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Zion vs Sinai: why Jews reject Messiah

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    Posted: 05 July 2007 at 12:12am

The Old Testament is a composite of two (2) competing threads. One
stems from Moses on Mt. Horeb/Sinai (the "Sinai Tradition"). The other
stems from the Temple of Jebus / Jerusalem (the "Zion Tradition"). The
former is the pure strand from God through Moses, as is shown by
Judah's greatest king, Josiah, and by New Testament references which
universally prefer it. The latter is condemned as corrupted. Yet, as
shown by the fact that 2/3 of the Torah comes from the corrupted strand,
as well as the modern Zion*ist state of Israel, the Jews continue to
prefer the "Zion tradition" over the true "Sinai tradition". Hence, the Jews
continue to reject the Messiah, who preached a "Sinai tradition" ministry.

*The corrupt nature of the "Zion tradition" is, in fact, summarily shown in
that the very word is pagan. "Zion" was a Jebusite stronghold conquered
by David. The word "Zion" comes from pagan Jebusite roots. Conversely,
"Sinai" (or "Horeb") was the Holy Mountain of God on which the Prophet
Moses (PBUH) received Allah's commandments. The word "Sinai" comes
from Moses. Today, the Jews elevate "Mt. Zion" (pagan) over "Mt. Sinai"
(Prophet Moses PBUH).

Background Information from Sources

The Social Roots Of Biblical Yahwism*
by Stephen L. Cook

Among the many Yahwisms coexisting in ancient Israel was an initially
small minority stream of theological tradition composed of geographically
and socially diverse groups in northern and southern Israel. These
groups shared a religious commitment to a covenantal, village-based,
land-oriented Yahwism that arose before the emergence of Israelite

Stephen Cook's latest work brings together several pieces of the Hebrew
Bible in supporting his thesis that the Bible contains throughout two
basic worldviews in competition with one another. The first, which Cook
favors, he calls the "Sinai tradition,"
found (perhaps surprisingly)in the
8th century prophetic books of Micah and Hosea, the Deuteronomistic
History (Deut-2 Kings) the "E" strand of the Pentateuch, and the "Psalms
of Asaph" (Ps 50, 73-81). Cook weaves these seemingly desparate texts
together in making a solid case for their comprising together over two
centuries of consistent proclamation of a rural, agrarian-based,
decentralized, tribal, covenant way of life under the rule of YHWH. Cook
argues well that the tradition is carried by the rural Levites

In opposition to this Sinai tradition is the Zion tradition, which
supports the opposite social structure, that of the urban, centralized,
hierarchical life of Jerusalem and Samaria. This tradition is carried by the
urban priests and royal retainers of the capital cities

Cook shows clearly how it is the Sinai tradition that the Bible truly
favors as YHWH's way for YHWH's people. That this is the case is also
clear beyond Cook's book in how the New Testament writers almost
unanymously call on the Sinai traditions in proclaiming the Gospel of
Jesus the Messiah, despite the Davidic and Zion components of popular
messianic expectations in the first century

Sinai and Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible*
by Jon D. Levenson

Levenson analyzes the Old Testament and traces a Sinai tradition
(law, or, more particularly for Levenson, Covenant ) and a Zion
(Temple)... Levenson sees two of the primary building-
blocks of ancient Israel's culture and religion being mountain traditions -
the mountain of Sinai, and the mountain of Zion.

He sees Zion being heir to the Sinai tradition, which assumed many
Sinaitic traits, but did not leave either tradition intact. There was also a
geographic division over the dominance of the two traditions
, which is
not a simple north/south divide, but also a theological tension,
interwoven as theology was back then with politics as well.

*quoted from editorial and customer reviews (rough

Theological Argument

Further Background: Documentary Hypothesis

A Gospel Harmony is a composite amalgamation of the four
canonical gospels. For example, Tatian's Diatessaron (c.175 CE) is
the most famous such harmony, and combines the four gospels into one
continuous narrative, resolving conflicting statements and removing
duplicated text.

The Documentary Hypothesis says that the Torah too is a
composite of four (4) separate documents. These can be teased apart
much as one could reconstruct the four canonical gospels from Tatian's

The oldest sources comprising the Torah are called the Jahwist (J)
and Elohism (E) documents. E comes from the Shiloh Levites,
descendants of Samuel. The Shiloh Levites lost the standing they had had
under David when the High Priest Abiathar (who had fed David during his
flight, Mark 2:26) backed Adonijah against Solomon. When Solomon took
the throne, he deposed Abiathar (the only recorded deposing of a High
Priest) and exiled him to the village of Anathoth outside Jerusalem
(1 Kings 2:22-26). Thus marginalized in Judah, when Israel seceded after
the reign of Solomon (c.930 BCE), Shiloh wound up in the northern
kingdom —*but were increasingly marginalized again by the increasingly
backsliding and paganising Israelite kings. The opposition between E and
the monarchy is clearly seen in 1 Samuel 8:7-9, which calls kingship a
"rejection of [God]".

J comes from Jerusalem and dates to the beginning of Solomon's
reign (c.970 BCE) — before the Temple was built. It chiefly
represents the position of the monarchy, namely David and Solomon.

Over the next 250-300 years, the Temple Priesthood in Jerusalem grew in
wealth and power. During the reign of King Hezekiah (715-687 BCE), as
floods of refugees were streaming into Judah from fallen Israel (d.722
BCE) — and bringing with them all of their pagan ways — the Temple
Priesthood wrote a "revised standard version" of the Torah. This is called
the Priestly (P) source. Because of the wealth and power of the
Temple Priesthood, P is by far the largest "Torah gospel". It is more
than twice as long as any other source, and makes up nearly half of the
whole Torah we have today. And, as we shall see, it was this Priestly
school that rose to dominance during the Babylonian Exile. Thus, in
the combined Torah we have today, P is the main backbone to
which all other sources are attached as appendages. Interestingly,
whereas E exalts Moses, P tacitly denigrates Moses and exalts
instead his brother Aaron
, from whom the Jerusalem Priesthood
claimed descent.

