Martin M. van Brauman



And now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob; the One Who fashioned you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called [you] by name; you are Mine. Isaiah 43:1.

Judaism and Christianity share the beliefs of creation, revelation and redemption.  In Judaism, there is a doctrine of “grace,” a doctrine of repentance and of redemption back into the Covenant of God.[1]  The first tablets, the original Ten Commandments, marked the initial revelation to Israel at Sinai and were a gift of grace and a declaration of God’s covenant.  The making of the golden calf paved the way for the concept of repentance and return, the power of repentance and an everlasting covenant.  The event of the breaking of the first tablets ultimately led to the replacement by the second tablets, which were greater than the first.  One of the most important messages in the entire Torah is that regardless of how one may fall, there is always the power of repentance and the redemption of the relationship with God.

Christians think they need to pry Jews away from Judaism.  However, both Judaism and Christianity are religions of redemption and salvation, based upon faith in God and acceptance of His Divine Gift of Grace.  Resurrection is rooted in the belief and practice of Judaism, which is shared with Christianity.[2]  At creation in Genesis 2:7, “The Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the soul of life” and in Ezekiel 37:5 God breathes life into the dead bones of Israel near the end of creation.[3]  The Jewish people have faith in the resurrecting God of Ezekiel, because they know of the creating God of Genesis.[4]

The prophet Ezekiel speaks of God’s future restoration of Israel and he speaks of redemption with God replacing their stony hearts with fleshy ones.[5]

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put my Spirit within you, . . . Ezekiel 36:24-27.

And I have loved you with an eternal love . . .  Jeremiah 31:2.

The soul is the Divine utterance made of Torah, for God creates every soul from the letters of the holy tongue, Hebrew, by forming an utterance and the Divine word continually speaks it into being.[6]  The soul was created in God’s image at the time of creation.  Hebrew, as the language of Torah, is the holy tongue because it is “the language of creation, the language that makes all language, all life, all thought possible.”[7]  Professor Patterson wrote that with mankind’s effort to become as God come the loss of the soul and the loss of our humanity.[8]

The rebirth of Israel represents a revelatory event in Judaism’s history and Christianity must reassess its biblical foundations to accept Judaism’s ongoing life and God’s continuing covenant with the Jewish people for the ancient Covenant is not dead and was never replaced by the Christian church.[9]  Judaism has lived by its faithfulness to the Torah and to God.[10]  Judaism is a way of life that needs no physical building.  Judaism was never intended only as a faith and lifestyle for the individual, the family, or the congregation, but is to provide the underpinning for a society grounded in moral principles and to impact the world by providing a shining light to all humanity.[11]

Judaism itself is a pattern of meaning and direction for human history.  The central messages of Judaism and its development over the course of history are incorporated into the Jewish Holy Days.[12]  Just as Judaism and the Jewish people are not finished, neither is the role of Jewish holidays, such as out of the 20th century arose Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Commemoration Day) and Yom Ha’ Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day).[13]  The Holy Days are the unbroken master code of Judaism.[14]  The unifying message underlying all the Jewish holidays is redemption.[15]

Abraham Heschel has asked “What is the meaning of the State of Israel?”[16]  “Its sheer being is the message.”[17]  Israel was not destined to be only the classroom for the Diaspora on Jewish identity and Jewish life.[18]  Heschel said that the meaning of the State of Israel must be seen in terms of the vision of the prophets and the redemption of the world.[19]  The State of Israel is the realization of the Torah’s ultimate goal, as stated by the prophets.  Destroy Israel and you will destroy the very purpose of God, for Israel is and remains the apple of His eye.[20]

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be still, until her righteousness emanates like bright light, and her salvation blazes like a torch.  Nations will perceive your righteousness and all the kings your honor; and you will be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will pronounce.  Then you will be a crown of splendor in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem in the palm of your God. It will no longer be said of you “Forsaken One,” and of your land it will no longer be said “Desolate Place;” for you will be called “My Desire Is In Her,” and your land “Inhabited,” for the Lord’s desire is in you, and your land will become inhabited.  As a young man takes a maiden in marriage, so will your children settle in you; and like a bridegroom’s rejoicing over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.  Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, have I posted guardians; all the day and all the night, continuously, they will never be silent. You who remind the Lord, be not silent! Do not give Him silence, until He establishes and until He makes Jerusalem a source of praise in the Land.  The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His powerful arm: I will no longer give your grain as food for your enemies; and the sons of strangers will not drink your wine for which you have toiled.  For those who have harvested it will eat it, and will praise the Lord; and those who have gathered it in will drink it in My holy courtyards. Isaiah 62:1-9.

