My question concerns the expositions in the Pascha. The Pascha is beautiful, but some of the expositions make me very uncomfortable. I have many Jewish friends, including Christian converts. I would love to invite these friends over to enjoy the Pascha and see how the Old Testament completes the New one. However, that is impossible due to the content of some of the expositions.
For example, in the Sixth Hour of Tuesday, it says, "As for the contrary Jews who are His own, He relegated them to the darkness of Hell forever because they refused His words, rejected Him, and condemned Him to death."Â
Again, on the First Hour of Wednesday, "Therefore, they shall be with their children in Hell, their home, forever;" and on the Eleventh Hour, "Because of their opposition, He will chain them and assign them to Hell, the place of suffering."
Again, on the First Hour of Thursday Eve, "Truly He is the One who enlightens the hearts of the faithful, except for the opposing Jews, whom he blinded the vision of their hearts and their eyes..." Yet another example is found in the 3rd Hour of Good Friday, "As for Israel, its foolishness prevails on them forever." The Jews are called "foolish", "contrary", and even "stupid" (a word that is generally unacceptable in the Church). Â
I understand that some of this refers to the Jews who actually had a hand in getting the Romans to put Jesus to death. However, the language used is not limited to these people. Moreover, these Expositions add nothing to the beauty of the Holy Bible and are just interpretations that can hurt people more than help them. How are the Jews supposed to return to the Church (as prophesied) if such things are kept as stumbling blocks? My question, therefore, is since we are in a missionary era, are there talks about removing these Expositions? If not, what is the justification of keeping them? What do they add to the believer?
The expositions are not intended to hurt the Jewish people today. They are specific to the Jews who contributed to the suffering and death, not only of our Messiah, but theirs as well.
How can the Holy Scripture be interpreted then? The expositions help to do that. The expositions confront the evil and malice of the high priests of Judaism of that era who conspired to kill Christ. These writing are not for the hindrance of the Jewish culture today. They, too, are called to salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Consider the passages below according to the words of the Jews themselves:
"But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said to them, 'Which of the two do you want me to release to you?' They said, 'Barabbas!' Pilate said to them, 'What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?' They all said to him, 'Let Him be crucified!' Then the governor said, 'Why, what evil has He done?' But they cried out all the more, saying, 'Let Him be crucified!' When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, 'I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.' And all the people answered and said, 'His blood be on us and on our children.'" (Matthew 27:20-25).
The first Christians were Jews. Former Jews who converted to Christianity evangelized the Christian church. Three of the four writers of the Holy Gospel were Jews—St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. John; so were St. Paul who wrote more than one half of the New Testament and St. Peter, who denied Christ, but later wrote 2 epistles and would not accept to be crucified as our Lord, but rather upside down. The disciples were also Jews and so were many of the apostles.
Consider Psalm 22:12-13,16.
"Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion."
"For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me."
These passages are not only from the Old Testament—the only Holy Scripture of the Jewish faith, but from the mouth of David the prophet, who other than Moses the archprophet, is more revered than any other by the Jews themselves. Here the prophet David refers to them as "bulls" and "dogs", and likened their stare at Christ (the Messiah) to "a raging and roaring lion". Do we then modify the Holy Scripture for political correctness?
There are approximately 300 prophetic passages in the Old Testament regarding our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that the Lord will keep His promises to the Jews and to the Gentiles. As Coptic Christians, we are the former children of a pagan ancestry who enslaved the Israelites. It does not bother us that Pharaoh is a type of Satan and the brutality of the Egyptians of that era are rightfully deplored.
Be encouraged to invite your friends and use this opportunity to educate them, as it is clear that you are very articulate, persuasive, faithful, and concerned.