Rasha – The Jew, A Message to All Jews

B.H. Roberts (1857-1933) wrote Rasha – The Jew, published by Deseret News Press in 1932.

Elder Roberts was a member of the First Council of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He dedicated his book “To Judah and Ephraim and the whole House of Israel.”

Roberts begins his book with a reference to Old Man Swartz by Abraham Silverstein. (See Note 1) Silverstein had converted from the Judaism to Christianity, and he had become a minister.

Pastor Silverstein’s Old Man Swartz was the reportedly true story of a Jew of the orthodox faith “who sternly resisted all arguments and endeavors to convert him from the faith of his fathers.” Silverstein convinced this Jew to “accept the reality of Jesus Christ for twenty-four hours.” The Jew did so, and he converted to Christianity.

Pastor Silverstein was also the editor of an evangelical Christian magazine entitled the Redeemed Hebrew. The purpose of the magazine was to convert Jews to Christianity.

Pastor Silverstein printed a letter in the Redeemed Hebrew from “a highly learned and deeply spiritual Hebrew scholar” from Calgary, Alberta, Canada that argued that Jesus Christ was not the Messiah, based on Old Testament scriptures. The Hebrew scholar signed his letter with the pseudonym “Rasha.”

The Redeemed Hebrew challenged its readers to refute the argument of “Rasha.” Elder Roberts took up this challenge, using scriptures from Isaiah and other Old Testament books. Pastor Silverstein selected Elder Roberts’ reply as the best response and printed it in the Redeemed Hebrew.

Roberts continued to write a series of articles for the Redeemed Hebrew. These articles form the basis of Roberts’ Rasha – The Jew.

Robert cites numerous scriptures to show that Jehovah of the Old Testament is the same being as Jesus Christ of the New Testament.

Roberts wrote that the “Seed ” referred to in the following scripture is Jesus Christ, who as the Deliverer and Messiah bruised Satan’s head,

Genesis 3

[15] And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Roberts explains that Shiloh refers to Jesus Christ in the following verse.

Genesis 49

[10] The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Roberts also quotes:

Isaiah 7

[14] Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Immanuel means “God with us.”

Roberts asks the reader “Must a being then, less than Jehovah incarnate be the Immanuel of the text?”

Isaiah 9

[6] For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Roberts asks “. . . would any Jew, dare say that a being less than their Jehovah incarnated could fulfill this prediction?”

Roberts points out that the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah because they expected a king who would rescue them from the yoke of Roman bondage.

He explains that Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection were foretold in Isaiah. This could only come about if Jehovah was incarnated with a body subjected to the laws of mortality. No Earthly king or prophet could otherwise fulfill this role.

Isaiah 26

[19] Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Job proclaimed his hope and faith in the resurrection as:

Job 19

[25] For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
[26] And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
[27] Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Futhermore, Daniel wrote

Daniel 12

[2] And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
[3] And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Later in his book, Roberts refers to Orson Hyde’s Dedicatory Prayer 1841.

The final chapter is Roberts’ Summary of the Message.

“Rasha,” the Jew, and all Jews, my Message is before you:

Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, incarnated and manifested in the flesh.

Your Jehovah, incarnate is Jehovah-Christ of the New Testament and of the Book of Mormon.

Your Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled (Isaiah 26:19). Jehovah came in person to the earth and received the “body” there predicted; he died and was buried, as there implied; but he rose again from the dead, and was many of Israel’s saints rose with him according to Isaiah’s prophecy, and St. Matthew’s testimony of its fulfillment, and the “earth cast our the dead” (St. Matthew 27:50-53).

The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Christ of the New Testament; and Jehovah-Christ is the Savior of Israel, of the Jews, of all men. There is no other Savior of the Jews or of all men, Jehovah-Christ is the sole in this.

A new Witness to these truths has been brought forth. The testimony of the ancient peoples of the western world is brought to you, “Rasha,” the Jew and to all Jews. The prophets and apostles of ancient America, your kinsmen, “Rasha,” speak to you through this “American Volume of Scripture.” Their testimony unites with the testimony of your own Old Testament prophets and seers. Their testimony unites with the testimony of the “Twelve Apostles of the Lamb.” – the Apostles and Witnesses of the New Testament. The Lord has spoken, “Rasha,” declaring new things and reaffirming old truths.

This is my testimony:

A New Dispensation of the old gospel is proclaimed. The Church of the Living God is again organized among men. Divine authority is here, and God’s message to Judah and to the whole world is:

Accept Jehovah-Christ and the Redeemer of the World.
Believe ye the Gospel of the Christ as the power of God unto salvation.
Repent for the hour of God’s judgment is come.
Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

B.H. Roberts

President of the First Quorum of the Seventy and of all the Seventy, the Special Witnesses of God in the New Dispensation.

Notes

1. A hardcopy of Old Man Swartz is not readily available, but the New York Public Library has a microfilm copy listed in its online catalog.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Psalms 122:6

– Tom Irvine

Hebrew Book of Mormon Translation

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