Saturday, April 23, 2011

Torath Mosheh vs. Missionaries and Messianics (Part 2)

Messianic Repackaging

Due to the fact that Messianic movement is low on actual Jews, and especially devoid of Jews with a sound Torah base they have recently tried to repackage their messages to appear to be more “Jewish.” This repacking is not only for the purpose of trying to convince more Jews that their form of Christianity is somehow valid according to the Torah, but also because some Messianics have themselves felt that Christianity as a whole is lacking the actual elements that makes them Jewish. Thus, the reasoning is that if they themselves are so called Messianic “Jews” then how can they live as Jews with a text, the New Testament, that carries so many non-Jewish interpretations with it.

A perfect example of this repacking effort are Messianic commentaries on the New Testament claiming, that it can understood using Jewish texts such as the Talmud and various Midrashim. Another angle comes from a shadowy group called the Netzarim, claiming to live in Raanana, Israel, that claims to have reworked and revamped the book of Matthew to paint early Christianity a quasi-halakhic battle between Yeshu, who they claim was a rabbi of Beith Hillel, vs. a rouge sect of Beith Shammai Pharisees.

 Several problems exist within the New Testament framework that makes forcing it into a Jewish, in the above mentioned ways, VERY problematic.
  1.  Is there any real evidence that Jesus existed?
  2. If Jesus did exist are there any 1st hand accounts of him? Accounts written between (7 BCE to 33 CE).
  3. Why were the 4 existing gospels of the New Testament written so late?
  4. Do modern day Messianic groups serve as reliable sources commentaries to the New Testament?
  5. Why is most of the New Testament written by people who didn’t know Jesus personally?
The above questions are very crucial in determining if such conclusions are able to be marketed as a "Jewish" methods of understanding the New Testament. Further, these questions are important if one wants to try and use Jewish texts, such as the Talmud and Midrashim, to try and make sense of Christian texts. If the baseline facts about Christian texts cannot be backed up by Judaic requirements for information, said Christian texts cannot be analyzed in this Judaic manner.

Answering the above questions reveal the following answers.
  1. There is no real evidence of the existence of Jesus. There were about 40 historians who wrote during the first two centuries. None state anything about the existence of Jesus in the 1st century. None of the historians from his supposed time period mention him or the events of the 1st gospels as well as the history given in the book of Acts.
  2. There are no first-hand accounts of Jesus, and he himself wrote nothing. The consensus of many biblical historians put the dating of the earliest Gospel, that of Mark, at sometime after 70 C.E., and the last gospel, John after 90 C.E.
  3. There is no explanation of why the Gospel texts were written so late and they can not be considered reliable sources.
  4. Modern day Messianics do not have any historical connection to the first Christians. The Messianic movement began in the late 1800's. They are separated from any connection to the original Christians by almost 2,000 years.
All of this is important because of the fact that ALL of Judaism is based on concept called Mesorah. (You can read our article HERE to understand what we mean by this.) This means a tested, trust worthy and unbroken chain of understanding and tradition. Further, this means is that modern Rabbis, from all ancient Jewish communities, received their ordinations as rabbis and learned from ordained Rabbis before them who learned from Jewish sages before them going all the way back to Mount Sinai. After some time these ordinations were from within two Judaic schools of thought, one in Israel and one in Babylon, with the Judaic school in Israel having the highest authority originally. After the disbandment of the Judaic school of thought in Israel, the Judaic school in Babylon become the head school of thought.

The following videos, which has several parts on YouTube will explain further the issues.

Making a Messiah, Pt. 1 (What do we know about the NT authors?)

Making a Messiah, Pt. 3 (Messiah who missed the mark)