Why I Do Not Follow The Jews
By Betty Martin
For nearly forty years, I have kept the weekly seventh day Sabbath and the annual feast days. In the past five years, I have learned and accepted the names of the Father and the Son - Yahweh and Yahshua. We have been delving deeper and deeper into Yahweh's Torah. My husband and I have been studying biblical Hebrew so that we might be able to read the Torah in its original language and not depend on the modern translations.
Then recently I was challenged regarding what I am doing - or not doing. I stated that I was trying to follow the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. But I was told that just doing that was not sufficient, but that I needed to follow the oral Torah as well. Say what? Why?
Yahshua told us that we are to follow Him - and I strive to do so. But I was informed that I was failing and being disobedient to Him. All because I am not following the Jews. That concept comes from only one particular verse, which was repeated over and over.
"You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is of the Jews."
(All words in bold in this article are for emphasis - author.)
In other words, according to this concept, if we do not follow the Jews - or Judaism - we have no chance at salvation!
Is that really what Yahshua meant? Who are the Jews? Just what is Judaism? What is this oral Torah? What does it include? How does it compare with the written Torah? What is it's authority?
Let's look at the verses surrounding this scripture - the context. Yahshua was traveling through Samaria, an area usually avoided. Yahshua was resting by a well and the words quoted above were spoken to a Samaritan woman who came there to fill her water containers. She was rather surprised that He was talking to her at all - the Jews usually did not, and the men certainly did not talk to women in public. Yahshua was telling her (in verse 21) that in time, the Father would not be worshipped in either Mount Gerizim in Samaria or the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He said that it would be necessary to worship the Father in spirit and truth.
Yahshua sent these twelve out, charging them, saying: Do not go into the way of the nations, and do not go into a city of the Samaritans,
but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
And He" (Yahshua) "sent messengers before His face. And going they went into a village of Samaritans, so as to make ready for Him.
And they did not receive Him, because His face was going toward Jerusalem."
Why? What was the problem with the Samaritans? Are they not part of Israel?
Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, by Herbert Lockyer, Sr, editor, page 942 -
Around 720 B.C.E. "Sargon replaced the deported Israelites with foreign colonists (2 Kin. 17:24). These newcomers married the Israelites who remained in Samaria. Later their numbers were increased when Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal (the biblical Osnapper; Ezra 4:10) sent more Assyrian colonists to the district of Samaria. These people took the name Samaritans from the territory and attempted to settle the land. …the Samaritans worshipped the God of Israel. But they also continued their idolatry, worshiping the pagan gods imported from foreign lands (2 King. 17:29)."
"So the Samaritans were a 'mixed race' contaminated by foreign blood and false worship."
"The final break between the two groups occurred when the Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, claiming Shechem rather than Zion (Jerusalem) as the true 'Beth-el' (house of God), the site traditionally chosen and blessed by the Lord."
These people lived in the land of Israel. They believed in the same God as the god of the land, not as the God of everything. Their religion was a mixture of truth and untruth.
The Messiah was to come from the Jews while the preaching of the gospel and knowledge of truth was to go to all nations - to all races. Salvation was to come through the Jews - from and through Yahshua Messiah.
The following is another verse used to "prove" that the Jews have the truth and we must go to them to get it.
What then is the superiority of the Jew? Or what the profit of circumcision?
Much by every way. For first, indeed, that they were entrusted with the oracles of Elohim.
What is an oracle? Greek #3051, logion, means an utterance of Elohim.
Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, page 786 -
"The word oracle is used in several ways in the Bible. In the Book of Numbers it is used to describe the prophecies of Balaam the son of Beor, the soothsayer (Numbers 23-24; Josh. 13:22). The Hebrew word translated oracle means a 'similitude, parable, or proverb.' In 2 Samuel 16:23 the word oracle is a translation of a Hebrew word that means 'word' or 'utterance.' It refers to a communication from God given for man's guidance."
"When the New Testament speaks of oracles, it sometimes refers to the Old Testament or some portion of it (Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2). Hebrews 5:12 uses the term to speak of both the Old Testament revelation and the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. First Peter 4:11 warns that the teacher of Christian truths must speak as one who utters oracles of God - a message from God and not his own opinions."
This is the one" (Moses) "who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him in Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received living words" (oracles in the KJV) "to give to us.
