- Religion and Philosophy
Karaite Comments: To My Brother Yeshua (Jesus) Part 6
I have been watching an amazing phenomenum take place since I began the "To My Brother Yeshua" series. Though primarily a polemic highlighting the mistaken path taken by Messianic Jews, I now find that the series is in fact being linked to a number of Messianic and Christian sites that have focused on the issues raised in my articles regarding the Rabbinic philosophies and practices that led to the development of Christianity as justification for their own beliefs. How the interpretation of Messianic support can be misconstrued or distilled from such a polemic is beyond my comprehension. The polarization 180 degrees from the actual message is in itself a testimony to the human mind of how it can twist black and white into shades of grey as long as the blurring of the lines suits their purpose. Let me make it perfectly clear that as a Karaite my perspective is the antithesis of the Rabbanite view on such matters and therefore far from advocating their early distortions of messianic myth and legend that eventually realized as Christianity, I am in fact negating their arguments and therefore proposing that Christianity was the result of error and misinterpretation. This view is far from supporting the validity of beliefs in Jesus as messiah. I would hope that those linking or quotiing from my site would express the viewpoint that although early Pharisaic beliefs and the resultant Rabbanite faith would appear to support the advent of Christianity, it was in fact these early rabbinic Jewish beliefs that were nothing more than creative fabrications from which stemmed the later religion. Now that I hope that point is clear, we will examine Isaac ben Abraham of Troki's rational arguments of why Jesus was not the Messiah.
Rejection of Israel
One of the primary arguments made by Christian theologians is that God rejected Israel and then provided his love and protection to the Gentiles that held their faith in Jesus. The reason for His rejection of Israel was that the Jews refused to listen to the teachings of Jesus but went even further by executing judgment upon the Christian Messiah. These arguments would only hold water if one was to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus was the Messiah in the first place and since that is not the case, then how can there be any rejection for that which was not proven? But Isaac ben Abraham of Troki adopted a different approach. His was to look at who really rejected Jesus and a such he wrote:
Troki argued in the Hazuk Amunah that te concept of rejection of Israel never existed in the early Church. In fact, their argument of proof that necessitated that the Gentiles accepted Jesus as the messiah and that they acknowledge and put their faith in him for he suffered martyrdom for their sake did not occur until almost 300 years after his death when Constantine adopted the Christian faith for the Roman Empire. Prior to that, it was the Gentiles that persecuted and killed many of those proposing the Christian faith. So in fact he argued it was the Gentiles whom rejected Jesus until such time a political-theological alliance was created that had little to do with the teachings that they claimed the Jews rejected. Following Constantine's death, his son Constantine even rejected the established Christian articles of faith and adopted the Arian views, as did Julian that followed him. This refutation of Jesus's teachings was continuous throughout time by many that professed to be true adherants. Therefore Troki concludes, "How can they boast to be he preferred nation, selected in reward of their homage to Jesus, or how can they assume the name of Christians, since there exists among them no longer any observer of the Mosaical precepts which Jesus himself declared inviolable? Besides they deviate from his statutes by adding to and diminishing from the dictates of the Gospel, while he pronounced severe maledictions against those who should venture to add or to diminish from his word."
In addition to Troki's rebuttal, I would like to add my own comments regarding the 'Rejection of the Jewish Nation.' Firstly, as you will notice, I do use the term nation and will argue that the Jewish people are far more than a population of religious practitioners. The nation had its origin three thousand years ago and in spite of its dispersion, persecution, and partial extermination it has held together without disappearing from the annals of history. Since its orgin was unique to a particular set of people, and it generated its numbers through procreation within that same populace, then not only has it developed a distinct genetic profile but also cultural, historical, and legal subsets that are distinct from other populations, therefore meeting the defined requirements for a national heritage. Yes, over time converts have adopted Judaism and entered the population but they were of a such minute number their dilution effect would be equivalent to that of adding a glass of water to the ocean.
So as a distinct entity or nation as I have argued, we must examine the historical facts. Over the three thousand years of its existence, it has survived and outlived the dominations, persecutions, subjugations, assimilations and exterminations of the Egyptians, Hittites, Hurians, Canaanites, Philistines, Akkadians, Scythians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Parthians, Romans, Sassanids, Caliphates, Byzantians, Ottomans and Europeans. Empires and nations of far greater size, worldly significance and influence. Whereas all other nations fell and were crushed under their heels, even these world dominating empires all faded over time until even their historical memories were practically lost from mankind, one small and insignificant nation survived. Once perhaps luck, twice possibly strategic intelligence, but to survive time and time again against impossible odds and never suffer extinction through natural attrition defies the human spirit. The probability to outlast the historical, socialogical and theological impacts of all these far greater powers would be a mathematical impossibility or conundrum to calcualate. Only through the hand of God could it have been possible and God's hand is only extended to those that he never rejected.