And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name, and [you shall] be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you. (Gen. 12:1‒3)
And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall gain strength westward and eastward and northward and southward; and through you shall be blessed all the families of the earth and through your seed.
And behold, I am with you, and I will guard you wherever you go, and I will restore you to this land, for I will not forsake you until I have done what I have spoken concerning you. (Gen. 28:13‒14)
More than 70 years ago, the world awoke after the Shoah, the industrial murder of six million Jews, children, women, and men. Today, Jews and Israel are still subject to hatred and are threatened with annihilation. The Nazis, and all the European leaders and people who collaborated with them, used the long tradition of religious antisemitism and centuries-old anti-Jewish prejudice to make the Jews scapegoats for their own countries’ troubles and to legitimize their genocidal actions.1 They also counted on the indifference of nations and people to the fate of the Jews, often resulting from religious antisemitism, to annihilate the Jewish people in Europe, the realm of Christendom.2
The long tradition of religious antisemitism was used to justify the genocide of the Jews. After all, the Jewish people were accused of “deicide.” The “swastika” also succeeded in attacking the “Cross of Christ” and the Nazis “proclaim[ed] the death of the God of the Jews and of the Christians.”3
In 312 CE, 1,700 years ago, Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity.4 Ten years later, it became the official religion of the Roman Empire, and the Church launched a theological campaign against the Jews. This struggle became permanent and unending. Biblical prophecies were used to secure divine justification for the use of force. But theologians, among them Aurelius Augustinus (later Saint Augustine, 354–430), invoked the New Testament’s moral restrictions on warfare.5 They asserted that God had dispersed the Jews but had not destroyed them. They considered the Jews a “people who witnessed their iniquity and our truth.”6 As a result, not all of them should be “killed” so that some witnesses would remain; the others should be converted and disappear as Jews.7
The question is whether steps can be taken today, some 77 years after the Shoah, to end this theological struggle against the Jews, Israel, and Judaism.
Fifty-three years after the Shoah (1998), the Catholic Church (hereafter the “Church”) discovered that words can kill, and they kill even more when attributed to God. The Church recognized the need “to heal the wounds of past misunderstanding and injustices.”8
The Church “recalled with a sense of deep sorrow the sufferings of the Jewish people during the Second World War” and “express[ed] its deep sorrow for the failures of its sons and daughters in every age.”9 The long Christian theological struggle that had an impact on the lives of Jews for centuries is hardly mentioned.10
If the Church fails to remember and analyze what was done to the Jews in the course of history, the “sorrow” for the tragedy that the Jewish people suffered in the last century will not lead to a new relationship with the Jewish people.11 The same pertains to the assistance granted to Nazis, both during the war and to escape justice thereafter.12 The pitiful use of the word “failures” only adds to the sense of grievance.
In 2000, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith understood the need for an interreligious dialogue on theology: “Theology today, in its reflection on the existence of other religious experiences and on their meaning in God’s salvific plan, is invited to explore if and in what way the historical figures and positive elements of these religions may fall within the divine plan of salvation.”13 The recognition that salvation might come from other religions, not only from Jesus and the Church, was a positive new development. If Judaism falls within the divine plan, there is no need to convert the Jews or to campaign against them and Israel, the representation of prophecies is fulfilled.
To discuss theology with the Church, even 76 years after the Shoah, may be a little premature in view of the wounds inflicted on the Jews. Moreover, it is not up to the descendants of the victims (Israel) to change the theology of the Church. It is up to the Christian churches to determine where they failed and to reexamine their theology accordingly.
As Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik wisely advised, interreligious activity should be guided by the prophet Micah (4:5): “Let all the people walk, each one in the name of his God, and we shall walk in the name of our Lord, our God, forever and ever.”14 Rabbi Soloveitchik already understood in 1964 that behind any interreligious dialogue initiated by the Church after the Shoah, there may still be its counterproductive evangelizing mission to the Jews. This “mission” was explicitly recognized on August 6, 2000, by Pope John Paul II: “In inter-religious dialogue as well, the mission ad gentes ‘today as always retains its full force and necessity.’… Inter-religious dialogue, therefore, as part of her evangelizing mission, is just one of the actions of the Church in her mission ad gentes.” He also stated: “Indeed, God ‘desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth’“ (1 Tim. 2:4) (§22).15
Thus, the Church did not change its policy toward the “salvation” of the Jews. Its mission to convert the Jews is seen by many as a call for a “spiritual” final solution for the Jewish people. This mission is not limited to the Church; every good Christian has a mission to convert the Jews in His land, Israel, and everywhere else so that they will “come to the knowledge of the truth” and fulfill what is still considered a prophecy. For many, the Second Coming of Jesus is dependent on the conversion of the Jews.16
According to the Church and the other churches, the Jews were condemned to an eternal exile until the day of the Last Judgment and the conversion of all non-Christians, including the Jews.17 However, Christians did not succeed to convert all of humanity to Christianity; in today’s world, 1.6 billion Muslims, 1.42 billion Chinese, and 1.35 billion Indians, among others, have not converted. Radical Muslims are conducting war against the Christians; many Christians have abandoned their religion and converted to Islam. The remnant of the Jews did not convert, and in addition, God brought them back to His land. For many, this is a real theological problem that cannot be overlooked.
After 1,700 years of “disputations” with the Jews, the Church should reflect on its past policy and history, consisting of compulsory sermons, forced predications in synagogues and all Jewish quarters on Shabbat, as well censorship of rabbinic books, and the Talmud being regarded as blasphemous. All this always led to additional persecutions, hatred, expulsions, forced conversions, the yellow stars, the special hats and coats, the ghettos, pogroms, murders, blood libels, the prohibitions on holding public office or cultivating land, which forced Jews to become moneylenders and to see portable money as the means to escape quickly and survive.
Nevertheless, the Church declared in 1998 that “much scholarly study still remains to be done to learn about the Shoah and its causes,” along with “very serious reflection on what gave rise to it”: “Historians, sociologists, political philosophers, psychologists and theologians are all trying to learn more about the reality of the Shoah and its causes.”
The “very serious reflection” should include more than 1,700 years of apartheid policy (more than 1,000 years before South Africa) and crimes of genocide (long before they were defined as such in 1945) against the Jews. Very serious reflection should be devoted to today’s antisemitism, anti-Judaism, anti-Zionism, and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement still active in parts of the Church and other Christian churches.18
This declaration of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews may seek to prevent a present and clear acknowledgment of the Church’s responsibility for antisemitism. After 76 years, the reality of the Shoah and its causes are well-known. If the Church, the Orthodox Church, and all the other churches have questions, they should organize a gathering of “historians, sociologists, political philosophers, psychologists and theologians,” or contact Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and consult their publications and research, as well as those of the more than 100 existing museums in the world dedicated to the Shoah. There are several museums in Italy, including one in Rome.19 No serious gathering of that kind, however, was ever organized.
Among the well-known causes of the Shoah are: the accusation of “deicide,” the assertions that the “New Israel” replaced the “Old Israel,” that the “new people of God” replaced the “old people of God,” that the Jews were “exiled” because they sinned by not recognizing Jesus as Christ, the replacement of the covenant between God and the Jews, the description of the Jews as “Judas” the traitor, the accusations of “blindness,” of “incredulity,” of “desecration of hosts,” of “poisoning of wells,” of “ritual blood murders,” crucifixion of children, “usury,” the notion of the “purity of blood,” and so on.
These assertions have aimed to dehumanize, delegitimize, and demonize the Jews so as to erase them more easily and have led to persecutions, pogroms, and finally to the Shoah. They were part of a theological war.20 Many in the Church and in other Christian churches continue this struggle against the Jews today by attacking Israel.21
The accusation of deicide is a grave accusation. Humanity is collectively responsible for the deicide of God.
The Jews were accused of deicide and persecuted for more than 1,700 years based on this charge.22
“In the catechism catechism produced by the Council of Trent [1545‒1563], the Catholic Church taught that the collectivity of sinful humanity was responsible for the death of Jesus, not only the Jews.” But the Christians did not believe it and this statement was forgotten.23 The Jewish people continued to be branded as deicidal.
Vatican II and the Deicide Accusation (1965)
Nostra aetate (In Our Time), the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, was proclaimed by Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965. It states: “True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion [i.e., his crucifixion and death] cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures” (emphasis added).24
Thus, the Jewish people is no longer held responsible for Jesus’ death. This is a tremendous development, but some of their ancestors can be held responsible. A proposed draft (the third draft) that opposed preaching that Jews were deicidal was removed and does not appear in the adopted text of Nostra aetate.25 The Jews will continue to be marked for the crime of deicide by those Christians who wish to so preach.
Who Is Responsible for Deicide Today?
Here we will not examine the trial of Jesus. Many articles and books have been written on the subject.26 Given that none of the Jews living today are now considered responsible, we will determine who is legally responsible for his death (the “deicide”) and his resurrection. We must apply a distinction according to the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions. Is it some Jews, Judas, the priests, some scribes, the Sanhedrin, Pontius Pilate, or all of them who were responsible?27
The first answer is that God is “legally” responsible, as we will demonstrate.
Jesus as God
Jesus became God long after his death and resurrection. At the Council of Nicaea in 32528 it was decided that Jesus, the Son, was the true God, coeternal with the Father (God) and begotten from His same substance. The opposing view was that the Son of God was created as an act of the Father’s will, and therefore that the Son was a creature made by God, begotten directly of the infinite eternal God.29 In the Bible, the concept of the Son of God is well-known to refer to men, who are creatures created by God. But Jesus was also called the Son of Man.30
At the Council of Nicaea, Emperor Constantine also promulgated certain laws against the Jews. They had two purposes: to prevent Jews from interfering with relatives or friends who converted to Christianity, and to discourage Christians from converting to Judaism.31
Jews recognized as did Maimonides that Christianity and Islam were a means to bring the same one God to the gentiles and to prepare them to receive the Messiah of the Jews and of all people. Previously, the gentiles had lived by the sword and theft, practiced idolatry, and honored multiple gods. They would perform human sacrifices to please their gods. “In Christianity, God is said to have sacrificed the ‘man-god’ (Jesus) to atone for the community of believers. But God resurrected the man-god.”32
A Word about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit
In the book of Ephesians, the gentiles were said “to have no hope without God in the world.”33 This “sacrifice” apparently convinced the pagans to believe in monotheism. But they later instituted a Trinity (unknown in either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament), that is, a god, a divine person (Jesus), and a Holy Spirit (which in Judaism and in the language of the apostles is one of the attributes of God, inspiring and enlightening those humans who are close to Him).34 They made a divinity of this attribute, believing in a triune (three-in-one) God. They lost the declaration that “The Lord is One and His name One,” that is, the one and unique God that the Jews and the Muslims worship and that Zechariah prophesized about.35
By having the same God and being told that they were the descendants of Adam and Eve, of Noah’s family and of Abraham, the pagans became “brothers” having the same Father (Creator). But after more than 20 centuries of fraternal wars, we can conclude that Christians and Muslims did not believe this or did not really care about it. To legitimize their murders, they invented the concept that “the Lord knows those that are his own”36 and applied the concept of the “infidel.”