Now wait a minute! Who received the "living words" - the oracles? Moses and "our fathers". What fathers? Was the tribe of Judah the only one standing at Mount Sinai? No! All twelve tribes were present - not just the Jews! And Paul backs that up.
I tell the truth in Messiah, I do not lie, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Set-apart Spirit,
that my grief is great, and a never-ceasing pain is in my heart,
for I myself was wishing to be a curse from Messiah on behalf of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh;
who are Israelites; whose are the adoption and the glory, and the covenants, and the Law-giving, and the service, and the promises;
whose are the fathers; and of whom is the Messiah according to flesh, He being Elohim over all, blessed forever. Amen.
The covenant, the law, the promises, etc were given to all Israel. Not just the Jews.
So Just Who Are The Jews?
Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, page 572 -
"Jews - a name applied first to the people living in Judah (when the Israelites were divided into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah); after the Babylonian Captivity, all the descendants of Abraham were called 'Jews.' The term is used in the New Testament for all Israel as opposed to the 'Gentiles,' or those of non-Jewish blood."
To Be A Jew, by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, page 7 -
"The terms Hebrew, Israelite, and Jew have historically been used synonymously and interchangeably. The Bible refers to Abraham as Ibri (Hebrew), probably because he migrated from the other side (east) of the Euphrates River and Ibri means 'from the other side.' Israel was the alternate name of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. Hence his twelve sons and their descendants became known as the children of Israel, or the Israelite Nation or People. Jew is derived from Judah, the son of Israel, the most prominent of the Twelve Tribes. This became the prevalent name for the entire people when the Judeans from the King of Judea survived the downfall of the Northern King of Israel in 722 B.C.E. when Ten Tribes were led into captivity. Thus, today the people are called Jewish, their faith Judaism, their language Hebrew, and their land Israel."
Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 1972, volume 14, page 214 -
"Jews - Although, in modern usage, the terms 'Hebrew,' 'Israelite,' and 'Jew' are employed synonymously, both historically and ethnically the words have different meanings. As a general historical term, Hebrew has no ethnic connotation, being applied to any of numerous Semitic, nomadic tribes dwelling in the eastern Mediterranean area before 1300 B.C. In Jewish history, the term is applied specifically to those tribes which accepted Yahweh as their deity, from the time of their prehistoric origins to the time they conquered ancient Palestine, called Canaan, and, about 1020 B.C. became a unified nation ruled by a king. Israelite connotes a particular ethnic and national group, descended from the Hebrews and united culturally by their religion; the term is historically descriptive of this group from the conquest of Canaan to the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrian king Sargon II (r. 722-05 B.C.) in 721 B.C. Jew refers to a third group, the cultural descendants of the first two, from the time of their return from the so-called Babylonian Captivity to the present."
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, volume 3, page 1675 -
" 'Jew' denotes originally an inhabitant of Judah (2 Ki 16:6 applies to the two tribes of the Southern Kingdom), but later the meaning was extended to embrace all descendants of Abraham. … 'Jews' (always pl.) is the familiar term for Israelites in the Gospels (esp. in John), Acts, Epp., etc."
Interesting! So when Yahshua is quoted as saying 'salvation is of the Jews,' - from the book of John - did He really mean that salvation would come from all Israel? It is possible! It sort-of changes things, doesn't it? It takes away the strict rules and "authority" of the Jews, doesn't it? It leaves us with the words given by Yahweh in His written Torah.
These quotes alone can change the outlook of the verses in John 4 and Romans 3 and 9. It allows us to understand that we do not have to go to any particular group of people to find out how to worship Yahweh. We can find that in His word - not in their words and opinions.
But let's go on. There are still questions I think we need to answer and things we need to learn. Let's find out just what the Jews do teach. What claims do they make? From where do they get their authority? What is the Oral Torah? What is the Talmud? What is the Mishnah? What are the traditions of the fathers? Do these things follow Scripture? Do they ever contradict Scripture?
Between some of the paragraphs of the quotes, there will be my comments and/or questions. They simply will not be inside the quotation marks. Think about what is said and compare it to the quote. JUDAISM
Jewish Spirituality, edited by Arthur Green, article "Varieties of Judaism in the Formative Age," by Jacob Neusner - From page 171
"Specifically, Judaism as we know it took shape before and after the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. By around 600 C.E., it was fully worked out."
