Martin M. van Brauman


Do not rely on nobles, nor on a human being, for he holds no salvation. When his spirit departs he returns to his earth, on that day his plans all perish. Praiseworthy is one whose help is Jacob’s God, whose hope is in the Lord, his God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; He safeguards truth forever; He does justice for the exploited, He gives bread to the hungry . . . the Lord shall reign forever; your God, O Zion; from generation to generation. Psalms 146:3-10.

The Jewish historian and Holocaust survivor Raul Hilberg said from the 4th century the powerful Christian church said to the Jews “You may not live among us as Jews.”[1]  The Christian European rulers from the late Middle Ages said “You may not live among us” and the Nazis and their collaborators decreed “You may not live.”[2]   Thus, the “Jewish problem” was solved first by conversion, then by expulsion and finally by death.[3]

The Jewish problem is the eternal annoyance that arose with the questions asked of God to Adam of where are you and your soul and to Cain where is your brother and what have you done.[4]  The Jew in his historic existence is a witness who, with the highest authority possible to man, says to mankind: “Behold, your God! Your God, He is here.”[5]

The religious foundation of the Christian Church was based and still today on the traditional church dogma of replacement theology, in which the Jewish people’s rejection of Jesus resulted in the loss of their covenantal link to God and in their eternal damnation.  Christian anti-Semitism was derived from three primary causes: the rejection of Jesus as the messiah, the doctrine of chosenness (the “Chosen People”) and the accusation of deicide (“Christ-killers”).[6]  The mainline Protestant churches still preach that the church replaced 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,” so how can God bring back the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.

The anti-Semitism of Christian replacement theology fights against the legitimacy of an independent Jewish political existence in Israel as a Jewish state and resents the Jew no longer being subordinate to but rather a master of his fate.[7]   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.  These same church leaders call Palestinian suicide bombers, who murder innocent women and children, “freedom fighters.”   Today, this delegitimization and demonization of Israel has become the most effective and dangerous form of anti-Semitism.

The mainline Christian churches lost their moral authority long ago by their apathy and indifference to Jewish suffering and their moral decline is reflected in their dwindling members.  For these churches, the Holy Bible is read through the prism of church dogma and cannons.  Christians have long preferred a spiritualized “Judaism,” instead of having to deal with the Jewish people[8] and of understanding what is Judaism.

Judaism is not a religion of legalism and “works righteousness,” or even a religion, but a relationship to God under grace.  The Bible is not about religion, but about relationship to God.  The election of Israel is based upon grace.  Jews do not follow the laws of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, in order to earn Divine love and redemption/salvation. Divine love is already present, it is not earned.  “All Israel have a portion in the World to Come, for it is written: ‘Your people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I be glorified’” (Isaiah 60:21).  Mishnah (m. Sanh 10.1).  Grace is all part of the Covenant of Abraham.

It will be that when all these things come upon you – the blessing and the curse that I have presented before you – then you will take it to your heart among all the nations where the Lord, your God, has dispersed you; and you will return unto the Lord, your God, and listen to His voice, according to everything that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and all your soul.  Then the Lord, your God, will bring back your captivity and have mercy upon you, and He will gather you in from all the peoples to which the Lord, your God, has scattered you. If your dispersed will be at the ends of heaven, from there the Lord, your God, will gather you in and from there He will take you.  The Lord, your God, will bring you to the Land that your forefathers possessed and you shall possess it; He will do good to you and make you more numerous than your forefathers.  The Lord, your God, will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:1-6.


These passages in Deuteronomy are not speaking about God bringing the Jewish people out from their recent captivity in Egypt, but in the future when God will bring them back from their captivity among all the nations where the Lord will disperse the Jews after the future destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D.  The passages speak of the future ingathering of the Jewish exiles from the ends of the world back to the Land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and writing on their hearts the Word of God.  That day of the ingathering has arrived.  The Ramban[9] commented that those promises in Deuteronomy 30:1-6 of return to the Land and redemption have not been fulfilled yet, but will happen with the coming of the Messiah.[10]

Israel alone of all the nations that exist and ever existed in the world has a special relationship with God, a covenant that promises its eternity and defines its mission as God’s witness to all of humanity.  The rebirth of the State of Israel is the beginning realization of the Torah’s ultimate goal for the redemption of the world, as stated by the Jewish prophets.

The Jews are to be the “light to the world” by their survival as God’s witnesses on earth.  Through the teachings of the Bible, “all the families of the Earth will be blessed.”  Genesis 12:3. The Torah will go forth from Zion and the Word of God from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3).

Fortunate are you, O Israel: Who is like you! O people delivered by the Lord, the Shield of your help, Who is the Sword of your grandeur; your foes will try to deceive you, but you will trample their haughty ones. Deuteronomy 33:29.

 The true Christian church bears witness to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  In its witness to God, the Christian church owes its existence to Israel and the Jewish people.  The foundation stone upon which Christianity is built is the covenantal election of the Jewish people, Israel, (Romans 9:4-5) and Jesus could only be recognized as a revelation by Jews operating out of Jewish expectation and promise.[11]

The history of Israel and Judaism did not end with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, but rabbinical Judaism was born into 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.  The Covenant of Abraham is being written on the hearts of the Jewish people.  Judaism has a fundamental stake in Christianity’s achievements in advancing the Word of the God of Israel that will circumcise peoples’ hearts “to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:6.  By “circumcision,” God will help remove humanity’s natural desire to sin and Evil Inclination, the spiritual barrier to final redemption.

The Jewish people under rabbinical Judaism are fellow travelers with the followers of Jesus on the way to the Kingdom of God.  The two faiths must understand that they are aspects of a Divine strategy of redemption, although in their own distinctive ways.[12]

Is God the God of Jews only?  Is he not the God of Gentiles too?  Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.  Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith?  Not at all!  Rather, we uphold the law. Romans 3:29-31.

[1] Claude Lanzmann, Shoah: An Oral History of the Holocaust, (1st ed. 1985), p. 72.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Alan L. Berger and David Patterson, Jewish-Christian Dialogue: Drawing Honey From the Rock, (1st ed. 2008), p. 120.

[5] Ignaz Maybaum, The Face of God After Auschwitz, (1st ed. 1965), p. 89.

[6] Jocelyn Hellig, The Holocaust and Antisemitism, (1st ed. 2003), p. 164.

[7] Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad, (1st ed. 2010), p. 502.

[8] Franklin H. Littell, The Crucifixion of the Jews: the Failure of Christians to Understand the Jewish Experience, (1st ed. 1975), p. 77.

[9] Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman (1195-1270), known also by Nachmanides.

[10] Deuteronomy 30:1-10, commentary, The Chumash.

[11] Irving Greenberg, For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter between Judaism and Christianity, (1st ed. 2004), p. 124.

[12] Ibid., p. 38.

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