If? The End of a Messianic Lie*
Published 25 Dec 2011 from Jerusalem • Printed in Israel • 550 pages
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About the Author
Uriel ben-Mordechai made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in 1982 from the San Francisco Bay area, motivated by an inner desire to rediscover his own Jewish identity, and do his part to strengthen the Jewish National homeland, both physically and spiritually. Uriel spent his first three decades in the Land, raising a family, serving in the IDF, and establishing a business and non-profit charitable foundations that financially assist the poor in Jerusalem and throughout the Land, while lecturing internationally about Israel and Biblical values common to both Jews and Christians. He is currently involved with Chut HaM’shulash, an organization that continues to raise funds for needy families and also hosts a weekly on-line classroom that teaches Torah-based values in an open-forum environment. Uriel lives with his wife Adi in Jerusalem. Between them, they have six children and four grandchildren.
My friend, Uriel ben-Mordechai, whom I have known for many years, came to me and asked me to comment on the leading chapters of his book. This I gladly do, although my knowledge of comparative religion and Christianity is very limited.
He has cast his net wide and his arguments are based on the Bible (Old Testament), the writings of the ancient Jewish Sages (e.g. Talmud) and the New Testament in Greek, culminating in modern times of a decision of the Israel High Court of Justice.
His theme is the total rejection of the present-day Messianic movement’s belief in the trinity and that “Jesus” is deity. He is fit to do so because he himself has tasted its fruit.
For whom is the book intended? I doubt if members of the Messianic movement will listen to ben-Mordechai’s arguments; they are entrenched in their belief. To me this is a warning to young Jews and others, who may be interested in religious experimenting, as was Josephus in the first century CE. There is a need to beware of those who subtlety negate the teachings of the Torah and the Jewish Prophets and create new religions.
It is of interest to note that Sir Isaac Newton, the famous physicist and mathematician, who resided in Trinity College Cambridge, abandoned his belief in the trinity. Lord Keynes, the celebrated economist, wrote that “he (Newton) was rather a Judaic monotheist of the school of Maimonides.” For him, the trinity doctrine was due to late falsifications. (Keynes, Maynard, “Newton, the Man” , Newton tercentenary celebrations, the Royal Society, pp. 27-34).
— Dr. Asher S. Kaufman, Professor Emeritus
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Author of “The Temple Mount: Where is the Holy of Holies?”
Uriel ben-Mordechai has been a close personal friend for several years, and I’ve known about his being victimized for expressing his controversial beliefs. It is important that those who have only one way of believing, based upon popular, generally accepted criterion, try to see where the basis for their belief comes from.
Having read what Uriel has written, I must immediately state that the content, while controversial, is long overdue. As a (currently retired) founder and leader of a Messianic Congregation, I’ve often been asked a number of questions about Christian beliefs, and my personal attitudes concerning those and others over the years. Pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, holy trinity, virgin birth, resurrection, etc. were just a few of the topics in question. After losing members over disagreements with my answers, I eventually chose to evade by answering with questions of my own. For example, what seemed to work well was, “Where exactly in the Holy Scriptures have you found your own answers?” Naturally, instead of being at risk myself, I put the burden on the questioner to come up with “proof texts” for the basis of their questions.
I only wish I had Uriel’s book years ago for solving this situation for me in his well-researched commentary. Jews from Jerusalem should have written a book like this many centuries earlier. If more writers had challenged concepts such as the trinity, perhaps the church would not have made it into non-negotiable doctrine under penalty of death. I’m certain that many people, especially in Israel, have a great need for the information Uriel is providing. I recommend his book whether or not one believes in the potpourri of major religious expressions available. Whole libraries exist on these subjects, and Uriel’s deserves a place where believers, unbelievers, scholars and the casually interested can find what has been generally unavailable, until now.
As for myself, my Jewish parents were not religious, so as a relatively secular Jew for the first third of my life, I neither cared about nor paid any attention to what Christians or anyone else believed.
I married a Jewish woman who was strongly anti-religion, and so our children received no religious education. When that marriage dissolved, I eventually married a Christian woman who practiced the religion in which she was raised. I attended church with her and began studying the Jewish roots of her faith.
Having been in front of the Christian message for about 25 years, I still couldn’t accept many of their teachings. For example, the holy trinity concept was just impossible. I ignored the other uncomfortable teachings, since they weren’t all that important to me, and anyway the church people were nice. When I discovered the Messianic Jewish “movement,” I became deeply involved, founding a Messianic Synagogue as its spiritual leader.
I believe there is a large potential in the world to reach the Jewish population with the idea that Yeshua, as a historical Jewish figure, had some very important things to say, that Jews need to consider. But at present, few will consider acknowledging his name, let alone his message. This is a pity, but largely due to a world religion that grew up around “Jesus,” changed who he was, and what he had to say. We Jews, whether Orthodox, Reform, Conservative or Reconstructionist have an obligation to know who our most famous Rabbis were and what they taught. As a whole, we do a good job, except when it comes to the one born in Beit Lechem, near Jerusalem.
I think the world would be a better place, with less tension between Jews and Christians if we could talk about this man, the claims he made, and the kind of impact he had. But there is a doctrine, wholly owned by the church, which has gotten in the way. Neither the church nor the Jew can see their way past it. But what IF they could? What IF someone came along, and asked the church to put the doctrine aside for a moment, for sake of moving us all closer to a world reclaimed by our Creator, and ruled by the one of His choosing?
Wouldn’t it be prudent to at least consider why the doctrine is problematic for the Jew who gave the church everything they have, except the doctrine?
This is why I recommend reading this important book by Uriel ben-Mordechai, regardless of your possibly pre-conceived beliefs. Uriel is the someone coming along with the hard questions! Read this book!
— Donald Folberg, Founder and Leader Emeritus
Beit Ya’acov Messianic Synagogue, Inc.