"Surveying the landscape of ancient Judaism from the perspective of the Maccabean times, ca. 150 B.C.E., we search in vain for the rabbi as model and authority, Torah as the principal and organizing symbol, study of Torah as the capital religious deed, the life of religious discipline as the prime expression of what it means to be Israel, the Jewish people. These definitive characteristics of Judaism as we now know it, and as the world has known it from late antiquity, simply make no appearance. In particular, we find no evidence whatever of the rabbi as the Torah incarnate and the human being who shows what it means to be 'like God,' 'in our image and likeness.' These twin notions define Judaism as it has flourished for nearly twenty centuries, and as I said, we find no evidence whatsoever that anyone held them much before the first century, if then."
From page 174
"So into the first century the principal institutions of Israel remained priesthood and monarchy, Scripture and its way of life, holy Temple, land, and people. Various groups - Essenes, Pharisees - claimed to possess traditions in addition to Scripture. But in sources produced in the period (not merely those that refer to it but were produced much later on), we find no references to an additional, oral Torah, revealed to Moses at Sinai along with the written one…"
In the first century, no references to an Oral Torah? Why not if it had been around since Mount Sinai? Why did not some prophet make a reference to it? There should be a mention of it somewhere if it existed.
From pages 174-175
"If, now, we take the long step forward by yet another two hundred years, to the third century, the world has changed. Israel's life in the Land of Israel has come under the domination of not priests or kings but rabbis. … On the stage alongside it is the Mishnah, soon to be declared the other oral Torah of Sinai."
But the Mishnah was what they wrote. If Yahweh had intended us to have another document, he would have seen to it that the people received it - then, not hundreds of years later in the opinions of men. It would have been in the form of "Yahweh said".
From page 182
"The ultimate destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. provided the catalyst that joined priest, sage, and, in time to come, messianist, thereby creating the amalgam that was the Judaism framed by the rabbis of the Mishnah and collections of Midrash and two Talmuds."
"In the aftermath of the cultic, political, military disaster of 70 and 135, everything would be reworked, the entire heritage revised and renewed."
From page 191
"The Pharisees believed that one must keep the purity laws outside of the Temple. Other Jews, following the plain sense of Leviticus, supposed that purity laws were to be kept only in the Temple, where the priests had to enter a state of ritual purity in order to carry out the requirements of the cult, such as animal sacrifices. … But outside the Temple the laws of ritual purity were not widely observed, for it was not required that non-cultic activities be conducted in a state of Levitical cleanness."
Wanderings, by Chaim Potok - From page 180
"We know nothing of what went on in the land of Judah during the century after Nehemiah; there are no records. In the sort of silence that enveloped the Greeks after the fall of the Mycenaean world, a second Jewish civilization was being formed in the hill country of Judah - and we are unable to witness the early stages of its birth."
From page 186
"…decades of blood and war as Jews clashed with Hellenizing pagans in a religious confrontation that became the first successful evolution known to our species. That revolution was a crucial triggering event in the formation of the second civilization of my people - rabbinic Judaism."
From page 195
"On one occasion, when Janneus performed ineptly - whether by accident or with mocking intent is not clear - a libation ceremony during the festival of Sukkot, enraged Pharisees pelted their king with citrons, one of the yields of the earth used ceremonially at that festival. The libation ritual is not found in the Bible and was Pharisaic in origin."
Look into many of the other "traditions" surrounding all the festivals. How many of them cannot be substantiated by Scripture? And how many festivals and fasts do they proclaim that have no command from Yahweh?
"The Pharisees were repeatedly defeated, but they stubbornly fought on; they wanted sole power over the religious destiny of their people. They saw themselves as martyrs for the Name. God was no longer called YHWH; that name was too sacred, too awesome for normal utterance. They died for the glory of the Master of the Universe, for the sake of Heaven, for the covenant which the people were pledged to uphold else the dread curses would be invoked once again."
Throughout the prayer book of the Jews, the title "King of the Universe" appears repeatedly in reference to Yahweh. Do you have any idea who else bore the same title? As well as the title "Master of the Universe"? It was the god Marduk. The people became acquainted with him while in the Babylonian Captivity. Any possibility that they picked it up there and thought the title sounded good? "King of the Universe" does not appear in Scripture!
"It is an error to see these Pharisees as gentle old men with flowing white beards; see them rather as passionate followers of scribal teachings, many adept with sword and spear as well as with texts of the law, quite willing to kill for the sake of their God."
