I don’t know why I am writing this, but I feel strongly compelled to do so. I would rather take a nap, but I can concentrate on little else – so here I sit. Clickity, clickity, clickity – the keyboard moans as I force it into submission. I know this will be different than most of my writings. I am a little apprehensive. I am not sure that I won’t offend just about everyone reading it in one way or another. So why do it? I have always written as I feel led – this time is no exception, well, maybe it is . . .
A little background about me before we start:
I have been told my entire life that I challenge upward. I use to have a bad habit of finishing other peoples sentences, sometimes, before they even knew what they were going to say. I had to work hard at not doing it for a number of years. I also had to work hard at not saying “I told you so.” I often saw solutions very easily that others didn’t seem to see (or want to see). It was a blessing and a curse at the same time. In my young life I saw it mostly as a curse. As an adult, I see it as a blessing. The problem with seeing things easily, is that sometimes, you have very little tolerance for those that don’t. Again, something I have had to work very hard on. I literally “hate” rationalizations because in an attempt to make the unreasonable sound reasonable, the tendency is to lie to oneself.
Case in point: Setting the time ahead 30 minutes on your alarm clock. The rationalization is that you will wake up, snooze several times, and not be late because it is really 30 minutes earlier than you think it is. Ummm, really?!? Do you really believe you won’t wake up, hit the snooze 3 times and think to yourself, I got 30 extra minutes because I set the clock ahead, I can hit it an additional 3 more times? Maybe you are better at lying to yourself than I am. It doesn’t work for me.
I hope I don’t sound arrogant or like I think I am superior to anyone around me. I don’t feel that way at all! Sometimes I am accused of being overly blunt. Some appreciate that about me because they don’t have to wonder if I have a hidden agenda. More people seem to resent it than not though. There is a lot of reasons, but I believe the root reason is because I seem to find it necessary to apply logic to and against their rationalizations. I think most probably consider that arguments against their rationalizations are adversarial. That may in fact be true, but it is not meant by me to be adversarial or for that purpose. I think it is why I am often disillusioned with both politics and organized religion. So many rationalizations. So many excuses. So many hidden agendas.
So that I might not be accused of a hidden agenda myself, let me be clear – blunt – up front. I am a lover of Yahweh – The Great I Am! I study His word daily for hours on end with all of the integrity I can muster. I want to be all that He wants me to be now and in the future – all that I should have been, to Him and for Him, earlier in my life. If I could have any wish granted to me in the world, it would be this:
To understand and know by heart, every-single-religious-text ever made, so that I might be a truly effective apologist for Him to the world.
I feel that I fail miserably at times because I don’t know enough background, in religions and religious texts, to combat the rationalizations concerning why people ignore this or don’t accept that concerning His commands and instruction, to us.
I am also a lover of Yeshua HaMashiach! I believe in His birth, life, death and resurrection! I believe He and the Father are one! I don’t profess to understand how this can be. Who can know the mind of Adonai? His ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts. I trust it to be true.
With this in mind, about me, let’s explore a topic together – a “What If . . .” type scenario. To do this, I want you all to realize that I do understand that we don’t all have the same beliefs. That not having the same beliefs will cause some statements to appear as if I am discounting or delegitimizing another group. I am not. I am just not a talented enough writer to state any of this in a way that it will be accepted by all for what it is other than with this disclaimer. That being said, I am not anti-Christian. I am not anti-Jew. I am not anti-Messianic. By the time this is done, I may be accused of all three, hopefully, I won’t. What I do hope to do in this hypothetical “What If . . .” is cause you to think – for yourself – in a way you may, or may not have thought before. We will see if I am successful at the end.
The Butterfly Effect
I want you to imagine that Jesus (Yeshua) never existed.
What would that be like for the Jews? What would that be like for everyone else (non-Jews)? I mean other than the most obvious (me writing these posts).
