The Words of the Rosenbaum Family

Judaism and Christianity

Paul Rosenbaum
July 11, 1999

As an historical notation, it might be interesting to consider that "Christian" and "Christianity" are not terms used by Jesus, when forming his movement and recruiting followers. Jesus was, according to the New Testament, respected among many of the rabbis and sincere religious leaders in Israel (Palestine) at that time. What did Jesus call his group? I don't know, but he was called Rabbi, by respectful Jews, like Lazarus and Nicodemus, at the time. Probably Gamliel and others, as well. Jesus was a Jew, in the very traditional sense of what a Jew was, but he was also a Jew who was a Tsaddick, or holy man. That is, one who had a deep personal relationship with God, felt called by God and had mastered living a sacred life fully enough to become a great teacher and teach others how to live in the realm of the sacred, in a real way.

Christianity, in many ways began with Paul, who I believe was a follower of Rabbi Gamliel. Paul had been a persecutor of the Jesus followers. The New Testament speaks of him as being opposed to this new religious movement, to the point where, at one point, he had authorized the stoning of Stephen, the first matyr of the Jesus movement. It was only after actively persecuting the living followers of Jesus, and actually starting to kill them, that Paul had his conversion experience on the road to Damascus.

As Unificationists, we should, I think, consider what was in the mind of Jesus, that from spiritual world he desired to cause the conversion experience of Paul. Perhaps we should even consider what was Paul's motivation. I for one consider it sincere, but I also notice that once he had experienced conversion, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he was often at odds with the original members of Jesus' movement. Because he was such an active believer (he was an Apostle, not a disciple - another interesting point), he shaped how this new religious movement grew, in many ways. He believed in preaching to the gentiles and bringing them into the fold. This was something that Jesus really couldn't do so well, among his own people during his lifetime. Read the New Testament and one gets a strong feeling of how strong the calling and sense of Chosen was among the Jews, and is even to this day. It is interesting to note that Christianity, if one wants to call it that, grew in ways that far outweighed anything that Jesus personally could accomplish with his small group of 12 disciples, after he died on the cross, and the Resurrection occurred. And that much of it, so many recorded miracles, within Christianity occurred through the evangelistic ministry and miracles that Paul and others that worked in unity with him were able to accomplish.

Was Jesus able to stretch the mission of this community of believers more in death than he was able to in life. Yes, I, for one, think so. Was it in God's Original Plan for Jesus. Maybe not, maybe so. Divine Principle says not, but Principle also says that God gave two kinds of prophesy through the history of the Providence centering on the descendents of Jacob (Israel).

In line with this, it is also interesting for me, as a Unificationist and a Jew, to consider the Messianic movement of Sabbatai Sevi, who came as the Messiah of the Jewish people in the middle of the 17th century, in Smyrna (what was then Syria or the Ottoman Empire (?), and is now called Turkey. This holy man caused a real revolution within Judaism of his time (1660's) and was initially more well received than Jesus. He felt called by Jesus to accomplish his providential work. One of the things he accomplished through his mission was the Tikkun (or reparing of the broken sparks of God's Creation) with Islam. After being accepted as Messiah by thousands and thousands of Jews, all over the European world, he caused schism within Judaism, by accepting a house arrest and practicing total acceptance of Islam. He did the Hadith, and encouraged his followers to apostasies like himself, into Islam. Although his followers, and he still has several thousand (no one knows how many, because it is a secret religion, practiced internally, often in private) believe that he remained faithful to his Israelite faith and mission. What I find interesting about this individual is that he inspired the whole growth of orthodox, Hasidic religion within Judaism that has been growing fervently, ever since. The development of Chasidism, Rabbi Breslov and The Baal Shem Tov, and other developments within the history of Judaism are connected to this Sabbatai Sevi, and the practice of study of Kabbalah, the secret oral tradition of faith, that many say originated with Abraham, the Father of the Jewish Faith. This history within Judaism is not only unknown to most Unificationists, it is also unknown to many Christians and Jews, practicing ones, in today's modern world.

If God's intention is One, then even if man doesn't respond to the religious work of restoration properly, we, as Unificationists may have to understand what is the true thread of spiritual work that is being accomplished within Providential time. In this sense, I think more scholarly work should be done on defining Father as a real living extension of what Jewish Messianism is about so that we can expand the envelope of what Israel means and we can begin to introduce Father as a Jewish, but not traditionally Jewish messiah for Jews alive and seeking a messiah to bring hope and peace and the Ideal to the world today.

Paul Rosenbaum

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