Yahshua warned about that.
"They will put you out of the synagogue, but an hour is coming that everyone killing you will think to bear a service before Yahweh."
From page 223
"Once someone lamented the destruction of Jerusalem and wept that it was no longer possible, without the sacrificial system to atone for one's sins. 'No, my son,' Rabban Yochanan replied. 'We have a means of making atonement. And what is it? It is deeds of love…'"
Is that Scriptural?
"The sages claimed for themselves the right to judge and teach."
The sages claimed the right to teach and judge. If they claimed it, someone already had the job. To whom did that right belong?
Leviticus 10:8, 11
And Yahweh spoke to Aaron, saying,
and to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which Yahweh has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.
Deuteronomy 33:10, regarding the tribe of Levi
They shall teach Your ordinances to Jacob, and Your law to Israel. They shall put incense at Your nostrils, and whole burnt offering on Your altar.
The job of teaching Yahweh's people had already been assigned - to the Levites. If the sages were not Levites, they had no right taking over that position.
From page 224
"All through the decades of the Flavian dynasty" (preceding 96 C.E.), "whose great pride had been the destruction of Jerusalem and the crushing of the Jewish rebellion, the sages of Yavneh reshaped the nature of the Jewish tradition, cutting it loose from dependence upon the Jerusalem temple and the sacrificial system. In the time of Rabban Gamaliel the text of obligatory and communal prayers was fixed. The Canonization of the last of the Biblical books may have been accomplished during this period. Christians were taken to be a heretical sect, and contact with them was forbidden. It was declared that Passover could be celebrated without the sacrifice of the pascal lamb. The order, seder, of the Passover evening ritual was transformed; one could eat the unleavened bread and bitter herbs without the meat of the lamb - contrary to the clear stipulation of the Bible. A new text was developed to explain and accompany the Passover evening rituals. That text is called the Haggadah. The Passover molded at Yavneh out of the debris of the destroyed temple is still celebrated by Jews today."
Notice those words? "Reshaped". "Obligatory prayers". "Contrary to the clear stipulation of the Bible." Who gave them the right to make those changes and decisions? Where, in the Written Torah, is that authority given?
By way of explanation by what is meant by the word "Yavneh" from The Talmud, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, page 26 -
"Yavneh. A town in Judea. After the destruction of the Temple it became an important Torah center, and the seat of the Sanhedrin. It seems that Yavneh had been a center of Torah learning even before the Temple was destroyed, but it attained great prominence only after the destruction of the Temple, when Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai reestablished the Sanhedrin there. For a while Yavneh was the spiritual center of the entire Jewish population in Eretz Israel. The Yavneh Yeshivah, initially headed by Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai, and later by Rabban Gamliel II (of Yavneh), attracted many of the greatest scholars of that time. At Yavneh many regulations were enacted to rebuild Jewish religious and spiritual life after the destruction of the Temple. Yavneh remained an important center until the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt."
From page 245
Saadia Gaon "…spent much of his time polemecizing against and beating back a powerful eruption of schismatics known as Karaites, people of the Scripture, that came into being at the start of the eighth century. These Jews - many of them scholars, theologians, and grammarians from Persia and Jerusalem - recognized only Scripture as the source of religious law and regarded rabbinic oral law as without foundation. In essence they denied the validity of a thousand years of Jewish creativity, and were bitterly attacked by Saadia and other geonim" (heads of academies). "The geonim made the Babylonian Talmud the authoritative literature of rabbinic Judaism. They were the highest rabbinic authorities of Babylon from about the end of the sixth to the middle of the eleventh centuries."
So who gave authority to the Talmud? The leaders of the academies - not Yahweh.
Manners and Customs of the Bible, by James M Freeman, page 364 -
"The Pharisees were especially distinguished for belief in an Oral Law of Moses, as well as a Written Law. This Oral Law was supposed to be the supplementary to the Written Law, and, with various comments added from time to time, had been handed down by tradition. The Pharisees had great veneration for this traditionary code, and for the traditionary interpretations. They placed them in authority on a level with the Written Law, and even above it."
If the oral law was given by Yahweh as they say, who gave them the authority to change it or add to it?