There are an infinite amount of ways we can approach this with an infinite number of outcomes. As I am not writing a book here, I am just going to pick what I think is the most likely scenario regarding this hypothetical and my reasoning behind it. I am sure you will be able to come up with many other variations on your own.
The Older Covenants (Tanakh – Old Testament) are full of language about warnings and consequences of following/worshiping other gods. It is a matter of biblical history that Adonai punished and destroyed, on more than one occasion, entire groups of people for this very thing. Sometimes he left a remnant because of the promises He had made – sometimes He did it because he found favor with a specific individual. The very name of this site has to do with 3 men that refused to bow down to another god and were thrown into a furnace. This all happens from around 3800 BCE to around 4 BCE (When Yeshua: Jesus) is born.
Since Yeshua is not born in this scenario, we can skip his life and times. This wont change the fact that the Jewish sages Hillel and Shammai were around during this time. It wont change the fact that the men that were to become the talmidim (disciples) of Yeshua existed. They will exist – but as simple fishermen in the Galil. This won’t change the existence of Sha’ul (Paul) either. He was a Pharisee and talmidim (disciple) under the great sage Rabban Gamli’el (the Elder). Gamli’el was the son of Simeon ben Hillel who was also Nasi (president) and the grandson of Hillel the Elder. Of course, the controversy over Testimonium Flavianum attributed to Flavius Josephus would no longer be a controversy. Would Ya’akov (James – the brother of Yeshua) have been delivered to be stoned by the Sanhedrin including the son of Ananus? Probably not. Would Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist), which Josephus also wrote about, still have been beheaded by the evil Herod Antipas? Probably so.
The Great Revolt happens in 66 CE which Josephus describes as being a result of Greeks sacrificing birds in front of a synagogue. One thing leads to another, over taxation etc, and BOOM! We have a rebellion against Rome and her armies. Now maybe with no Yeshua, there is less division and many more join in the fight that might have abstained had Yeshua been their Messiah. However, I think Jerusalem is still destroyed. The siege may have lasted longer than 5 months, but maybe not. More soldiers means the need of more food – starvation is one of the things that causes Jerusalem to fall during the siege.
I think Masada still falls in 72 CE to Legio X. When I was in Israel a couple of months back, they told us about Legio X (The 10th Legion) and how they got their name. It was said that they were broken into groups of 10 and one man was singled out in each group to be killed by the other 9 as a reminder to all of what would happen to any of them should they falter or retreat. The utter barbarianism required in this alone signifies that the Jews, and maybe more specifically, the Zealots, were fighting a losing rebellion/battle from the very beginning. Add the war machines of Rome and the outcome looks the same regardless. The Jewish diaspora happens and many Jews are still sold into slavery.
Does Yeshua not existing make Yochanan ben Zakkai any less of a pacifist? Hard to say. There were a lot of Christian Jews: (Messianics – Followers of the Way – Notzrim – Minim) that might have been zealots instead if he had not existed. Depends on why Zakkai was a pacifist. Was it out of fear or a “higher” reason? To give him the benefit of the doubt, let’s say he is a pacifist regardless. In other words, let’s say the school at Yavneh happens regardless.
What can’t be known entirely is whether Sha’ul (Paul) becomes a great apologist for the Parush (Pharisees). Does Judaism grow the way that Jewish Christianity grew? Probably not. The requirements alone of Judaism, for and towards Gentiles to even be a righteous Gentile, would prevent this kind of rapid growth. Kefa (Peter) alludes to this when he makes the following statement at the council of Jerusalem (which wouldn’t have been made sans Yeshua, but still serves us well based on the reasoning used by Kefa):
Acts 15:6-11 (CJB)
6 The emissaries and the elders met to look into this matter.
7 After lengthy debate, Kefa got up and said to them,
“Brothers, you yourselves know that a good while back,
God chose me from among you
to be the one by whose mouth the Goyim should hear the message
of the Good News and come to trust. 8 And God, who knows the heart, bore them witness
by giving the Ruach HaKodesh to them, just as he did to us;
9 that is, he made no distinction between us and them,
but cleansed their heart by trust. 10 So why are you putting God to the test now
by placing a yoke on the neck of the talmidim
which neither our fathers nor we have had the strength to bear?
