Today, most evangelical Christians regard Israel with respect and gratitude—not only as our “democratic ally” in the Mideast, but as the earthly source from which Christianity sprung.
Yet a realistic appraisal of modern Israel reveals a very different reality: Israel is neither democratic nor benevolent toward Christians.
In this special two-part report, I will discuss first, anti-Christianity in Jewish rabbinic literature. Next, I will show how hatred of Christ and His followers has manifested itself repeatedly in the history of modern Israel and is erupting in Israel today.
Israel could not thrive without the financial, religious, and political support of Christian evangelicals. So Israel has a vested interest in not alienating Christians, at least not yet. But rabbinic Talmudic Judaism, the official religion of Israel, remains in fundamental opposition to Christ and His church, intolerant of its spread among the Jewish people.
Why does Israel oppose Christianity? Because the greatest, legal, ethical, and spiritual authority for Judaism, the Talmud, is in violent opposition to Christ. Here’s what it says about Him…
Tradition of Persecution
The New Testament history of the Jewish nation after Jesus’ crucifixion was one of relentless attack on the fledgling church. In the centuries following, the Talmud, codified by the Pharisees, encouraged Jews to hate and oppose Christians by any means possible.
There were three great enemies of Judaism, the Talmud says: Balaam, who led Israel into apostasy; Titus, who destroyed Jerusalem; and Jesus, like Balaam, who seduced and deceived the people. 1
According to the New Testament, the Pharisees of Jesus’ day considered Him to be possessed with a devil (John 8:48); a charlatan doing great works by the prince of devils, Beelzebub (Matt. 12:24); a deceiver of the people (Matt. 27:3); a blasphemer (John 10:36); and having an unclean spirit (Mark 3:30).
Since the Talmud and Kabbalah were written by the Pharisees and their descendants, it’s natural that the opposition found in the New Testament should intensify in rabbinic literature.
The Jewish Encyclopedia tells us He was a bastard—“for polemical purposes, it was necessary for the Jews to insist on the illegitimacy of Jesus, as against the Davidic descent claimed by the Christian church.” His mother, “…Mary…was known to be an adulteress.” 2 Concerning “Miriam,” or “Mary,” the Talmud in Sanhedrin 106b says: “… “She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.’…’”
The Jewish Encyclopedia’s article on “Jesus” (p. 170) includes such Jewish literature as the Talmud and the Toldoth Jesu (a blasphemous medieval rabbinic tale mocking Jesus) as sources for Jewish legends and beliefs about Christ.
“It is the tendency of all these sources to belittle the person of Jesus by ascribing to him illegitimate birth, magic, and a shameful death…”
Hiding Hatred of Christ
Because of the necessity in medieval times of evading Christian censorship, the actual name of Jesus was usually not employed when the rabbis meant to demean Him. Various pseudonyms such as “that man,” “bastard,” “Balaam,” and “Yeshu” are used instead.
With this in mind, we may comprehend the Talmud in Sanhedrin 43a when it says: “On the eve of the Passover, Yeshu was hanged. For 40 days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy’…”
Rabbinic sources also refer to Jesus as “Ben Stada.” 3
“Rabbi Eleazer said to the elders: ‘Did not the son of Stada practice Egyptian magic by cutting into his flesh?’ They replied, ‘He was a fool, and we do not pay attention to what fools do.’” 4
Another pseudonym for Jesus was “Balaam.” Because Balaam was a type of false prophet, seducing Jews to idolatry, the Jewish Encyclopedia tells us, “Hence also the pseudonym ‘Balaam,’ given to Jesus in Sanh. 106b and Git. 57a.” 5
The article continues: “In the process of killing Balaam (Num. xxxi.8), all four legal methods of execution—stoning burning, decapitation and strangling—were employed (Sanh. lc). He met his death at the age of 33 (ib.); and it is stated that he had no portion in the world to come (Sanh. x2;90a).” 6
In Gittin 57a, Jesus (Balaam) is portrayed as wallowing in hell amid boiling excrement. He is eternally regretful that He did not bless the “apple of God’s eye” as He should have. 7
The Talmud encourages Jews to insult the name and reputation of Jesus. Since the word “Jeschua” means “savior,” religious Jews in Israel usually do not refer to Christ by that name. Instead, they call Him “Jeschu,” which means, “May his name and memory be blotted out.” 8 This was confirmed to me by an ex-Hassidic Jew.