There We Sat Down, by Jacob Neusner - From page 22
"The rabbis, moreover, claimed alone to possess the whole Torah of Moses. This is central to their doctrine: Moses had revealed not only the message now written down in his books, but also an oral Torah, which was formulated and transmitted to his successors, and they to theirs, through Joshua, the prophets, the sages, scribes, and other holy men, and finally to the rabbis of the day."
From page 78
"Rabbis, it shall be seen, could create and destroy men because they were righteous, free of sin, or otherwise holy, and so enjoyed exceptional grace from heaven. It follows that Torah was held to be a source of supernatural power. The rabbis controlled the power of the Torah because of their mastery of its contents."
For all sinned and come short of the glory of Yahweh.
From pages 80-81
"…the Jews were famous as magicians, as Josephus says. And new discoveries show that as late as the fourth and fifth centuries Jews, steeped in the Old Testament and thoroughly at home in the Synagogue, were composing a magician's handbook which listed pagan deities and prescribed prayers and sacrifices to be offered to them in magical ceremonies. Among the prayers there is an invocation of Helios in transliterated Greek; and the conclusion comes upon reaching the Seventh Heaven with a celebration of Yahweh as the supreme God."
And be watchful in all that I have said to you. And you shall not mention another god by name; it shall not be heard from your mouth.
From page 88
"Other elements of rabbinic theology cannot be ignored. Demons, witchcraft and incantations; revelations through omens, dreams, and astrology; the efficacy of prayers and magical formulas; rabbinical blessings and curses; the merit acquired through study of the Torah and obedience to both the commentaries and the sages - all these constituted important components of the rabbinic world-view."
You shall not allow a sorceress to live. (The KJV says "witch".)
Leviticus 19:26, 31
You shall not eat with the blood; you shall not divine, nor conjure spirits.
You shall not turn to those having familiar spirits; and you shall not seek to spiritists to be defiled by t hem; I am Yahweh your Elohim.
When you come to the land which Yahweh your Elohim is giving to you, you shall not learn to do according to the hateful acts of those nations.
There shall not be found din you one who passes his son or daughter through the fire, one that uses divination, an observer of clouds, or a fortune-teller, or a whisperer of spells,
or a magic-charmer, or one asking of familiar spirits, or a wizard, or one inquiring of the dead.
For all doing these things are an abomination to Yahweh. And because of these filthy acts Yahweh you Elohim is expelling these nations before you.
You shall be perfect with Yahweh your Elohim.
For these nations whom you shall expel listen to observers of clouds, and to diviners. But as to you, Yahweh your Elohim has not allowed you to do so.
So had these laws been changed? Or did the sages simply choose to ignore them?
The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, by Alfred Edersheim - From page 11-12
"…the Midrash, or investigation, a term which afterwards was popularly applied to commentaries on the Scripture and preaching. From the outset, Jewish theology divided into two branches: the Halakah and the Haggadah. The former (from halakh, to go) was, so to speak, the Rule of the Spiritual Road, and, when fixed, had even greater authority than the Scripture of the Old Testament, since it explained and applied them. On the other hand, the Haggadah (from nagad, to tell) was only the personal saying of the teacher, more or less valuable according to his learning and popularity, or the authorities which he could quote in his support. Unlike the Halakah, the Haggadah had no absolute authority, either as to doctrine practice or exegesis. But all the greater would be its popular influence, and all the more dangerous the doctrinal license which it allowed. In fact, strange as it may sound, almost all the doctrinal teaching of the Synagogue is to be derived from the Haggadah - and this also is characteristic of Jewish traditionalism."
The Jews claim to be the people of the Torah. So why isn't the doctrinal teaching of the Synagogue derived from the Torah instead of their own writings?
From page 35
"Perhaps we ought here to point out one of the most important principles of Rabbinism, which has been almost entirely overlooked in modern criticism of the Talmud. It is this: that any ordinance, not only of the Divine law, but of the Rabbis, even though only given for a particular time or occasion, or for a special reason, remains in full force for all time unless it be expressly recalled (Betsah 5 b)."