But God Is Immortal; He Cannot Be Killed!
“Deicide,” a terrifying notion that Jesus, viewed as God by Christianity, was killed by the Jews of his time, disregards the fact that God by nature is eternal and immortal (Deut 32:40; Rom. 1:23; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 Tim. 6:16) and as such could not be killed. How could Jews be accused of killing God, who became man as Jesus, the Savior, on a Roman cross to save humanity from its sins, when the almighty God wanted this to happen to save humanity? Logic dictates that some Jews should be blessed since they did what God wanted of them and permitted humanity to be saved. This was not the reasoning of the Church. Logic also dictates that God is responsible for His own death, not the Jewish people, nor some Jews of that time. Indeed, Jesus was declared resuscitated. His death was temporary; the damage was repaired.
As mentioned above, the Jews learned suddenly, in 1965, that while “the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today” (emphasis added).37 It took almost 2,000 years for the Church leaders to read the prophet Ezekiel or to understand that the Jews of today cannot be charged for any act of their ancestors: “The soul who sins is the one who will die. A son will not bear the iniquity of his father, and a father will not bear the iniquity of his son. The righteousness of the righteous man will fall upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked man will fall upon him” (Ezek. 18:20).
When, supposedly, “All the people [the Jews] answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’” (Matthew 27:25), they apparently did not remember Ezekiel 18:20. Either their knowledge was very weak or this sentence was tendentious.
God Is Responsible for the Death of Jesus and for His Apparent Resurrection
Indeed, the cardinals forgot to refer to: “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers” (Acts 3:17). “But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18). “Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). If they had, they would have drawn the conclusion that no Jew was responsible for this death and resurrection.
Moreover, Matthew 16:20 states that: “Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” This was decided by the Almighty.
An Act of God; a Force Majeure
The suffering, the death, and the resurrection of God/Jesus can be called in legal terms an Act of God (Atto di Dio) (a misfortune or accident arising from inevitable necessity that human prudence could not prevent) and a force majeure (forza maggiore) (a superior or irresistible force). Acts of God and force majeure exclude legal responsibility in all legal systems. In the domain of juridical acts, canon law recognizes that “an act placed out of force inflicted on a person from without, which the person was not able to resist in any way, is considered as never to have taken place” (Can. 125 §1).38 Indeed, who can resist God and His angels?
These concepts recognized by canon law should be applied in the case of the suffering, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus to exclude all liability of even some Jews at that time (including Caiaphas, Judas Iscariot, the scribes, and also the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate). The Church leaders should take the initiative to exclude all responsibility of any human being in the case of Jesus and recognize that their forefathers may either have not excelled in logic and reasoning or used such reasoning for their actions against the Jews.
Indeed, the accusations of “deicide,” desecration of hosts, poisoning of wells, ritual murders, and the blood libels were all just “libels.” All those accusations were “fake news” propagated to provide a justification to murder Jews, steal their property, or both.
Repentance comes with compensations to the people who had been the victims. After World War II, Germany paid compensation to Israel representing the Jewish people, and the Tutsis paid compensation to the Hutus. Kenyans tortured by British colonial forces during the Mau Mau uprising received payouts totaling £20 million. The Germans recently recognized their previous genocide in Namibia of the Herero and Nama peoples from 1904 and 1908 and offered a symbolic compensation of €1.1 billion (US $1.34 billion).39
Poles, who are Catholics, have not yet returned to the Jews the properties that they stole from them. They argue that they were confiscated by the Nazis even though they were taken by Poles thereafter.
The damages inflicted on the Jews in the course of history should be repaired by the Church, and the looted properties should be returned. One thousand seven hundred years of damages—to be assessed—should be paid to the Jewish State of Israel, which represents today the descendants of the Jewish victims. This would be real repentance and justice and a true expression of sorrow.40
The Theology of Replacement
Justin (c. 100‒165 CE), a gentile Christian, bishop of Smyrna, spoke against the Jews, saying that the non-Jewish church was now “God’s Israel” and that the Jews were infidels and fallen.41 For Augustine, another Catholic “saint,” God had kept Jews alive and in destitute condition as a permanent reminder that Christianity had replaced Judaism as the true faith.
The Gospels do not mention the creation of a “New Israel” or include the words “New Israel.” In legal and commercial terms, “New Israel” looks like an infringement of the trademark or the trade name “Israel” aimed at boosting some new competitive product (Christianity). The Church could be a new people of God without being the “New Israel” and all would be in its rightful place. Israel did not fail God to be replaced by the Church.
For Christians, however, the Jews who did not recognize Jesus as the Savior and as the “Son of God.” And the real Israel (verus Israel), the New People of God, is the Church. This was restated by Vatican II: “Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures” (emphasis added).42
The Christian theology of replacement asserts that God’s covenant no longer applies to Israel, which has not recognized in Jesus the Messiah and the “Son of God.” This covenant was transferred to the Church, which has become the “New Israel,” the “new God’s chosen people.”43 This was a long-standing proposition before 1965. But Christians must now accept that the “old covenant” with the Jews has not been revoked, as recognized by Pope John Paul II on November 17, 1980.44
The Church’s Use of a Sophism
A sophism is a confusing, defective argument used to deceive someone. A simple example of a sophism is: Humans are living creatures; horses are living creatures. Since they are both living creatures, humans are horses and horses are humans.
The document “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), Solemnly Promulgated by Pope Paul VI, on November 21, 1964” states that: “Israel according to the flesh, which wandered as an exile in the desert,45 was already called the Church of God. So likewise, the new Israel which while living in this present age goes in search of a future and abiding city is called the Church of Christ” (emphasis added).46
This document uses a sophism to prove, by a prophecy of Jeremiah, that the Church is the “New Israel” and the “new [chosen] People of God.” First it is stated that: “Christ instituted this new covenant, the new testament, that is to say, in His Blood, calling together a people made up of Jews and gentiles, making them one, not according to the flesh but in the Spirit. This was to be the new People of God…. For those who believe in Christ…are finally established as ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people…who in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God’” (emphasis added).47
Then the Church relies on Jeremiah 31:31, who foresees a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah: “Behold the days shall come saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel, and with the House of Judah. . .. I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…. For all of them shall know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord” (emphasis added).48
And the Church concludes: “Christ instituted this new covenant, the new testament, that is to say, in His Blood, calling together a people made up of Jew and gentile, making them one, not according to the flesh but in the Spirit. This was to be the new People of God” (emphasis added).49
But the Christians are not the House of Israel and the House of Judah. If Jeremiah had wanted to refer to the Christians (who do not respect the Laws of Moses), he would have said: “I will make a new covenant with a new people made of Jews and gentiles….”
We should add that the “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium)” did not mention what Jeremiah said after 31:31. It was apparently better not to mention: “If these ordinances [Laws of Moses] depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel [meaning the Houses of Israel and Judah] shall also cease to be a nation before me forever” (Jer. 31:36). Since Christians do not follow the Laws of Moses, they cannot be part of the Houses of Israel and Judah, or a seed of Israel.
The Theology of Replacement Was Not Necessary to Justify a New Covenant
The reference to Jeremiah 31:31 was unnecessary. Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25, Mark 14:24, and Matthew 26:27 mention a new covenant. They never said that it replaced the covenant with the Jews. A new covenant was also made with the Muslims. The reference to Jeremiah 31:31 aims only to deprive the Jews of the future new covenant and to state that the prophecy has been fulfilled through Jesus, the Messiah of the Jews and Christians.
In reality, any believer in God is part of a people of God: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34‒35). Nevertheless, replacement theology is used to delegitimize the Jewish people in the face of the world. The Muslims use the same concept to “replace” the Jews and the Christians.
If the Church is the (new) chosen people of God, Christians, Muslims, and Jews can conclude that the Jews may no longer claim to be the chosen people of God, nor can they claim special rights to the Holy Land. By occupying part of God’s land, the Jews could be considered by Christians and Muslims to be usurpers. This is exactly what the Catholics living in the Middle East concluded.50
But the Land of Israel has been given by God to the Jews as mentioned in the Bible and in the Koran, not to the Christians or to the Muslims.
The Church Has Not Replaced Israel as a “New Israel”
The present return of the Jewish people to His land is mentioned in the Bible and in the Koran. The promises of God are irrevocable. Christians should finally accept the fact that the “old covenant” with the Jews has not been revoked, as stated by Pope John Paul II on November 17, 1980.51
Jesus Was Not and Is Not the Messiah of Israel
Jesus is not regarded as the Messiah (Mahdi) by the Muslims. He is just a further messenger. Jesus strictly warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.52 Indeed, the Messiah that the Jews are awaiting is a redeemer of Israel and strengthener of the commandments. He is someone who will bring peace on earth, stop the divisions, unite people, end gratuitous hatred, and participate in the return of the Jews to His land and in the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. Jesus did not bring that about.
The messiah is said to “decide the conflict of peoples . . . and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Is 2:4; Mi 4:3f)”. “It is clear”, to any one and to Pope Benedict XVI, “that these words have not been fulfilled, but remain an expectation of the future.” Like Pope Benedict XVI: “We can say that Jesus did not want to bring the perfected new world of peace in an immediate way, as prophesied in Isaiah 2:2-4. Rather, he wanted to reveal God to man (also to the Gentiles)”.53
The Messiah can only be a descendant of Jesse. This was clearly demonstrated by Nachmanides (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, or Ramban) during a disputation that took place in Barcelona in July 1263: “If Jesus was the son of the Holy Spirit he could not be a descendant of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1) even if he would be the son of a female (Mary) descendant of Jesse, neither the girls nor their children can inherit the kingdom according to the Law of Moses in lieu and place of a male and King David always had male descendants.”54
Jesus Did Not Come for the Jewish People as a Whole
Jesus knew that he was not the Messiah of all the people of Israel. Indeed he “answered and said: ‘…I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’” (Matt. 15:24) (emphasis added). This is confirmed by the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews: “Jesus was and always remained a Jew, his ministry was deliberately limited ‘to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’ (Mt. 15:24)” (emphasis added).55
To associate Jesus with the “Messiah of Israel” is misleading. The Messiah of the Jews must come for all the Jews (not only the lost sheep) and for all people.
