Shalom! My name is Yaacov – Jacob, and someone directed you here because you are Jewish and they were interested in speaking to you about the relationship between Christianity and Judaism.
I know Jewish people are revolted by Jews who believe in Jesus, so you can rest assured my mother is a Gentile Roman Catholic. She doesn't believe what I believe, but I am not halachaly Jewish. My wife and children, however, are.
Now I grew up in the New York area and I was sent both to a Roman Catholic school and the Jewish community center. I had brit milah, plus I was sprinkled as a baby. By the time I became a teenager I was an agnostic. By the time I became a teenager I didn’t know what I believed, I just know what I didn’t. But I had an open mind. Now I always had a sense of identity with Israel and the Jewish people, but I was not halachaly Jewish and I rejected Roman Catholicism as something idolatrous and corrupt. So I'm speaking to you as a Jewish person, and I'd like you to understand why I as a Christian am philo-Semitic, why I support Israel and the Jewish people, but this inevitably leads to the question, why did I bring up my Jewish children to believe that Jesus is a Jew who had a Jewish message taught in a Jewish way for Jewish people?
If you want to look at what’s revolting about Christendom, its ugly history of idolatry and anti-Semitism, I’m with you, my Jewish friend, 100%. They took a Jewish faith and they turned it into a Hellenistic – a Greek, even a Pagan faith; they took a Jewish Messiah and turned Him into a goy; they took a Jewish rabbi and made Him an icon of anti-Semitic sentiment. What they did is not rational and it was completely out of harmony with who He was and what He taught. We have to draw a distinction between the Jewish Jesus and the Jesus of Western Christendom.
The Jewish Jesus was called Rabbi Yeshua bar Josef m’Netseret. His name was not “Jesus Christ”, his name was Rabbi Yeshua bar Josef m’Netseret. He said, “I came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. (Mt. 15:24) You may be surprised to know that every writer of the New Testament was a Jew. The only exception would have been one physician who was a Gentile convert to Judaism who wrote one book; all the rest were Jewish including Rabbi Shaul of Tarses who was from the rabbinic school of the Hillel, a disciple of Rabbi Gemaliel, a classmate of Anglios, a classmate of Johanan ben Zaccai. In Judaism, if you're familiar with and been to Yeshiva, you perhaps know.
And so I’m left with this dilemma: I was brought up with what I was told is Christianity, but reading the New Testament I found out it was not Christianity. And there was a Judaism that I was told was the same Judaism as Moses and the prophets. So the same as I read the B’rit Hadasha – the New Testament, and I discovered that the New Testament was not what Jesus taught, I needed to do the same thing with the Tanak, the Hebrew Scriptures. It says in Proverbs three times that an unequal balance is an abomination to Hashem. (Prov. 11:1; 20:10; 20;23) So in the same way that I discovered that Christianity had mutated into something very different than it was originally, much the same happened to Judaism.
I was shocked to discover that in the Tanak there was no such thing as a “rabbi”. He’s called “Moshe Rabbeinu”, but there was no rabbis. There were “Levim” – “Levites”, priests. And in the New Testament there were no priests! It’s something they’d invented. There were “presbyters” – elders, but there were no priests. Christ was a priest; every Christian was supposed to be a priest, not a separate priesthood. So there were no priests in the New Testament and no rabbis in the Old. I began to understand why a Jewish man, Karl Marx, said religion was a con. But I looked further and I came up with questions, questions that I asked myself, and questions I would like to ask you.