From pages 100-101
"But these 'Halakhoth of Moses from Sinai' do not make up the whole of traditionalism. According to Maimonides, it consists of five, but more critically of three classes. The first of these comprises both such ordinances as are found in the Bible itself, and the so-called Halakhoth of Moses from Sinai - that is, such laws and usages as prevailed from time immemorial, and which, according to the Jewish view, had been orally delivered to, but not written down by Moses. For these, therefore, no proof was to be sought in Scripture - at most support or confirmatory allusion (Asmakhtu). Nor were these open to discussion. The second class formed the 'oral law,' or the 'traditional teaching' in the stricter sense. To this class belonged all that was supposed to be implied in, or that could be deduced from, the Law of Moses. The latter contained, indeed, in substance or germ, everything; but it had not been brought out, till circumstances successfully evolved what from the first had been provided in principle. For this class of ordinances referred to, and proof from, Scripture was required. Not so for the third class of ordinances, which were 'the hedge' drawn by the Rabbis around the Law, to prevent any breach of the Law or customs, to ensure their exact observance, or to meet peculiar circumstances and dangers. The ordinances constituted 'the sayings of the Scribes' or 'of the Rabbis' - and were either positive in their character (Teqqanoth), or else negative (Gezeroth, from gazar to cut off'). Perhaps the distinction of these two cannot always be strictly carried out. But it was probably to this third class especially, confessedly unsupported by Scripture, that these words of Christ referred: 'All therefore whatsoever they tell you, that do and observe; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but with their finger they will not move them away (set in motion).' This view has two-fold confirmation. For, this third class of Halakhic ordinances was the only one open to the discussion of the learned, the ultimate decision being according to the majority. Yet it possessed practically (though not theoretically) the same authority as the other two classes."
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, volume 4, page 2905 -
"The liberal (Reformed) Jews say that the Talmud, though it is interesting and, as a Jewish work of antiquity, ever venerable, has in itself no authority for faith and life."
"The Law found in the Torah of Moses was the only written law which the Jews possessed after their return from the Babylonian exile. This law was neither complete nor sufficient for all times. On account of the ever-changing conditions of life new ordinances became necessary. Who made these we do not know. An authority to do this must have existed; but the claim made by many that after the days of Ezra there existed a college of one hundred twenty men called the 'Great Synagogue' cannot be proved. Entirely untenable also is the claim of the traditionally orthodox Jews, that ever since the days of Moses there had been in existence, side by side with the written Law, also an oral Law, with all necessary explanations and supplements to the written Law."
Once again, if this oral law had been around since the time of Moses, why is there no "proof" of it or mention of it somewhere? Or of the "Great Synagogue"?
The Old Testament of the Old Testament, by R W L Moberly, page 158 -
"Judaism is not the same as the religion of the Old Testament but is a rich and complex system based as much, if not more, on postbiblical developments (Oral Torah, according to the familiar rabbinic designation) as on Hebrew Scripture (Written Torah)."
Introduction to the New Testament, by Helmut Koester, page 404 -
"There is no doubt, to be sure, that rabbinic Judaism developed from the movement of the Pharisees. But this statement describes its predecessors both to narrowly and yet also too vaguely. The assumption of a succession of five pairs of rabbis extending from Simon the Just (who was high priest ca. 200 BCE) to Hillel and Shammai explains very little - not to speak of the fiction of the 'Great Synagogue' which is said to have been in existence since Ezra's time."
Assumption? Fiction? Think about what those words mean.
The Talmud, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz - From page 2
"For three centuries (c. 200 C.E.-500 C.E.) after the compilation and editing of the Mishnah, the Rabbis (called Amoraim) and their students discussed and analyzed the Mishnah. Their questions, discussions, and solutions make up the Talmud."
They put their questions and discussions on the same par as Yahweh's Word? From page 4 - "The Talmud is built layer upon layer, the result of the combined labors of many generations. Each generation transmitted the basic understanding of Judaism it had received, adding to it according to its own conception and ability, and in accordance with the manner in which the scholars could express the tradition they had received. The creative work of one generation serves as the basis for the creative work of the next. Herein lies the uninterrupted continuity of Torah."
If each generation adds to it their understanding, how far can the doctrine move away from Yahweh?
"Trust in Yahweh with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding."
But they trusted in themselves to the point that their opinions became part of their religion, often above what Yahweh stated.
Now how about some thoughts from the Talmud? Want to see what they propound. Can you find these in Scripture? These quotes are taken from Everyman's Talmud, by Abraham Cohen -
From page 24, regarding the use of Yahweh's name
"In the Biblical period there seems to have been no scruple against its use in daily speech. The addition of Jah or Jahu to personal names, which persisted among the Jews even after the Babylonian exile, is an indication that there was no prohibition against the employment of the four-lettered Name. But in the early Rabbinic period the pronunciation of the Name was restricted to the Temple service."
