Editor’s note: This column is the third concerning a running dialogue between WND’s Joseph Farah and Israel’s nascent Sanhedrin about Jewish-Christian relations.
I want to begin by thanking Ben Abrahamson of Israel’s Sanhedrin for taking the time to respond to my comments about an Israeli rabbinical court decision that prohibits messianic Jews from being married as Jews in the Jewish state.
And I also want to apologize for what was perhaps an unfair characterization of the ruling by me in a headline that read, “The Sanhedrin blows it, again.”
The reference there was clearly to the actions of the Sanhedrin 2,000 years ago in condemning Jesus-Yeshua to death. As Abrahamson accurately points out, the Sanhedrin of 2,000 years ago was clearly a different organization altogether than the one that exists today.
The concern of the Sanhedrin today is reconciliation between Christians and Jews – always a good objective.
“Very briefly, the issue is the way Christians view Jews and the way Jews view Christians is not symmetrical,” he writes. “There is much that both sides do not understand about the other.”
He couldn’t be more right about that. In fact, even the way Christians think about Christians is not symmetrical. And, I suspect it’s true that the way Jews think about Jews is not.
Abrahamson makes another profound point – perhaps the source of most of the suspicion and distrust between Jews and Christians.
“This vision of reconciliation depends less on theology and more on not behaving like Esau, and seeking to take the inheritance and covenant away from the children of Israel,” he writes.
What Abrahamson is talking about here is the propensity of some Christians over the last 2,000 years to assert that the eternal covenant between God and Israel has somehow been abrogated and transferred to others – namely Christians.
Any such suggestion is completely unscriptural, but still widely believed and accepted by many in the church.
It’s a dangerous theological concept. It’s a destructive one that has been the source of violence, subjugation, persecution and anti-Semitism for the last 2,000 years. And it’s simply not true.
In fact, I would argue, as I do in my new book, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” that the very basis of salvation for the gentiles is “the New Covenant,” as described in Jeremiah 31:31-34. And what is that covenant?
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
With whom has the God of Israel made an eternal covenant? With Judah and Israel. The only way gentiles can partake of this covenant is through adoption, being grafted in, a process made possible through the Messiah of Israel. Christians universally believe that the Messiah was Jesus-Yeshua.
If that is so, “replacement theology,” as it is known, makes no sense. One cannot be grafted into a tree that no longer exists, or one that has been chopped down and burned. God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants was not only eternal, it was one-sided – meaning it was an unconditional promise from God to Abraham based on his faith. That covenant is memorialized in Genesis 15 with God passing through the sacrificial offering prepared by Abraham, symbolizing the one-sided nature of that promise.
Ben Abrahamson of the Sanhedrin says he sees Christians and Jews as “co-religionists.” I do, too. I have made the point that Jesus-Yeshua did not come to start a new religion called Christianity. He came instead as the Jewish Messiah in fulfillment of all the prophets.
We may disagree about the identity of the Messiah, but, in effect, we should be, as Abrahamson himself suggests, recognizing each other – Christian and Jew alike – as one “community of God-fearers.”
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