Following on my previous post about weak religions trying to be strong, in Judaism we have the opposite. This is THE faith that all the other monotheistic faiths are built upon, THE faith that hails from the beginning of creation, THE faith that should stand on all the promises of G-D above all others, yet what do we find? Yet another faith that can’t allow its people freedom of choice. Or more importantly – not having faith in the One True G-D of Abraham, Issac and Jacob to exercise HIS power to maintain their belief system.
Here’s the story that’s provoked my discussion on this:
“Shas Proposes Expanded Bill to Outlaw Missionary Activity”
by Hana Levi Julian (“Israel National News,” March 14, 2007)
Jerusalem, Israel – A record number of Jews converting to Islam last year prompted the Shas Knesset faction Tuesday to propose a bill that would jail missionaries who proselytize to individuals in Israel.
Hareidi-religious Sephardic party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef urged Shas faction leader MK Yaakov Margi to propose the expansion of the current law against missionary activity after learning that a record number of Jews converted to Islam last year. The existing law mandates six months’ imprisonment for those who attempt to persuade Israeli minors to leave their faith or who perform a conversion ceremony on the children and teens.
The current legislation also imposes a five-year jail term and/or a fine on anyone who offers money or other goods to persuade an individual under age 18 to convert to another faith. It does not, however, outlaw missionizing towards adults, a deficiency that would be corrected by the new law. The new bill would punish missionaries who attempt to draw any Israeli away from his faith, be that faith Judaism, Islam or Christianity.
“The law also applies to Jewish sects bringing Muslims from the Old City to convert to Judaism,” states the proposed bill, thereby frustrating efforts to torpedo the legislation by claiming it discriminates against other faiths.
“We do not mean to violate freedom of religion, or freedom from religion,” said a source in the Shas party quoted by the Ynet news service. “We mean to allow everyone to believe in their own religion and prevent harassment by any source trying to harm the basic democratic right according to which ‘every man may live in his religion.’” Such activity is also forbidden by Jewish law, note rabbinical scholars.
“Whether it is Christians coming from abroad or Jewish converts working in Israel, they all have the same agenda – to destroy every trace and memory of the people of Israel,” reads the proposed bill.
I could and would absolutely agree with them in respect of the likes of Islam, or Hinduism in essence destroying their faith system to a degree, but Christianity of all other faiths is based on their own, and most Christians recognise to some degree at least, that their heritage is rooted in the Jewish faith as well as in Israel. Jesus was a Jew, and while he opened up a new Covenant with His people, He never mandated they should suddenly turn aside from their Jewish roots and become something entirely different. The early “Christians” never called themselves anything other than Jews who believed in Jesus as their Messiah. It’s only been as the faith has spread out past the boundaries of Israel that it’s evolved into a rather separate religion. Paul in the NT continually goes to great pains to point out such facts to his audiences, although even then, he also had to contend with mistrust, and a lack of acceptance from many of his unbelieving peers. While most Christians would also hold to the fact that there is no salvation for mankind separate to Jesus, I know of very few who would openly state that their aim is in any way “to destroy every trace and memory of the people of Israel!” And so again, I have to ask – why does this party and other individuals throughout Israel continually seek to try and prevent Christians in particular from having any influence there? Do they consider that the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob is too weak to perserve their own faith, given that He, and He alone, is the source of it?? If G-d’s promises in the bible are true, then He is absolutely committed to preserving not just His people, but His Name amongst them, and so nobody could ever destroy the people of Israel if they tried, unless G-d wasn’t to be trusted. It’s the same with the terrorism issue there – you continually hear people stressing on how Iran is possibly going to wipe Israel off the map – it ain’t going to happen folks, no matter how much the terrorists want it, because G-d has stated that He will absolutely protect His people through whatever the world throws at them. However, He hasn’t said that there won’t be some casualties perhaps along the way, but in general, the land we know as Israel will still be standing when the Lord (Messiah) returns (or arrives for the first time depending on your beliefs), because we know He will be returning to Jerusalem as He has declared it.
Sadly, so much of what Israel continues to suffer as a nation, is because of the secular, humanistic worldview of most of its occupants. Those who do follow or try to follow G-d, are also being led astray by clinging to Kabbalistic teachings, which in comparison to the Torah are as occultic as they come. I’ve read the Zohar teachings of one of the main leading Rabbi’s (Rav P.S. Berg), but had to stop after about the 2nd chapter, as it just smacked of Satan’s influence i.e. G-d can’t sort the world out on his own, so requires man to help him, G-d is remote from mankind, man can change his destiny, man’s good works can change the world etc, plus a lot of inferences that if you work hard enough you just might become good enough to ‘see’ G-d! SO different from the Torah teachings of a personal G-d who is very interested in the lives of His creation, who has already revealed Himself in and through Jesus, and Who still speaks to them through His Word, but Who also absolutely does not need us to fix anything for Him – and it’s utter arrogance on anyone’s part to think otherwise.
But I digress. If you’re Jewish and reading this, just please know, firstly that not all of those who label themselves Christian actually are – it’s a label used by many who don’t know the first thing about Jesus’ teachings, let alone have given their lives to follow Him. And also, that those of us who are solid ‘born-again’ believers in Yeshua are absolutely not out to destroy you, your faith or Israel – if anything we are more determined to love and support you because Jesus has commanded us to do so. And finally, please reconsider your stance, if you still feel we can’t be allowed a voice in your community – we (unlike current day Muslims) don’t force anyone to become ‘converted’ to anything – if any Jew hears about Yeshua, and G-d confirms that Truth to his heart, s/he will make their own determination on whether they accept it or not – only G-d can ‘convert’ or change a person’s heart and attitude, not man – trust me! If that were possible, most of the world would already be Christian from the amount of witnessing done over the centuries. So, equally, you don’t need to stress over being exposed to Christian teachings or writings unless you’re already seeking an alternative to your own beliefs to start with. A Muslim could talk to me all he wanted about his beliefs, but it wouldn’t make me want to ‘convert’ to Islam, because I KNOW I have the Truth already, so I don’t need to seek it elsewhere. But if you are seeking and searching, then please continue to read about Yeshua, His life and ministry and make your own mind up – don’t let your fear or your Rabbi’s prevent you from maybe discovering the biggest Truth of all time – that Jesus Christ IS the Jewish Messiah!!
NB – I’ve abbreviated the name of G-d in respect of any Jewish readers in case anyone else is wondering about it. :).