Why have not the Jews after two thousand years of Jewish crucifixion simply assimilate into the world and forsake Judaism?  Is it the Jews’ faith in God and God wants the Jews and Judaism to survive to bring forth the Messiah?

Balaam spoke about seeing Jacob’s glory and his greatness in the future. I see it, but not now; I view it, but it is not near. Numbers 24:17.   Balaam further spoke that Jacob’s fortunes will rise and the Messiah shall come and rule from sea to sea and there shall be no remnant of the house of Esau, all the children of Seth, all of the nations, shall be conquered for Israel and the remnant of the city of Edom (Rome) shall be destroyed.  Since Amalek was the first of nations to wage war against Israel, Israel will destroy Amalek and wipe out the memory of Amalek.

A star shot forth from Jacob and a rod has risen from Israel, and he shall strike down the extremities of Moab and undermine all the children of Seth.  Edom shall be a conquest and Seir shall be a conquest [of] his enemies – and Israel will attain wealth.  One from Jacob shall rule and destroy the remnant of a city.  He saw Amalek and declaimed his parable and said: ‘Amalek is the first of nations, and its end is eternal destruction.’ Numbers 24:18-20.

Abraham Heschel has stated that “the religious duty of the Jew is to participate in the process of continued redemption, in seeing that justice prevails over power that awareness of God penetrates human understanding.”[21]  The Jews are God’s stake in human history, as the dawn and the dusk.[22]  The presence of Israel is the repudiation of despair and Israel demands a renewal of trust in God.

Why would a Christian upon discovering the Jewish background of his family want to embrace his Jewish roots and explore the Jewishness of his faith?  To acknowledge one’s Jewish roots would open up the inexperienced world of anti-Semitism.  However, I am a link, a remnant of a Jewish family name, in a chain of generations “stretching back to time immemorial, imbuing it with the divine.”[23]

In a dream, I heard “pick up My Cross and follow Me.”  Is that the Cross of Jewish crucifixion?   Do I hear a call by God for dissimilation leading me back to Jerusalem and reestablishing Jewish roots?  The Word of God proclaims that Jerusalem shall be the city that brings forth salvation to mankind and redemption for all nations, where heaven and earth meet.  Mount Moriah is the place where Abraham bound Isaac on the altar and where the Holy of Holies of the Temple stood. Jerusalem is where Jacob had a dream while laying down on Mount Moriah and saw a ladder reaching up to heaven and angels ascending and descending on it and God proclaimed to Jacob:

I am the Lord, God of Abraham your father and God of Isaac; the ground upon which you are lying, to you will I give it and to your descendants.  Your offspring shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out powerfully westward, eastward, northward and southward; and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and by your offspring.  Behold, I am with you; I will guard you wherever you go, and I will return you to this soil; for I will not forsake you until I will have done what I have spoken about you  . . . Jacob awoke from his sleep and said . . . ‘How awesome is this place!  This is none other than the abode of God and this is the gate of the heavens!’ Genesis 28:13-17.

Few Christian denominations have fully recognized the salvific nature of the everlasting covenant made between God and the Jewish people and have fully embraced the fullness of the teachings of Jesus, such as love thy neighbor.[24]  The Jews built monuments to life: the family, education, the conversation between the generations and places of study and prayer – finding eternity in simple things.[25]  The Jewish doctrine of chosenness places upon Jews a special accountability to live by the values of the covenant that God has entered with them and the concept has nothing to do with racial superiority or privilege.[26]

The Jewish people see themselves as consisting of an extended family, not fragmented and alienated individuals, but an organic whole made up of individual families.[27]  Members of the Jewish family are connected in time and space, their bonds extending backwards to Abraham and forward to all future Jews.[28]  The extended Jewish family has a distinct duty and intimate relationship with God.[29]

To be Jewish is to possess a historical consciousness that transcends individual consciousness, because every Jew stood at Sinai, every Jew heard God’s Law proclaimed and our memory begins not with our own.[30]  Israel and the Jewish people bear witness to the living God and so to a living covenant that promises redemption.[31]

There would be no Christian church were not the covenant between Israel and God alive and working in the world.[32]  If the Christian church is faithful to God and His covenant with His people, the proper mission of the Christian church to the Jewish people would be to help Israel to be what it is in the covenant by God’s election and to help it perform its mission.[33]

With the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., Judaism changed from Temple worship to worship in the synagogue with Torah study and prayer.  The Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed because the Law was followed too harshly and carried out as ritual without the compassion and mercy of prayer.  In Matthew 23:13, Jesus said Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. God will remove obstacles that prevent dialogue between God and man, for God seeks engagement with man.

