ATLANTA (AP/WAOK) – Jewish leaders are criticizing a ceremony that involved Bishop Eddie Long being wrapped in a religious scroll and exalted as a “king” to the applause of his congregation.
The video from a service last Sunday at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church shows Rabbi Ralph Messer, a Messianic preacher, instructing two men to slowly wrap Bishop Long in a large scroll that’s purported to be the Torah.
Messer proclaims, “It doesn’t matter where you go, how you try to attack him. He’s sealed.” Then the scroll is opened to reveal a teary-eyed Long. Moments later, Long was seated in a plush chair, covered in a prayer shawl while holding the sacred scroll and lifted by four men.
Messer than proclaims, “He now is raised up from a commoner to a kingship.” Messianic Jews believe that Jesus Christ, or Yeshua, is the Messiah, putting them at odds with traditional Jewish theology.
Most Jews consider the faith to be a form of evangelical Christianity. The Torah is one of Judaism’s most sacred objects and Jewish groups say the notion that it was used in a ceremony at the church was offensive.
Long’s church, issued a statement from Messer saying that the ceremony was based on a passage from the Old Testament on restoring the Kingdom of David.
Bill Nigut, the Southeast Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League said the ceremony bears no resemblance to any Jewish ritual he is aware of.