Just look through the Scriptures. The KJV Old Testament says "Lord God", but in the Hebrew it says "Yahweh Elohim." Men such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Jonah, just to name a few, all used His name. Look. It's there.
From page 25
"The Mishnah teaches: 'It was ordained that a man should greet his friends by mentioning the Name' (Ber. ix. 5). It has been suggested that the recommendation was based on the desire to distinguish the Israelite from the Samaritan, who referred to God as 'the Name' and not as JHVH, or as the Rabbinite Jew from the Jewish-Christian."
And many Jews today refer to Yahweh as "Ha-Shem". What does that mean? It is Hebrew for "the name."
"A third-century Rabbi taught: 'Whoever explicitly pronounces the Name is guilty of a capital offence' (Pesikta 148a)."
Capital offense against whom?
So My people shall know My name. So it shall be in that day, for I am He who speaks. Behold Me!
And I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel. And I will not let My holy name be profaned any more. And the nations shall know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel.
From page x
"The Talmud is made up of a philosophical law code, the Mishnah, and an extensive analysis of and commentary upon the Mishnah."
Philosophy, analysis and commentary? That is not Scripture!
From page xxxvii
"As a cultivated field had to be hedged round to prevent even innocent trespass, so the sacred domain of the Torah must be enclosed by additional precautionary measures for the purpose of avoiding unintentional encroachment. Accordingly the purposes which actuated the members of the Great Assembly created the type of study to which the teachers of later generations conformed. Theirs was the sowing which ultimately produced the extensive harvest of the Talmud."
"Additional precautionary measures"?
You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, to keep the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim which I command you.
Now if Yahweh did give a second Oral Law, would that command not apply to that as well? But look at all the changes and discussions that have been made over it.
From page xli
"The Torah could never grow antiquated so long as it was capable of re-interpretation to comply with new contingencies."
Is Yahweh looking for changes in His original Torah? He didn't seem too worried about future contingencies when He made His statements. Often they included the word "forever".
For I am Yahweh, I change not. Because of this you sons of Jacob are not destroyed.
From page 42
"…the Rabbis invented certain terms to express the Divine Presence without giving support to a belief in His corporeality. The most frequent of these terms is Shechinah, which literally means 'dwelling.' It denotes the manifestation of God upon the stage of the world, although He abides in the faraway heaven."
Interesting. They will invent words to talk about Him, but will not call Him by the name that He gave them.
From page 83, regarding prayer
"In addition to private devotions, there is the congregational act of worship in which the individual should join. The importance of this kind of service is stressed in such declarations as: 'A man's prayer is only heard by God when offered in a Synagogue' (Ber. 6a)."
How about Yahshua's words?
And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the open streets, so that they may be seen of men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward.
But you, when you pray, enter into your room, and shutting your door, pray to your Father in secret, and your Father seeing in secret will repay you in the open.
From page 134, regarding why they will not consider the New Testament
"It follows from the perfection of the Torah that it can never be improved upon, and therefore God will never supersede it by another Revelation."
But they could?
From page 146
"It was claimed that the Oral Torah, equally with the Written Torah, goes back to the Revelation on Sinai, if not in detail at least in principle. Forty-two enactments, which find no record in the Pentateuch, are described by the Talmud as 'laws given to Moses on Sinai.' The rest of the Oral Torah was implied in the Scriptural text and was deducible from it by certain rules of exegesis."
The previous quote mentions the perfection of the Torah. Doesn't sound like they regarded it as such if they had to "add" so much to it.
From page 166
"Under the law of the Talmud, if husband and wife wished to separate there was no difficulty in dissolving the marriage. … It was even asserted, 'If one has a bad wife, it is a religious duty to divorce her' (Jeb. 63b)."
There's nothing in Scripture about a duty to divorce. What did Yahshua say?
Matthew 19: 5-6
And He said, 'For this reason a man shall leave father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.'
So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what Yahweh has joined together, let not men separate.
For the married woman was bound by law to the living husband; but if the husband dies, she is set free from the law of the husband.
So, then, if the husband is living, she will be called an adulteress if she becomes another man's. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so as for her not to be an adulteress by becoming another man's wife.
