- Religion and Philosophy
Karaite Comments: To My Brother Yeshua (Jesus) Part 5
Why now? A simple question that deserves a simple answer. Although there are many that will argue that the world is a far better place now than it has ever been, based on their arguments that mankind has become more tolerant, more accepting of differences, more liberal in its thinking, more technologically attuned, less prejudicial against its fellow man and generally world focused regarding global causes rather than the egocentric universe of the past, I beg to differ. These are merely illusions provided to us on a daily basis by the spin doctors that control our media, our politicians, our education and if I dare say so, our religious institutions too. Scrape past the thin veneer and it becomes obvious that which is being promoted as a better, kinder, wiser world is in reality nothing more than a repackaging of everything we struggled and fought against in the past that we knew was wrong. But in past days we would speak up and would not tolerate the misappropriation of power. The wants and desires of the majority have been replaced by the whims and cravings of minorities wishing to exercise their way of life over the many. The prejudices of the past have taken on an entirely new set of labels; religious prejudices of the past are now adorned with national labels; color prejudices are merely shrouded in economic adjectives; cults and glamorized activists are merely the masks of those we viewed in the past as megalomaniacs bent on the destruction of the world. We have words such as ethnic cleansing, collateral damage, terrorism, anti-terrorism and anti-anti-terrorism bantered about as daily occurrences. Movies and television have raised the occult to a desirable status of the young generation, while an older generation looks at the anti-hero or the vigilante as a desirable endpoint since law and order no longer bears the hallmark of justice. Nothing has actually changed other than the fact that because we have now relabeled our sins of the past we can now say that mankind has progressed beyond those days of violence, pettiness and misguided prejudices. If the pendulum has swung the other way, then being 180 degrees from the starting point does not make the offense any better, merely different, designed to confuse and silence the average person who still dreams of a better world. And that is our greatest sin in that we have become silent and let this happen.
Curse of the Talmud
A while back I posed the question as to whether it was acceptable for someone to perform evil in order to achieve something good. That question runs throughout the plot of Shadows of Trinity (http://www.eloquentbooks.com/ShadowsOfTrinity.html) as each of the real-life characters was faced with answering the same question for themselves. To some it was clearly acceptable based on the things they did during those years at the end of sixteenth century. The Emperor Rudolf II definitely thought so since his status as monarch was preserved as a result, at least for another two decades before he was forced to abdicate. So it was not too surprising when some of my readers responded that they too would find it perfectly acceptable as long as the response was of a greater benefit than the action. Let me rephrase that, the majority of those that responded found it perfectly acceptable. But therein lies the problem because nothing in life is guaranteed. Just because one expects to achieve a certain result or reaction does not necessarily mean it will happen. Exactly the misguided premise that the Rabbis took when they decided to give their perspective on Christianity when writing the Talmud. Rather than deal with and confess to their own iniquity when they transformed the messiah legends that created the false legacy making Christianity possible in the first place as discussed in previous articles in this series, they instead chose to attack the religion that resulted from their fabrications, thinking that by doing so that they could make it disappear through ridicule and condemnation. Now it should be remembered that these were the ignorant actions of men living between the first and fourth centuries A.D. , so it would be difficult for us to expect any better of them or try to judge them according to modern standards but they are living proof that often evil actions do not result in good responses even though in their minds that was their expectation. Instead, by recording their religious intolerance, bias, prejudice and desire to see the Minim dead, they essentially created the future waves of anti-Semitism that underscored Christian history once the Church came to power. The Minim was an early Hebraic reference to the Christians along with the term Nazorean. The actual translation of Minim was those Jews that used the Torah in a manner deemed contrary to Judaism. One must remember that the early Christians were all Jews and therefore they’re justification of Jesus was Torah based since they used the very precepts that had been laid down by the rabbis to battle the Sadducees over the derivation of the messiah. Just how these so-called knowledgeable and righteous men could have expected any different response from a people they identified as enemies and worthy of being smitten from existence and sent to hell is beyond any reasoning I can think of? As it is written in the Talmud in Seder Mo’ed (Rosh Hashanah) page 17a, ‘But as for the Minim and the informers and the scoffers, who rejected the Torah and denied the resurrection of the dead, and those who abandoned the ways of the community, and those who ‘spread their terror in the land of the living’, and who sinned and made the masses sin, like Jeroboam the son of Nebat and his fellows — these will go down to Gehinnom and be punished there for all generations’. This very nice comment of condemnation to a rotting hell for eternity was not only directed at Christians but at Zadokites as well. One must not forget as much as the rabbis resented the early Christians their hatred for the Sadducees was far greater. In fact, anyone who disagreed with the rabbis was going to be sent to Hell forever. But the rabbis, whom I’ve often described as old men sitting about with nothing better to do than listen to the sound of their own voices, went further than they should, making comments regarding Christianity and Jesus that they barely attempted to disguise by giving false names to the individuals. But unable to restrain themselves they would always insert enough facts that it became obvious whom they were talking about as is the case of Sanhedrin 106a where they wrote, ‘Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, [did the children of Israel slay with the sword]. A soothsayer? But he was a prophet! R. Johanan said: At first he was a prophet, but subsequently a soothsayer. R. Papa observed: This is what men say, 'She who was the descendant of princes and governors, played the harlot with carpenters.' Examining their comment about a woman that was from the Davidic line that wed a carpenter, but played the harlot indicating she had someone else’s child, and that son was initially a prophet but became a soothsayer or magician subsequently is obviously alluding to Jesus. They furthermore say in their addled talk that he was slain as a result of the Jews which only further infuriated Christian clerics when they translated the Talmud. Their attempt to ridicule Christianity, never thinking it would become a dominant religion was their attempt to do something evil with the expected outcome that it would simply disappear over time. Such stupidity has led to the massacre of millions of Jews over time, all because a bunch of men sought power and had neither political nor diplomatic acumen to understand neither the ways of the world nor the foresight to realize that if you continually hit upon someone they will eventually hit back a hundred times harder.