Jews do not need Jesus and the Gospels to discover “love and peace”; the Bible has plenty of verses relating to love and peace. The Christian “kingdom of God,” a kingdom of love, a love for all, even for one’s enemies, according to the catechism, has produced the opposite. It produced what Jesus stated: “I did not come to bring peace on earth but a sword” (Matt. 10:34) (emphasis added), division (Luke 12:51‒53), and fire on earth (Luke 12:49).
Jesus’s Followers Brought Divisions and Suffering to the Jews
Jesus is said to have come to do just the opposite of what Elijah is said to do prior to the Messiah, namely, “to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”56 Jesus’s followers brought the Jews division, misery, misfortune, wars, and tragedies. He did not bring peace to the world (Isa. 2:4).57 And the Christians killed more people than did all nations on earth before them.
Jesus did not deliver the slaves.58 He asked them to be obedient and to fear their masters “as to Christ”: “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ” (Eph. 6:5). He did not even limit slavery to seven years or less, as in the Bible. The Church later authorized the slavery of Africans in South and North America. Jesus did not save them from slavery.
The Jews Did Not Need to Be Saved
The Jews “knew God” since Mount Sinai. The Jews were saved from Egypt and on Mount Sinai by God. They were not saved by the murder of one of their brothers by the Romans. Such a death can generate personal guilt (“Jesus died for our faults”) but also hatred (of all who killed him indirectly because they sinned). This is not a good start to promote brotherhood.
In Jesus’ time, the Jews offered animals as sacrifices in the Temple to be cleansed of their involuntary sins (unknown violations of the Laws of Moses), to make good resolutions for the future, or to thank God. The sacrifices were generally eaten by the priests and their families and some by the people who offered them. These sacrifices did not have the power to erase voluntary sins, as many think; only good deeds would. Thus, the Jews did not need a “deicide” to be pardoned for past and future sins.
Jews know also that they are responsible for all their actions and inactions toward people and God.59 Jews cannot believe that God would send one of his creatures to die on a Roman cross for the sins of others, even if he was resuscitated three days later. This does not fit biblical history. It fits Greek theology and mythology and reached out appropriately to pagans, not Jews.60
The Covenant with the Jews as the People of God Still Exists
The Church forgot to read: “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew” (Rom. 11:1‒2).
The Church also overlooked that: “Concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29) (emphasis added). The churches only saw in the Jews an enemy; they forgot that it was all for their sake and that the Jews had a mission for them.
For Pope Benedict XVI: “The Jews have opened the door to God precisely through their final scattering in the world. Their diaspora is not merely and not primarily a condition of punishment; instead, it signifies a mission.”61
Moreover, the “Savior” of the Christians never wanted to abolish the Laws of Moses. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared:
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill (Matt. 5:17). For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law [of Moses], till all be fulfilled (Matt. 5:18). Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:19). (emphasis added)
In Luke 16:29 (the story of Lazarus), Jesus reports that Abraham said: “They [the Jews] have Moses and the prophets, let them listen to them.”
Jesus did not state that the encounter with him is more important than all of the commandments. The covenant with the Jews implies that the Jews follow the Laws of Moses; the Law is the basis of the covenant. The Jews must follow the Law to be saved: “For I am commanding you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and increase, and the LORD your God may bless you in the land that you are entering to possess” (Deut. 30:16) (emphasis added).62
As an example, Paul (Saul) and the apostles followed the Laws of Moses.63 But Peter and some apostles who had serious problems following the commandments said: “Why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:10).64
They were right since the 613 commandments were given only to the Jews. They were wrong for almost 1,700 years when they forced the Jews to abandon the commandments (including circumcision) and to become Christian. Even the Jewish side of Jesus was erased…in 1960, by Pope John XXII. The “Circumcision of the Lord” to mark the day when Jesus was circumcised like all Jews on the eighth day was revoked.65
The Church wanted to prevent the Jews from following the Laws of Moses. The “love of Christians” was sometimes so great in world history that Jews were murdered if they did not convert. They forgot, “You shall not murder.”
How many Jews were forced to choose between the Laws of Moses and the “Wooden Cross” (Christianity) or the “Stone” (Islam), or, by remaining faithful to God’s ordinances, to choose death? How many Jews who were benefactors in the countries where they lived, like Joseph in Egypt, were killed in those countries? Those Jews who converted but continued to secretly keep the Laws of Moses were subject to the tribunal of the Holy Inquisition. How many converted Jews did they torture and slaughter in a “holy” manner?
According to Jesus, those who force Jews to abandon the Law are to be called “least in the kingdom of heaven,” including those members and heads of missionary organizations who still try today to convert the Jews. Those “saints” such as Saint Louis (Louis IX) of France who forced the Jews to bear a yellow Jewish star and to abandon the Law, who persecuted and killed them, are most probably still burning in Hell, to refer to Christian imagery.
Today, the Church and all Christians should encourage the Jews to uphold the Laws of Moses and thereby to be called “great in the kingdom of heaven.”
The Need to Abandon the Idea of Convincing the Jews to Become Christians
If the Jews did not continue to keep the Laws of Moses and the Prophets, there would not be today a Jewish people, according to the prophet Jeremiah: “If those ordinances [Laws of Moses] depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever” (Jer. 31:36).
If all the Jews had become Christian, there would be no more Jews today and if there were no Jews, the realization of the prophecies concerning the return of the Jews to their land, the restoration of their sovereignty (according to the prophets of the Bible, to the New Testament, and to the Koran), and the coming of the Messiah could not occur.
As mentioned above, in December 2015 the Church decided to neither conduct nor support any specific institutional mission work directed toward Jews, but allowed Christians “to bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews,” that is, to attempt to convert them. They should do so in a humble and sensitive manner, acknowledging that Jews are bearers of God’s Word, and particularly in view of the great tragedy of the Shoah.66
Jews will thus continue “to be evangelization targets so that their Catholic friends and acquaintances can live up to their ‘divine calling.’“ If churches wish to make them Christians, this means that they still want the Jewish people to disappear. They want the Jews to fail their individual and collective service mission imposed upon them by God. They should issue a “crystal clear statement forswearing all attempts, organized, disorganized, haphazard, or even accidental, to convert Jews.”67 Until then, any dialogue with all churches risks proving counterproductive.68
In the Bible, 22 verses speak about life in the Land through keeping the ordinances. Christians know these verses. So Jewish tradition explains that the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed and the Jews were scattered around the world because of the gratuitous hatred (sinat chinam) prevalent at that time. Some add that gratuitous hatred is a reason but not the exclusive reason. Others have identified additional causes for this national tragedy: the sin of the neglect of the Torah and several other surprising reasons that were identified in the Talmud and by great rabbis.
According to certain Christian theological precepts, the Jews were condemned to eternal dispersal, far from Jerusalem and the Holy Land, until the Day of Judgment and the conversion of the Jews. But the Jews did not convert and came back to His land. For John Chrysostom (c. 347‒407), the Jews were degenerate because of their “odious murder of Christ.” And for this crime, he declared, there was “no expiation possible, no indulgence, and no pardon.” Chrysostom viewed the rejection and dispersal of the Jews as the work of God.69 For Saint Augustine, God had dispersed the Jews but not destroyed them so that they would bear witness to their “folly.”
All these explanations ignore an accepted precept that God does not punish a people for the presumed sins of their ancestors, as developed further on.
The Return of the Jews to His Land Challenges Many Christians and Muslims
The return of the Jews to His land challenges many Christians and Muslims and calls into question their interpretation of the Creator’s plan and what their civilization has brought to the world. This return also challenges Muslims.70
Concerning their mission, everyone can determine for him or herself if Christians have promoted “love” in the world through Jesus’s teachings or have taken advantage of this message to subdue nations. Did they act as if they and these nations had the same Father in Heaven?
Certainly, the world is nevertheless better than at the time of the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans when their “paganism was everywhere, idolatry was everywhere and human behavior was a result of idolatry.”71 There were genocides before the Shoah according to the definition of the 1948 International Convention on Genocide.72
The world was and is full of fratricidal “Cains.”73 Human history is the history of genocides, crimes against humanity, wars of aggression, conquests, destruction, killings, suffering, enslavement, irresponsibility, as well as uprisings, liberations, and hope. No one was or is his brother’s keeper. Humankind has lost its humanity and basic Bible-based values, such as the respect for human life and true belief in God.
The prophets announced that a world without wars is possible and that world will come.74
Has the Time of Christendom Ended?
For Rabbi Leon Ashkenazi (Manitou):
The time of Christendom has ended, but Christendom doesn’t know it yet…. The Christian consciousness has been traumatized by the discovery of its “indirect” responsibility in the Shoah (Holocaust). The Christian consciousness in good faith was terrified to see what has been the result of antisemitism when it is not them who were the executioners and lighted the stake.… The existence of the State of Israel is a second trauma.… Christian conscience is forced to answer to the following question: Conscious of being in good faith a member of this civilization that began in Rome 2,000 years ago and sees itself as being “Israel,” wonder as a corollary to this huge guilt over the Holocaust: Perhaps the Jews are really Israel?75
No Church statement about Nazism has ever explicitly mentioned or defended Jews, before or during their extermination. No strong protest by the Church against the Nazi Nuremberg Laws or against French and Italian racial laws was expressed. The policy of hatred of Jews and anti-Judaism, which has roots in the teaching of the doctors of the Church, allowed the flourishing of antisemitism.76 Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Heydrich were Catholics. Eichmann was Calvinist.
“Both the New Testament and the teaching of the church turned into sources for legitimizing the desire to murder.”77 Christians prayed during centuries for the “perfidis Judaeis” (perfidious Jews).78 In March 16, 1998, in the Letter of Pope John Paul II to Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, the Church expressed “some deep sorrow for the failures of her sons and daughters” (emphasis added).79 The Pope absolved the past Church leaders of all responsibility so as not to tarnish the honor of the Church. One should note that only the “sons and daughters” failed; not the leaders of the Church, its popes and cardinals. Are “some deep sorrows” appropriate and sufficient? The Church should do a mea culpa in the name of all its past leaders and of all past Christians.
The Christian churches have not asked the Jewish people to forgive them. Could the Jews pardon while the churches continue in their ways?80
The Return of the Jews to His Land
Since the return of the Jews, the Church and all churches had temporized at best.
