Christian Conversionist Intentions and
We saw the articles about Isaac Newton:
S. SNOBELEN: ``THE MYSTERY OF THIS
RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS'': ISAAC NEWTON ON THE RETURN OF THE JEWS.
#3. Israel National Library uploads trove of Newton's theological tracts
Newton was a great scientist. He was also a profound Biblical Scholar. Isaac Newton
foresaw that the Jews would return to the Land of Israel.
He also thought that the return of the Jews was a pre-requisite for their
conversion to Christianity. Other Biblical Scholars, mainly in Britain but also
elsewhere, developed the same notion. This became one of the foundational
motivations for Restoration Doctrine. The State of Israel was in fact brought
into being due to a combination of Anglo-Saxon Restorationism and Jewish
Isaac Newton should be considered one of the forerunners of Restoration
"The Vision Was There. A History of the British Movement for the Restoration of
the Jews to Palestine" by Franz Kobler, 1956, London
The Evangelical Movement in the USA is often traced back to the Scoffield Bible
and the Plymouth Brethren in Britain. These were advocates of Restorationist
Even now, to some degree, it may be said that the Evangelical support for Zionism in
the USA encompasses a hope that the Jews will convert to Christianity.
Against this we have the Two-House Doctrine which could be understood to
envisage the Distinct side-by-side existence of Christianity and Judaism until
the Messiah arrives and decides between them.
The Two-House Doctrine itself however has problematic aspects of its own.
The Two House Doctrine and Ephraimites.
We personally would like to see the time when the Jews seriously propose a mass
conversion of the Lost Ten Tribes in Western Nations or at least a portion of
them. We do not believe that such a move would necessarily be correct or even
very wise. It would however at least indicate that psychologically Judah will
have accepted the existence of the Ten Tribes as being amongst Western Peoples.
[Such a development however is not likely to happen in the near future, if ever.
Our Christian zealots (who naturally would not like Jews trying to convert their
flock) may therefore put themselves at ease!]
This brings us to the consideration as to what the attitude of Judah should be
regarding the evident wish of Christians from the Ten Tribes to convert them?
Christianity in Jewish eyes is permissible for non-Jews but for Jews it is
paramount to idolatry. Jews are commanded to let themselves be killed rather
than convert to Christianity. Throughout Jewish History there were countless
instances where Jews did indeed submit to slaughter rather than become
Christians for their part have always tried very seriously to convert Jews.
The Christian attitude in many instances has been to either kill Jews or convert
them. The two options are often effectually one and the same since when a Jew
becomes a Christian he is lost to the Jewish People and perhaps to God Himself!
Christianity (like Islam) is a missionizing faith. Spreading the word of
Christianity is considered a religious duty and the fulfillment of a
In some cases the wish of Christians to convert Jews is motivated by hatred of
It may on the other hand also be symptomatic of a misplaced sympathy towards the
Some Christians love Jews. They therefore wish them to be saved as they believe
they themselves will be.
Jews cannot accept this.
Nevertheless, Jews should realize that the missionaries and their
missionizing intentions are not always malicious but rather mistaken.
Over the years quite a few descendants of missionaries to the Jews have
converted to Judaism. The fact that their children have chosen to become Jewish
could reflect a subconscious urge that was already present amongst the parents?
Missionaries to the Jews in early Palestine under the Turks were often helpful,
as well as being sometimes harmful.
Amongst other acheivements they often interceded with the Turkish authorities on behalf of the Jews.
They also built the first modern hospital in Jerusalem. At least partly to counter missionary influence the Jews then built their own hospital.
Their ongoing involvement with the Jews helped maintain official and unofficial British and other European interest in the Jewish community. Overall the effects were positive.
There is a principle that mistaken actions with good intentions ultimately also
lead to a good result.
cf. The words of Joseph to his brothers:
15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "Perhaps
Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to
him?" 16 So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, "Before your father died he
commanded, saying, 17 'Thus you shall say to Joseph: 'I beg you, please forgive
the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.' Now,
please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father." And
Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
18 Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said,
"Behold, we are your servants."
19 Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But
as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to
bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore,
do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." And he comforted
them and spoke kindly to them.
The brothers of Joseph when he was young had plotted to kill him and had actually sold him as a slave!
As a result he had been brought down to Egypt enduring captivity, slavery, desolation, hardship, oppression, and loneliness. Eventually Divine Providence had enabled Joseph to rise to greatness and to actually rescue the House of his Father including his brothers and their families.
This brings us to the question:
How Wicked Had the Deed of His Brothers Actually Been?
Superficially it would seem obvious that their actions had been very evil indeed.
How bad can one get?
When we look at the background however it is not necessarily that simple.
Mitigating Factors do exist!
Joseph as a youth had brought an evil report (i.e. a negative and probably false
or mistaken account) about his brothers to their father [Genesis 37:2].
He had received a many colored tartan-patterned garment from his father [Genesis
37:3]. This garment denoted superior rank.
BAC on Genesis ch.37.
The Scottish Tartan Cloak of Joseph
Joseph was the favorite son of his father who made no secret of the fact that
Joseph was the preferred son [Genesis 37:4].
Joseph had dreamt dreams in which he was to become the ruler over his brothers
and they were to bow down to him [Genesis 37:5-10].
The brothers of Joseph were the forefathers of the Tribes of Israel. From this
stock were to emerge the most noble and greatest heros that the world has ever
seen. This must have already been potentially present in their ancestors, i.e.
in the brothers of Joseph. They were not ordinary people. It is not logical that
such a group would reach an almost unanimous decision to do away with one of
their brothers without a reason. In their eyes Joseph must have posed a threat
to themselves and their families. Perhaps they felt Joseph was plotting to disposess them?
It was not a matter of mere malicious jealousy
getting out of control. There was a rationale behind it. They were mistaken but
their motivation was not necessarily negative.
Even though they had thought badly good results had ultimately come from it.
By analogy the Jews may say that in some cases the intention by Joseph to
attempt the conversion of Judah was [and still is] drastically in error.
It is tantamount to an attempt to destroy the Jewish People.
Even so, since the motivational initiative was often derived from good
intentions then good results have come from it.
Even the present misguided attempts to interfere in the so-called Peace Process and to support the Palestinians
may in some cases be attributed to a genuine interest in bringing about the cessation of bloodshed.
There is a limit however as to how far allowances for good intentions may be taken.
The placators of Hitler before World War-2 also wished to avoid war but in the end it backfired on them.
Perhaps a distinction may be made between wrong conclusions based on right principles or on the Bible such as may have been the case in the selling of Joseph, etc,
and decisions derived from morally corrupt assumptions?
WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT MISSIONIZE JEWS
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