When Jesus entered the Temple area in the court of the Gentiles, during Passover and drove out those buying and selling at the animal pens and overturned the tables of the money changes, from Isaiah 56:7 Jesus exclaimed Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? Mark 11:15-17. From Jeremiah 7:11, Jesus further exclaimed But you have made it a den of robbers. Mark 11:17. Earlier the prophet Jeremiah called for repentance from the people of Israel, harking back to Shiloh and the time of the prophet Samuel and the corrupt priesthood:

Has this Temple, upon which My Name is proclaimed, become a cave of criminals in your eyes?  . . . For go to My shrine that is in Shiloh, where I caused My Name to dwell there at first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.  So now, since you do all these deeds – the word of the Lord – and I have spoken to you, speaking repeatedly, but you have not listened; I have called out to you but you did not respond, I shall do to the Temple – upon which My Name is proclaimed, upon which you place your trust – and to the place that I have given to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh.  I shall cast you from My presence, as I cast out all your brethren, all the seed of Ephraim. Jeremiah 7:11-15.

By allowing the Temple’s court of the Gentiles to become a boisterous, putrid marketplace, the Jewish religious leaders were obstructing God’s desire for a house of prayer for all nations.  Today, Judaism is based upon faith in God and the study of Torah with prayer.

The basic Jewish function of prayer is not its practical consequences, but the metaphysical formation of a fellowship consisting of God and man. Prayer is not a series of requests to God, but prayer is an engagement, even a confrontation, with God.[34]  God initiated dialogue with man at Sinai.  Through the Scriptures, God speaks to us and we speak to God through prayer and this dialogue is created by the linking of Bible study and prayer.

During the inauguration of the first Temple, King Solomon described future exiles of the Jewish people, but assured future generations that confessional prayer will replace the Temple for the atonement for all sin.

When they sin against You – for there is no man who never sins – and You become angry with them, and You deliver them to an enemy, and their captors take them captive to the enemy’s land, faraway or nearby, and they take it to heart in the land where they were taken captive and they repent and supplicate to You in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned; we have been iniquitous; we have been wicked,’ and they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul . . . and pray to You by way of their land that You gave to their forefathers, and [by way of] the city that You have chosen and [through] the Temple that I built for Your Name – may You hear their prayer and their supplication from Heaven, the foundation of Your abode, and carry out their judgment, and forgive Your people who sinned against You, and all their transgressions that they transgressed against You, and let them inspire mercy before their captors, so that they will treat them mercifully.  

For they are Your people and Your heritage, whom You have taken out of Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace; may Your eyes thus be open to the supplication of Your servant and the supplication of Your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they call out to You.  For You have separated them for Yourself as a heritage from all the peoples of the earth, as You spoke through Your servant Moses, when You took our forefathers out of Egypt, O my Lord, the Lord/God.1Kings 8:46-53.

The Jewish “chosenness” is not a privilege, but a mission to open for all people the invisible and sacred doors that illuminate redemption.[35]  The Torah is the Tree of Life only to those who accept it as the immutable Word of God.[36]  Under the Christian Gospels for the non-Jew, Jesus is the manifestation of the living Word of God, the tree of life made flesh.

 For from Zion will the Torah come forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3.

I thank You for You have answered me and become my salvation.  The stone the builders despised has become the cornerstone.  This emanated from the Lord; it is wondrous in our eyes.  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad on it. Please, Lord, save now! Please, Lord, bring success now!  Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord; we bless you from the House of the Lord. Psalm 118:21-26.

Are the Jewish people, the elder brothers and sisters, fellow travelers under Judaism with the followers of Jesus on the way to the Kingdom of God?  In serving the Jewish people both externally and internally and becoming the defender of the Jewish people, the Christian church bears witness to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.[37]  In its witness to the unity of God, the Christian church owes its service to Israel and the Jewish people to show the oneness of the God of Israel.[38]  As the Catholic theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether wrote “the Christian messianic experience in Jesus was a Jewish experience, created out of Jewish hope.”[39]  The history of Israel did not end in 70 A.D., but it continued in the numerous Diaspora, permitting Israel to carry to the world a witness of its faith to the one God while preserving the memory of the Land in their hearts.