The matter becomes even more obtuse when one realizes that the Talmud that is published today has undergone an extensive editing process over the years due to censorship. When Christian leaders became aware of some of the sayings of the Rabbis in the Talmud regarding Christianity and Jesus, they demanded these be changed. Some of the ancient Talmud manuscripts prior to these changes still exist today and one of the more noteworthy comments in Sandhedrin 107b was as follows: And a Master has said, 'Jesus the Nazarene practised magic and led Israel astray.' At first it doesn’t sound like much. Hardly enough to raise the ire or objections of any reader. It’s not until one appreciates what these rabbis have admitted in their statement. From my perspective they have publicly stated that Jesus possessed powers beyond that of most men and that he had a considerable following. As a Karaite I do not see this as a declaration of his being a messiah but what it does suggest to me that he most definitely had the abilities of a prophet, not dissimilar from an Elijah or an Elisha. If that was the case and they did know that he was special right from the start, then what were they thinking by continually ridiculing him in the Talmud. Surely they knew the lessons from the Tanach that we are a people guilty of harassing and attempting to slay the prophets sent to us by God and their own actions were reaffirming this.
It is obvious that these Rabbis had lost control of the situation. Rather than remedy the turmoil they created they only aggravated it further and alienated Jews and Christians further in the process. Nothing would improve and the resultant separation would never be resolved. The planned evil that they perpetrated certainly didn’t result in a bettering of mankind. Modern Rabbanites acknowledge that their ancient predecessors may have lacked critical judgment where necessary but then excuse them as having lived in an age without the benefits of critical scrutiny that we now possess. Rabbanites agree that some of the statements made were inflammatory and not worthy of men they hold in reverence and quickly shovel them underneath the carpet and exclaim that we can ignore these minor transgressions because of the greatness that is found elsewhere in the Talmud.
I for one am not so forgiving to accept that as a legitimate defence and I’m certainly not willing to accept any part of the Talmud which was written by these same men that were never divinely inspired based on the dissemination of intolerance that they exhibited in their writings. God would have never accepted that nor would advise His children to do so. But there also is a logical refutation to the defence made by the modern Rabbanites in support of these ancient Talmudists. And as a logical equation it removes any doubt as to their validity and is written as follows: If their logic was impaired; if their intentions were misguided and if the evil they perpetrated was nourished by malcontent and misinformation and then it must be accepted that their judgment was both inaccurate and unsupported in this regard. And that is being true then it must be assumed that everything else they’ve incorporated into the Talmud was made under identical conditions and therefore is doubtful as to its accuracy and authenticity. Essentially if they were completely wrong about their facts and approach in one area and that they fabricated the facts and stories to support their beliefs then the same will hold true for everything they produced. That would include their doctrines of the Messiah which were purposely designed to run contrary to those of the Sadducees and Zadokites. And from this we can deduce that if statement (A) being their intent behind particular stories in the Talmud was malicious and non-righteous, this leads to conclusion (C) that the Talmud was therefore not sanctioned by God. Furthermore statement (B) that these stories included derogatory and defamatory statements regarding sects and other religions which resulted from Rabbinical fabrications and lies regarding the advent of the messiah and perpetrated as in (A). That being the case, then if B=A and A=C then it can be concluded that similarly B=C indicating the resulting religions of Rabbinic alterations of the truth are not sanctioned by God.