The Talmud, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, page 216 -
The explanation of the phrase "one type [of food] in another type. An accidental mixing of one type of food, which is non-kosher, with another type of food, which is kosher (e.g., a mixture of pig fat and kosher fish). Such a mixture is kosher only if the taste of the non-kosher food is no longer noticeable. The kosher food is said to 'neutralize' the non-kosher food. Where tasting is impractical the Sages ordained that such a combination requires that the kosher food must be sixty times the quantity of the non-kosher food for the neutralization to be effective. A different law applies to mixtures of 'one type in the same type', i.e., the accidental mixing of kosher and non-kosher foods of the same type (e.g., a mixture of prohibited animal fat and the permitted fat taken from the same animal, which both taste the same). In such cases there is a dispute among the Sages. Some say that the mixture is not kosher, no matter what the proportions are. Others say that according to Torah law the mixture is kosher if the kosher food exceeds the non-kosher food in quantity, but that by Rabbinic decree the kosher food must be sixty times the quantity of the non-kosher food for the neutralization to be effective."
Neutralize? According to what Torah law? Sixty times greater? Where is the Scripture?
Yahweh gave the laws to Israel regarding what creatures they could or could not eat. He also specified what would happen if they touched the dead carcass or if the dead creature were found in any of their containers. It had nothing to do with health laws - nowhere does it discuss any of these being bad for your health or body. He was rather specific about why He was saying it and about what they should do.
For I am Yahweh your Elohim, and you have sanctified yourselves, and you have become set apart" (holy in the KJV), for I am set apart. And you shall not defile your persons with any swarming thing which creeps on the earth;
for I am Yahweh who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to become your Elohim; and you shall be set apart, for I am set apart.
This is the law of the animals, and of the fowl, and of every living creature which moves in the waters, and every creature which swarms on the earth,
to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the living thing that may be eaten, and the living thing that may not be eaten.
And you shall make a difference between the clean animals and the unclean, and between the unclean fowl and the clean. And you shall not defile your souls by beast or by fowl, or by anything which swarms on the ground, which I have set apart to you as unclean,
and you shall be set apart to Me, for I, Yahweh, am set apart; and I have set you apart from the nations to become Mine.
You shall not eat any abominable thing.
Then He went on in that chapter to tell them what those abominable things were. There is nothing about it being okay if it is mixed or diluted with something that is permissible.
That is enough examples. There are plenty more to be searched out. Now, why don't I follow Judaism?
- "Jews" applies to all twelve tribes, not just one.
- The "Israelites" - all twelve tribes - received the same laws and words of Yahweh at Mount Sinai.
- The Jews make claims (Oral Torah at Mount Sinai, Great Synagogue, etc) that cannot be proven.
- Many traditions the Jews purport (water libation at Sukkot, four cups of wine at Passover, Kol Nidre, etc) have no basis in Scripture.
- The Jews will not honor and use Yahweh's name. Can you imagine having people, especially your children or your family, simply call you "the name"? That's worse than just "Hey, you!"
- The sages claimed the job of teaching the people that did not rightfully belong to them, but to the Levites.
- Though Yahweh condemns witchcraft, mysticism, magic, astrology, etc, the Jews use it. Just look into the Talmud, the Kabbalah and the Zohar.
- The Jews have built a hedge and added to Yahweh's laws against His direct commands.
- The sages were derived from the Pharisees. Yahshua condemned their attitudes and traditions, so why should we want to follow those? Just read all of Matthew 23.
- The Jews have rejected Yahshua the Messiah who died for them as well as the rest of the world. If we follow the Jews exactly, we would also have to do so.
- The Jews' calendar, to which many claim we should look and follow, was not set in place until many centuries after the law was given to Moses. Why weren't the postponements in place before then? Why is their calendar too complicated for the average person to understand and compute? It is confusing and that is not Yahweh's way.
So when it comes to salvation, to whom do I look ? What should we be considering?
Therefore, also Yahweh highly exalted Him" (Yahshua) "and gave Him a name above every name,
that at the name of Yahshua every knee should bow, of those of Heaven, and those of earth, and those under the earth;
every tongue should confess that Yahshua Messiah is Master, to the glory of Yahweh the Father.
So, then my beloved, even as you always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much rather in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
for it is Yahweh who is working in you both to will and to work for the sake of His good pleasure.