Why did the Jews reject Jesus? This question has puzzled the Christians for some 2000 years now. And it is embarrasing. So the pagans that knew nothing of the Torah embraced Jesus, while the Jews, who were raised from childhood in the Truth of the Torah decided to reject Jesus? But we should be careful in asking this question, because not all Jews rejected Jesus. The disciples of Jesus and all the apostles and Paul were Jews. In Acts chapter 2 we read how a crowd of 3000 people embraced Jesus in Jerusalem on Shavuot. So clearly not all Jews rejected Jesus. The rejection came about later, when the Church decided that Jews should not be allowed to keep their tradition, if they wanted to be part of the Church. Anti-Semitism quickly got hold of the early church. So we should rather ask, why did the Jews that rejected Jesus reject Jesus?
Since we don’t have a crystal ball, it’s a guess. The Christian explanation usually is that the Jews were looking for a King to deliver them from Roman oppression. So they thought that this man died on the cross for our sins, well that’s nice, but no, we wanted a King, a Son of David to set up an eternal kingdom. That could be the main reason, but we simply have no evidence why 2000 years ago the majority of Jews decided to reject Jesus. The New testament does not give any reason and neither do other writings.
What we can ask however, is why Jews today don’t believe in Jesus. The task is now much easier, all we have to do is ask. Today only 0.3% of Jews follow Jesus as their Messiah. One for Israel gives as their top three:
- Replacement theology
- Jewish thought
Anti-Semitism is easy enough to undestand. Take a look at what the Church Fathers, the Pope and Martin Luther said about the Jews. Take a look at what many Christians today are saying about the Jews and it is no wonder that the Jews are not interested. This is not the biggest reason why the Jews reject Jesus, but it is a big one. And there is nothing the Church can do about it, we Jews do not forget what you have said about us.
Replacement theology is number two on the One for Israel list. Replacement theology teaches that the Church is the new Israel. All the promises given to Israel in the Bible thus now belong to the Church and the Jewish nation has been done with. All the blessings of the Torah now apply to Christians but the Jews are under a curse. This is a big reason and the Jews are right in rejecting this religion, that teaches that Israel has been replaced by the Church. But there is hope. Today most Christians condemn replacement theology. This is a recent development. Christians see the nation of Israel thriving and they see prophecy being fullfilled. Most sane learned Christians admit that the Church has not replaced Israel. Having said that, there are some that still teach replacement theology, but the overall trend is against it.
The third reason given by One for Israel is a bit vague. Jewish thought means whatever the Jews believe. So what do they believe? They believe in a God that is One, they have a hard time accepting a triunal God and they don’t see from their scriptures and reading of Isaiah 53 that the Messiah should suffer and die for our sins, rather they read that the Messiah will have offspring and live long. These could be legitimate reasons why the Jews today reject Jesus as their Messiah.
So this is what One for Israel believes is the reason Jews reject Jesus. I have found another reason, the real reason, the biggest reason, and it is this:
The word antinomianism comes from the Greek anti and nomos, meaning against the law. The Christian Church is very confused on this topic. The scholars admit that antinomianism is bad, but yet you find every single teacher teach it. It is the doctrine that says that the law of Moses has been abolished, it does not apply to pagans, nor Jews, in the new covenant. They say things like “Christ is the end of the law”, “We are not under the law”, “We are dead to the law”, “Christ has fullfilled the law”. So the official doctrine is against antinomianism, but in every sermon on Sunday antinoamianism is taught.
I admit I didn’t do a survey of one million Jews to find this as the biggest reason. I read David Klinghoffer’s book Why the Jews rejected Jesus. And in it, he gives antinomianism as the biggest reason, although he doesn’t use that word. Here is what he writes:
“The denial of the covenant with Israel, the commandments from Sinai, surely deserves the honor of being called the hardest thing about Christianity for a Jew to accept.”
“Everything else Christians might argue on behalf of Jesus as Messiah, all other rhetorical points they lodged in their disputations and pamphlets and polemics and apologetics, falls away before this simple fact. No authentic Messiah would inspire a religion that ended up calling upon the Jews to reject the manifest meaning of Sinai. It is really that simple.”
So while this is the opinion of one Jew only, I find similar reasoning among other Jews. The fact that Jesus according to mainstream christianity abolished the law, is a very hard thing for Jews to accept indeed. Hence I’d say it is the biggest reason, why the Jews rejected Jesus.
Jews don’t need to read the New Testament. They look at what Christians are doing. And they are doing horrible things, keeping holy Sunday instead of the Shabbat, eating pork and blood, cutting their beard in pagan fashion and in general breaking every holy commandment of the Torah.
I came to this fate after seeing this you tube video It is a debate between a Jewish rabbi and a Christian pastor and the rabbi totally beats the poor Christian. The one question that opened my eyes and a veil was removed from my heart was this – In Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus says:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
The rabbi read these verses and then asked why 1.5 billion Christians do not listen to their master? I googled and searched what Christians had to say about these verses and was totally shocked. They all tried to explain it away, they were saying that Jesus fullfilled the law, hence we don’t have to. The way I read the verses is that Jesus never abolished the law. The law of Moses was never abolished. Once the veil was removed from my heart, several Bible passages came to my mind instantly. I remembered Jeremiah say something about the new covenant:
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my TORAH in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer. 31:33)
According to Jeremiah the prophet thus in the new covenant the Torah is written on our hearts. How is it possible, that it is abolished? It would not make any sense. According to Daniel (Daniel 7:25) the Antichrist will change the laws and the times. Jesus then, if he declared all foods clean, if he changed the Shabbat to Sunday – he is the Antichrist, not the Messiah.
Other passages that came to my mind once the veil was removed were Rom. 3:31, that says we do not make void the law through faith, we establish the law, Rom. 7:12 where Paul says that the Torah is holy, righteous and good and 1. Joh. 5:3 which says that the love of God is keeping his commandments, which are not grevous. These passages are hidden from Christians, because they have a veil over their hearts. Sure, the Bible says Jews have a veil over their hearts, but it does not say that veil is there for all eternity. I have not noticed that the Jews that I have conversed with have a veil over their hearts. But I have seen, that the Christians have a very tight veil over their eyes.
So the biggest reason why the Jews rejected Jesus is the fact that Jesus abolished the Torah, but he did not abolish the Torah! Isn’t this great. Now that you know Jesus never abolished the Torah, there is no reason for you to not accept him as your Messiah. If you decide to follow Jesus, you still get to keep the Shabbat and eat kosher. Fantastic! Amen.