It was this scenario that Isaac ben Abraham Troki found himself immersed in when he examined the repulsion between the two religions. But he also knew that as long as rabbinical dogma took a sarcastic and malicious approach to Christianity the slaughter of Jews by Christians would continue as a normal reaction of human nature. Only by exercising a logical approach and finding a way to promote self-evaluation amongst Christians he knew that many would see the validity and sense of his argument and Christianity would then be brought to a crossroads, not because the rabbis ridiculed them but because their own conscious demanded they do so. And upon self-evaluation he hoped they would recognise the preceding errors behind their origins and move closer to aligning themselves with Karaite beliefs.
Isaac ben Abraham Troki
As I have introduced the logical argument, Troki went on to prove in the Hazuk Amunah that the argument was flawless. There were four conditions he wrote that demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that Yeshua was not the Messiah and these were all provided from the New Testament. The first condition of irrefutable proof had to do with the pedigree provided. The second had to do with the acts he performed as described in the Gospels. The third had to do with the period in which he lived and the last was based solely on the fact that during his existence the promises which herald the advent of the Messiah were not fulfilled and only by fulfillment could the identity of the Messiah be beyond a shadow of doubt.
The first, regarding pedigree was the Gospels own refutation that he was a patrilineal descendant of King David. Since it is written in Chapter 1 of Mathew that Joseph did not know Mary until after she had given birth to Jesus, then Joseph’s pedigree has absolutely nothing to do with Yeshua. Conflicting pedigrees between Mathew and Luke don’t help the matter either but since both end with Joseph, to be the result of virginal birth, then neither really matters.
The second, looking at specific acts of Yeshua as indicating he was not the Messiah can be summed up with just one, the rest being supporting details. In Zechariah 9:10 it is written that the Messiah will speak peach until the heathen and in Isaiah 2:4 it is said they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But Yeshua says in Matthew 10:34 says, “Think not that I have come to make peace on earth: I came not to send peace but the sword, and to set a man at variance against his father and a daughter against her mother and the daughter-iin-law against her mother-in-law.” In essence Yeshua was telling everyone right there and then he was not the Messiah.
The third issue raised by Troki was about timing. Isaiah stated in 2:2 that the timing of the Messiah comes to pass in the latter days when the Lord’s house shall be established on top of the mountains.” Clearly Yeshua did not exist during the latter days. Two thousand years afterwards we can look back and say they definitely weren’t the latter days.
And fourthly Troki raised the issue of fulfilling the promises of the Messiah. These included the prophesy of Daniel in 2:44 that at the time of the Messiah there will only be one kingdom and one King, that being the Messiah. Of course that isn’t the case with the world divided into many kingdoms, empires and states. And Isaiah speaks of the time of the Messiah being a time of one creed and one religion and that is the religion of Israel in 52:1. Well, that certainly isn’t the case either. In fact it’s the opposite with many of the old pagan religions such as Wiccan, Earth-goddess, etc. experiencing a revival. This is echoed in Zechariah 13:2 with the predicted disappearance of all false idols. Once again, in this time we are living the opposite is happening. Even more condemning in this regard is the prediction by Zephaniah 3:13 that when the Messiah does come the remnant of Israel shall not speak lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths. I think one can already tell from my numerous articles in which I argue against the false and misleading statements made by the Rabbanites that his certainly has not come to pass nor does it appear to be in any time soon. But most importantly, as a Karaite, the Shekinah plays a very important role in my beliefs of Messianic times. All things come from the Shekinah and all things return to it is the core of my beliefs. And it is clearly evident from Ezekiel 37:26 that we will know when the Shekinah has returned because it will be as it was in the former days with the Lord living in our midst evermore and the people will increase in prophecy, wisdom and knowledge. That definitely has not happened and it was reported during the Roman-Jewish War that the exact opposite may have happened with people witnessing what they assumed was a remnant of the Shekinah fleeing from the Temple in Jerusalem prior to its destruction.
It should be evident from Troki’s opening arguments and my few comments in addition to his that the logical approach of utilizing the Christian Gospels as the determinant of Yeshua’s messiahship was the only approach that should have been taken and the rabbis when they had the opportunity to fix their mistakes completely fumbled the ball in that respect. Now we are left with the consequences of their errors in judgment. And once more I raise the initial question of whether it is acceptable to perform evil in order to achieve good and I will qualify it with my own answer: Only when the outcome is guaranteed to be far greater than the evil committed. And since there are no guarantees in life then like my ancestor Yakov Kahana in Shadows of Trinity, I’d have to say the answer is ‘No’.