However, during the reign of King Manasseh (687-642 BCE), the
Torah was lost and forgotten (2 Ki 22:8; 2 Chr 34:15). It appears
that there was a break in the High Priesthood during this time. When the
Priesthood was finally restored by a bloody coup (2 Ki 21:18-26; 2 Chr
33:20-25) in 640 BCE by King Josiah, the High Priests were Shallum and
then his son Hilkiah — from Anathoth (Jeremiah 1:1), where the
Shiloh Levites in Judah had been exiled since the reign of King Solomon
nearly 350 years earlier (see above).

Few would argue that King Josiah was the godliest and greatest Hebrew
King since the days of David. According to 1 Kings 13:1-3, a 300-year
old prophecy to Jeroboam had long foretold the coming of the savior-
king Josiah. In the 18th year of his reign, the High Priest Hilkiah found a
"book of the Torah" (2Ki 22:8; 2Chr 34:15) that we today call the "Book of
Deuteronomy". Scholars call it the Deuteronomist Source (D). D
comes from the same Shiloh community as the earlier E, only it is
written in a much later form of Hebrew (the difference is akin to that
between Shakespearean and modern English*).

King Josiah, piously obeyed the commands of his Shilohite High Priests
Shallum and Hilkiah from Anathoth, cleaned, scrubbed and scoured
the House of YHWH from stem to stern. Indeed,
[indent]Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who
turned to YHWH as he did
—with all his heart and with all his soul and
with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

2 Kings 23:25[/indent]
It is worth noting that the High Priest Hilkiah was probably the father of
the Prophet Jeremiah, "the son of Hilkiah of the Priests of Anathoth"
(Jeremiah 1:1). Scholars have also shown that Shallum, Hilkiah, Jeremiah
and the Shiloh Levites essentially tasked Josiah with a "holy crusade" to
reconquer the northern lands of Israel that had fallen 100 years earlier.
In fact, and there seems to be a message in this, Josiah's mighty
reforms began exactly 100 years after the fall of Israel to Sargon II —
Israel fell in 722 BCE, and the 18th year of Josiah's reign was 622

YHWH, through Shallum, Hilkiah, Jeremiah and Josiah, was unfurling a
message to the world

Thus we see that, in the dying days of Judah, when Nebuchadrezzar and
the whole might of Babylon were being brought to bear against the
isolated kingdom of Josiah, the Jews turned — not to the corrupted and
urbanized J or P schools — but to the oldest, deepest, and
purest Mosaic roots. The Jews turned to E and the Shiloh Levites
descended from Moses

And Josiah, sandwiched between Egypt and Babylon, went on the offense
and began to retake the lost lands of the north.

* See: story_13986_1.html">

Main Argument (at last)

Stephen Cook and Jon Levenson have shown that there are two (2)
competing threads entwined together in the Torah. The first is the
rural Levitical Priesthood, descended from Moses on Mt. Horeb (Sinai
). The other is the urban 'Aaronid Priesthood descended from Zadok
and the Jerusalem Temple built on the Jebusite Araunah's threshing floor
on the grounds of the Jebusite stronghold called "Zion". Cook has
further shown, by appeal to the New Testament (e.g. Mark 2:26) that early
Christianity traced its roots to the E school of Samuel, Abiathar, and
the Priests of Anathoth — the same ancient Levitical and Mosaic
priesthood that had been marginalized throughout Israel, and especially
in the Northern Kingdom.

Now, we mentioned before that P was the largest strand of the Torah
we have today, indicating its wealth, power, and status within Judaism.
Likewise, the next largest strand of the modern Torah is J, the early
Jerusalem monarchial source that later gave rise to P (through
Solomon's building the Temple). Now, J and P taken together
comprise almost exactly two-thirds (2/3) of the Torah. That
the Jerusalem sources make up a super-majority of the Torah is clear
proof that the urbanized 'Aaronid tradition of Jerusalem (Zion) dominates
the rural Levitical tradition of Moses on Mt. Horeb (Sinai) within Judaism.

And this is the same Judaism that persecuted the prophets (Acts 7:52)
and rejected and tried to murder the Messiah...
...whose followers, as shown by Cook, consistently favor and quote the
rural "Sinai traditions" of E and D. Furthermore, as I have
argued above, to "judge a tree by its fruits" (Matthew 7:15-20), the
godliest and greatest Judean king, Josiah (2 Kings 23:25), came straight
from those same E and D roots.

Lastly, recall that Cook has shown that "the New Testament writers almost
unanymously call on the Sinai traditions in proclaiming the Gospel of
Jesus the Messiah, despite the Davidic and Zion components of
popular messianic expectations in the first century
". Thus we
see that the Jews rejected the Messiah because the Jews favor the corrupt
"Zion" traditions over against the pure Mosaic "Sinai" traditions. The
former, according to standard Christian interpretation, foretell a "Davidic"
Messiah who will conquer the gentiles, whilst the latter foretold the true
Messiah, Yeshua of Galilee.

To this day, the Jews still reject the Messiah because they still are looking
for a "Davidic Messiah" who will lead them to world domination. Indeed,
it is written:
[indent]Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked
them a question, saying, "What do you think about the Messiah? Whose
son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is
it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
"'YHWH said to my Lord,
   Sit at my right hand,
   until I put your enemies under your feet'?

If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?" And no one was
able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him
any more questions

Matthew 22:41-46[/indent]
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