Responding to a Jew

My Jewish friend and I were discussing religion.
He claimed the Christian idea of salvation and a price for it is a pagan concept.
He claimed that Christianity is not Jewish because:

“I was just going to challenge the idea that everyone has the free will to accept or reject God’s “love” via Christianity. There are billions who died without ever hearing about Christianity. There are billions of good people who heard about it but decided (and still do) to reject it while still leading good lives. For all of those people, salvation wasn’t a free gift. Precisely because, back to my point, in Christianity salvation isn’t gift. It’s a deal. God offered a perfect human nature, we fell, we needed/need salvation, He offers it, but at a price. That price is Christian belief and Christian ethics/morals.”

My response would be
-People dead before Christianity who lived in God’s love were ransomed at the Harrowing of Hell according to our concept.
-Rejecting salvation has nothing to do with how good your life will be before, during, or after accepting the Salvation of Jesus Christ. This is a Jewish concept that following a prescribed action pattern under a law will give you good blessings.
-The salvation for those who rejected it was a gift. It wasn’t forced, that’s why it’s a gift. If there is a salvation/union with God, then there must be an opposite for those who choose not to participate in it, this is called Hell/Hades/Gahenna. God in His Wisdom has more than likely offered salvation to those who were near Him who died before the Crucifixion. They could have rejected it though.
-The “price” being discussed is not a bargain. It is a demonstration. It is an example of God’s love because humanity did not ask for a Savior, but required one. Our nature was fallen/broken and in His unstoppable Love, God sent a savior in the form of His Son/Word to offer to everyone the path of eternal Life with Him as He intended from the beginning.

Pslam 49 Here is a excerpt from **verses 7-15-
No man can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for him-

the ransom for a life is costly,
no payment is ever enough-

that he should live on forever 
   and not see decay. 

For all can see that wise men die; 
   the foolish and the senseless alike perish 
   and leave their wealth to others. 

Their tombs will remain their houses forever, 
   their dwellings for endless generations, 
   though they had named lands after themselves. 

But man, despite his riches, does not endure; 
   he is like the beasts that perish. 

This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, 
   and of their followers, who approve their sayings. 

Like sheep they are destined for the grave, 
   and death will feed on them. 
   The upright will rule over them in the morning; 
   their forms will decay in the grave,  
   far from their princely mansions. 

But God will redeem my life from the grave; 
   he will surely take me to himself. **

Also, the book of Hosea, Isaiah 53, etc.,etc.

What exactly are we supposed to be ‘salvationed’ (saved) from?

As I’ve said here before, Christianity’s great achievement was to invent an illness and prescribe itself as the only cure.

From the wages of our sins----death.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22
For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Messiah all will be made alive.

Christianity tells the good news of the one and only, final atonement of sins for the nation of Israel and all the nations of the earth by the sacrificial death of the God of Israels only Son, Yeshua of Nazerath. Yeshua is the cure. Yeshua paid in full all of humanity’s sin, and because he was the only perfect sin offering and bore the total punishment of sin, the God of Israel raised him from the dead on Sunday, on the feast of firstfruits.

The New Covenant is now.

Modern rabbinical Judaism cannot offer this, because of their denial of Yeshua as Messiah, the Son of God.

All they can offer to their followers are the many “fence laws” of the old covenant and the many interpretations of them. They can offer “workarounds” on not breaking the law. For instance, a friendly gentile can kindle a fire, that is to turn on a light switch for a Jew on the sabbath. There are sabbath elevators where all you have to do is step on and wait for the elevator to reach the floor you have to go, etc.

It is time to stop spinning your wheels in the old covenant so you can partake in the New Covenant of Grace.

Look to Yeshua of Nazerath, the God of Israel’s only Son.

Hardly any point in quoting the New Testament at somebody who doesn’t accept it as having any significance, is there?

Call it what you want, but it sure reads like commentary of the Old Testament.

Which doesn’t establish any validity - no more than a Muslim saying a similar thing would establish the validity of the Qur’an or a Mormon saying a similar thing would establish the validity of the Book of Mormon.

All of which is rather a digression from the problem that the op raised. The op wishes to establish the Christian position on salvation, I just asked him/her what the salvation was from. Since he/she is arguing with a Jew, there are certain questions he/she should bear in mind and try to understand from a Jewish perspective.

Quoting chunks of the ‘New Testament’ is more ‘talking at’ rather than ‘discussing with’.

The OP also mentioned that he was told salvation with a price is pagan and not Jewish, and I quoted OT scriptures(all Jewish writings BTW) to show that this is false.

Your commentary on what Christianity invented overshadowed your attempt to help the OP bear in mind the Jewish persepective.

The NT, as quoted in chunks or in its entireity, are all Jewish writings. Take a closer look at them next time.

Again, it seems like your Jewish friend does not know the scriptures at all. Maybe you can help them study.

Christianity is soooo Jewish, it teaches the truths on final atonement for sin, the Kingdom, etc. Salvation for a price is also Jewish, and can be found throughout in the OT.

Here is another biggee-
Exodus 30:13-16
Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the LORD. All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the LORD. The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the LORD to atone for your lives. Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the Tent of Meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the LORD, making atonement for your lives."

Sorry, but here is a New Testament quote-
Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Kaninchen, good news! You can put your half-shekel back in your pocket, salvation is now free! :slight_smile:

Okay, the concept of prayer is pagan. The concept of sacrifice is pagan. There are many Jewish concepts that are pagan as well. What’s the point in pointing this out?