11 No, it is through the love and kindness of the Lord Yeshua
that we trust and are delivered — and it’s the same with them.”
There are a couple of points in this address that support my reasoning:
- he made no distinction between us and them
- placing a yoke on the neck of the talmidim
- it is through the love and kindness of the Lord Yeshuathat we trust and are delivered — and it’s the same with them
Based on these 3 things, it is easy to see why so many Gentiles accepted this sect of Judaism. Yes, I said sect: Yeshua was a Jew, Sha’ul was a Jew, Kefa was a Jew, Yochanan was a Jew, Mattiyahu was a Jew, Stiven was a Jew – I am not going to go through the whole list. I am not going to argue the point when Judaism itself accepts atheists as Jews such as Woody Allen, Carl Reiner, Marx, Trotsky, Ann Rand, Freud etc. The list is long. Sadducees were despised at the time but they were still Jews.
Even more important, without Yeshua, the small group of Jews teaching and discipling Romans, Greeks and other pagans to turn to God from their sins, and which later becomes a predominately Gentile religion, never happens – resulting in more Jew hating Romans, not less.
THIS IS SIGNIFICANT!
We will come back to this several times later in this post. Does Gamaliel II exclude sectarians and Christians from the synagogues in 90-100 CE? Not Christians, there are none to be excluded!
Are the Writings accepted as scripture along side the Prophets and Torah in 90-150 CE? I can see no reason why they wouldn’t be.
Is the Great Synagogue and Great Library still destroyed? Without a doubt.
Rabbi Akiva and Rabbinic Judaism? It has to change somewhat because at least in part, it is a result of the schism between Jews that believe in Yeshua and those that don’t. Of course, other contributing factors are the Sadducees and the Zealots, but they still exist in this scenario regardless.
Another thing we have to consider, is whether Rabbi Akiva would have believed that Bar Kokba was the Moshiach. Did he believe this or was it a hope that Bar Kokba would prove that Yeshua was nothing more than a fraud? There is no way of knowing, but the possibility has to be considered. Either way, he was wrong and he paid for it with his life.
The Second Jewish Result (Bar-Kokhba Revolt) ends worse than the first and hundreds of thousands of Jews are killed. Jews are expelled from Jerusalem and the name is changed to Palaestina as a punishment and in an attempt to purge all things Jewish from the city. Torah, Sabbath and circumcision were all forbidden as a result under Hadrian.
It is said that much of the following is responsible for antisemitism against Jews based on statements that they made regarding the Jews that led to supersessionism (Replacement Theology):
Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, The Council of Elvira, The Council of Nicea, Eusebius, John Chrysostom, Jerome and St Augustine.
They definitely played a part, but replacement theology, at least in its infancy, was already a problem for Sha’ul, who identified himself as a Jew, in the text itself. How do we know Sha’ul identified himself as Jewish? I will let him tell you himself:
Philippians 3:3-6 (CJB)
3 For it is we who are the Circumcised,
we who worship by the Spirit of God
and make our boast in the Messiah Yeshua!
We do not put confidence in human qualifications, 4 even though I certainly have grounds
for putting confidence in such things.
If anyone else thinks he has grounds
for putting confidence in human qualifications,
I have better grounds:
5 b’rit-milah on the eighth day,
by birth belonging to the people of Isra’el,
from the tribe of Binyamin,
a Hebrew-speaker, with Hebrew-speaking parents,
in regard to the Torah, a Parush,
6 in regard to zeal, a persecutor of the Messianic Community,
in regard to the righteousness demanded by legalism, blameless.
