ONE DESTINY: AN EPISTLE TO THE CHRISTIANS

“I couldn’t help writing on Jesus. Since I first met Him, He has held my mind and heart….
I floundered a bit, at first; I was seeking that something for which so many of us search–that surety, that faith, that spiritual content in my living which would bring me peace and through which I might help bring some peace to others.
I found it in the Nazarene…. Everything He ever said or did has value for us today,
and that is something you can say of no other man, alive or dead…
He became the Light of the world.
Why shouldn’t I, a Jew, be proud of that?” [1] 

Sholem Asch and his wife in the 1930 - Credit David Mazower (Ashc's great-grandson) and the Asch Family AlbumsSholem Asch and his wife in the 1930s [2]

ONE DESTINY: AN EPISTLE TO THE CHRISTIANS
by Sholem Asch

 Sholem Asch, a Polish-American Jew born in Kutno, Poland in 1880, was one of the most widely known and controversial Yiddish writers of his time. He wrote the book One Destiny: An Epistle To The Christians at the end of World War II when the horrific acts of Nazi Germany were coming fully to light.

Asch was a man ahead of his time, writing about Jewish and Christian unity–something only fully awakening today. He said:

I see in pure Christianity an entirely justified share of faith in the God of Israel– through the Messianic idea–equal to my own Jewish faith. The preservation of Israel and the preservation of the Nazarene are one phenomenon.
They depend on each other… The two are one.
And notwithstanding the heritage of blood and fire which passionate enmity has brought between them, they are two parts of a single whole, two poles of the world which are always drawn to each other, and no deliverance, no peace, and no salvation can come until the two halves are joined together and become one [in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob].

Whoever works, strives, and desires that this may come to pass is on the side of God. Whoever does otherwise belongs to the other party.

This is my spiritual credo. On this foundation I have built my house. For this I have sacrificed everything. With it I stand and with it I fall.

That is why, as a Jew, as an ‘outsider,’ I claim the right to call you my brothers, believers in the Messiah, and, as brothers, to talk with you openly and freely.
As children who have the same parents, children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Christians, Jews, believers in the Messiah, give me your attention, because a brother speaks to you in the name of millions of your brothers. [3]

Sholem Asch wrote this book as an honest and impassioned letter to those followers of Yeshua he considered family. This letter is as applicable today as it was in 1945.

The disease of Anti-Semitism, which also can be labelled Anti-Jewish, Anti-Zionist, Anti-Israel, is on the rise today and at times is a raging fire. Sholem Asch calls us to move beyond complacency and beyond silence. As Abraham Heschel would say, “…in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.” [4]

And for this desecration which Hitler made of the Jews, for this choice which he conferred upon them, for the freedom with which he could slaughter a whole people, for this crying sin, the guilt is carried, the accessory guilt if not the full one, by the whole Christian world.

I have hurled a terrible word. My deepest feelings rebel and protest against this horrible charge. My hands trembled in writing it down. Yet…whatever the pain and anguish it may bring me, I must let it stay, because the sin which Hitler, the Nazis, and the whole German people have drawn upon themselves could never have been committed–at any rate, in the measure and form in which it was committed–if it were not inspired, if it were not sanctioned, or at the very least allowed by the criminal silence of a wicked world, shot through with Jew-hatred, with indifference to human wrongs. [5]

The world at large seems complacent in the face of lies concerning Israel and the Jewish people. There are, even, many Bible-believing Christians who, despite the record of atrocities found in Church history, continue to stand against the Word of G-d and poke the Apple of G-d’s eye.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Messiah was the Messiah of the Jews, that the fulfillment of Jewish hopes and of Jewish prophecies were ascribed to him, that the Messiah carried all the blessings of Israel, he was nevertheless painted as the victim of Israel. No one but the cursed Jews were to blame for his sufferings and death, which were a necessary condition for his Messianic mission.