 Judaism and Christianity are both religions of redemption and salvation, which rests upon the saving grace of God.  Judaism and Christianity share the view of the world under the aspect of Creation-Revelation-Redemption.[40]  The Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig (1888-1929) considered both Judaism and Christianity having distinct but equally important roles in the spiritual structure of the world and saw in both biblical religions approaches toward a comprehension of reality.[41]  Rosenzweig stated that “God did not, after all create religion; he created the world.”[42]

Judaism, staying with God (the “eternal life”), contrasts with Christianity, being sent out to conquer the unredeemed world by forever marching toward God (the “eternal way”).[43]  Rosenzweig saw Judaism as the “Star of Redemption” and Christianity as the rays of that Star.  Since both Judaism and Christianity will exist to the end of time, Rosenzweig asked in The Star of Redemption whether Judaism and Christianity together constitute the Truth.[44]  Rosenzweig answered that:

Man can become aware of the Love of God (Revelation), he can fill the moments of his life with eternity (Redemption), but Truth is beyond man.  Only God is Truth, Man (Jew, Christian) is given a part in truth insofar as he realizes in active life his share in truth. The distant vision of truth does not lead into the beyond, but ‘into life.’[45]

The Jewish people are a testimony to the reality of God, which is affirmed by the truth of human history.  The Jewish community’s salvation is the binding power of faith and God’s covenant with His people.  In Jeremiah 31:32, a new covenant, unlike the Mosaic covenant when God brought them out of Egypt, has been given to Israel and the Jewish people through the divine Spirit of God, in which the Torah shall be written on their hearts when Torah study and prayer replaces Temple worship.

However, Jewish and Christians relations remain captive to church dogma, anticipating the eventual conversion of the Jewish community and the withering away of Judaism.[46]  The Christian church seems to continue to define the Jews’ place in history for them and refuses to recognize Judaism as a religion in its own right and maintains a provisional tolerance based on the expectation of the Jews’ coming conversion to Christianity.[47]

The Christian church still defines Judaism in terms of the Jewish legalism during the Second Temple period.  Christians assume that Jews believe righteousness results only from keeping the commandments, but Judaism stresses that righteousness is a gift from God.  Christians present Christianity as the contrast to or superior to Judaism; however, Judaism and the people that Jesus knew as his own were not his theological contrast but his historical context.  Second Temple Judaism was Jesus’ historical context not his theological contrast.

Commonly, in Christian sermons a pastor will portray Jesus as against the Jews (as if Jesus and his followers were not Jewish) and as attacking the strict rules of the Jewish religious establishment at the time by Jesus delivering quotations from the Torah.  Then, the pastor may connect the conflict to some illusion to Jews today like a joke about Jewish legalism so strict that a husband can divorce his wife over burnt bagels.  The message implies that Judaism was and still is today based upon the strict, legalistic rituals enforced by the Jewish religious authorities, who ignored the teachings of the Torah.  Even pastors who say they support Israel during church services will also imply subtly in their messages that the Old Testament (the Torah), being incorporated into the teachings of Jesus, was and is no longer part of Judaism.  Without realizing it, the pastor delivers and the congregation receives an anti-Semitic message that continues to reinforce the false stereotype images of the Jews and Judaism.

The mainline Protestant churches still preach a general replacement theology that is based upon the international church replacing the nation of Israel as God’s people on earth, inheriting all the promised blessings.  Replacement or supersessionist theology calls Christians the “true Jews” and the church the “new Israel.”  Some traditional churches may preach also a “fulfillment” theology based upon Israel reduced to a remnant of one true Israelite in the person of Jesus, in which all the promises made to the people of Israel were fulfilled and then extended to all who believe in Jesus.

During the 19th century, John Nelson Darby originated the system of biblical interpretation known as “dispensationalism,” which divided biblical history into seven dispensational ages.  Between the first coming of Jesus to his second coming is referred to as the “church age.”  The dispensationalists teach that the church has taken over Israel’s calling and mission in the present church age, but Israel will take them back after the “rapture,” when the church is removed from the earth.  However, all of these replacement or dispensational theologies preach the need for the conversion of the Jews for them to receive God’s grace of redemption and salvation.

Also, classical dispensationalism does not anticipate the rebirth of a Jewish State ahead of the coming of the Messiah,[48]which can somewhat explain the hatred that the mainline churches hold against the State of Israel.  Christian leaders of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Lutheran churches campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctioning of Israel and betray the Jewish people’s right to defend themselves against the threats of Palestinian terrorists who seek Jewish extermination.  Protestant-founded universities deny Jewish professionals from participating in university sponsored educational seminars, while fawning over Muslim terrorists.  The Nazis also began with boycotts of Jewish businesses and professionals and lending support to Muslim terrorists such as the Grand Mufti el-Husseini, Hitler’s disciple who incited murder against the Jews in the British Mandate Palestine and throughout the Muslim world.