I want you to understand another very important point here:
“The Jews didn’t turn Sha’ul into someone that converted to Christianity,
FROM Judaism, the Greek church fathers did. They had to for their claims to have any legitimacy. This is not to say that some of the ruling Jews didn’t reject what Sha’ul proposed and try to have him killed on more than one occasion, they did. But the Jews aren’t the ones in history that are teaching supersessionism, are they?
This is important to understand because the supersessionists have to ignore this part of the text to make their claims that partaking of the Passover is communing with those that killed Jesus, or that the Gentiles had replaced the Jews, or that the Jews were disinherited, or that they killed Jesus and were now rejected by God, or by rejecting the celebration of the very festivals God commanded in His word for no other reason than the Jews celebrated them as well. Some called them wild beasts – Murderers possessed by the devil. That their psalms and prayers were the braying of donkeys.
Unfortunately, there is Talmudic anti-Christianity much along the same lines. Where incest is preferable to Christianity or death from a snakebite. Where Yeshua is depicted as Balaam. A special benediction against Christianity in the Amidah known as Birkat ha-Minim (Blessing on the heretics). The list is long on both sides. The Pharisees hated the Sadducees, but they hated the Christians (which may mean Sha’ul specifically) more, all of which can be verified in the Talmud. Based on some of the things in the preceding paragraph, and some of the things in this paragraph, we can see how history would have changed had their been no Christianity. The Talmud would be different. Judaism would be different – at least in part.
As I said earlier, Sha’ul was against, and addressed replacement theology in its infancy, which also contradicts many of the early Greek and Roman leaders in Christianity known as the church fathers, which is also very misleading in and of itself, because the true church fathers were all Jews for at least the first 100 years:
Romans 11:1-3 (CJB)
1 “In that case, I say, isn’t it that God has repudiated his people?”
For I myself
am a son of Isra’el,
from the seed of Avraham,
of the tribe of Binyamin.
2 God has not repudiated his people, whom he chose in advance.
Or don’t you know what the Tanakh says about Eliyahu?
He pleads with God against Isra’el,
3 “Adonai, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars,
and I’m the only one left, and now they want to kill me too!”
You see, Sha’ul was literally rejecting whatever had been implied or asked of him in a letter or report with this letter (epistle) concerning an obvious allusion to supersessionism. He does it more than once in these verses.
- Heaven forbid!
- For I myself
- God has not
- Or don’t you know what the Tanakh says
There is NO WAY to misconstrue the what is being asked and the correction that is being offered. Sha’ul is stating something profound that many Christians seem to miss:
“If God is rejecting His people, then He is rejecting me too
because I am one of those people!”
For the life of me, I do not see how people can pay to go bible college and seminary and miss this, accept teaching in contradiction to this, or worse yet, preach in contradiction to this!
How do you get an advanced degree, such as a masters or a doctorate, and then from the pulpit echo the same things Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian and others spewed in hatred, towards the Jews, 50-400 after the death of Yeshua (who was also a Jew), and in obvious contradiction to what the text clearly states? Like I told one pastor friend of mine that agrees with this garbage – You need to try and get a refund for your education, masters and all, because you got swindled!!! Needless to say, that didn’t go over real well. Should I make the rationalization that I am only human (wink, wink)? I get passionate just like anyone else. Sometimes my mouth gets ahead of my heart. I don’t want to hurt anyone with my words. At times, I fail. Sometimes I fail at the needed response to my failure known as teshuva (repentance) too.
So back to history. With no Yeshua, there is no violent persecution of Christians around 300CE. There is no embrace of Christianity by Constantine because there is no such thing as Christianity. Without Yeshua, what becomes the dominant religion of the Roman empire? Without a doubt it is not Judaism, which doesn’t bode all that well for Judaism. There would be no moral code adhered to where the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob would be respected or accepted. There is no reason to think that the Greek gods would not be dominant in Roman life without Christianity. Maybe it would be even worse. The dark ages might indeed be darker. How so you might ask? Instead of forced conversion to Christianity, I foresee slavery. There is a big difference between seeing someone as a potential proselyte and as someone less than human – someone to be used to build an empire – free labor. Or how about Droit du seigneur (a punitive legal right for a lord to take the virginity of those they rule over) – In other words, legalized rape with the purpose of inbreeding to breed out.