“The close ties between Rome and Tehran,” wrote John L. Allen Jr. is the editor of the Crux, specializing in the coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church, “reflect the often-under-appreciated fact that both the Vatican and post-revolutionary Iran are basically theocracies, representing spiritual traditions—Catholicism and Shia Islam—that have a surprising amount in common.… The bond between the Vatican and Iran is a partnership destined to endure.”81 Their alliance did not prevent Christians from being persecuted and to continue to be killed everywhere in the world by Muslims,82 even inside churches.83
But by allying with the Muslims, Church leaders continue to deny the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people, to whom the land was promised long ago. They want to divide His land to prevent the full realization of the prophecy while still recognizing that “the promise of God is irrevocable.” The Church has undertaken a synchronized policy.84
If Christian states and the churches abandoned the Jews before and during the Shoah, this can happen again, and Israel and the Jews must adapt themselves accordingly. Israel and the Jews cannot fully trust them for all their sweet words. Pope Francis has never referred to the Iranian threat and intent to wipe out Israel and the non-Muslim world.
Were the Discrimination and the Persecution of the Jews a Necessity?
In his book The Kuzari,85 Judah ben Samuel Halevi (1075–1141) argues that discriminations and persecutions inflicted on the Jews maintained the Jewish religion and “are meant to prove our faith.”86 But the churches and the Christians did not persecute the Jews to keep the Jewish religion pure. The Jews were persecuted to put an end to their message and existence. They were the victims of those who knew: “You shall not murder,” “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”87 “Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the Lord….”88
The Church prevented Christians from reading the Bible, including the prophets. And when it was read, it was almost only to justify some Christological underpinning of their faith. The Church persecuted the Jews to convince the Christian masses that God was punishing them and that God would do the same to those Christians who did not follow their leaders. If God would persecute His creatures, why couldn’t humans do the same to their brothers?
The Jews’ Task in Exile
In exile the Jews had, according to the prophet, a “service” to perform. And their endeavor has been rewarded by their return to His land.89
A voice is heard in Ramah [a city of the tribe of Benjamin situated five miles north of Jerusalem], mourning and with great weeping, Rachel is weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more. This is what the Lord says: ”Keep your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for the reward for your work will come,” declares the Lord. ”Then your children will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your future,” declares the Lord, “and your children will return to their own land.” (Jer. 31: 15‒17)90 (emphasis added)
Jews had, according to the prophet, “work” to do for God that was for the benefit of all the nations. There is no “Israel Mystery” as Christians call it, since the return was planned by God. The permanent existence of the Jews was and is a “mystery” only for those who did not believe in or trust God or did not perceive this work.91 They were the servants of God and God was glorified by Israel (Isa. 49:3).
It began long before Jesus and Muhammad and continued through the centuries.
Witness to God’s Work and Presence
The Jews were a witness to God’s work and presence to enable Him to prosper in the hands of His people. The Jews kept the covenant and “were a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation” (Exod. 19:5‒6).
Preparing the kingdom of God did not begin or end with the advent of Jesus and the foundation of the Church; it began long before and continued through the centuries. The Jewish people were God’s people in the sense of a vehicle for the “salvation” of humanity. “I will also give thee for a light of the nations, that My salvation may be unto the end of the earth” (Isa. 49:6).
The children of Israel gave “glory to the Lord” and praised “Him in the sight of the Gentiles” because “he has scattered them among the Gentiles who did not know Him” to “declare His wonderful works, and make them know that there is no other almighty God besides Him” (Tobit 13:3‒4).92
The Perpetual Mission to Bless the Families of the Earth
Several centuries before Jesus, Jews went to Asia, Europe, and North Africa. Jacob (Israel) was told the future: “And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall gain strength westward and eastward and northward and southward; and through you shall be blessed all the families of the earth and through your seed. And behold, I am with you, and I will guard you wherever you go, and I will restore you to this land, for I will not forsake you until I have done what I have spoken concerning you” (Gen. 28:13‒14). This was part of the mission of the Jews.
Christians think that the Jews were “exiled” because they sinned by not recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. Scattered in the world, they bore the “transgressions” and “iniquities” of the pagan and Christian worlds.93
As noted, some Jews explained that they were scattered because of the gratuitous hatred prevalent at the time. But God does not punish a people for the presumed sins of their ancestors. Since Ezekiel, we know that children are not punished for the sins of their parents.94 “The children are not put to death for the fathers.”95
The Blessing and the Curse
The wandering of the Jews enabled God to bless those nations who blessed them and to curse those who cursed them, as mentioned in the Bible.96 “You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed’“ (Acts 3:25). The bad state of the world is due to the nations cursing the Jews and Israel. For God, the Jews were and are “the barometer for moral concern.”97
Everywhere the Jews were a blessing to the people that accepted them. History has proven that development, peace, and prosperity came with the Jews; war, social unrest, and poverty came when the Jews were persecuted and chased. Examples can be found in history—and today, in Arab countries since the days the Jews were forced to emigrate without being able to take their possessions.98
God promised that when the Jews return to His land, the “Lord your God will put all these curses upon your enemies who hate you and persecute you.”99
Israel Fought to Build the Kingdom of God during 2,600 Years100
At a time when almost no one (including Christian priests) knew how to read and write, the Jews were called to implore God to bless the people, the land, and the crops. They were an example of literacy and education. They transmitted the Proverbs, the Psalms, the Song of Songs, and their commentaries.
The Jews became agents and representatives of God among the nations. Israel has not shied away from the universal mission assigned to it by God. The Jews were in the middle of the conflict between the divine law and brutal force.
The Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews recognized in 1985 that: “The history of Israel did not end in 70 A.D. It continued, especially in a numerous Diaspora which allowed Israel to carry to the whole world a witness—often heroic—of its fidelity to the one God and to exalt Him in the presence of all the living [Tobit 13:4] while preserving the memory of the land of their forefathers at the heart of their hope.”101
However, the Church did not explain the “work” of the Jews and why they were “heroic.” Were the Jews “heroic” because they did not convert and did not bow before a cross, which they considered an expression of idolatry, and accepted to die at the hands of the Church and Christians?
Sharing the Lessons of the Exodus, the Teaching of the Law, and Jewish History
The history of the world as revealed in the Bible shows that God is the Creator of all His creatures and that He is behind history (theodicy). All His creatures have the same father (Adam and then Noah) and we are all brothers and “our brothers’ keepers” (Gen. 4:9). This is a difficult task knowing that Cain killed Abel and Joseph was sold by his brothers. But Isaac and Ishmael and Moses and Aaron acted as brothers.
God judges “measure for measure” (middah k’neged middah); “Justice prevails” or “What goes around comes around.”
God chose Moses to deliver the Hebrews from bondage and gave him the Tablets of the Law after seeing three times that Moses acted according to unwritten moral laws, intervening to save a threatened slave, a threatened Hebrew, and a threatened woman. He protected the weak as his duty. Tyranny and injustice must be fought, surely today as ever.
Another message, repeated in the Gospels, is: “We are all born free and we have been called to live in freedom” (Gal. 5:13). God delivered the Jews from Egyptian slavery. The Jews concluded, among other things, that freedom, equality before the law, and justice are what God wants for His creatures. These principles constitute the basic values of democratic political systems, including that of Israel, the United States, and several European states. But freedom does not mean anarchy. Everyone is responsible.
After entering the Land, God sent prophets to the Jews to complete His message. One of the prophets, Jeremiah, recalled: “Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, nor the strong man boast of his strength, nor the rich man boast of his riches. But let him that boasts exult in this, that he understands and knows Me, for I am the Lord Who practices kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth; for in these things I delight, says the Lord” (Jer. 9: 22‒23).
The conduct of the wives of the patriarchs and of the prophetesses became an example for every woman. The conduct of the Judges and of the Kings, when just, became an example for rulers of how to behave and how not to behave.
The Jews deduced in the Talmud the Seven Laws of Noah (based on Gen. 9:1‒7), the Noachide Laws, to be followed by all mankind: “Establish courts of law and ensure justice in our world; Do not curse your Creator; Do not profane Gd’s Oneness in any way—idolatry is forbidden; Do not murder; Incest, adultery, rape, and homosexual relations are forbidden; Do not steal; Do not eat a limb of a living animal.”
The Jews were present in all social stratifications and transmitted the doctrine to all the people they encountered. The Jews were not a “class-people.”
The Lord called the “Jews for justice” and “set them for a covenant to all people” and a “light to the nations, to open the blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from jail and from their prison those who live in darkness” (Isa. 42:6‒9). Being the victims of injustices, the Jews knew what justice meant. Being put in darkness they knew what light meant, even under Soviet oppression. They were called to repair the world. This is a duty of all His creatures.
The Kingdom of God on Earth
In that kingdom there is no place for slavery, exploitation, hatred, dehumanization, delegitimization, demonization, discrimination, persecution, and murder. There is no place for dictators and wars of aggression as in our very day. The oppressors’ jails are full of innocents. States like Iran aspiring to use nuclear weapons to obliterate Israel have no place in this kingdom.
Most of the countries fighting Israel presently are countries that reject these messages. They fight the United States and some Western countries that have partially adopted these messages. They also fight these messages in their own countries. They constitute the majority at the UN General Assembly and rule the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR). Their leaders do not want the kingdom of God on earth; they have their own power aims.
The wandering of the Jews from nation to nation can be considered a means to bring Christianity, Islam, and other religions closer to the original message given on Mount Sinai through contact with believing Jews and to transmit the moral attributes of God, along with the values deriving from the Laws of Moses and the teachings of the prophets.
The Jews reminded the Christians that the world may be perfected and that the kingdom of God on earth can come. Christians treated the Jews as an enemy, but the Jews were, as noted in Romans 11:29, their “enemies for their sake.” With the return of the Jews to His Land, some Christians, rediscovering the prophecies, are hoping for the return of Jesus, their Messiah.
When the Bible was censored by the Catholic Church, and when possessing a Bible, reading or using it was punished by the Church, the Jews explained the Laws of Moses and the prophets to their Christian neighbors.
According to Friedrich Nietzsche (1844‒1900), the Jews brought a “grand style of morality.” Hermann Cohen (1842‒1918) maintained that the Jews have a spiritual and moral mission; without the Jews, a major force for good and a barometer for moral concern would be taken away from civilization entirely.
The Jews Prevented Wars, Contributed to the Renaissance and to Prosperity
Jews spoke the same language, Hebrew, and several other languages. During some periods, many nations sent them abroad to serve as diplomats and counselors. In that role they could prevent, whenever possible, wars and suffering. They sought to preserve life and peace. At the time of the Spanish Reconquista, they brought “Renaissance philosophy” and modernity to Europe. Knowing Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin, they translated classical Greek philosophical and scientific works. Rabbi Hasdai Crescas (c. 1340–1410/11), in his book Or Hashem, critiqued the Aristotelian science that spurred the growth of modern science and influenced general Occidental philosophy, especially via thinkers like Pico della Mirandola and Spinoza. Some of his best-known opinions concern the existence of the void, the existence of an infinitude of worlds, and the existence of time without movement.
