Undercover Hi-Tech Campaign and Anti-Missionaries
Two Israeli bloggers from Be'er Sheva who spent months writing in favor of Jesus and the Christian faith have made a complete turnabout - thanks to an 8-hour visit from the anti-missionary Yad L'Achim organization.
A blog on Israel's Nana10 site, entitled "Blog HaBesorah" (Blog of the Gospel), long featured the pro-Jesus missionary work of a pair of bloggers calling themselves Princes of Light ("Fighting Knight" and "Fighting Princess," individually). On July 11 of this year, for instance, they listed a series of Biblical verses that, they claimed, prove the veracity of the Christian messiah.
A week later, however, the blog was entitled "Spiritual Revolution" - and explained that they had undergone a major change. Excerpts from the July 19 entry:
"For a good number of months, I believed wholeheartedly in Jesus as god. But about a week ago, I started to have doubts and to search for the truth, the historical facts, and the veracity of the New Testament... I reached the conclusion that the entire New Testament is simply full of lies that were made up by human beings... for political reasons... The gospels are not reliable! Various parts were continually added to them, and they were then organized anew... mainly by the Romans who defined the New Testament according to their needs. This is the conclusion I reached - and now I am sure of it as well. The sign is that yesterday the Fighting Princess received a visit from Yad L'Achim. They came to her home, explained and proved to her time after time after time why the New Testament and Jesus' divinity are not true and are full of lies. I apologize to you, dear readers, but most of what you read here on this blog was simply lies. Judaism is the only right way. Proofs of this will come soon, from the Fighting Princess."
The Yad L'Achim visit referred to in the blog was an eight-hour event, in the home of Fighting Princess, a girl by the name of M. The Yad L'Achim activists, after being made aware of the missionary blogging pair, had invested great efforts to find out their identities - and one day in July, three of them made their way to M.'s home in Be'er Sheva.
Among the three was "Shlomo," a former leading missionary himself.
M. greeted the three with some surprise, and unenthusiastically welcomed them into her home. The conversation lasted eight hours, until 1 AM, with M.'s parents - non-observant at the time, but now already on their way, with their daughter, to living a religious Jewish lifestyle - shocked to find their daughter thick into belief in Jesus.
"It was the kind of discussion in which you don't even look at the clock until it's over," Shlomo later told Arutz-7. "It was very intense, with many issues brought up, and it's constantly in the back of your mind that it's a one-shot deal - not the type of thing that you can just say, OK, we'll continue tomorrow. The fact that they let us in at all was already an achievement, and we sensed that we had to make the most of it."
Eight tense hours later, M. said, "You have given me a lot to think about. Now I have to process the data by myself."
Apparently, she immediately discussed it with her boyfriend A., otherwise known as Fighting Knight. It turned out that A., a young Israeli of Russian descent, had been having doubts of his own, but hesitated to share them with M. The next day, the above blog announcing their "spiritual revolution" appeared on their site.
Talkbacks Reveal a Large Community
The talkbacks to the blog announcing the switch came fast and furious. One said, "I'm in shock! What about the experiences you had?! And what about what happened with Yaron and Steve in the park near your home? And everything you told me - it's all lies?" To this, A. answered, "It didn't all disappear in one day. It's research that I did and found out lots of things. The fact that M. also was convinced is a sign that I am right. There is one G-d in the sky and He is our true Lord! And not Jesus!"
Arutz-7 also spoke with Rabbi Meir Cohen, who led the drive to locate the bloggers' identities and also took part in the fateful meeting. Asked if it is true, as the blog and the talkbacks indicate, that there is an entire community of young Hebrew-speaking Jews who claim to believe in Jesus, Rabbi Cohen said, "It most certainly is! I personally know dozens of them, and I know that there are hundreds of them... We have already made contact with some of their blogging friends, and I have an appointment to meet one of them in the next few days."
A. explained in a later posting that he has no intention of actually becoming religious. Rabbi Cohen said, "Yes, he is very wary of the daily religious obligations such as putting on tefillin, etc. But of course the fact that he no longer worships more than one god is a great achievement..."