Now it is possible without Christianity that Spain doesn’t throw the Jews out for siding with the Muslims. The Muslims are not the same religion if there is no Christianity either. Maybe the Muslims even win because without the fear of Christianity being corrupted or conquered in the area, Spain may have ignored the threat from the Muslim expansion. Who can know? That is for better historians than me to surmise.
What I suspect is this: even with all of the cruelty done in the name of Christianity concerning ignorance, hidden political and geopolitical goals, outright greed, and blood lust for battle – there had to be at least some that could read saying, “Wait a minute, this can’t be right – the bible seems to be against this.” On the other hand, would the crusades have focused on Jerusalem if not for Christianity? I can’t come up with a reason why they would except to make money by selling them into slavery. I guess if I extrapolate based on history, I might be able to draw the conclusion that it would still happen if there were say, Zeus worshipers in Jerusalem that needed to be protected by a world worshiping Zeus in lieu of Christians following a Jewish Messiah that doesn’t exist in this scenario.
Luther doesn’t get his feelings hurt when he is rejected by the Jews and write “About the Jews and Their Lies” which is later used by Hitler as a justification.
Obviously, there is a lot of history that I am leaving out so that this doesn’t end up being 400 pages. Suffice it to say, there is a huge history of terrible things done to Jews under the guise of Christianity. As a Rabbi I studied under said one time, “Jews don’t avoid Christians because they hate them, they avoid them because Christians scare the hell out of them!” Or something to that effect. Understand, he was making this statement to point out a very bloody history against Jews by Christianity, he was not attacking Christianity itself.”
So in the interest of keeping this shorter, let’s fast forward quite a bit. No Christianity, maybe no Armenian Holocaust. What would be the Ottoman government’s reason for genocide of the Armenians. Probably none because they would probably be adhering to Islam.
The Ottomans and the Brits can’t be discarded. The Russians were involved because of Christianity and the German trained Turkish military was expanding. Is Russia involved without Christianity? I don’t understand all of the complexities of World War I well enough to surmise one way or the other.
Regardless – Germany had expansionist plans. The Ottoman empire needed help too, so a secret treaty was signed. There were a lot of Turks in Germany. Mussolini wanted a new Roman empire. Racism. Lots and lots of factors.
The reason I bring these things up is, I think the holocaust still happens – Christianity or no Christianity. Germany with its expansion plans has a Pharaoh moment – there were 9 million Jews in Europe – get rid of them and there is less resistance to German expansionism – less threat of resistance to those expansionist goals. Make no mistake, they were afraid of the Jews. They believed Jews wanted to control the world which was in direct competition with their own goals of wanting to control the world. It doesn’t matter that the Jews never stated anything like this, all that matters is that the Germans thought this. The Jews were easy to pick on because they were easily identifiable – they weren’t Aryan – they weren’t part of the plan of the self-proclaimed “master race.” Maybe the Jews were also easy because they weren’t spread out – they congregated in tight knit communities due to their beliefs.
Now here is going to be a real tough thing to imagine – with no Christianity ever happening in this scenario, what is the United States religion and goals? No “one nation under God.” No 10 commandments at the supreme court. No christian nation. This is actually easier to speculate on. With no Christianity, the church of England doesn’t exist and is not part of the equation. Instead of America, maybe it is the United State of England. With real history such as manifest destiny and no Christian values or beliefs, the goal of the Americas may not be much different from Germany. In fact, England was expansionist long before Germany. Are you seeing the picture here? There is no way to determine one way or the other, apart from the fact that Judeo-Christian values and ethics would be non-existent if Yeshua had never existed. It would not be unreasonable to assume then, that Roman values and ethics, might actually be the predominant world view. Seeing as how that didn’t work for the Jews 2000 years ago, it would not be unreasonable to imagine it being even worse in the modern day scenario of WWII, would it?