Speaking the same language on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea, Jews established centers at a time of rivalry between Muslims and Christians, for the prosperity of the population on both sides. In the Christian and Muslim worlds, Jews were doctors to kings and princes. Christian and Muslim rulers knew that they followed the Ten Commandments and would not poison or kill. They became close to kings and princes; they would not lie and so were good advisers. They would not steal and therefore became trusted treasurers and financial advisers, tax collectors, or bartenders to collect taxes on alcohol (the rulers’ main taxes). They were also merchants and shared with their clients their knowledge of the Bible. Thereafter, Jews significantly contributed to science, culture, philosophy, literature, technology, and commerce. The Jews’ contribution to humanity later extended to social-justice projects and to progress in the fields of medicine, science, and economy, as demonstrated in modern times by the 20 percent of Nobel Prizes awarded to Jews.
At the time of the former Soviet Union, the Jews succeeded to mobilize themselves and the rest of the Western (Christian) world to support human rights, including the right of free emigration whether for Jews or for Volga Germans, thereby challenging the “evil empire” and tearing off its human mask. Those actions transformed the asset that the Jews constituted for the Soviets into a liability (like the Ten Plagues of Egypt). The struggle for Soviet Jewry, in some small or larger part, led to the collapse of a dictatorial regime and to freedom for hundreds of millions, leading also to the reunification of Germany. After what was purported to be freedom from religion, hundreds of millions of people obtained freedom for religion and spirituality. God came back to the lands behind the Iron Curtain that many foolishly thought He had abandoned.
Of major import, one million Jews were also brought “from the northland…where I have driven them and they shall dwell on their land” (Jer. 23:7‒8).
Today’s Jews are the descendants of those who were the most faithful to God since their dispersion and who succeeded in resisting the churches’ persecutions and efforts to convert them. The churches should thank the Lord and the Jews in the name of all the Christians for what the Jews’ millennial mission accomplished in all parts of the world, and ask them for forgiveness. For this mission to the benefit of all His creatures of whatever faith, God had chosen the Jewish people, “a stiff-necked people” (Exod. 32:9). Israel always remained God’s chosen, choosing God, since they did not consent to bend their neck and continued to observe His commandments and oppose oppression.
The Churches’ “New Israel” Does Not Exist; the Eternal “Israel” Has Returned to His Land
Christianity has not superseded Judaism. Islam did not supersede Christianity and Judaism. That was not God’s purpose; it was, rather, to help them rise to the level of their own faith in God.
The return of the Jewish people to its ancestral land after 2,000 years contradicts the course of history according to Marxist schematics.102 Christians did not think that this would occur or thought that they would convert the Jews before or after they would return. Sure that they remain the new people of God, the Muslims did not accept the return of the Jews even though it is also prophesized in the Koran.
The Jews were God’s witness, and today every Jew is a proof of God’s truthfulness and fidelity. His fidelity can be seen not only in the ingathering of the exiles but also in the restoration of the Land of Israel, the rebuilding and reunification of Jerusalem. His fidelity can be seen in all the miracles that have occurred in all Israel’s defensive wars.
The restoration of the state of Israel happened in 1948. In 1967, the liberation of Judea and Samaria from illegal Jordanian occupation was followed by its resettlement.
The Kingdom of God on Earth and Its Implementation by the Jewish People in Israel and Elsewhere
The Role and Mission of the Jews Continues from His Land
For Pierre Boutang (1916–1998), a philosopher, poet, Catholic, royalist, and professor of metaphysics at the Sorbonne, the Jewish people’s role and mission in the land today is to continue “to fulfill its original mission,” since Christianity failed with the First and Second World Wars. The sole “positive development” resulting from World War II was “the creation of the state of Israel.”103
When the Jewish people were freed, some other nations were also freed but several more were subjugated to the Soviet Union behind the Iron Curtain. Those nations had participated in the massacre of the Jewish people, or sent their Jews to the gas chambers without being asked by the Nazis.104
Already in 1938, in the Revue Protestante: Foi et Vie (no. 3, reprinted in April 1947), a wise Christians stated: “It was through the Jews that God began the revelation of His grace in the eyes of the world; it is through them that He will complete it.”
With the arrival of the Internet and other means of mass communication, the original service mission conferred on the Jews can easily be performed from the wellsprings of His land, and no longer only from the Diaspora. In every state the Jews were a minority. In Israel they are a majority and can apply concretely the above-described characteristics of the kingdom of God.
Israel is also the perfect laboratory. The people of Israel came back from five continents with different cultures of the world and with their respective histories. What can be achieved in Israel might be repeated elsewhere, once the results of brotherly love are seen.
The secular Jews who came to redeem the land instituted the kibbutz system, collective communities based on socialism. The swamps were drained. Malaria disappeared. The land was redeemed and produced its fruit. Israel has since demonstrated that socialism, like communism, can be an economic disaster. At the outset, the Israeli government controlled many aspects of economic life and people felt that they had lost some of their personal freedom. Individual responsibility almost disappeared. Major reforms have since been instituted even in the kibbutz, where the traditional family was re-created and wages are now allocated according to individual contribution, with a minimum wage for everyone.
An ultraliberal economy has brought inequalities and poverty to part of the population. The state must again provide every citizen a minimum income to ensure access to basic needs of food, housing, health, clothing, and education without difficulty.
Moral imperatives have been implemented partially by the Jewish people in their independent Jewish homeland. Some results can be seen after 73 years, despite the wars, the immigration of 850,000 refugees expelled by Arab and Muslim states with the difficulties of integrating immigrants (also including the more than one million from the former Soviet Union after 1989), the security issues, the terrorist attacks, and the ongoing attacks by the media and at the United Nations by more than 120 states (which recognized a “state of Palestine”), by the International Criminal Court, the UN Human Rights Council, and the BDS actions and intimidation against Israel.
Equality before the law exists. Israeli Arabs (Muslims and Christians) do not want to leave Israel and go live in the Palestinian Authority or in any other Arab/Muslim state. According to Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth, the Jewish state is the only place in the Middle East where the Christians live in safety. It is the only refuge welcoming and protecting all of its citizens. It is the only place that does not attempt to push Christians out, forcing them to leave in search of security.
In Israel, the right to life is upheld to the point that the death penalty is not applied to terrorists who murdered civilians even though these criminals will one day be released and kill other civilians. The Palestinian Authority leaders’ policy of “pay to slay” that incentivizes terrorism, still continues. Meanwhile the Arab cities of Judea Samaria became “Judenrein.”
The full implementation of the kingdom of God on earth will take some time. The legal practice of one-judge courts should be banned except in very simple cases. This is a door to miscarriage of justice, even in small matters. A minimum of three judges should rule in all matters. Judges should not use their authority to force parties to accept their proposals for gentlemen’s agreements. The promotion of judges should not be dependent on the number of cases they have judged or sent to other courts. The acknowledgment of offenses should never be a basis for conviction. Every year people are convinced to acknowledge offenses that they did not commit to get a lenient sentence that is shorter than the time they would spend otherwise until they are judged innocent.
To implement justice, important reforms are needed. But we still see, in every country, that “under the sun in the place of judgment there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness.…God…judge[s] the righteous and the wicked, since there is a time for every activity and every deed” (Eccles. 3:16‒18).
Kindness, righteousness, and responsibility, which are questions of education that is not limited to schools, are still to be fully implemented. Several years ago a special program and training for children to perform kindness (goodness-chesed) on a given day was conducted in some Israeli schools. This program should be extended to all spheres of activity (schools, administration, factories, services, commerce, roads, etc.).
The Realization of the “Promise”
Today almost half of the Jews of the world are living in Israel. They returned to the land of their ancestors, independent and sovereign; they were delivered by the Creator from exile. A country of 10 million inhabitants regularly makes headlines every evening on all the televisions of the world. But no one there mentions the return of the Jews ordained by the Almighty.
The Jews see and live the realization of the “promise”: “This land that was desolate has become like the Garden of Eden, and the cities that were destroyed and desolate and pulled down have become settled as fortified [cities] and are inhabited” (Ezek. 36:35); “Burst out in song, sing together, O ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has consoled his people; He has redeemed Jerusalem” (Isa. 52:9).
For Pope Benedict XVI, however, “the nontheological nature of the Jewish state means that it cannot be considered as fulfilling the promises of Holy Scriptures as such.” Perhaps Pope Benedict wants Israel to be a theocracy like the Holy See or like Iran, with a government of mullahs. Iran is certainly not an example of the kingdom of God on earth, but the opposite.
Israel, the state of the Jews, must not have a theological nature or be a theocracy. According to the abovementioned Nachmanides, political power should not belong to the priesthood on a continuous basis.105
With the return of the Jews, another prophecy is becoming a reality: “Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruits” (Isa. 27:6). Today fruits such as oranges, avocados, dates, and mangos are exported from Israel to all parts of the world.
The 1.8 billion Christians who share the Hebrew Bible with the Jews are in a good position to understand what the kingdom of God on earth means and could join the Jews in the process. All the peoples of the earth are waiting for their own exodus from “Egypt.” This is a new challenge; we must help rescue them from the hands of their own oppressors. This would be a worthy partnership for the Church.
All the religions of the world know the commandments to “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do not to others what you would not have them do to you.” But these commandments are difficult to uphold since we do not know how to love ourselves. The rules to implement the kingdom of God on earth will enable us to uphold these commandments.
Churches have been struggling against the Jews since the beginning, and Jews still consider that this continues in various forms today. At the Vatican II Council the Catholic Church seriously reviewed its past, but a serious dispute with the Church still exists. It has already accomplished some repentance and transformation. There are still ambiguities, slowness, and lack of audacity in the Church’s work for fundamental aggiornamento (bringing up to date) in its view of the Jews. The Jews still feel the harm done. Antisemitism, hatred, and delegitimization of the Jews and Israel still exist in the Christian world and must be eradicated by its own efforts.
The Catholic Church and the other churches should end their theological struggle with the Jews and find another scapegoat for their own failings. Or, better yet, they should have a good look in the mirror. They should stop saying that Jesus was a “Palestinian Jew.”106 This is incorrect; he was a Judean Jew living in Judea and Galilee. There were no “Palestinian” Jews. There was never any state or kingdom of “Palestine.”