The covenant, God’s oath to Abraham in Genesis 17:7, refers to God’s special relationship with Israel in which His bounty flows directly to His people without intermediaries.[49]  The Jew, in his baruch ata (Blessed are You), already is with God, requiring no intermediary, and he gathers into his soul a deeper understanding with every Shabbat, with every Yom Kippur and with repeated rehearsals of redemption.[50]  Franz Rosenzweig wrote that the Jews live as a “metahistorical people” – a people present and beyond this present time.[51]

The Christians claim that the Jews are blind to Jesus.  However, Christian eyes are blind to the fact that the Jewish people have been and still are God’s witnesses on earth, the eternal people.  They have never been placed aside by God.  The Christian churches may want to support Israel, but I suppose they are expecting a Christian Israel with or without the Jews.  They do not understand that there can be no Israel without the Jews, no Jerusalem without the Jews.  Jerusalem is the heart of Israel, the heart of the Jewish people.  Rosenzweig wrote that:

This existence of the Jew constantly subjects Christianity to the idea that it is not attaining the goal, the truth, that it ever remains – on the way.  That is the profoundest reason for the Christian hatred of the Jew, which is heir to the pagan hatred of the Jew.[52]

To the people who say show me proof that God exists, I say look to God’s witnesses on earth – look at the history of the Jewish people after more than two thousand years of persecution and the Holocaust and you will see proof that God exists.

You are My witnesses – the word of the Lord – and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you will know and believe in Me, and understand that I am He; before Me nothing was created by a god nor will there be after Me! Isaiah 43:10.

Am Yisrael Chai! –  The outcry of “The people of Israel live!” is a summons to simchat Torah, a “rejoicing in Torah,” a summons to testimony, and a summons to action to make a choice for I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:19.[53]

Franz Rosenzweig wrote of the permanency of the Sinai covenant between God and the Jewish people as it related to both Judaism and Christianity when he stated:

We agree on what Christ and his Church mean in the world: no one comes to the Father but through him (John 14:6). No one comes to the Father – but it is different when somebody does not have to come to the Father because he is already with him.  And this is so for the people of Israel.[54]

Catholic theologian Professors Didier Pollefeyt and Jürgen Manemann have stated that for the Jews the Covenant of Torah is sufficient for redemption and for the Gentiles Jesus is necessary for salvation.[55] Rosenzweig in The Star of Redemption stated that:

The patriarch Abraham heard the call of God and answered it with his ‘Here I am,’ and the individual only in Abraham’s loins.  Henceforth the individual is born a Jew.  He no longer needs to become one in some decisive moment of his individual life.  The decisive moment, the great Now, the miracle of rebirth, lies before the individual life. In the individual life there is found only the great Here, the viewpoint, the station, the house and the circuit, in short all that is granted to man in the mystery of his first birth.

. . .

It is just the contrary with the Christian. In his personal life there occurs to him at a given point the miracle of rebirth, and it occurs to him as an individual. Direction is thereby injected into the life of one born heathen by nature.  ‘A Christian is made, not born.’[56]

Rosenzweig commented that “Everyone is to know that the Eternal brought him personally out of Egypt . . .  [and] The present Here dissolves in the great Now of the remembered experience.”[57]  Rather than the past being made present, the present is brought back into the past.[58]  Although born a Jew, a Jew must first live and experience for himself his “Jewishness” and Jewish life leads the Jew deeper into his Jewish identity.[59]  Rosenzweig wrote that the “Jew must live his own role in God’s world” and questioned himself when considering conversion to Christianity:

Shall I become converted, I who was born ‘chosen’?  Does the alternative of conversion even exist for me?[60]

The American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote that the attempt to convert Jews “was theologically unnecessary and incompatible with Christianity, as well as spiritually insulting to Jews.”[61]  When a Jew is born, “his birth makes him part of the holy nation and gives him a part in eternity, in redemption.”[62]  The Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, the Word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption.  From the Star of Redemption, Rosenzweig has written that:

For “there is only one community . . . that cannot pronounce the ‘we’ of its unity without hearing deep within the complementary ‘are eternal.’” All other nations are mortal in that they are tied to a specific land, a specific earthly home, for which the blood of their sons flows. “We alone trusted the blood and left the land . . . and were alone of all the nations on earth in redeeming our life from any fellowship with death.”  The land belongs “to the Jew in the deepest sense as only the land of his yearning, as – the Holy Land.”  The blood-fellowship alone makes the Jew a Jew, whereas every Christian, by reason of adhering to his earthly homeland, is pagan by birth, reaching Christianity only through an inner conversion, through the conversion in the sign of the cross.[63]

The continued existence of the Jewish people stands as surety for the truth of Christianity.[64]  In spite of that surety, the Christian church cannot accept the fact that God has never left the Jewish people and has never stopped listening and answering their prayers.  The Christian church cannot accept the fact that God is bringing back a Jewish Israel to its ancient homeland as He promised.  Christians need to recognize that their mission of preparing for the coming of the Kingdom of God is shared with the Jewish people and the Jewish people have their own fulfillment in faithfulness to the divine covenant promised by God in Genesis.  Israel has a divinely ordained mission to bring knowledge of the true God and the Word of God, the Torah, to the nations of the world.