Does Britain, or a non-Christian world for that matter, carve out a place for the Jews using the British Mandate for Palestine? Are they even rescued in a non-Christian world? Britain is THE superpower because she is everywhere at the time – The United States remains part of Britain. Would she care what happened to the Jews if Christianity is not in her vocabulary? Let me ask it a little differently – Without Christianity, what is Britain’s religion and will that non-Christian religion be good for the Jews or bad for them?
The 6-day war, does it have the same outcome without US aide? Without French aide? Without any Christian backed aide?
There would probably be no support in the Yom Kippur war from the United States by Nixon, who would not be a Quaker, might instead be a Roman, and maybe have no interest in helping Israel nor care in the least. As I said earlier, without Christianity, there might not even be a US – it may be England instead. The US was hungry for oil, Christianity or non-Christianity, and may have bowed to OPEC to stay out of it if not Christian. There is no way of knowing the implications of Israel using her last resort – nuclear weapons. However, would she even have them in the first place without support from Christian nations all along?
It has to be considered considering its size and growth rate that without Christianity existing, Islam may have become the dominant religion of the world. In 2006, it is estimated that there were 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and 2.05 billion Christians. Did/does the sheer number of Christians worldwide keep the Muslim expansion in check? I will let you decide, however, if it has/does, then it is easy to deduce that Islam would be the dominant religion of the World if there was no Christianity.
Here is the toughest question of them all . . . would a Muslim dominated world have rushed to the aide of the Jews against Germany – against Hitler? Would an Islam Great Britain, France or United States even been part of what was known as the “Allies” or would most of the world have been the “Axis?” I think you can deduce that there may not have even been a WWII or a state of Israel.
In this hypothetical, I have given one of an infinite amount of possibilities of what the world might have been like if Yeshua (Jesus) had never existed. What is the purpose? One is to show how our dependence upon each other is not speculation – it is fact. With a single flap of the butterfly’s wings along the continuum of time in this hypothetical, the Jews are more than likely destroyed. However, this is a conundrum because they can’t be destroyed due to Adonai’s numerous promises to them in the text.
How then can we proceed to make any sense out of this symbiotic relationship that neither side really seems to want to accept or to admit fully? The text gives us a partial clue in the following when the Parush (Pharisee) Gamli’el, addressed the Sanhedrin, and gave them some advice:
Acts 5:25-39 (CJB)
25 Then someone came and reported to them,
“Listen! The men you ordered put in prison
are standing in the Temple court, teaching the people!”
26 The captain and his officers went and brought them,
but not with force; because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
27 They conducted them to the Sanhedrin,
where the cohen hagadol demanded of them,
28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name!
Look here! you have filled Yerushalayim with your teaching;
moreover, you are determined to make us responsible for this man’s death!”
29 Kefa and the other emissaries answered,
“We must obey God, not men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Yeshua,
whereas you men killed him by having him hanged on a stake.
31 God has exalted this man at his right hand
as Ruler and Savior,
in order to enable Isra’el to do t’shuvah and have her sins forgiven.
32 We are witnesses to these things;
so is the Ruach HaKodesh,
whom God has given to those who obey him.”
33 On hearing this, the members of the Sanhedrin
were infuriated and wanted to put the emissaries to death.
34 But one of the members of the Sanhedrin rose to his feet,
a Parush named Gamli’el,
a teacher of the Torah highly respected by all the people.
He ordered the men put outside for a little while 35 and then addressed the court:
“Men of Isra’el, take care what you do to these people.
36 Some time ago, there was a rebellion under Todah,
who claimed to be somebody special;
and a number of men, maybe four hundred, rallied behind him.
