The disembodied Gospel

Art by Elhanan ben-Avraham

In the last days… the Torah shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem – Isaiah 2:1-4

The Good News from Mount Zion has been disembodied for two millennia.  It was sent forth from Jerusalem to the nations in the first century AD, served up by Jewish envoys of the Messiah, and then the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, left in ruins, and the Jews exiled.

In the following centuries the news of the one and invisible God of Israel found a new home city: Rome. There the Jew from Nazareth was cast in gold and silver and bronze, along with his Jewish disciples who were turned into saints, and his Jewish mother, who was transformed into a demi-goddess and worshiped in theologies unheard-of by the Jewish followers of the Messiah. Their being Jews was dismissed as coincidence, and were all force-converted to Catholicism.

Later, the Reformation in Germany pried loose the Gospel from its golden city of Rome and hoisted it aloft into the air. There the Gospel of the Messiah was disembodied and again divested of his own nation and people, and Jesus was transformed into a blonde and blue-eyed Gentile from Heaven, rather than the middle-eastern Jew circumcised on the eighth day of his life in the Land of Israel (Matthew 2:20-21). 

When the written Gospel was translated into English the Messiah and his followers became British gentlemen and ladies educated at Oxford, their names changed to Peter, Paul and Mary, John, James, Matthew, Mark and Elizabeth, rather than their original Hebrew names of Yeshua, Shimon, Miriam, Elisheva, Yaakov, Shaul and Matatyahu. The change has become so common that today if one uses the actual original names it often sounds strange, exotic, wrong, even heretical. They had all been converted to Christianity, stripped of their Jewish credentials, while their nearest of kin, the Jewish people, were made outcasts and pariahs. The holy city Jerusalem too had been disembodied by Christian theologians, who spirited it entirely up to Heaven.

Two very difficult millennia passed for the Jewish people under Christendom, with Jews asking, “If that’s the good news, then what’s the bad news.” Then recently an odd and very unexpected thing happened. Jews from all over the planet began streaming back to their ancient Biblical homeland and re-built Jerusalem from its ruins. Now everybody can see that historical fact, thanks to modern media and technology.  Quite suddenly, the places where Jesus was born, had lived nearly his entire life, died, and was risen, are real once again. And many Jewish people are reconsidering the man from Nazareth as one of their own. This phenomenon is causing no small stir among the nations of the world, and creating no little commotion in troubling many theologians, including Christian and Muslim- particularly the latter. Some would deny its significance, and even forbid its existence in reality, preferring instead an ethereal dream.

It is purported that Yeshua (aka Jesus), who was never disembodied, will return to this very city of Jerusalem, specifically to the Mount of Olives from where he last departed. This may indeed surprise many, including those Arabs who have claimed him for themselves as a Palestinian, and a Muslim. Accordingly, they will see that very same Jew who was called the King of the Jews return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (the word from which Jew is derived) standing in that very body that was circumcised for the covenant and promises to Abraham, and that is yet scarred from the piercing of Roman crucifixion, fully embodied in the restored holy city of Jerusalem.  And the many who declare Yeshua of Nazareth to be God, cannot avoid the inescapable conclusion that their God is Jewish.