I will bless those who bless you and curse him that curses you; and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you. Genesis 12:3.

By Myself I swear [Just as I am eternal, so My oath is eternal] – the word of the Lord – . . . I shall surely bless you and greatly increase your offspring like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore; and your offspring shall inherit the gate of its enemy [The solemn assurance of Israel’s ultimate redemption]. And all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your offspring, because you have listened to My voice. Genesis 22:16-18.

James Parkes in The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue: A Study in the Origins of Antisemitism stated that “what Christ is to the Christian, Torah is to the Jew.”[65]   He said that the Torah is the

‘Incarnation’ of the Divine, for it expresses the whole of the Divine will for, and thought about man.”  It contained far more than mere ‘precept’ or laws, although even the precepts, by being Divine ordinances, brought men to God in the performance of them.  Thus to have many precepts was not a burden; it only gave men so many more opportunities for doing expressly His will, and even if some of the precepts seemed trivial, it was not for man to judge the importance of what God had ordained . . . Torah itself was the complete revelation of the life of the holy community or nation through which the individual in every act could fulfill the purpose of God in His creation . . . Torah was a living creative force expressing itself through the Holy Community to the world as a whole.[66]  

Parkes further stated that “the Christian through Jesus, the Jew through Torah, sought the same thing – ‘the immediate intuition of God in the individual soul and conscience.’”[67]  Parkes commented that Jesus attacked the scribes and the religious leaders at that time, because they obscured that direct relationship between man and God by falsifying the nature of Torah as only an observance of laws.[68]

Rabbi Leon Klenicki of the Anti-Defamation League in New York stated that true interreligious encounter between Judaism and Christianity can only occur when the parties recognize and affirm each other’s existence as independent essentials in God’s plan of salvation and the realization that Sinai and Calvary are two interrelated but independent covenantal events.[69]  However, Rosenzweig and other theologians have discerned not two covenants, but only one covenant with two forms.[70]

The Jewish covenant refers to the welfare and salvation of the Jewish people, in which the world is given a moral and religious revelation, and Jesus is the link between this original covenant and the rest of humanity.[71]  Christianity is an extension of the divine invitation towards humanity and another form of the same covenant of Sinai, which broadens the revelation on Sinai to the Gentiles.[72]

Rabbi Irving Greenberg wrote that Christianity must reject its claims of superseding Judaism and Jews must recognize Christianity as an outgrowth of the original covenant, which demonstrates that the original covenant continues to bear fruit and bring life.[73]  Greenberg holds that since the Abrahamic covenant is open, it is open to further revelations in history and new redemptive events confirm the covenant and move the world closer to the Messianic age.[74]  Greenberg contends that through the unfolding covenant, many Gentiles are brought into the messianic process and become partners in the covenant of God and humanity.[75]

The Sadducees represented the Temple priesthood and the Jewish governmental authority.  The Pharisees professed the openness of the covenant to interpretation through the written and oral Torah and held that all of Israel could be priests and every home table could be an altar where food could be served and eaten as an offering before God.  The table, upon which food is served, is sanctified through blessings and prayers and replaced the Temple altar where sacrifices would secure atonement for an individual.[76]

The Sadducees believed that the destruction of the Temple and the Roman expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem severed Israel from the main channels of communication with God and the end of the Jewish religion.  Along the same thinking, Jewish followers of Jesus concluded that the Abrahamic covenant was broken.  The Sadducees and their followers over the next two centuries attempted to restore the Temple, but they vanished after the revolt against Rome in 117 A.D. and the revolt in Judea in 132 A.D.[77]

Rabbi Greenberg concludes that the rabbis, the descendants of the Pharisees, understood this absolute destruction as God calling the Jews to a new level of covenantal relationship.  Greenberg wrote that the destruction of the Temple “was a call from God for a fundamental shift in the paradigm of the human role in the covenant.”[78]

Although the Temple had been destroyed, the Divine Presence was everywhere, yearning for the Jews to come back to God through Torah study and to discern the will of God.  When Moses read the Covenant to the people, and they said, ‘Everything that the Lord has said, we will do and we will obey,’ the Jews declared their acceptance to “do and obey” whatever God would command – even before the commandments were given. The entire people responded together (Exodus 19:8) . . . and the entire people responded with one voice (Exodus 24:3).  The declaration has remained for all time the anthem of Israel’s faith in God and devotion to His word.  After the destruction of the Temple, the concept of prayer and the synagogue was developed by the rabbis to carry on the covenantal dialogue.