But upon his being put to death,
his whole following was broken up and came to nothing.
37 After this, Y’hudah HaG’lili led another uprising,
back at the time of the enrollment for the Roman tax;
and he got some people to defect to him.
But he was killed, and all his followers were scattered.
38 So in the present case,
my advice to you is not to interfere with these people,
but to leave them alone.
For if this idea or this movement has a human origin,
it will collapse.
39 But if it is from God,
you will not be able to stop them;
you might even find yourselves fighting God!”
They heeded his advice.
From Yeshua (Jesus) to more than 2.05 billion Christians worldwide. What would be the advice that Gamli’el would give today based upon that statistic alone? I will leave that for you to decide.
They needed us and still do, but we needed them first and still do. How so? The text tells us that too:
Romans 3:1-4 (CJB)
1 Then what advantage has the Jew?
What is the value of being circumcised?
2 Much in every way!
In the first place,
the Jews were entrusted with the very words of God.
3 If some of them were unfaithful, so what?
Does their faithlessness cancel God’s faithfulness?
4 Heaven forbid!
God would be true even if everyone were a liar! —
as the Tanakh says,
“so that you, God, may be proved right in your words
and win the verdict when you are put on trial.”
Psalm 51:4 (CJB) 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil from your perspective;
so that you are right in accusing me and justified in passing sentence.
“They were intrusted with the very words of God!” This is HUGE! It can not be ignored which is why Sha’ul brings it up. Another reason which is self explanatory:
Romans 11:16-18 (CJB)
16 Now if the hallah offered as firstfruits is holy,
so is the whole loaf. And if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 But if some of the branches were broken off,
and you — a wild olive —
were grafted in among them
and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree,
18 then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches!
However, if you do boast,
remember that you are not supporting the root,
the root is supporting you.
This is also HUGE! One of many reasons showing why supersessionism (replacement theology) has to ignore so many verses in the text to make its case (this one included). I recommend you read all of Romans 11 and take time to consider what the questions Sha’ul was answering were – to meditate on the implications of what is being said.
They need us too because the Gentile world has not yet entered its fullness:
Romans 11:25-27 (CJB)
25 For, brothers,
I want you to understand this truth
which God formerly concealed but has now revealed,
so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do.
It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra’el,
until the Gentile world enters in its fullness;
26 and that it is in this way that all Isra’el will be saved. As the Tanakh says,
“Out of Tziyon will come the Redeemer;
he will turn away ungodliness from Ya‘akov
27 and this will be my covenant with them,…
when I take away their sins.”
Isaiah 59:20 (CJB) 20 “Then a Redeemer will come to Tziyon,
to those in Ya‘akov who turn from rebellion.” So says Adonai.
Isaiah 27:9 (CJB)
9 So the iniquity of Ya‘akov is atoned for by this,
and removing his sin produces this result:
he chops up all the altar stones like chalk—
sacred poles and sun-pillars stand no more.
But perhaps the most important part of this symbiotic relationship are the next few verses. They are direct and to the point concerning the Jews, the Christian Jews, and Christian non-Jews – the latter two of which are being written to here by Sha’ul:
Romans 11:28-32 (CJB)
28 With respect to the Good News
they are hated for your sake.
But with respect to being chosen
they are loved for the Patriarchs’ sake,
29 for God’s free gifts and his calling are irrevocable.
30 Just as you yourselves were disobedient to God before
but have received mercy now because of Isra’el’s disobedience;
31 so also Isra’el has been disobedient now,
so that by your showing them the same mercy that God has shown you,
they too may now receive God’s mercy.
32 For God has shut up all mankind together in disobedience,
in order that he might show mercy to all.
There is no mistaking the symbiotic relationship here! So a very simple question comes to mind. Every time I ask it, people get angry with me for bringing it up and try to find ways to dismiss it. I am not deterred and will ask it again here based on the text above because it is so very important to consider and to understand:
“Have we showed them the same mercy that God has shown us?”
