A Challenge to My Jewish Friends

Posted on June 19, 2019

11


By David Ettinger

Social-Media Opportunities
One of the great things about social media, particularly Facebook, is that it allows individuals to reconnect with people in their lives from many years past. Such reconnections provide great opportunities to communicate in ways never before available. This has certainly been the case with me, as I have become “Friends” with several people I went to high school with in New York.

A New Faith

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The high school I attended was a “Yeshiva,” Hebrew for “Hebrew School,” as I was born and raised Jewish. Attending Hebrew School, however, did nothing to instill in me any semblance of faith in the God of my fathers, and at age 17 I became an atheist.

That atheism, however, ended about four years later and was replaced by a new faith. While living in my new home of Las Cruces, New Mexico, an acquaintance challenged me to read a portion of my choosing from the New Testament to see what I thought of it. I accepted the challenge and in one night read the entire Book of Matthew (the first book of the N.T.) in about three hours.

I was struck by the logic, honesty, and genuine authenticity of the text, and was intellectually overcome by its truth. By the time I had finished reading, my atheism was over. I accepted the truth that the God of the Bible – the Old Testament (“Tenach”) and the New Testament – is indeed the One who created Heaven and Earth, and that His Son, Jesus Christ, is indeed Israel’s – and the world’s – Messiah. I confess that this belief, at the time, was but “head knowledge,” and it was not until seven years later that I would accept Jesus into my heart, but the “head knowledge” was the start.

The important thing to remember is that it was the actual opening up of the Book of Matthew, reading it, and SEEING FOR MYSELF what it says which set me on my path to what Christians call “salvation.”

psalm 51

What Is Salvation?
Why is it that humanity needs “saving?” The answer is sin. The Bible is clear that ALL human beings are born in sin. In the Psalms, King David tells us: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). From the Prophets, Isaiah tells us: “We ALL, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6). In the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells us: “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Because of our sin, we are separated from God. If we go to our graves without reconciling to God, we will spend eternity separated from Him in a place of judgment (John 3:36; 1 John 5:11-12). However, God has provided a way out from this fate.

In the days of ancient Israel, God’s way to atone for sins was the sacrificial system. The primary requirement of this system was shed blood. From the Torah, Moses reveals to us this monumental truth: “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Leviticus 17:11).

SHED BLOOD IS THE KEY.

The Current Jewish “Condition”
Regarding the Jewish faith and its current spiritual “condition,” the need for salvation is just as great as for all other people and individuals. Being born Jewish, or converting to it, does not mean one is “automatically saved.” NO ONE IS BORN “AUTOMATICALLY SAVED.”

sacrifice

In Old Testament times, salvation came through the slaying of an unblemished animal (Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 1:3; Leviticus 3:1; Leviticus 3:6). However, the sacrificial system ended in A.D. 70 when the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Jewish people were scattered from across the earth and later returned to Israel, but the animal sacrifices were never re-established. To make up for this, the influential rabbis during the early days of Israel’s dispersion developed a philosophy of salvation by good works – “Mitzvot” in Hebrew. The problem with this, however, is that good deeds was in no way sanctioned by God as atonement for sin. God never authorized such a system, nor ever rescinded His ABSOLUTE requirement of shed blood as the ONLY atonement for sin.

As it stands now, Judaism is an “atoneless” religious system. In its current practice, Judaism provides no atonement for sin. Jews who die in this “atoneless” state – and every other human being – will be separated from God for eternity.

The Answer
God, however, has not turned His back on the Jewish people. He has provided them atonement for their sins through the sending to Earth of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, who IS God, took on human flesh and blood and lived a perfect, sinless (unblemished) life for about 30 to 33 years. At the end of His life, He willingly shed His blood upon a Roman cross, hence becoming “the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Hebrews 2:9 tells us: “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

saint-matthew-1147134-1599x1322

The Challenge
So, now this challenge to my Jewish friends. At the outset of this article, I told you how I came to a head-knowledge belief in Jesus because I took the time to read His account for myself. I told no one, did it privately in my home, and allowed the text to speak for itself.

I challenge you to do the same. The claim here is that Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation. If this is true, don’t you owe it to yourself to see firsthand what Jesus is all about? If you are going to reject Him, shouldn’t you at least know what it is you are rejecting? And if you are at all curious about I’ve written here, would it not make sense for you to see it for yourself?

If so, I recommend you do precisely what I did: read the Book of Matthew for yourself. You don’t have to tell anyone, and you don’t even have to buy a New Testament as I did. Here is a link for Matthew 1, which will then lead you to the remaining 27 chapters. Read at your own pace, but please resolve to read all 28 chapters.

And, if you are so inclined, please ask God in your own words to reveal His truth to you. You can pray something such as, “God, this is difficult for me and I am not comfortable with it, however, I am willing to at least give it a go. If there is any truth in this at all, then I ask You to please open up my heart to YOUR truth. Amen.”

Well, my friend, there’s my challenge. I hope you will consider it and, of course, if you have any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them.

Advertisements