The Church should admit that Jesus was not the Messiah (Christ) of the Jews. He did not bring peace on earth, he did not decide conflicts, people did not beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations continued to lift up the sword against nations and still learn war. The Church, like Pope Benedict XVI, must conclude that “It is clear that these words have not been fulfilled by Jesus, but remain an expectation of the future.”
The Church should admit that Jesus was not the Messiah (Christ) of the Jews. His ministry was deliberately limited “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” not all of Israel, as the Church recognized in 1985.107 Not all the House of Israel were lost sheep. Those who were lost were those who failed God by abandoning the Laws of Moses, who had lost their Jewish identity under the pressures of the Church, or who were murdered by Christians or by the Muslims.
The churches should stop their attempts to convert the Jews. They were saved in Egypt and on Mount Sinai and do not need to be saved a second time. “Salvation comes from the Jews” to the gentiles, not vice versa. The Jewish people were permanently saved by God in the course of history as He promised in the Bible, and they still exist. This is what Christians erroneously call the “Israel Mystery.”
No one is responsible for the acts of his or her fathers. However, since the members of the Church are “linked to the sins as well as the merits of all her children,”108 the Church should ask forgiveness in its name and in the name of all Christians, for the Church’s fathers, for their remaining and past antisemitism/anti-Judaism. The Church should also put its house in order. It should restitute to the Jewish people all the properties belonging to the Jews that were taken from them in the course of history and give to Israel all landed properties that are not places of prayer. Those landed properties were given “in trust” temporarily and should have been restituted to the Jews after their return to His land.
The Church should accept that there is no “Israel Mystery.” Israel had a service mission in exile for God, and Israel accomplished this mission for the benefit of all the nations.
The Church, like Pope Benedict XVI, must conclude that “The Jews have opened the door to God precisely through their final scattering in the world. Their diaspora is not merely and not primarily a condition of punishment; instead, it signifies a mission.”
The story of Tobit cited by the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews109 is only a partial example of that mission. That mission was not limited to “showing fidelity to the one God and to exalt Him in the presence of all the living.”110 The mission was not to be heroic in the face of persecutors.111 The mission was to bring Christianity’s and Islam’s messages closer to the original message given on Mount Sinai through contacts with Jews, to transmit to the world the moral attributes of Godliness, and the values developed by the Jews that derive from their liberation from Egypt, from the Laws of Moses, and from the teaching of the prophets: freedom, equality before the law, kindness, justice, righteousness, responsibility, and trust in God. This is the “doctrine” that Israel and the Jews must continue to implement in His land and to share with the world (the kingdom of God on earth).
The Jews have returned to His land as promised in the Bible and in the Koran. The land has become like the Garden of Eden. Israel continues its mission from His land. Fifty-six years after Vatican II, a new Nostra aetate⸺a new Declaration on the Relation of the Church with the Jews⸺should be adopted by a new Vatican Council. This new declaration should recognize the mission given by God to this “chosen, stiff-necked people,” thank God for their millennial mission accomplished in all parts of the world, and ask for forgiveness and to bless Israel for the good of the Church. This will be another way, with the return of the Jews to His land, and the return of their properties, to dry the tears of the Jews. This will be an example for the Orthodox Church, the other Christian churches, and to our Muslim neighbors.
The lack of action would mean that the Church does not want to end its theological struggle with the Jewish people.
Joint contributions through concrete humanitarian aid for justice and peace in the world are not enough. All the peoples of the earth are waiting for their exit from Egypt. The Church has a God-given opportunity to join Israel’s mission, to implement the kingdom of God on earth, a kingdom that everyone can today imagine. Be blessed, not cursed.
* * *
2 “Before the Evian conference (1938), Hitler said that if other countries would agree to take the Jews, he would help them leave. But when the United States and Britain refused to accept Jewish refugees, other countries at the conference followed suit, and any mention of the British Mandate of ‘Palestine’ as a possible destination for Jewish refugees was excluded from the agenda. The decision-making process which led to the ‘final solution to the Jewish problem’ began immediately after the conference and was a direct result of it.” Guy Millière, “Radical Islam, Israel and Agitprop,” Gatestone Institute, September 27, 2014, http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4721/radical-islam-israel-agitprop.
3 Pierre Boutang, La guerre de six jours (The Six-Day War) (Les Provinciales, 2011), 26-27, http://www.lesprovinciales.fr/livre/guerre-de-six-jours.
4 That year, before a battle, Constantine saw a cross in the sky, along with the Greek words for “In this sign conquer.” That night, according to his biographer, Constantine had a dream in which Christ reinforced this message.
5 Andreas Holzem, “Theological War Theories,” Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society (1961). https://ixtheo.de/Record/1579036740/Description#fulltextsearch
6 Saint Augustine, City of God, Book XVIII, paras. 46 and 47.
7 Until the 11th century, the Church had five patriarchs: four in Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Jerusalem (only honorific), and one in Rome. The Catholic Church emerged as an autonomous and dominant power in the West at a time when negative theology toward Judaism and the Jews already had well-established foundations.
8 Letter of Pope John Paul II to Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah.” “At the end of this Millennium the Catholic Church desires to express her deep sorrow for the failures of her sons and daughters in every age. This is an act of repentance (teshuva), since, as members of the Church, we are linked to the sins as well as the merits of all her children. The Church approaches with deep respect and great compassion the experience of extermination, the Shoah, suffered by the Jewish people during World War II…. We pray that our sorrow for the tragedy which the Jewish people have suffered in our century will lead to a new relationship with the Jewish people.” Issued by the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, March 16, 1998, https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/research_sites/cjl/texts/cjrelations/resources/documents/catholic/We_Remember.htm. Pope John Paul II did not mention what happened before the Shoah. He did not refer to the millions of Jews who were murdered by Christians over 1,700 years.
10 To begin with an example, in 1555 Pope Paul IV’s papal bull Cum nimis absurdum required Jews in the Church’s domains to be restricted to ghettos, divested of their property, and to wear special badges for identification. This looks like the status of dhimmis in Islamic lands and the measures taken against the Jews by the Nazis and their allies. Other examples will be given in this article.
11 The Church “completely ignores its own historical responsibility for the suffering and martyrdom so frequently recorded in the annals of the history of the few, the weak, and the persecuted.” Joseph B. Soloveitchik, “Confrontation,” Tradition, Spring-Summer 1964, para. 3, https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/research_sites/cjl/texts/center/conferences/soloveitchik/index.html#2. For the religious-theological antisemitism, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_antisemitism.
12 “The Ratlines: What Did the Vatican Know about Nazi Escape Routes?,”
https://Www.Dw.Com/En/The-Ratlines-What-Did-The-Vatican-Know-About-Nazi-Escape-Routes/A-52555068; “Assistance That Was Given to Nazis to Escape Justice,” https://En.Wikipedia.Org/Wiki/Ratlines_(World_War_II_Aftermath); Ralph Blumenthal, “Vatican Is Reported to Have Furnished Aid to Fleeing Nazis,” New York Times, January 26, 1984, https://www.nytimes.com/1984/01/26/world/vatican-is-reported-to-have-furnished-aid-to-fleeing-nazis.html.
13 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Declaration Dominus Iesus, on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church,” John Paul II, Joseph Card. Ratzingzer, Prefect, August 6, 2000, §4, http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html.
14 See Soloveitchik, “Confrontation,” para. 3.
15 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Declaration Dominus Iesus.” However, “while both Pawlikowski and Pollefeyt agree with Kasper that there is no Catholic organized mission to the Jews, they also agree that Catholic-Jewish dialogue must leave room for the possibility of individual conversion.” Nadia Pandolfo, “Truth and Conflict in the Catholic Church: Catholic Jewish Dialogue,” May 2014, 70, https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/etd/143.
16 “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25). “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob’“ (Rom. 11:26). “For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy” (Rom. 11:30‒31).
17 R. Ballerini, “La Dispersione d’Israello per il mondo modern” (Israel’s Dispersion in the Modern World), La Civiltà Cattolica, a. 48, X, 1897, cited by Tulia Catalan in “La ricezione del sionismo nella stampa cattolica italiana (1897-1917). Una ricerca in corso,” https://storicamente.org/catalan. Saint Augustine called him “a people who witnessed his iniquity and our truth,” City of God, Book XVIII, paras. 46 and 47.
18 Michael Calvo, “The Holy See and Israel: The Historic Fight against the Jews and Their State,” Jewish Political Studies Review 31, nos. 3‒4 (June 13, 2021), https://jcpa.org/article/the-holy-see-and-israel-the-historic-fight-against-the-jews-and-their-state.https://jcpa.org/article/the-holy-see-and-israel-the-historic-fight-against-the-jews-and-their-state/
20 The same methods and propaganda against the Jews were later used by the Black Hundred Orthodox priests, particularly active from 1906 to 1914, who carried out raids (with the unofficial approval of the Russian government) and pogroms against the Jews. The same sort of propaganda was used against the Jews by the Nazis and later by the KGB (in the Soviet Union). It was also used by the Europeans toward the blacks to justify their enslavement, and toward the Africans and Asians to justify colonialism. It is used today by Christian organizations, the Palestinian Authority, and by their allies in the world against Israel and the Jews (under the name of anti-Zionism). The aim is to dehumanize, delegitimize, and demonize Israeli Jews and Israel and to isolate them from the world; once isolated, no one will defend them and it will be easier to destroy them.
21 “Vatican II did not as yet become a reality in many Catholic countries more than five decades after the Second Vatican Council. What has become true for the Catholicism of Canada and the United States five decades after Vatican II, did not necessarily happen to the ten most antisemitic Catholic communities of devout Catholics, attending each Sunday the Catholic Church service in, say, South Korea; South Africa; Slovakia; Nigeria; Bosnia; Venezuela; Spain; Albania; Uganda; and Mexico.” Arno Tausch, “The Return of Religious Antisemitism: The Evidence from World Values Survey Data,” Innsbruck University and Corvinus University, November 17, 2018, 52, https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/90093/1/MPRA_paper_90093.pdf.
22 Already in 167, Melito, a bishop in Sardis, a city in what is now Turkey, gave a sermon entitled “Homily on the Passover.” He argued that by “crucifying Jesus,” “the Jews” had “murdered God,” and therefore the Jewish people as a whole were guilty of the crime. His homily is the first known use of the deicide charge (as the accusation was later known).” Phyllis Goldstein, A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism (Facing History and Ourselves Foundation, 2011), “Separation: Synagogue and Church, Jew and Christian, “ https://www.facinghistory.org/sites/default/files/Ch.2.pd
24 Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, Nostra aetate, proclaimed by his holiness Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965, Vatican II Council, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html.