Since Christian theology has to depend to some extent upon Judaism without losing its own identity, some theologians have preferred incorrectly to speak of a “two-covenant” theory based on a divine arrangement of “equality in separation,” rather than the “one covenant having two forms.”[79]  Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity are the same covenantal mission to the world having two forms, one to deepen the Sinai meaning as witnesses and the other to bring God to the world.[80]

He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit, Galatians 3:14.

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. . .

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:11-22.

Rosenzweig wrote that Judaism and Christianity are divine revelations and approaches to God, ways to God, and both faiths share revelation, God, prayer and the final redemption.[81]  Rosenzweig considered both having a mission to testify for God, in which the Christian mission is to bring God and God’s teaching-commandment to the world and the Jewish mission is the witnessing of God’s name and eternal covenant.[82]

Jews and Christians must walk by the light of God,[83] because we are in a time of great attack against God, the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.

At that time Michael (the guardian angel of Israel) will stand, the great [heavenly] prince who stands in support of the members of your people, and there will be a time of trouble such as there had never been since there was a nation until that time.  But at that time your people will escape; everything that is found written in this book [will occur]. Many of those who sleep in the dusty earth will awaken: these for everlasting life and these for shame, for everlasting abhorrence.  The wise will shine like the radiance of the firmament, and those who teach righteousness to the multitudes [will shine] like the stars, forever and ever. Daniel 12:1-4.   

The book of Daniel talks in the End Times of the rescue of the Jewish people from their oppression, to the vindication of those who held fast to the tradition against those who cast their lot with the foreign tormentors, and to the coming Messiah.

I was watching in night visions and behold! with the clouds of heaven, one like a man came; he came up to the One of Ancient Days, and they brought him before Him. He was given dominion, honor and kingship, so that all peoples, nations and languages would serve him; his dominion would be an everlasting dominion that would never pass, and his kingship would never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14. 

The prophet Daniel describes the process of redemption when the strength of the Jewish nation will come to an end, then the suffering will end and the redemption will arrive.[84]  Redemption is dependent upon repentance (teshuva), prayer (tefilla) and charity (tzedoka) and will only come through following and acting in accordance with the ways of the Torah and to fear the exalted and awesome Name of God.

During a reading of a Haggadah in a recent Passover Seder service that I attended, a contemporary Dayeinu ends by saying that God has strengthened the State of Israel and has planted within our hearts the covenant of one people. The Jews have a dual destiny to be both a nation that dwells alone and a light to the nations.  To achieve this dual destiny, God bestowed by His grace on the Jewish people the Word of God (the Torah), Jewish nationhood and the Land of Israel.  The return to the Land of Israel is the beginning sign for the redemption of the Jewish people and for the world.  Judaism is flourishing in Israel and it is energizing the Jewish communities in the United States and the world as never before during the past 2,000 years as Diaspora Jews reconnect to Israel.

I will take you from [among] the nations and gather you from all the lands, and I will bring you to your own soil.  Then I will sprinkle pure water upon you, that you may become cleansed; I will cleanse you from all your contamination and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put my Spirit within you . . . Ezekiel 36:24-27.

The time is now for the eschatological unification of all God’s people.  For the day is coming that all peoples will sit at the banquet on the mountain of the Lord, who will wipe away all tears from all eyes (Isaiah 25:6-9; Revelation 21:4).[85]

Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us [all]? Malachi 2:10.



[1] James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue: A study in the origins of antisemitism, (1st ed. 1934), p. 373.

[2] Kevin J. Madigan and Jon D. Levenson, Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews, (1st ed. 2008), pp. 2-3.

[3] Ibid., pp. 228-229.

[4] Ibid., p. 229.

[5] Ibid., p. 252.

[6] David Patterson, Overcoming Alienation: A Kabbalistic Reflection on the Five Levels of the Soul, (1st ed. 2008), p. 29.

[7] Ibid., p. 158.

[8] Ibid., pp. 140-141

[9] John K. Roth and Michael Berenbaum, Holocaust: Religious and Philosophical Implications, (1st ed. 1989), p. 326.