Neither Christians nor Jews invented ‘worship’ or adoration or the tools and means to carry it out. What’s the surprise in that?

God created worship and people used it for evil. God only said when we do these things, do them unto Him. Period.

God worhsip, then pagan worship, then God again. Get it?

So Christ is a plague. Awesome. That’s a little harsh :o

On the contrary, it goes to the posters state of mind. It shows how we think to the question you posed earlier. You asked from what do we need to be saved and to the Christian, it is death. The quote confirms it is not the poster’s idea, but, an idea in Catholicism.

This made me smile…so much.

No, I didn’t ask what anybody had to do to be ‘saved’, I asked what it was that people were supposed to be ‘saved from’ which is something else altogether.

Telling somebody that Jesus will save them presupposes that there’s something to be saved from - perhaps rather than being so pleased with yourselves about how clever you are, somebody might have taken the hint that there’s a paradigm difference that you appear unaware of.

I didn’t say you did.

That’s what I said you said.

Yes it is.

I agree.

“yourselves”, “you”, “somebody” – these all appear to be in the plural (though, I believe “somebody” is singular as it gets a singluar verb). It is that second, “you”, that confuses me. Is that meant to me personally or to Catholics as a whole? Either way, would you explain it because I, for one, do not understand, and, Catholics, as a whole (in part) may be unaware.

Thank you.

Apologies, it comes from trying to do several things at the same time - including dealing with my espresso machine getting cross - and I misread badly.

The point about paradigm difference between the religions remains. We don’t share the Christian ‘original sin/heaven/hell’ model so telling me that Jesus will save me from Hell is pretty meaningless.

Haha you’re Jewish friend does not have a proper understanding of what salvation in Christianity actually is. For one, she doesn’t seem to know about invincible ignorance, that is to say that if someone sins but does not know what they are doing is a sin (like someone who worships an idol in a society without Christianity) and still does not go against the law of God written in their heart, they cannot be held accountable. Our God is a fair God. As for those who heard the message of God and yet rejected it, the reason WHY they rejected it should be taken into account too. Did they merely hear about Jesus on T.V. and never had a serious evangelizer approach them? When they were being evangelized was it with good and true intent (was the evangelizer trying not only to change their beliefs but overhaul the entire culture to conform to thier own)? Were they evangelized properly (were they told they would get food under the premise that they had to go to Church first)? When they first met Christians, did they come in good will or were they trying to take over the the land a resources (in such places as South America or Africa during colonization, under such conditions even if they rejected an honest missionary their case for innocence would be greater since all others tried to subdue them)? Did something happen to them in the infacny of their faith that caused them to reject God (like a bad priest or poor chatechesis)? Finally, did they truely seek God? Remember that we accept God not only because we want to but also because God grants us the grace to accept him. Maybe for some reason God did not grant this person the grace. However if they still searched for him with a humble God would still take this into account. (notice how this is different from predestination?)

Also, salvation is not a deal, it is a gift. Your friend’s seems to think that through his sacrifice Jesus gained all the cards to heaven and all we have to do to get one is accept and follow him. That is wrong. Through his sacrifice Jesus GAVE everyone a card to heaven and we an earth proceed to teart it apart, bite it and put in in the washer (through our sins). We repair this card when we confess our sins.

Also, when someone does not accept God in this life there is no garuntee that he may not accept God before final death (that is, the moment between final unconciousness and final death) The person may have a chance at this point. It could also be assumed that someone may not have be baptized in life, although would have if they knew it was necessary for salvation, would be baptized by desire after (like in the case of people who die on the way to baptism).

Kaninchen-You need to be saved from sin. I understand that you are a Jew. Unless you have perfectly kept all of the commandments and laws, you have sinned. That is what you need to be saved from.


We have our own system of belief about that, obviously.

This is exactly what he brought up, and this is precisely what I’m trying to respond to in a Jewish format so that he understands in a Jewish way where Christianity is coming from.

Judaism in current times doesn’t concern itself much with the afterlife/eternal rewards. It’s about living your life “Jewishly” in God’s Law and which blesses you and you act with these blessings as a light to the Gentiles. Heaven and hell are pretty irrelevant to them.

I am tempted to quote 2 Maccabees where Judas Maccabee orders his soldiers to make Temple sacrifices for the dead Hebrew soldiers to atone for the fact that they had worn pagan amulets (he was atoning for their sin after they had died implying a) weight of sin which requires a price, and b) some type of concern for their welfare after their life).
This book is not canonical to modern Judaism. However, during Jesus’ time these writings were considered by a portion of the Jewish community as acceptable giving some validity to them if we’re looking at it from a time based context.

" Judas rallied his army and went to the city of Adullam. As the week was ending, they purified themselves according to custom and kept the sabbath there. On the following day, since the task had now become urgent, Judas and his men went to gather up the bodies of the slain and bury them with their kinsmen in their ancestral tombs. But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain.They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden.
Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;
for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.
Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin."
2 Maccabees 12:38-46

But this set of belief is not derived form the OT but from the Talmud, and thats the conflict Jesus found himself in with the Jewish authorities and not original sin concept. Judaism as we know it today is Pharisaic and not OT based. I know the game well since I used to be Sunni and I know the dual revelation game. Most Christians don’t have a clue what I am saying, but you do. So why don’t you be up front about that? Isn’t that a sin to be hiding your faith?

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