25 Menahem Macina, “La querelle du ‘déicide’ au Concile Vatican II, 2007” (The “Deicide” Quarrel at Vatican Council II, 2007), academia.edu, p. 6, https://www.academia.edu/40707853/La_querelle_du_d%C3%A9icide_au_Concile_Vatican_II_M_R_Macina_2007.
26 See on Amazon The Trial of Jesus or The Trial and Death of Jesus. In the 20th century hundred thousand books have been written on the life of Jesus.
27 The “Gospel of John knows nothing of any trial or of the Sanhedrin being convened before Jesus was led to the Court of Pilate.… Under Biblical law you need not less than two reliable witnesses. And in the case of Jesus all witnesses were dismissed as untrustworthy.” “The trial and execution of Jesus were exclusively Roman.” See Haim H. Cohn, “Reflection on the Trial and Death of Jesus,” Israel Law Review Association, 1967, 19, 52. See also Werner Riess, “The Trial of Jesus Revisited,” Universität Hamburg, Germany, (24) (PDF) The Trial of Jesus Revisited | Werner Rieß – Academia.edu.
29 “The Council of Nicaea enforced Christ being stripped of his Jewishness and turned him into a deity fulfilling pagan traditions and safeguarding the Roman Empire. Therefore, Christianity was fixed as a religion that created the Jewish community as its opposite that had to be combatted and eventually erased.” Wolfgang Treitler, “Antisemitism, Christianity, and the Churches in Europe,” https://www.jcrelations.net/articles/article/antisemitism-christianity-and-the-churches-in-europe.html.
30 In the Bible all humans, created by God, are sometimes called Sons of Men (bnei Adam) or Sons of God (bnei Elohim). As examples, in Matt. 17:12, 20:18, 20:28, and Luke 18:31, Jesus is called the Son of Man, not the Son of God. “Son of God” does not necessarily mean that the Son of Man became God or is born as God. See Luke 1:35, stating that Jesus will be called the Son of God. For examples for Son of Man, see Ezek. 2:1, 3:10; examples for Son of God, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sons_of_God#Seconhttps: //biblehub.com/ezekiel/3-10.htmd_Temple_Judaism_(c._500_BCE_%E2%80%93_70_CE.
31 Goldstein, Convenient Hatred.
32 This is a human sacrifice as practiced by the gentiles with the attractions of monotheism. This reminds us of the case of Abraham, in which Isaac was saved from the “sacrifice” by God, who stopped Abraham. See Rabbi Yohanan Lederman, “The Sacrifice of Abraham and Abraham’s Ram,” Jerusalem Post (French ed.), October 22‒28, 1991, 13. The Muslims mention the “sacrifice” of Ishmael and claim the Bible was falsified when it mentions Isaac.
33 Eph. 2:12, https://biblehub.com/ephesians/2-12.ht.
34 The word Trinity was used by Tertullian (160–220) and Origen (185–254). Tri-theism (or “three divinities”) is a non-Trinitarian Christian heresy in which the unity of the Trinity and thus monotheism are denied. Tri-theistic tendencies have been condemned as heretical by mainstream theology. The Jews consider Christianity a monotheist religion.
35 Zech. 14:8‒9: “And it shall come to pass on that day that spring water shall come forth from Jerusalem; half of it to the eastern sea, and half of it to the western sea; in summer and in winter it shall be. And the Lord shall become King over all the earth; on that day shall the Lord be One, and His name One.”
36 “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius” is a phrase reportedly spoken by the commander of the Albigensian Crusade, prior to the massacre at Béziers (France) on July 22, 1209, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caedite_eos._Novit_enim_Dominus_qui_sunt_eius.
37 Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian religions, Nostra aetate.
39 “Germany officially recognizes colonial-era Namibia genocide,” DW, May 25, 2021. “Historians generally accept that up to 65,000 of roughly 80,000 Herero people living in the area at the time, and at least 10,000 of the roughly 20,000 Nama people, were killed.” Namibia also “want[s] looted art to be returned to the country,” https://www.dw.com/en/germany-officially-recognizes-colonial-era-namibia-genocide/a-57671070. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herero_and_Namaqua_genocide.
41 Susan Wendel, Scriptural Interpretation and Community Self-Definition in Luke-Acts and the Writings of Justin Martyr (Leiden: Brill, 2011), https://brill.com/view/title/19159. “Justin Martyr argued that Jews had lost God’s promise because they did not believe in Christ. He turned Christ into a pagan figure and argued that all the stories about Christ should be read and understood in a pagan way. Zeus had many sons.” Trietler, “Antisemitism.”
42 Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, Nostra aetate. See Arno Tausch, “Did Vatican II Change Everything? Israel and the World of Catholicism(s),” Jewish Political Studies Review 28, nos. 3-4 (March 24, 2018), https://jcpa.org/article/israel-and-the-world-of-catholicisms/#_edn2; and “Between Jerusalem and Rome: Reflections on 50 Years of Nostra Aetate,” Conference of European Rabbis, Rabbinical Council of America, and Chief Rabbinate of Israel, August 31, 2017, https://www.ccjr.us/dialogika-resources/documents-and-statements/jewish/cer-cri-rca-2017.
43 Replacement theology is advocated by the Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the United Methodist Church, the Anglican Church, the Lutheran Church, the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others, and of course by Islam, which also replaced the Christian churches. However, two other theologies can be considered: separation theology and remnant theology. See John J. Parsons, “Israel and the Church, Understanding Some Theological Options,” https://hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Israel/israel.html.
44 “The Holy Father has stated this permanent reality of the Jewish people in a remarkable theological formula, in his allocution to the Jewish community of West Germany at Mainz, on November 17th, 1980: ‘the people of God of the Old Covenant, which has never been revoked.’“ Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, “Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church,” June 24, 1985, I, ”Religious Teaching and Judaism,” §3, https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/research_sites/cjl/texts/cjrelations/resources/documents/catholic/Vatican_Notes.htm.https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/research_sites/cjl/texts/cjrelations/resources/documents/catholic/Vatican_Notes.htm
45 The Israelites were not in exile in the desert. They did not wander in the desert; they were not lost. They were close to God and lived with His permanent presence. To state that they were in “exile” means that Pope Paul VI did not understand what happened there: God decided all their stations in the desert, when they had to move and when they had to stop; He protected them from the heat and provided for all their needs.
46 Israel has never been called a “Church” (community) or a “Church of God.” Israel is not a “community” of God but a people and a nation; the Jews were the descendants of Jacob. Pope Paul VI has a wrong conception. According to “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium),” chapter II, “On the People of God,” §9, the Catholic Church is called the “Church of Christ” and not the “Church of God,” http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html.
47 Ibid., §9.
48 Jer. 31:31: “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium),” chapter II, “On the People of God,” §9, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html.
49 Ibid., §9. In other words, according to Jeremiah, a new covenant will occur in the future with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, who will be God’s people (“My people”). Since the Church stated that Christ instituted a new covenant with the Community of Christians (comprised of Jews and gentiles), this new covenant instituted by Christ with Jews and gentiles was made with the (new) people of God, prophesized by Jeremiah.
50 Macina, “La querelle du ‘déicide,’“ p. 6. Maximos IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and of Alexandria and Jerusalem of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church from 1947 until his death in 1967, understood that the new chosen people has the right to this land and that the Jews do not have any special rights to it. The Muslims say that the Jews are not the Jews (bnei Israel) mentioned in the Koran, concluding that the return of the Jews to their land as promised in the Koran cannot happen.
51 See n. 43.
52 Mark 8:28, 29, 30. “Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, ‘Who do men say that I am?’ So they answered, ‘John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ.’ Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.” https://biblehub.com/mark/8-28.htm; https://biblehub.com/mark/8-29.htm; https://biblehub.com/mark/8-30.htm. See also Matt. 16:20, https://biblehub.com/matthew/16-20.htm.
53 Benedict on Judaism and Christianity, https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/benedict-on-judaism-and-christianity
54 The Disputation of Barcelona (1263), Cambridge University Press, August 23, 2011; La Dispute de Barcelone (Editions Verdier, 1984).
55 Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, “Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church,” June 24, 1985, III, “Jewish Roots of Christianity,” §12, see n. 44 above.
56 According to the prophet Malachi, before the coming of the messenger, Elijah the Prophet “will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 3:23‒24, 4:5‒6).
57 “Then He will judge between the nations and arbitrate for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer take up the sword against nation, nor train anymore for war,” https://biblehub.com/isaiah/2-4.htm.
58 According to the Bible, a Jew can become a slave when he cannot reimburse his debts. The Laws of Moses state the rights and obligations of the master and of the slave and when the slaves are to be freed. Slavery cannot exceed seven years. The Bible requires Jews (members of his family or not) to pay for the release of slaves. The Laws of Moses forbid the kidnapping of people to sell them as slaves, on punishment of death.
59 “Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah—all failed the critical test of responsibility. Adam fails to take personal responsibility for disobeying God, Cain refuses to accept moral responsibility for killing Abel, and Noah does not take collective responsibility for the other souls who will be lost in the flood because he never tries to save them by convincing them to repent or by pleading with God. Abraham, on the other hand, is the embodiment of personal, moral, and collective responsibility. He takes personal responsibility in preventing a major dispute between his herdsmen and those of Lot; moral responsibility in rescuing Lot, his brother’s son, from invaders; and finally, collective responsibility in challenging God Himself in His decision to destroy Sodom.” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “Taking Responsibility” (Bereishit 5781), https://rabbisacks.org/bereishit-5781.
60 For the Jews, this is not justice. We are judged and recalled by God for our personal sins. “Will not the Judge of all the Earth do justice?” (Gen. 18:23‒25).
61 Benedict on Judaism and Christianity, https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/benedict-on-judaism-and-christianity
62 “But if your heart turns away and you do not listen, but are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them; I declare to you today that you will surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life, so that you and your descendants may live, and that you may love the LORD your God, obey Him, and hold fast to Him. For He is your life, and He will prolong your life in the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Deut. 30:17‒20) (emphasis added).
63 On August 11, 2021, Pope Francis stated that: “The Law, however, does not give life, it does not offer the fulfillment of the promise because it is not capable of being able to fulfill it.” Pope Francis, General Audience, Wednesday, 11 August 2021, https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/audiences/2021/documents/papa-francesco_20210811_udienza-generale.html. Pope Francis forgot that the Law gives life to the Jews. He considers wrongly that the promise of the Land was made also to the Christians. The promise was made to Abraham and repeated to his children, Isaac and Jacob; not to Esau (Romans) or to Ishmael (Muslims) or to the children of Keturah (people of the lands of the East).
