heart you believe Moshiach is a job role and 2000 years ago Age of Moshiach was started by descendant of David, then once you have been convinced, I understand you cant go back. Not everyone is at the same spiritual levels and everyone has different beleifs and uses their free will differently. But Moshiach is more of a debate rather than your day to day life as a Jew. Hashem set up this debate to always remind us that Moshiach is coming. But all sides agree Moshiach is coming so everuone can wait together. I will say this, with Youtube people are doing their own research now about things they've been told their whole life and when they find they're not true, they begin to trust the Jewish community much less as a valid source which pushes them away from Judaism. If Im told X, and I was lied to, then maybe Y, Z is a lie to?
Anonymous
January 29, 2015
Reply to Uri
Uri - the NT is not a doctrine so it is wrong to say it teaches hatred of Jews. The NT is a historical record of Jesus and philosophy from early (Jewish) Christians. Consider that Christianity started as a Jewish sect, it contains within it records of intra Jewish sectarian conflict around the time of the 2nd temple in which early Jewish Christians were involved. Some of it is harsh to what would have been regarded as other Jews by its authors but the story of early Christianity is one of persecution.... harshness in such circumstances is human.

The NT's lack of doctrine lends itself to syncretism and reform. JfJ is an example of this - by adopting Jewish law they abrogate the teachings of Paul.

The biggest example of Christian reform is the Catholic Protestant split.

I think it is important to recognise that Christian attitudes to Jews have evolved, reformed, and continue to do so, and that the lack of codification in the NT allows this.

G-d bless.
Anonymous
UK
January 28, 2015
Disinformation
Kudos to Aron for ignoring the missionary and discounting the presented "Jesus". Rightly, he did. Mainstream Christianity teaches that G-d is "finished" with the Jews, that the world is in a new "era"/"dispensation", and that "Jesus" broke and taught against, "abolished" Torah. Since all of that is error, it was right for Aron to discount it. But there are many other errors on this thread, like the "NT ... supersedes Torah", "Jews are blinded by the devil", and so on. The Truth is, that the Truth is the Truth, will always be the Truth, restoring the soul. The "NT" does not teach against it (e.g. Matthew 5, esp. 17-19). Torah is Light and Wisdom and Isaiah 2:3 and Micah 4:2 are both true and desirable outcomes, so TEACH TORAH. Many come here to learn Torah. Stick to teaching Torah instead of propagating disinformation. Otherwise, you're just making more proselytes that also don't love Torah enough to share it.
Christopher
January 28, 2015
Can a Jew believe in Jesus
I do not discount what an individual believes. Personally, I do not attribute absolute sanctity to either the New or Old Testaments. I believe, because the scribners were human creatures, their content may contain some "spin". I believe the scribners' intent to be honorable.

I have trouble the thought that our FATHER in Heaven would worry with earth and its inhabitants when the Heavens are HIS. We are mere particles among many masses of particles.
Paul in Idaho
Idaho
January 28, 2015
Christian belief is that Jesus is not G-d, but the son of G-d. Jesus was filled with G-d's spirit and his (figurative?) son, but we can all be filled with his spirit. It's a nuanced, much misunderstood theology even by Christians.
Now, Christianity, not being an explicitly codified religion, has many interpretations and liturgies, and consequently many attitudes to Jews.
Mature Churches e.g. the RC have no mission to Jews, whereas new Charismatic Churches, e.g the Southern Baptists, do.

What do I hope for personally? That Christians and Jews can talk about spiritual issues without the burden of cynicism and prejudice would be the main thing.

I, a Christian, see something very valuable in Judaism and the clear foundation of my own religion.

We all wish to commune with G-d. Whether we do so by observing the Mitzvot or faith in Jesus, probably the biggest sin we can commit is to condemn each other - our very diversity is a reflection and creation of G-d himself. Don't forget that!
Anonymous
UK
January 27, 2015
Response to Paul
Paul, I'm sorry for the delayed response, but I just received notification of your post only a few days ago. I would like to keep this dialog going.

You said, "I do not nor do you know what our God thinks, commands, forgives or..". I'm a little confused by your statement. Isn't in fact the Torah a reflection at least of God's thinking on issues? After all, in it God makes quite a number of declarations as to His views. Furthermore, that is where His commandments are made known as well as various acts and rules for His forgiveness. So perhaps you can clarify your comment.

Tell me, do you believe that the blood of Jesus atones for the sins of believers? If so, would you please cite the specific biblical (in the Torah) bases for that?
Jim D.
Los Angeles
January 23, 2015
"... have been threatened with death, torture and expulsion if they don't convert..."
Jews were not "threatened" -- they were murdered and those who were not, were kicked out of their homes, businesses, and countries!!!

History is history - fact is fact. Too many people already don't believe that there is no anti-Semitism or that Jews made it up.

Anyone who believes in Jesus as their savior is a Christian.

I guess if people can say the Holocaust did not happen, then a Jew can believe in Jesus. People can believe in the tooth fairy as long as those beliefs do not cause harm.

This Jewess believes that G-d 'said' "No other gods before Me" - I believe in G-d of the Jews, thus I believe in no other or pray to any other.

Besides that, I do not believe that G-d has a body - only that He made us in His image. That means He has all elements of what makes up any human -- female, male, transgender, blind, deaf, tall, short, fat, skinny - and teeth.

I wish S/He had made me with teeth that replenished themselves - instead of giving that gift to shark.
Meira Shana
San Diego
January 23, 2015
to Paul
Obviously by your words..."you are myopic" it sounds like you are a christian missionary since your scriptures teach that we Jews are" blinded by the devil", yet you believe our Bible to be sacred. Your scriptures to not add up nothing at all to our Scriptures and, obviously too, who you believe in is definitely not our G-D
Uri Yitzchak
Orlando,Fl
January 11, 2015
Jews marrying Christians
It goes both ways - for many, if their Jewish child marries a gentile, they disown their child.

For many Christians, if their Christian child married a Jew, they really disown their child.

To many Christians, to be a Jew is the worse thing possible.

Makes me wonder, since childhood, why Christians who believe that can pray to a Jew as their god.
Anonymous
CA
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