Brad L. Burge
God desires that ALL people would accept God's love and salvation through Jesus Christ. God has compelled me to share information with the world relating to the biblical seven year tribulation in order to share Truth in a deceived world.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5)
Jesus answered, "I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
Friday, January 25, 2008
Although conventional Jewish wisdom says Judaism is not a proselytizing religion, many halachic and historical sources suggest an alternative attitude.
Despite the fact that there are some seemingly negative statements in the Talmud about converts, such as that of R. Halbo ("converts are as difficult for Israel as sapahat, leprosy," B.T. Kiddushin 80b), that very same word is used by R. Berakhiya to teach that "the descendants of proselytes shall serve as kohanim in the Holy Temple" (Shmot Rabba, Vilna, Parasha 19,4). Moreover, R. Elazar declares that "the Holy One Blessed be He commanded that the Israelites go into exile among the nations only in order for them to gain converts (B.T. Pesahim 87b). Indeed, the commanding position of the Scroll of Ruth - depicting a Moabite convert as grandmother of King David, progenitor of the Messiah - which is read on Shavuot, our Festival of the Covenant at Sinai, should be the deciding voice.
The Tashbetz (R. Shimon b. Tzemah Duran) maintains that a commandment to accept converts is implied by the divine ordinance that we love the proselyte. Maimonides goes so far as to include within the commandment to love God the "necessity of seeking and summoning all peoples to the service of and belief in the Lord of the Universe." He cites the Sifre, who defines the biblical verse to mean, "cause God to be loved by all living beings (briyot)." Rav Yehuda Gershuni (in Kol Tzofayikh, Jerusalem 5740, p. 503) concludes that this means proselytizing them, since Maimonides' proof text comes from Abraham, who wished to convert everyone to his new-found faith. The Ravad likewise derives the commandment to convert from the phrase, "the souls he made in Haran" (Genesis 12:5). And Josephus documents our successful proselytizing activity throughout the Roman Empire during the Second Commonwealth (Against Apion 2, 39).
Perhaps the final word on this subject is the command of Hillel for us "to love all human creatures [briyot] and bring them close to Torah" (Mishne Avot 1, 12).
Returning to the biblical message of Yitro, at the very least we are enjoined to oppose human enslavement and spread the Ten Commandments. After all, the Midrash on the verse "God came forth from Sinai [after] He had shown [His laws] to them from Seir and revealed [them] from the Mount of Paran …" (Deuteronomy 33:2) teaches that God initially offered His Decalogue to the descendants of Esau (Seir) and then to the descendants of Ishmael (Paran), only to have them rejected by all except Israel. And Maimonides rules that only the Jews must keep the 613 commandments for ultimate "salvation"; it is enough for the gentile world to accept the Seven Noahide Laws of morality (Laws of Kings 8,10).
But we certainly must proselytize every human being to keep those seven laws - do not worship an idol, do not misuse God's Name, do not murder, do not commit licentious sexual acts, do not steal, respect all creatures, and create a judicial system to enforce the first six laws.