So many things come to mind, such as the crusades, that the mind boggles at the sheer gravity of denial that history records in the form of persecutions, under the guise of a Christian banner, towards and against the Jews, regarding this simple statement in the text.
Yeshua himself explains the whole divide in a parable that we would all be wise to understand:
Luke 15:11-32 (CJB)
11 Again Yeshua said, “A man had two sons.
12 The younger of them said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of the estate that will be mine.’
So the father divided the property between them.
13 As soon as he could convert his share into cash,
the younger son left home and went off to a distant country,
where he squandered his money in reckless living.
14 But after he had spent it all,
a severe famine arose throughout that country,
and he began to feel the pinch.
15 “So he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country,
who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
16 He longed to fill his stomach
with the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him any.
17 “At last he came to his senses and said,
‘Any number of my father’s hired workers have food to spare;
and here I am, starving to death!
18 I’m going to get up and go back to my father and say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you;
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son;
treat me like one of your hired workers.”’
20 So he got up and started back to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off,
his father saw him and was moved with pity.
He ran and threw his arms around him and kissed him warmly.
21 His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you;
I am no longer worthy to be called your son —’
22 but his father said to his slaves,
‘Quick, bring out a robe, the best one, and put it on him;
and put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet;
23 and bring the calf that has been fattened up, and kill it.
Let’s eat and have a celebration!
24 For this son of mine was dead, but now he’s alive again!
He was lost, but now he has been found!’
And they began celebrating.
25 “Now his older son was in the field.
As he came close to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 So he called one of the servants and asked, ‘What’s going on?’
27 The servant told him, ‘Your brother has come back,
and your father has slaughtered the calf that was fattened up,
because he has gotten him back safe and sound.’
28 But the older son became angry and refused to go inside.
“So his father came out and pleaded with him.
29 ‘Look,’ the son answered,
‘I have worked for you all these years,
and I have never disobeyed your orders.
But you have never even given me a young goat,
so that I could celebrate with my friends.
30 Yet this son of yours comes,
who squandered your property with prostitutes,
and for him you slaughter the fattened calf!’
31 ‘Son, you are always with me,’ said the father,
‘and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate and rejoice,
because this brother of yours was dead but has come back to life —
he was lost but has been found.’”
If you understand this parable as the Father representing God, the obedient son representing the Jews, and the disobedient son representing the Gentiles, you will see a beautiful story regarding the same things we were just evaluating In Romans 11. In fact, it could be called a storybook version of Romans 11.
Simpler explanation? God’s plan works. We have tried as best as we can, on all sides of the fence, to mess it up. But His plans always work regardless of, and in spite of, our disobedience to Him. The Jews are His chosen people – part of an irrevocable gift and calling. Christians have been grafted in as wild olive branches supported by the root, not replacing the root! The barrier wall was broken down between Jew and non-Jew (even though we seem to try and rebuild it every chance we get), by the death of the prophesied Jewish Messiah, whose name means Salvation (Yeshua), who died on an execution stake as a blemish free sacrificial lamb – a substitutionary atonement for our sins against God, who rose from the dead, and who will come again as the conquering King Messiah ben David.
Philippians 2:6-11 (CJB)
6 Though he was in the form of God,
he did not regard equality with God
something to be possessed by force.
7 On the contrary, he emptied himself,
in that he took the form of a slave
by becoming like human beings are.
And when he appeared as a human being,
8 he humbled himself still more
by becoming obedient even to death —
death on a stake as a criminal!
9 Therefore God raised him to the highest place
and gave him the name above every name;
10 that in honor of the name given Yeshua,
every knee will bow —
in heaven, on earth and under the earth —
11and every tongue will acknowledge
that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai —
to the glory of God the Father.
Blessings to all of you that made it through this long post. How I long for the day when we can all love each other as members of one new humanity – one new man under God!
How truly blessed will we all be then? Shalom!