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Selling our Birthright

June 30, 2009

In an article which appeared on Israel National News on June 29th, Rabbi Riskin explains some comments which he made during a video for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. In trying to get himself out of the pit which he himself dug, Rabbi Riskin succeeds in digging himself even deeper. During his interview Rabbi Riskin is quoted as saying in reference to his use of the word “grafted”, “This is their word, their way of saying basically that they do not believe in replacement theology. By saying they are grafted onto our tree, they are affirming that the Jews are still G-d’s Chosen People…” However, it is obvious that Rabbi Riskin does not understand what Romans 11:17-20 is actually saying. Were it not for the fact that I met with Rabbi Riskin in person, along with Ellen Horowitz of Jewish Israel back in May 2008, I might understand his ignorance, however, during this meeting I showed Rabbi Riskin exactly what the passage says. In the passage in question, Paul, the author of the New Testament book of Romans specifically says that branches were broken off of the natural olive tree (in other words, Jews who do not believe in Jesus are no longer considered the chosen people in G-d’s eyes) in order for Christians to now be accepted as G-d’s chosen people.

Modern Evangelical Christians may claim that they no longer believe in replacement theology, but their scriptures do. There is no getting away from the fact that the New Testament clearly states in many places and in many different ways that if Jews don’t believe in Jesus, they cannot go to heaven, they cannot have a relationship with G-d. Equally clear is the New Testament’s assertion that Christians are now part of the Chosen people. For all Rabbi Riskin’s quoting of the New Testament, he should actually read what it says. What baffles my mind, though, is why he doesn’t seem to remember me showing this to him during our meeting a year ago. When I showed the whole passage to Rabbi Riskin at the time, he responded, “no, that can’t be what it says”. Yes, Rabbi Riskin, it is, and it hasn’t changed in 2000 years.

In addition to Rabbi Riskin’s misunderstanding of the concept of “grafted in”, Rabbi Riskin asserts that Christianity is not idolatry because Christians don’t worship three G-ds, but rather, they understand G-d to reveal himself in three ways. While that may be true, many Rabbinic scholars have ruled that Christianity is still idolatry since worship of Jesus is worshiping G-d in a physical form – something we know is not only wrong, but forbidden directly in the Torah.

Unfortunately, in his effort to gain a strong ally in the battle against fundamentalist Islam, Rabbi Riskin has closed his eyes to a far bigger threat, for our leaders have sold our birthright for a bowl of lentils. The fascination among Christians of things Jewish is not a move towards Torah and a new respect for Judaism, it is a fascination with things Jewish while still believing that Judaism is wrong and Jews are hopelessly lost and going to hell – this is the primary motivation for Evangelical Christian missionary activity. It is my fervent prayer that Rabbi Riskin opens his eyes before he has sold our blessing along with our birthright.

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