Rabbi Cohen's Story
The young Rabbi Cohen, who displayed great expertise in the way Christian missionaries misrepresent the Jewish Bible, explained how he got involved: "One day about three years ago, I met a well-known missionary and began talking to him. He made charges that I could not answer, and I went to someone from Yad L'Achim, who explained to me the missionary's 'mistakes.' Weeks later, I happened upon a large rally held by Yad L'Achim against a missionary group, and when I saw the important work they were doing, I just became hooked. I asked how I could volunteer, and I did some work for them each day, and then I began to attend classes, until I felt knowledgeable enough to argue the issues... Today, we have many people who call and wish to volunteer; we make sure they know that they are never to get involved in arguments with missionaries until they have studied a lot."
Shlomo volunteered to explain his role in the mission: "The bottom line is that these young people feel they have undergone a very emotional and personal experience - and when they tell me that I don't know what they're going through and how unique it was, etc. - I right away tell them that I've 'been there and done that,' and that I was even deeper into it than they are! ... The fact is that many secular people come from a culture that is very close to Western culture, which is largely based on Christian views. So when someone comes along and offers them to believe in Jesus, and tells them his nice teachings and the like, it seems very attractive - spirituality with no demands, with no proofs, but very much in accordance with what they already 'believe.' We have to show them that the claims of his divinity and the like are simply based on falsehoods."
"There have been many cases like this one [of the Knight and Princess]," Shlomo said, "but this one has the extra elements of finding them via the internet and the search for who they were, etc. But we are constantly doing this type of work. We recently had a case from a religious community in the north, where a religious boy began to believe in Jesus. We were able to bring him back... There was another case, south of Jerusalem, where a couple converted and lived a religious life, and the husband even studied Torah with the rabbi. I went there, as if I was still a Jesus-believer, and was able to extract a confession from the wife that she believes in Jesus, but that she is 'waiting until the time is ripe' to begin active missionary work. We told the rabbi, and he was shocked..."
The Fighting Knight Posts Again
Four days after the turnabout-blog appeared, the Fighting Knight posted again, writing, "Hi, all. As I promised, here's a list of proofs of the inaccuracy of the New Testament..." He then essentially presented a report of the 20th-century archaeological finds at Nag Hammadi, in Egypt, of ancient texts of additional gospels that present an entirely different picture of Jesus than the one accepted today.
"Only in the year 367 [200, according to others - ed.] was a consensus reached on the final composition of the New Testament," A. concludes. "All the other manuscripts were then searched out and burned - all except for the ones at Nag Hammadi, which do not portray Jesus as the son of god and the messiah, but rather as a wise nomad who preached [nice things]. For there is one truth accepted by all - that there is one G-d in Heaven. Regarding Messiah... I have concluded that whoever he is, he is not Jesus."
An even more recent blog by Fighting Knight explains that the New Testament contradicts the Jewish Bible - "and yet you [Messianic Jews] claim that it comes to strengthen it!" - and even contradicts itself: "For instance, the Prophets said the Messiah would come from David - and yet the New Testament itself says that only Joseph was a descendant of David, not Mary, who was impregnated by the holy spirit and not by Joseph. So here you see that from the very first page of the New Testament it is shown that Jesus was not the Messiah! ... Only many generations later did another gospel say that Mary also descended from David - but in any event, the descent follows the father... But I am worried that you are stuck in these beliefs, even though they are shown, black on white, to be false. [One of you] even told me, 'I don't care how many proofs you bring me, I'll still believe [in Jesus]!"
This fear of A. was borne out by the very first commenter to that posting, in which a girl wrote that every proof A. brought against Jesus would cause her to believe in Jesus more strongly. Other commenters, however, took the opposite approach, defending the Torah and those who believe in it.
"There is much work to be done," Shlomo and Rabbi Cohen sum up. "We are facing a powerful group that has much money and power - but we are not giving up. Every Jew rescued from these false beliefs is like a whole world saved."