65 From 1568 to 1960, the 1st of January was called “The Circumcision of the Lord” to mark the day when Jesus was circumcised like all Jews on the eighth day. In 1960, Pope John XXIII erased this event. This is another example of the policy of erasing the Jewish side of Jesus. Today there are European states that want to prohibit Jews and Muslims from circumcising their children to protect them from what they call mutilation. Some European states call for the end of the ritual slaughter of animals. They want to prevent Jews and Muslims from following their religion, to force them to become like them.
66 “A Reflection on Theological Questions pertaining to Catholic-Jewish relations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of ‘Nostra Aetate,’“ no. 4, §6, “The Church’s mandate to evangelize in relation to Judaism,” December 10, 2015, https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/relations-jews-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20151210_ebraismo-nostra-aetate_en.html#6._The_Church%E2%80%99s_mandate_to_evangelize_in_relation_to_Judaism.
67 “Perhaps someday soon every Christian denomination will issue a crystal clear statement forswearing all attempts, organized, disorganized, haphazard, or even accidental, to convert Jews.” Charles David Isbell, Orthodox Rabbinic Statement on Christianity, “To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians,” Louisiana State University, April 2016, https://bibleinterp.arizona.edu/articles/2016/04/isb408004; https://ejournals.bc.edu/index.php/scjr/article/view/12433/10005.
68 For Israel, the attempt to convert Jews who returned to the Land of Israel raises very serious questions. It is perceived as an act of aggression against the Jewish people and the Jewish state. When the churches want to convert the Jewish people, they want the Jews to cease to be a nation and to fail God. To the ongoing attempts to proselytize, Israel replies that expressing religious beliefs is not illegal. However, Articles 174 and 368 of the Israel Penal Code sanction those who proselytize another to change his religion by means of material benefit and those who encourage minors to change their religion. To facilitate the conversions of the Jews, a new species of Jew and Christian was created in the 1970s: the Jews for Jesus and the Messianic Jews. They are the new “children” of missionary activities worldwide and in Israel. They offer “salvation” to the Jews, through Jesus, and some offer in addition “food, clothing, furniture, heaters, blankets, as well as food vouchers and personal sponsorship programs for thousands of individual Holocaust survivors.” Dee Catz, “Believing organizations reach out to Holocaust survivors in Israel,” Kehila News; April 24, 2017, https://news.kehila.org/believing-organizations-reach-out-to-holocaust-survivors. These Christian-Jews are even authorized to follow the Laws of Moses as they wish and are not subject to inquisition.
69 John Chrysostom, “Eight Homilies Against the Jews,” Fordham University, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/chrysostom-jews6.asp. See also Goldstein, A Convenient Hatred.
70 The return of the Jews to His land challenges Muslims theologically/metaphysically, calling into question their role even in their own interpretation of the Creator’s plan and what their civilization has brought to the world. How could it be explained otherwise that 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide want to destroy Israel, a country of 8,019 square miles (size of the state of New Jersey) with its seven million Jews? The Koran says that the Jews (Beni Israil) will return to their Land. To justify their attacks against the Jews and prevent their return, Muslims argue that the time has not come and/or that Jews are not the descendants of the Jews of the past, despite calling them “Yehud” (Jews) when they incite their children to slaughter them. See Michael Calvo, “The Deal of the Century in a Wider Context,” Jewish Political Studies Review 31, nos. 3-4 (May 24, 2020), https://jcpa.org/article/the-deal-of-the-century-in-a-wider-context.
71 Pope Francis, General Audience, Wednesday, 11 August 2021 (n. 61 above).
72 According to Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948):
“Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
73 “While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground’“ (Gen. 4:8‒10).
74 Isa. 2:4.
75 Léon Ashkenazi (MANITOU), “Les Conflits des Fins des Temps (1991) – 2ème partie,” http://manitou.over-blog.com/article-les-conflits-des-fins-des-temps-1991-2eme-partie 57469423.html.
76 James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue: A Study in the Origins of Antisemitism (New York: JPS, 1934); Rosemary Radford Ruether, Faith and Fratricide: The Theological Roots of Antisemitism (New York: Seabury, 1974). See also Saint John Chrysostom, “Eight Homilies.” Another saint, Aurelius Augustinus (later Saint Augustine), “denied the existence of the Jews as people. That language shaped attitudes and supported opinions long after the fourth century ended. It was also reflected in numerous acts of violence against Jews. As early as 414, church leaders in Alexandria led an assault on synagogues that destroyed the city’s Jewish community for a time. Similar events occurred in other parts of the empire.” Goldstein, Convenient Hatred, 37.
77 “Face to face with Auschwitz there is no justifying faith, no defense of our actions or omissions, of our confidence or our mistrust. No defense of the Christian dogma, even not of the New Testament. Since our commitment to the New Testament and to the dogma did not force ourselves to resist to [sic] Auschwitz, our referring to them could never defend ourselves today. Face to face with Auschwitz, they lost their legitimation. Rather, all our grief is upon them, since both the New Testament and the teaching of the church turned into sources of legitimizing the desire to murder.” Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt, cited in Treitler, “Antisemitism.”
78 Pope John XXIII put an end to this liturgy.
79 Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah,” March 16, 1998, see n. 8 above.
80 Calvo, “Holy See and Israel,” see n. 18 above.
81 John L. Allen Jr., “The Bond between the Vatican and Iran is a partnership destined to endure,” Crux: Taking the Catholic Pulse, January 26, 2016, https://cruxnow.com/church/2016/01/the-bond-between-the-vatican-and-iran-is-a-partnership-destined-to-endure.
82 Raymond Ibrahim, “32,000 Christians Butchered to Death: The Persecution of Christians, May 2020,” Gatestone Institute, June 28, 2020, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/16166/christians-butchered; Raymond Ibrahim, “Their Goal Is Really to Eradicate Christianity: Persecution of Christians, June 2021,” Gatestone Institute, August 8, 2021, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17610/persecution-of-christians-june. See also previous reports.
83 On July 26, 2016, a priest was beheaded inside a church in Normandy, and on October 20, 2020, three people were stabbed, one’s throat was cut, and one was beheaded inside a church in Nice.
84 Calvo, “Holy See and Israel,” see n. 18 above.
85 Judah ben Samuel Halevi (1075–1141), https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/halevi; Judah Halevi, The Kuzari, 1st ed. (New York: Schocken, 1987), https://www.amazon.com/Kuzari-Argument-Israel-Schocken-Paperbacks/dp/0805200754. The Kuzari can also be found at: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Kitab_al_Khazari, 1905 translation by Hartwig Hirschfeld.
86 The Kuzari, II, §34.
89 Some examples will be given in this article. This subject will be the focus of a longer article tentatively titled “The Jews Have a Universal Service Mission and Were Scattered around the World to Perform It.”
90 Rachel is regarded in Judaism as the mother of all the Jews. According to the medieval rabbi, biblical commentator, philosopher, and grammarian Rabbi David Kimhi (1160–1235), also known by the Hebrew acronym RaDaK (רד”ק): “This prophecy means that there is a reward for the actions of your children who suffered the exile during the years and did not forget His name and did not transgress His Alliance.” Nevihim ve ketouvim: Mikrahot gedoloth hameir le Israel, 318.
91 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Fragments politiques, “Des Juifs,” Œuvres complètes, vol. 3 (Paris: Gallimard, Pléiade, 1964), 499: “An amazing and truly unique spectacle is to see an expatriated people having no place or land for almost two thousand years, a people altered, changed, mixed with foreigners for even a longer time, a people scattered on earth, enslaved, persecuted, despised by all nations, yet retaining its customs, its laws, its patriotic love and its first social union when all ties seem to have been broken. The Jews give us this amazing spectacle; the laws of Solon, Numa, Lycurgus are dead, while those of Moses, much more ancient, still live. Athens, Sparta, Rome perished and left no more children on earth. Zion destroyed has not lost its own, they preserve themselves, they multiply, spread on all the earth, and always recognize each other, they mingle with all peoples and never merge with them; they no longer have leaders and are still a people, they no longer have a homeland and are still citizens.”
92 Book of Tobias or Tobit, ch. 13, 3‒4: “3. Give glory to the Lord, ye children of Israel, and praise Him in the sight of the Gentiles: 4. Because he hath therefore scattered you among the Gentiles, who know not him, that you may declare his wonderful works, and make them know that there is no other almighty God besides him.” https://biblehub.com/catholic/tobit/13-3.htm.
93 Isa. 53:12. This prophecy cannot apply to Jesus, who died and went to heaven. In Christian society Jews were sometimes protected by kings and princes because of the services they provided in four areas: finance, commerce, administration, and medicine.
94 “The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor shall the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezek. 18:20). In other words, each person is responsible for his or her own sins. And such great people as Saint Augustine called the Jews “a people who witnessed his iniquity and our truth” (City of God, Book XVIII, paras. 46 and 47).
95 Deut. 24:16.
96 “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you” (Gen. 12:3). This is repeated to Jacob-Israel.
97 See Denis MacEoin, “Israel and the Rest of the World,” Gatestone Institute, March 5, 2014, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4203/israel-rest-of-world.
98 The Koran explicitly states that God has given this land to the children of Israel and that they will return to this land.
99 “And the Lord your God will bring you into the land your fathers possessed and you will take possession of it. He will cause you to prosper and multiply more than your fathers.… Then the Lord your God will put all these curses upon your enemies who hate you and persecute you” (Deut. 30:5‒7), https://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/30-6.htm.
100 “Israel” means “fighter for God” among other interpretations.
101 Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, “Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church,” June 24, 1985, VI, ”Judaism and Christianity in History,” §25, see n. 44 above. Tobit was a Jew of the tribe of Naphtali, in upper Galilee, who was made “captive in the days of Salmanasar, king of the Assyrians, deported in Ninive and who in captivity forsook not the way of truth” (Tobit 1:3).
102 There were always some Jews in the land during this period.
103 Pierre Boutang, “La Guerre de six Jours,” http://www.lesprovinciales.fr/livre/guerre-de-six-jours.
104 Holocaust Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/collaboration.
105 The episode of political rule by the Maccabees (167‒37 BCE), who were priests andestablished the Hasmonean dynasty, has been contested and decried. The dynasty belongs to the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10) /descendants of King David, i.e., any Jews except those who are named Cohen (meaning “priest”).
106 Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, “Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church,” June 24, 1985, III, “Jewish Roots of Christianity,” paras. 12 and 17, see n. 44 above.
107 See n. 44 above.
108 Letter of Pope John Paul II to Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah,” March 16, 1998, see n. 8 above.
109 In “Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church.”
110 Book of Tobias or Tobit, see n. 90 and 99 above.
111 Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, “Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church,” June 24, 1985, VI, “Judaism and Christianity in History, §25, see n. 44 above.