[10] Paul M. van Buren, A Theology of the Jewish-Christian Reality, Part 2, A Christian Theology of the People Israel, (1st ed. 1987), p. 12.

[11] Judea Pearl and Ruth Pearl, I Am Jewish, Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl, (1st ed. 2004), p. 151.

[12] Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays, (2nd ed. 1998), p. 17.

[13] Ibid., p. 18.

[14] Ibid., p. 17.

[15] Ibid., p. 18.

[16] Abraham J. Heschel, Israel: An Echo of Eternity, (1st ed., 3rd Printing 1969), p. 224.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Judea and Ruth Pearl, p. 116.

[19] Heschel, Israel: An Echo of Eternity, p. 225.

[20] Zechariah 2:12.

[21] Heschel, Israel: An Echo of Eternity, p. 225.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Gerda Weissmann Klein, All But My Life,(1st rev.’d ed. 1995), p 253.

[24] Kevin P. Spicer, Antisemitism, Christian Ambivalence, and the Holocaust, (1st ed. 2007), pp. x-xi.

[25] Roth and Berenbaum, p. 108.

[26] Ibid., p. 110.

[27] Jocelyn Hellig, The Holocaust and Antisemitism, A Short History, (1st ed. 2003), p. 111.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Elie Wiesel, A Jew Today, (1st ed. 1978), pp. 159-160.

[31] Van Buren, p. 295.

[32] Ibid., p. 331.

[33] Ibid., p. 333.

[34] Patterson, Overcoming Alienation: A Kabbalistic Reflection on the Five Levels of the Soul, p. 167.

[35] Judea and Ruth Pearl, pp. 183-184.

[36] Ibid. p. 209.

[37] Ibid., p. 346.

[38] Ibid.

[39] James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History, (1st ed. 2001), p. 104.

[40] Glatzer, Franz Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought, p. xxv.

[41] Franz Rosenzweig, The Star of Redemption, (1st English ed. 1971), p. xiv.

[42] Ibid., p. xv.

[43] Nahum N. Glatzer, Franz Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought, (1st ed. 1953), p. xxv.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid., pp. xxv-xxvi.

[46] Harry James Cargas, When God and Man Failed: Non-Jewish Views of the Holocaust, (1st ed. 1981), p. 155.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Paul Charles Merkley, Those That Bless You, I Will Bless: Christian Zionism in Historical Perspective, (1st ed. 2011), p. 230.

[49] The Chumash , Deuteronomy 7:12-16 [commentary].

[50] Alan Udoff and Barbara E. Galli, Franz Rosenzweig’s “The New Thinking,” (1st ed. 1999), p. 22.

[51] Ibid., pp. 20-21.

[52] Rosenzweig, p. 413.

[53] Patterson, Emil L. Fackenheim: A Jewish Philosopher’s Response to the Holocaust, p. 191.

[54] James Rudin, Christian & Jews Faith to Faith: Tragic History, Promising Present, Fragile Future, (1st ed. 2011), p. 121.

[55] Alan L. Berger and David Patterson, Jewish-Christian Dialogue: Drawing Honey From the Rock, (1st ed. 2008), p. 23.

[56] Rosenzweig, p. 396.

[57] Ibid., p. 397.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Ibid., p. 408.

[60] Ibid., p. xii.

[61] Rudin, p. 207.

[62] Udoff, p. 144.

[63] Ibid., pp. 144-145.

[64] Rosenzweig, p. 415.

[65] Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue, p. 35.

[66] Ibid., pp. 35-36.

[67] Ibid., p. 37.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Didier Pollefeyt, Jews and Christians: Rivals or Partners for the Kingdom of God?: In Search of an Alternative for the Theology of Substitution, (1st ed. 1997), pp. 7-8.

[70] Pollefeyt, p. 30.

[71] Ibid.

[72] Ibid., p. 31.

[73] Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays, p. 72.

[74] Ibid.

[75] Ibid.

[76] Hayim Halevy Donin, To Be A Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life, (1st ed. 1972), p. 101.

[77] Greenberg, The Jewish Way, p. 79.

[78] Ibid., p. 289.

[79] Pollefeyt, p. 31.

[80] Ibid., p. 87.

[81] Ibid., p. 74.

[82] Ibid., p. 75.

[83] Isaiah 2:5.

[84] Alexander A. Mandelbaum, Redemption Unfolding, The Last Exile, the Final Redemption, and Our Role in These Fateful Times, (3rd ed. 2007), p. 166.

[85] Pollefeyt, p. 138.


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