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I’ll probably lose readers for this article. Jews – especially Israeli ones – would scratch their heads and claim the text doesn’t make any sense. Many Christians would find this reminder that their Jewish neighbors are actually An Ocean Apart, unpleasant, and may choose to skip future reminders. Yet, it must be done.
The funniest introduction to the topic is through a Hebrew article published a few years ago by Yedihot Aharonot. I had a copy of it in the memory cards stolen by Israeli agents in the attack of July 2009 against me; after it I thought it was lost. However, a few days ago I found a copy online while searching something else. Since it is in Hebrew, I won’t reproduce it here; drop me a line if you want a copy. The article is hilarious not because the author’s sense of humor, but due to the constant reminder of the author’s – and the Jewish society – moral limitations.
Awkwardly, it describes the adventure of whom it defines as “the Israeli IT industry resident in Japan.” Most of the article deals with the Japanese honorable obligation to apologize for their errors. Fastidiously it lists all the instances in which that happens and the accompanying gestures. Showing insolence, the author defines this as a “national sport.” “We are not like this,” could the opening sentence of the article be translated. The sentence describes how the Jews ask for forgiveness from God only once a year and from fellow humans only in a very limited fashion. A good example of that is the archetypal sentence: “If I did wrong to you, I apologize.” It is like saying “I did no wrong, but if it makes you happy, I apologize.” Empty words of empty people.
The article and the described attitude are extremely revealing. Pharisaic rabbis – all of them in other words – claim the Messiah is still to come and redeem the People of Israel. However, they rejected Jesus because He didn’t fulfill their image of a warring Messiah. In this they purposely ignore very specific prophecies in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and others.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 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.
In other words, the Covenant made through Moses in Sinai is void and a new one based on love would be done through the sacrifice of Jesus. Chapter 53 of Isaiah - a chapter forbidden in Israeli high schools as described in The Cross of Bethlehem – gives a very detailed description of Jesus, emphasizing His redeeming us through His sacrifice. Isaiah 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
In other words, the Jews still seek the Lord’s forgiveness and the subsequent redemption, though they reject Jesus. Moreover – and this is the central point of this article – they reject all the teachings of the Bible regarding forgiveness.
Jesus emphasizes time and again the issue of repentance and compassion. Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican, in other words, without repentance for an error there is no forgiveness. Matthew 12:7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.. Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Showing compassion is an essential part of pardon. Compassion is the way of achieving a relationship of reciprocity with God; if we show compassion to the other, God will show compassion to us:
Matthew 25:34-40 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Our acceptance of being imperfect, of being sinners, is the key for this. Those who don’t understand this develop a supremacist attitude and cruelty. Pharisaic Jews – all of them who follow the Talmud - still believe they are the Chosen People despite texts like Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. and Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. and many others texts stating otherwise. Supremacists cannot neither forgive nor show mercy because they care not about the reciprocity of the action.
Incredibly, those visiting Jerusalem can see a physical representation of this Jewish handicap. The Golden Gate of the Old City is known in Hebrew as Sha'ar Harahamim, which means the Gate of Mercy. According to tradition the Messiah would enter the city through it. The metaphor is perfect, since it is the Lord’s mercy that redeems us, letting us pass through the Golden Gate into the Kingdom, the Celestial Jerusalem. If that wasn’t enough, Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I sealed off the Golden Gate in 1541 to prevent the Messiah's entrance; a cemetery was built in front of the gate, in the belief that the precursor to the Messiah, Elijah, would not be able to pass through, since he is a priest. Unable to forgive, Jews show no mercy and criminal cruelty and thus cannot enter the Kingdom.
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