With all the hurricanes and fires and earthquakes happening, many have been talking about a wake-up call. Is G-d trying to get our attention? Is the end near? What does “the end” even mean?
I saw a man on the streets of Baltimore preaching something. He may or may not have been crazy. I was stopped at a red light and only got to hear a little bit of it. But he was basically saying return to G-d and don’t deny his messengers. He listed Martin Luther, Martin Luther King Jr, and Jesus as the messengers. I had to drive away (because the light turned green).
I used to believe in Jesus as the Messiah who would come back at the end of time and the one who forgave all my sins by dying for me when he was here the first time. I grew up believing this from a young age, and I felt very close to the person/G-d whom I now refer to as “J.C.” in order to avoid saying the name of a false god, which is a biblical commandment.
How did I go from believing J.C. was the Messiah to believing he’s a false god? That’s a leap! Before I get into that, my sensitive side wants to hug my Christian friends and family and say I’m so sorry I’m writing this but I have to. I’m so sorry I’m disrespecting your god. The Jew in me, the strong side, wants to say, “THE END IS NEAR! SERVE THE ONLY GOD! YOU DON’T NEED AN INTERMEDIARY!”
This is not an attempt to convert anyone to Judaism, or to debate anyone to my views. I have debated a lot of people and wasted a lot of breath. It’s like politics. Almost everyone has made up their mind already. Although, in this respect, many Christians are finding value in the biblical feasts and holidays, in the biblical Sabbath. Many Christians are casting off the traditional ingrained views of who J.C. was and what he taught, and they’re trying to grab onto the garment of the Jew and say show me the ways of your God, like the prophet Zechariah predicted would happen. When? The end of days. Now.
This post is for those who are seeking, those who have ears to hear. In the end of days, Zechariah did not say that Jews would come seeking out the Christians and say take me to the cross. He said the nations would come to the Jews and say show me YOUR God (the one and only Creator and King).
While technically the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God of both the Jews and the Christians since we share some of the same Books, Christianity has diverted from the Torah by adding an intermediary/equal to God (forbidden by Torah), adding a human blood sacrifice (forbidden by Torah), and abolishing/”fulfilling” the Torah laws (forbidden by Torah).
As peacefully as Christians and Jews are able to get along in this century, I’m afraid we’re on two opposing sides that will continue to polarize as history and “end times prophecy” unfolds. I could be wrong. I hope so. Maybe Zechariah will happen peacefully and joyfully and eyes will continue to be opened to the One G-d.
Another time, I’ll share more of my story of coming from Christianity to Judaism. Now, I want to share the climax. The final nail in the coffin of my belief in J.C. I had been searching for several years, peeling back layers of untruth from Christianity (Constantine’s holidays, the authors of the New Testament, first-day “Sabbaths”, etc). I had read Isaiah 53, and listened to Tovia Singer’s debates, and asked my own questions.
I didn’t trust anyone or any book except my own Bible, which happened to be New King James Version, and I was beginning to stop trusting King James. Where was the first version of this Book? In its original language, I barely knew the aleph beit. I would have to read what I had, in the language I had. I read all the prophets, all the writings. Some of it flew over my head even though it was English. (I had only the tiniest knowledge of Jewish history and Jewish tradition.) Some of it made perfect sense. But contradicted everything I had ever been taught.
I got to Ezekiel, the final nail in the coffin of my disbelief. Ezekiel has a vision, and he sees a Temple yet to be built. (Quick history: The first Temple was the one Solomon built and was destroyed in the time of Jeremiah. A period of about 70 years of exile with no temple existed between the first and second. The second Temple was the one Ezra/Nehemiah started and Herod expanded and was destroyed shortly after J.C.’s time.)
As I read about Ezekiel’s Future Temple, I read about the prince who would come and offer animal sacrifices there. Sin offerings for him and his sons. (Chapters 40-45). Rashi (Jewish bigshot interpreter) says this prince could be the high priest, the king, or the messiah. Christians say J.C. is all three – the high priest, king, and messiah. But J.C. doesn’t have sin. He wouldn’t need to make an animal sacrifice for his sins and those of his sons. Why would animal sacrifices even need to be reinstated when the Third Temple is rebuilt if J.C. was the “final sacrifice” as is stated in the New Testament book of Hebrews.
I realized, with ultimate black and white clarity, that J.C. could not be the messiah and that the idea of his death atoning for sins could not be true. Not if Ezekiel was true. If J.C.’s death atoned for sins, animal sacrifices would not need to come back. Not if Ezekiel’s prophecy was coming true. One or the other had to be wrong. I chose to side with Ezekiel.
Christians ask me with furious passion, WELL HOW DOES ATONEMENT HAPPEN THEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A TEMPLE AND ANIMAL SACRIFICES NOW? The same way it happened during those 70 years of exile between the first and second temples. (Before J.C. lived and died.) It happens through repentance and prayer. Offer the sacrifices of your mouth, Hosea says.
Repentance and prayer are what this time of the Jewish calendar is all about. Yom Kippur is days away, the Day of Atonement. We can’t make the priestly sacrifices because we don’t have the Temple. We can’t see how much our sins weigh – the blood and death they cause. But we feel the pain of separation that our sins cause between us and our fellow man, between us and our King. So we do the best we can and offer the sacrifice of our mouths crying out in repentance for all the ways we’ve fallen short this year. We pound our chest and stand for hours and sacrifice our fat by not eating and bow down in certain parts of the service and starve and cry out some more. And we believe that forgiveness is possible and freely given.
May Ezekiel’s Temple be built in our times, and may the prince who is coming set the world right again!
P.S. for more controversy… Some Christians say that the 3rd Temple will be rebuilt in the last days and animal sacrifices will be reinstated but only for a short time until the AntiChrist puts an “abomination” there. I haven’t fleshed this out, but I have a weird inclination. What if your AntiChrist is my Moshiach? My Moshiach is the definition of anti-Christ (eeek!) because he will offer animal sacrifices that fly in the face of New Testament theology. He will show that J.C.’s human/god sacrifice is unnecessary and anti-Torah. That’s all just a conspiracy theory at this point, but one whose possibility punches the air out of my gut. I want us all to get along, and I’m encouraged by the truth that my Moshiach WILL bring peace on earth. (Your AntiChrist promises this too but it’s a false peace. See how it’s a little scary?) The good news is Ezekiel. Ezekiel says that the 3rd Temple will stand on earth FOREVER and the Holy City Yerushalayim will forever be the place where “G-d is here.” The whole earth will be covered with the knowledge of G-d.