In any case, the legend of the Jewish crucifixion of the Savior became the source of limitless torturing of and senseless hatred toward the Jews. The legend about the Jewish crucifixion of the Messiah has cost millions of Jewish lives. It carries a long streak of blood after it, right down to our own time. It has become the microbe of hate in the spiritual body of Christianity. It has caused and still causes daily trouble for the Jews. It brings tears to mothers, anxieties and terrors to children.

I myself have suffered throughout my childhood from the accusation of blood guilt. Every Christian holiday was transformed by the legend into a day of fear and sorrow for the Jews.  But greater than the damage it did to Jews, greater even than the destruction of Jewish lives, was the damage and destruction it wrought upon spiritual lives [of all those involved]. [6]

 

One Destiny: An Epistle To The Christians is a short read with a message that needs to be pondered within the heart of every follower of Yeshua; particularly one who is concerned with Jewish and Christian relations.

We must all together help each other in finding the way back to G-d. The world is becoming more shrunken each day with the development of new means of communication. We are all inhabitants of the same world, and the world must belong to G-d or to the devil. No division of authority exists any longer, because we all share in a single fate…

In our own time humanity has been brought to the level of the beasts. The dignity of the human being, that sacred position bestowed upon him by the Judaeo-Christian religion, can be restored only by acceptance and submission to its [ethical, moral, spiritual] teachings. [7] 

Tree - Hands2

 

The prophet Isaiah tells us that in the time of restoration, G-d will work wonder upon wonder for His people in the face of the rage and attacks of their enemies:

For thus the Lord said to me,
“…He is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise,
… the Lord of hosts will come down to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.
Like birds hovering, so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem;
He will protect and deliver it; He will spare and rescue it.”  [8]

This time of restoration was evidenced with G-d restoring the land of Israel to the Jews in 1948 and continues to this day. He has and continues to work wonder upon wonder in protecting Israel against impossible odds.

According to the Word, opposition to Israel will only increase. Now is the time for those of us who love Yeshua to support each other and to stand with Israel. Sholem Asch makes a plea for unity, a plea for reconciliation between Jews and Christians–a plea that seems absurd given the long history of severed relations between these two groups. However, as Sholem Asch points out, we are family. [9] The faithful remnant in the Church continues to be grafted in and to share in the nourishing root of the olive tree of the faithful remnant of Israel. [10] Today’s awakening reconciliation and the building of true relationship between such Jews and Christians is  a vital part of G-d’s plan.

Christians and Jews need each other. The Church stands in great debt to the Jewish community, and the Church’s ongoing support of the Jewish community is crucial to the outworking of God’s own purposes and to the establishing of His own Name.

In the words of Markus Barth, “With the complete physical extinction of all Jews from the face of the earth the demonstration and proof of God’s existence would collapse and the Church would lose it’s raison d’etre: the Church would fall.” [11][12]

God makes foolish the wisdom of this world [13]. May we work together, as believers in the Word of the God of Israel, for the seeming absurdity of G-d’s wisdom and plans for all His children and for His land, Israel.

 

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Read One Destiny: An Epistle To The Christians online at:
Petah Tikvah [14]

 

Footnotes:
1. Sholem Asch quoted in Sun Journal, January 17, 1998, Jesus the Most Famous Jew of All
2. Photo Credit from David Mazower (Asch’s great-grandson) and the Asch Family Albums 3. Sholem Asch, One Destiny
4. Abraham Heschel, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity, Introduction
5. Sholem Asch, One Destiny
6. ibid
7. ibid
8. Isaiah 31:4-5
9. Romans 11:17-24, Galatians 3:7, Romans 4:16, Galatians 3:29
10. Romans 11:17-24
11. Marvin Wilson, Our Father Abraham, pg. 335
12. Markus Barth, The People of God, pg.72, quoted in Our Father Abraham
13. 1 Corinthians 1:19-20
14. Keren and I are very grateful to Petah Tikvah for sharing One Destiny online.
Please note that we have not yet had the opportunity to explore the site thoroughly, so our sharing of their link is not necessarily an endorsement of all material found on the Petah Tikvah site.

~Cindy & Keren

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