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Controversy Over Madonna's Bible Quote

January 12, 1991

I am a Jew--by ancestry, by circumcision, by bar mitzvah. Rabbi Cooper is wrong when he describes Revelation 2:9 as anti-Semitic. To the contrary, this scripture is 100% pro-Semitic.

The writer is the apostle John but the speaker is Jesus, whose words are aimed at certain Gentiles embracing the virulently false doctrine that Israel, in rejecting its Messiah, had lost claim to the blessing God promised the descendants of Abraham. These blaspheming Gentiles were claiming (as some do even today) that the Church had metaphysically become the new Israel and that its members were the only real Jews.

In Revelation 2:9, Jesus is saying this simply isn't so, that it is slander against God to assert he would renege on promises made to the nation of Israel. Thus this text is a stinging rebuke of those who did then and do now buy into anti-Semitism.

Rabbi Cooper, leave Madonna alone. On this matter at least, she's on our side.

RICH SMITH

Los Angeles

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