Letters of Love to the Jews
Site Editor's Preface to the Writings on the Sidebar
(from a Wild Olive Gentile, Grafted onto the Olive Tree of Israel )
The writings of the early Quakers to the Jews reflect their love for the people that were the root of their faith. There were very few Jews in England, Scotland, or Ireland at the time of these many writings, further testimony to the early Quakers' great concern for even the few. The Jews had been banished from England since 1290 by King Edward because Edward owed them huge sums of money he had borrowed for his many wars, and because of the envy of the citicizenry of the Jews' great success in business. Manasseh Ben Israel, a prominent Jewish Rabbi from Amsterdam, led a group of Jews back to England, at the invitation of the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell had been moved to sympathy with the Jewish cause, partly by his tolerant leanings, but chiefly because he foresaw the importance for English commerce of the presence of the Jewish merchant princes, who had already visited England on business.
The Jewish prophet, Daniel, prophesied the exact year of the Messiah's coming in the Book of Daniel, detailed below:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel Chapter 9, verse 24)
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks [69 total weeks]. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times, [the rebuilders were frequently attacked by their fearful neighboring nations].
69 weeks x 7 days/week=483 days.
The Book of Numbers 14:33-34 and the Book of Ezekiel 4:4-6, both show us how a day is a year in Old Testament prophecy:
Numbers: And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. Num 14:33-34
Ezekiel: Lie also on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it. According to the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity. For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year. Eze 4:4-6
By the Lord's explanations above, the 483 days of prophecy is really 483 years. The Messiah was prophesied by Daniel to appear 483 years after the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem.
There are four decrees, all of which took place after the prophecy by Gabriel as reported by Daniel:
- The decree from Cyrus in 539 BC to rebuild the temple only. (see Ezra 1:1-3)
- The decree from Darius in 521 BC, which reaffirmed Cyrus's decree. (see Ezra 6:1-12)
- The decree from Artaxerxes to Ezra in 458 BC to transport the vessels of gold and silver to the temple under construction, and restore the sacrifice. (see Ezra 7:11-26)
- The decree from Artaxerxes to Nehemiah in 444 BC to rebuild the wall and gates, which completed the city and made it safe. (see Nehemiah 2:1-8)
Whatever decree is used for the start of the date computation, they all show the Messiah to have long since come and gone. In that time a city was not a city without a wall and gates, so the 444 BC decree to Nehemiah is a strong choice; but either of the decrees from Artaxerxes computes to the life of Jesus, depending on whether you adjust the 360 day Jewish year to the 365.25 day of our calendar, which is computed by 483 x 360/365.25 = 476 years. There is no zero year going from BC to AD, so 458 becomes 457 years and 444 becomes 443 years.
The green dates all match the years when Jesus was alive. Unfortunately scholars have no agreement on the exact years of Christ's life; Wikipedia shows his birth ranging between 7 BC and 2 BC, and death ranging between 25 AD and 36 AD. But we know the Messiah has come, and is not coming thousands of years later; and Jesus is obviously the only historical figure that could have possibly fulfilled the prophecy. If we assume historical Roman calendars are correct, 33 AD is very close to when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding the foal, and a crowd begain to rejoice and praise God, shouting "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Luke 19:37-38.
Jesus was not recognized for many reasons, chief of which was that the Jews were looking for the reestablishment of a physical kingdom and the defeat of their physical enemies in the world, such as the Romans. But the Kingdom that Jesus established was an everlasting spiritual kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven — which in within us and surrounds us — a different and higher dimension; and instead of physical enemies being defeated, Jesus brought Israel and the whole world the formula for defeating our spiritual enemies: lust, pride, anger, envy, jealousy, covetousness, greed, fear, depression, etc. — accomplished through repentance on the inward cross of self-denial. The Jews had the scriptures and missed him by the colossal mistake they had been warned against; but those, who had been taught by the Word of God that is in their hearts and mouths, recognized Jesus — and entered the Kingdom of Heaven, while still on the earth — to become priests and kings, having defeated their spiritual enemies (lust, pride, anger, envy, etc.) to forever serve God without fear in his presence, continually beholding his glory and power. Just as the Jews with the scriptures missed Jesus, so has the vast majority of Christendom missed the spiritual Jesus, who is in every man that comes into the world, waiting to be sought, listened to, heard, and obeyed.
To still be waiting on the Messiah, is to label Daniel a false prophet — who obviously was a true prophet, even recognized by the heathen king Nebuchadnezzar to be a prophet of the most high God. The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, Psalm 118:22; the builders are the Jews of the fathers: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc.
A further appeal of reason to make with my Jewish friends. The Jews condemned Jesus because he admitted he was the Son of God. So they killed him because they said he had violated their law and blasphemed; but the major reason was they feared the loss of their religion and nation. Though the New Testament is clear that there is only one God, (despite the mistake of most of Christianity), and though Jesus said he only spoke and did as God told to him speak and do, they considered Jesus to be claiming equality with God by claiming he was the Son of God, and to claim equality with God was blasphemy. The Jews believed that the Messiah would only be a man, and they acted like they had never heard of the Son of God, yet their own Scriptures, from the Old Testament, the six below speak of the Son:
1). Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name, if you can tell?
