Misinterpretation of History and Scripture- A review of “IF CHRISTIANITY ISN’T TRUE how did it become the LARGEST religion? by Rabbi Michael Skobac, Education Director for Jews for Judaism.”
I love all people in all denominations and religions. And I don’t necessarily believe that I have the found the ONLY precise beliefs. But I am trying really hard to seek them out. And So is this Rabbi who I have learned from. In return, I would like to help him out with some things I have learned that disagree with some of his statements.
One important fallacy on which he bases and begins his argument against christianity is that Paul never met Jesus. We cannot say that Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) simply came to Paul (Shaul in Hebrew) in a “vision”. Being a fervent, Torah-observant Jew in the first century, Shaul would have been present with Yeshua at least 3 times a year in Jerusalem during the pilgrimage feasts. We also know that Shaul and the other disciples of Jesus/ Yeshua observed the feasts the rest of their lives after the Crucifixion. Those facts in and of themselves allow a very high probability of any number of those individuals meeting each other a minimum of 3 times a year.
We also see in the “New Testament” that Shaul had family in Jerusalem. So there are many other reasons that Shaul/ Paul could have met or heard Yeshua’s teachings. And being a student of Gamaliel(Ac 5:34, Ac 22:3) we must assume that he would have been in close contact with his Rabbi, who was prominent. So to imagine that Shaul was some distant person unaffiliated with the situation until a strange “vision” at Damascus is not historically or Biblical sound.
Why is this important? Because we cannot claim that the inconsistencies of some mainstream doctrinal errors are because Paul had a different message than Jesus or that Paul created Christianity.
But there are also some very important points made by this Rabbi. For one, he is accurate in my opinion regarding the spread of Christianity. And even the FORCE of imposed Christianity in some cases. Additionally important is his description of Christianity and Islam as “daughter religions” of Judaism. And brings up an interesting mention of his interpretation of what Maimonides (RaMBaM) said about them both being necessary to take the idea of a Jewish Messiah to all the world to be ready in the days of His coming (or for Christians His return).
The Rabbi also reminds us that in the first century most believers in Jesus/ Yeshua were almost all Jewish, but by the 4th century there were very few Jewish believers in Jesus/ Yeshua.
But one of the most crucial misinterpretations he has, which he actually falsely quotes from Jesus/ Yeshua is that “He ONLY came for the Jewish people. And only sent His followers to the Jewish people”. That’s not what Jesus/ Yeshua said:
Mt 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mt 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
The Jews are not part of the “house Israel”; The Jews are part of the “house of Judah”. So in fact, Jesus/ Yeshua was saying that He did NOT come for the Jews. But He clearly came THROUGH the Jews, to the house of Israel which had been cut off and assimilated into all the world after the Assyrian captivity (for more on this go here)
But he is correct in my opinion that it was a small group, a remnant, about the size of the Jewish population at the end of the third century. I also agree with his understanding of the history of the fourth century church and its relationship with the pagan Roman Empire.
In addition he rightly points out that the growth of Christianity began to spread ideas from the roots of the Hebrew Bible, and what we could correctly call Jewish virtues, a Jewish Messiah and regarding the Messianic utopia of the future. So with those important clarifications, please check out the video.