The Talmud encourages the denigration of anything that has to do with the name and reputation of Jesus. “…In the case of the wicked Balaam: whatever you find [written] about him, lecture upon it [to his disadvantage]…” 9
As with Christ, references in the Talmud to His followers are veiled by terms not understood by Christian censors. Three of the most common for Christians are “min;" its plural, "minim;” and “minuth.” The footnote to Abodah Zarah 16b (p. 84) says that “minuth” refers to “heresy with special reference to Christianity.”
In Shabbathai 116, Rabbi Tarbon says: “The writings of the minim deserve to be burned, even though the holy name of God occurs therein, for paganism is less dangerous than 'minut'…”
Brotherly love need not extend to the Christian “minim.” They may be legally thrown into a pit to die, as A. Z. 26b says: “R. Abbahu recited to R. Johanan: ‘Idolaters and (Jewish) shepherds of small cattle need not be brought up, though they must not be cast in, but minim, informers, and apostates may be cast in and need not be brought up.’”
Christians, Keep Out
Concerning Gentiles and Messianic Jews, who presume to make use of the Jewish Sabbath, the Jewish Encyclopedia tells us: “Resh Lakish (D. 278) said, ‘A Gentile observing the Sabbath deserves death.’ (Sanh. 58b)… ‘The Sabbath is a sign between God and Israel alone.’ And it was probably directed against the Christian Jews who disregarded the Mosaic laws yet observed the Jewish Sabbath.” 10
Christianity is vividly described in the Talmud as being worse than even the most wicked behavior of a Jew. In A. Z. 17a, it says: “Rabbi Eleazar Dordia did not leave out any harlot in the world without coming to her." Yet he attained forgiveness because he had not committed the unforgivable sin of accepting Christianity. Likewise, incest is a “light sin” compared to Christian conversion. The Talmud considers "minim" and the Roman government to be the two daughters of hell, one seducing Jews to idolatry, the other imposing fresh taxes.
Because of the untrustworthy nature of a Christian, the Jewish Encyclopedia tells us: “The testimony of a min…was not admitted in evidence in Jewish courts…and an Israelite who found anything belonging to one who was a min was forbidden to return it to him (Hoshen Mishpat 266, 2).” 11
They Will Persecute You
Christ’s prediction that His disciples would suffer persecution is verified by the Talmud. Sanh. 43a describes how “Yeshu’s disciples ‘Mathi,’ ‘Nakai,’ ‘Nezer,’ ‘Boni,’ and ‘Thoda’ were executed by the Jews.” The Jewish Encyclopedia confirms that these pseudonyms refer to Matthew, Luke, “Nazarene—a general description for a Christian in antiquity,” Nicodemus, and Thaddeus. 12
The Rabbinic treatise on funerals (Treatise Semahot Ch. 2, p. 35) sums up a few of the many references against Christians in the Talmud: “At the death of one who has severed all ties with his people, no rights whatever should be observed. His brothers and relatives should dress in white and cloak themselves in white. They should eat, drink, and be merry, for an enemy of God has perished. As it written, do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And do not I strive with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with utmost hatred: I count them mine enemies (Ps. 139:21-24).” 13
It is significant that even before the collapse of Communism, Billy Graham was invited to some Iron Curtain countries to hold evangelistic meetings; yet when Graham requested to preach in Israel, he was denied the opportunity to speak in the land where Christianity was born. The government told him that "mention of Jesus Christ or Christianity in important cities results in violent demonstrations." 14 Anti-Christian feeling was so strong in Israel that riots against him would erupt everywhere. Why is Israel even more opposed to Christianity than atheist, communist countries?
We’ll find out in Part 2 tomorrow...
Endnotes for Part 1:
1 Gittin 56b-57a
2 “Jesus,” Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 170
3 “Jesus,” Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 170, citing Shabbethai 104b and Sanh. 67a
4 Sanh. 67a, uncensored edition, translated by Rev. I. B. Pranaitus, The Talmud Unmasked, p. 34
5 “Balaam,” Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 469. See also “Jesus,” p. 172
6 Here is the Talmud’s description of Christ’s gruesome death, Sanhedrin 106a-106b.
7 Here is the Talmud’s description of Christ in hell, Gittin 56b-57a
8 Pranaitus, I. B. The Talmud Unmasked, p. 28
9 Sanh. 106b
10 J. Encyc. “Gentiles,” p. 623
11J. Encyc., “Minim,” p. 595
12 J. Encyc., “Jesus,” p. 171
13 Tractate Semahot, transl. by Dove Ziotmick of the Jewish Theological Seminary, New Haven, London, 1966
14 Nakhleh, Issa, The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, "Destruction and Desecration of Christian Holy Places and the Violation of Christian Rites", p. 402
Rev. Ted Pike is the director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian-conservative, watchdog organization.
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