And King David spoke very, very reverently of the Son, ascribing to him the power of God, and the determiner of the way:
2). Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you perish from the way for his wrath is quick to be kindled. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him. Psa 2:12
In the Original Old Testament Book of 4 Esdras*
3). The bride shall appear, and he shall come forth and be seen, that now is under the earth: for my Son Jesus shall appear with those that be with him, and those who remain shall rejoice within four hundred years; and after these same years shall my Son Christ die. 4 Esdras 7:27-29
I, Esdras, saw upon the Mount Zion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs.
And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marveled at greatly.
So I asked the angel, and said, "Sir, what are these?"
He answered and said unto me, "These are those who have put off the mortal clothing, put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God; now are they crowned, and they receive palms."
Then said I unto the angel, "What young person is it who crowns them and gives them palms in their hands?"
So he answered and said unto me, "It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world." Then began I to greatly admire those who had stood so rigidly for the name of the Lord.
Then the angel said unto me, "Go your way, and tell my people what manner of things and how great wonders of the Lord your God you have seen." 4 Esdras 2:42-48
*The Book of Esdras is so unfamiliar to most. It was in the original Old Testament and King James Bible, but was later removed. Parts of the books are in Ezra and Nehemiah. This book still appears in the Latin Vulgate Bible. Because George Fox quoted from this Book, it is included on this site. See Esdras, Chapter 1 Introduction for more on Esdras.
And even the heathen King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, could recognize the son of God:
4). And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke, and said to his counselors, "Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?" They answered and said to the king, "True, O king."
He answered and said, "Look, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not harmed; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." .
Further in the Old Testament Book of Daniel, Daniel himself saw Jesus coming on the clouds:
5). I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, Dan 7:13. (Jesus called himself the Son of Man as well as admitting He was the Son of God.)
In the Original Old Testament Book of Wisdom there is a remarkable prophecy how the Son of God would be rejected by the Jews because of their own wickedness had blinded them, and they knew not the secrets of God:
6). For the ungodly said, reasoning with themselves, but not correctly, "Our life is short and tedious, and in the death of a man there is no remedy; neither has there been any man known to have returned from the grave.
Let us therefore lie in wait for the righteous person because he is not for our turn; he is contrary to our doings, upbraids us with transgressions of the law, and divulges against us the sins of our way of life.
He boasts that he has the knowledge of God, and calls himself the son of God.
He has become a reprover of our thoughts.
He is grievous to us even to behold for his life is not like other men's, and his ways are very different.
We are esteemed by him as triflers, and he abstains from our ways as from filthiness, and he prefers the latter end of the just and glories that he has God for his father.
Let us see then if his words are true, and let us prove what shall happen to him, and we shall know what his end shall be.
For if he is the true son of God, God will defend him and will deliver him from the hands of his enemies.
Let us examine him with despitefulness and torture, that we may know his meekness, and prove his patience.
Let us condemn him with a shameful death for by his own saying he shall be respected."
Such things they did imagine, and were deceived for their own wickedness has blinded them.
And they knew not the secrets of God, nor hoped for the wages of justice, nor esteemed the honor of holy souls.
The Jews accusations were baseless. Their own scriptures testified to the existence of a Son of God.
According to Jewish scripture and belief, the true Messiah must meet the following requirements:
How Jesus Fulfilled the Expectations of Messiah
|Be an observant Jewish man descended from the house of King David
||Before His ministry began, Jesus was so respected as an observant Jewish man that He taught and read scripture in His synagogue's Sabbath meeting.
As Jesus was by both His Father and Mother a direct descendant of David, Joseph through Solomon (Matthew 1:7-15), thus inheriting the legal right to the throne of David, and Mary through David's son, Nathan (Luke 3:23-31), her line thus carrying the seed of David, since Solomon's line had been refused the throne because of Jechoniah's sin.
|Be an ordinary human being (as opposed to the Son of God)
||Jesus was the Son of God, who humbled Himself to become an ordinary man to die on the cross. He was looked on as just the carpenter's son, an ordinary man.
|Bring peace to the world
||As He does bring peace to anyone in the world who accepts Him and follows him to the cross, to receive peace as the fruit of the spirit.
|Gather all Jews back into Israel
||As He does gather all real Jews, those with a circumcised heart, into spiritual, heavenly Israel.
|Rebuild the ancient Temple in Jerusalem
||As He does rebuild the temple in New Jerusalem, the heavenly, spiritual Jerusalem; Jesus and His saints being the temple, each saint being a living stone, each overcomer of the world and its lusts being a pillar in the temple.
|Unite humanity in the worship of the Jewish God and Torah observance
||1) Certainly He unites true believers from all nations, particularly the Gentiles, in worship of the Jewish God. The Jewish God is acknowledged as God by billions all over the world.
