Christianity, the religion of replacement
Originally posted on Daily Minyan:
Christianity had sought to replace just about everything that Israel held dear:
It replaced the One G-d of Israel with a three-headed god heretofore unknown to the Jewish people (but not so unknown to ancient pagans), violating the Oneness of G-d that permeates the Hebrew Bible from cover to cover
Christianity sought to replace the Torah of G-d with Paul’s “law of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21), a law of a dead human being (a fuzzy “law” which NT fails to even define). At the same time, the Torah of G-d was spurned as an outmoded “schoolmaster” (Galatians 3:24) who, while once necessary, had outlived his usefulness. Even the so called “Torah-observant messianic Jews” do not observe Torah but rather put on a thin veneer of Jewishness, with ample lip service to how wonderful Torah is and how it’s still applicable. They believe, again via Paul, that the promised negative consequences for non-observance (a.k.a. the “curses”) were supposedly nullified by Jesus on the cross (but still very much applicable to Jews who don’t believe in Jesus). But hey, the Law is a nice “guide”, if one is into it (and especially if used as a “witness to lost Jewish people”). Do messianics observe Torah? In my experience, even the most observant of them, their “rabbis” and “scholars”, do not truly observe such basics as either laws of kashrut or Shabbat, but do whatever feels right to them (I know, since I was once myself an MJ and have seen the levels of observance of my former coreligionists first hand). Most Jewish-born messianics, even rabbis, are married to non-Jews and do not hesitate to officiate marriage ceremonies for those who are born Jewish with Gentile Christians.
Christianity replaced the Jewish people with the Church. Some messianics (ashamed of the wretched history of Christianity vis-à-vis the Jewish people) play word games and prefer to call it “ekklesia” or “the body of Messiah”. Whatever one calls it, according to the New Testament, the “Church of Christ” is composed of “believing” Jews and Gentiles, per Paul, the “Israel of G-d”. “True Jews”, as Paul would say, are only those Jews who are Jews on the “inside”, by which he no doubt meant that they are those who worship Jesus and didn’t reject his (that is Paul’s) message. They are the “believers”. The rest of the Jews are Jews in name only (they are potentialJews) and according to Paul they are effectively cut off as dead branches to make room for Gentile Christians (Romans 11:17). Two thousand years of “dead branches” of Jews. Unless, of course, the “unbelieving” Jews too join in the idolatry of man-worship – then and only then, as Paul “comforts”, they too will be re-grafted back into the “olive tree”. (Some, but not all, messianics are uncomfortable with the true implications of Paul’s words and choose to seek comfort in various alternate explanations found in latest books, which seem to try to outdo each other with ever more far-fetched theories about what Paul “actually meant”.)
Christianity replaced Israel’s collective sonship and firstborn status (Exodus 4:22) with that of one man Jesus, claiming that all promises are now fulfilled in Jesus, making Jesus the “true Israel”, or “one man Israel”. One frequently hears Christians and Messianics say that Israel wasn’t replaced by the Church, since “Jesus is Israel personified” and the “Church is grafted into Israel” (must be in some alternate universe).
Christianity sought to replace the Jewish Messiah, a normal “non-god” human being expected by the Jewish people to be a future fulfillment of the promise G-d made to King David, with a demigod savior of the world, a “100% god, 100% man” (yet at the same time “G-d’s servant”) who is sacrificed by G-d for sinners. This new god-man messiah fails to deliver on all counts, dies like all other false messiahs before and after him, doesn’t fulfill any of the messianic expectations (including not even being born of David), and to top if all off ends up being worshiped as god. As Maimonides wrote “is there a greater stumbling-block than this one? So that all of the prophets spoke that the Messiah redeems Israel, and saves them, and gathers their banished ones, and strengthens their commandments. And this one caused (nations) to destroy Israel by sword, and to scatter their remnant, and to humiliate them, and to exchange the Torah, and to make the majority of the world err to serve a divinity besides G-d.“
Christianity replaced the TaNaKh with the “Old Testament”, or as Paul called it in 2 Corinthians 3:14, “the old covenant”. Few Christians ever studied the Hebrew Bible in its original language (that is the way Jews do daily), historically sticking to Church-authored and authorized Greek and Latin translations. No doubt, most Christians would protest that the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament are the same books. Not so – the Old Testament of the Christians is actually their numerous translations, which are, in essence, theological treatises defending specific Christian agendas (depending on denomination). The “New Testament”, of course, is the true key scripture for Christianity, that is the key to seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. No wonder that virtually all Christians and Messianics read the Hebrew Bible as an afterthought, through the lens of the NT. They read the Jewish scriptures backwards and mostly for the purpose of trying to find Jesus hidden there, somewhere. Nobody tells the potential Christian converts to start with the Genesis!