2) Jesus preached observance of the law, and He even strengthened the law.
And so His true believers, who have crucified their lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial, observe the law, even exceeding the law by walking in the royal law of love:
- He made adultery, not just the act, but the thought in the heart.
- He made murder, not just the act, but the anger and hate in the heart.
- He changed "an eye for an eye," to "turn the other cheek;" and "hate your enemies," to "bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you." He told us not to repay injury or insult.
- He told us that restraint of sin was not enough, but that we were defiled by what was in our hearts; so our hearts must be cleansed of even the desire or inclination to sin.
- That without a cleansed heart, we worshiped only as lip-service hypocrites; but after our hearts were cleansed, we could worship God as he must only be worshiped, in Spirit and Truth.
A man who walks in the royal law of love, is prompted and energized by God what to say and what to do, so that his every action and word is from loving obedience to God; truly such a man loves the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
Deu 6:4-5; such a man greatly exceeds the law, fulfilling and establishing the law.
- Owe no man anything, but to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments: "you shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not covet," and any other commandments, are all briefly summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love works no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Rom 13:8-10.
- For all the law is fulfilled in one command, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Gal 5:14
- Do we then render inoperative the law through faith? Absolutely not, instead we establish the law. Rom 3:31.
The Jews, incorrectly interpreting the Scriptures, rejected Christ, expecting a physical King to appear and re-establish an earthly Jewish kingdom. Similarly, one hundred generations of Christendom, incorrectly interpreting the Scriptures, have rejected listening to and obeying Christ within them, expecting an outward appearance; expecting Christ to physically appear to be King of the whole world, thereby missing the possibility of preparing for his inward, individual spiritual appearance in them. This is a major deception with disastrous consequences to those so deceived.
For Jesus to be killed by the Jews who thought they were doing God a favor, is not without precedent. Many of the Jewish prophets were killed by the ruling class of Israel, who considered themselves to be very religious; those murdered by the Jewish authorities include:
- Isaiah was sawn into with a wooden saw by Manasseh, the son of King Hezekiah.
- Jeremiah was stoned by exile Jews in Egypt because he rebuked them for worshipping idols.
- Micah was slain by Joram, the son of King Ahab.
- Nahum was sought to be killed for prophesying the Babylonian invasion, but he fortunately escaped their plans.
- Elijah was sought to be killed by Jezebel, the Queen of Israel, who had previously killed all the prophets of the Lord she could find. Fortunately Elijah survived.
- Habakkuk was stoned in Jerusalem.
- Ezekiel was slain by the chief of the Jews who was in the land of the Chaldeans because he rebuked him for worshipping idols.
- Zechariah the son of Berachiah, the priest, was from Jerusalem. Joash the king slew this (prophet) in the temple, between the steps and the altar, and sprinkled his blood upon the horns of the altar; and the priests buried him. From that day God forsook the temple, and angels were never again seen in it.
Speaking to the Jewish religious leaders of time, Jesus said:
Woe to you! For you rebuild the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.
Truly you testify that you approve the deeds of your fathers. For they indeed killed them and you rebuild their tombs.
Because of this, the wisdom of God said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute.'
So that the blood of all the prophets shed from the foundation of the world will be required of this generation,
From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the temple. Truly I say to you, it shall be required of this generation. Luke 11:47-51
As Jesus was journeying to Jerusalem, he was warned that Herod sought to kill him. He replied:
Nevertheless, I must continue my journey today and tomorrow and the day following; for it will never do for a prophet to die outside of Jerusalem.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you would not! Luke 13:33-34
A last appeal to my Jewish friends. The Jewish prophets prophesied that the Messiah would be widely accepted by the Gentiles and other nations, which has occurred. Consider the below scriptures:
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. Isaiah 42:1
I the LORD have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand; I will keep you and give you for a covenant to the people, for a light to the Gentiles, Isaiah 42:6 [Isaiah lived 778 years before Christ was born.]
He says, 'It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation to the ends of the earth.' Isaiah 49:6
Thus said the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. Isaiah 49:22
And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:3
Then you shall see, and flow together, and your heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto you, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto you. Isaiah 60:5
Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto you the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. Isaiah 60:11
And the Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and you shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. Isaiah 62:2
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. Isaiah 11:10
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, said the LORD of hosts. Malachi 1:11
Many further Jewish prophecies, all fulfilled by Christ, are discussed below, in the outstanding writings of George Fox and Isaac Penington.
As with all the 17th Century writings on this site, the language has been modernized: you — for thee and thou, stands — for standst, etc. The punctuation standards have also been changed from their 1831 publication standards to modern convention. Occasionally an obsolete word is replaced by a current word of the same meaning, using an 1828 on-line dictionary; i.e., fain, to gladly.
Early Quakers Writings Addressed to to the Jews on this Site are as follows:
This web site's purpose is to show how to become
free from sin
by benefiting from the changing power of God through the cross,
which leads to union with God in his Kingdom.