Thursday, January 10, 2008

Noahide Laws: Idolatry


HaShem created each and every one of us, handmade us, formed us and bestows upon us countless blessings every single day of our lives. He desires for us to serve Him and only Him, to call upon Him and to recognize Him as the Source of everything.

One of the most heinous of crimes is idolatry, one of three sins which Jews (and non-Jews) must give their lives rather than transgress. What is idolatry? Idolatry is the worship of anything other than HaShem, imposing a limit upon Him or giving Him a form. HaShem has neither body, nor form. He is transcendent and non-physical. HaShem is beyond physical limitations, above the world, unbound by time and space. HaShem is One, an absolute unity, since more-than-oneness is a feature of physicality, which He is not limited to. “HaShem, He is G-d ― there is none else beside Him” (Deuteronomy 4:35). Everything is dependent upon Him, the Ruler of All, and nothing can has any power or divinity other than HaShem. We can then say that God is both omnipresent and transcendental, two words that express the idea that God is not in space-time. Omnipresent means He fills the entire universe, as Isaiah the prophet states in Prophets, “Holy, holy, holy is G-d of hosts -- the whole world is filled with His Glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Since the entire earth is filled with His glory, HaShem cannot have a shape as that would constrict Him. Time and time again, He forbids us form making idols of silver or gold, or giving Him any shape. “Take good heed of yourselves, for you saw no manner of form on that day when G-d spoke to you at Horeb...” (Deuteronomy 4:15)

HaShem rules the world according to His will and as the Plagues of Egypt and the Exodus demonstrated, HaShem manipulates the forces of nature as He pleases. No one can oppose or be contrary to His desire. The ancient pagans resolved the question of theodicy by claiming that there was a good god and a bad god, in constant struggle. All harsh or seemingly evil things come from the bad god while all good things come from the good god. This dualism still exists in certain beliefs in a Satan, Opponent of G-d, Prince of Evil, who tries to frustrate G-d's plans. This is idolatry since it attributes independent power to something other than HaShem. "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things." (Isaiah 45:6). Everything that befalls you, sweet or harsh, is decreed directly from G-d, the Lord who dictates good and evil. There is none other!

Maimonides explained in his “Laws of the Worship of Stars” how idolatry came about in the first place: “In the days of Enosh, mankind made a great mistake... seeing that G-d had created the stars and constellations... and set them in the sky and gave them a place of honor... they assumed that these were worthy of praise... They began to build monuments and offer sacrifices, to verbally extol them and bow down to them.” The people of Antiquity held that they were ruled by stars and constellations, that they each had a destiny decreed for them according to their Zodiac sign. Many peoples had a belief in a single transcendent G-d who created the world but that He was too far removed from the world so they worshipped His messengers ie. angels, nature, planetary influence. They failed to understand that although HaShem is "the G-d of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the awful, who regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward" (Deut. 10:17), He takes interest in the deeds of man and is actively involved in the ruling of the world. At Mount Sinai, G-d's first command was "I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." (Exodus 20:2) Why did G-d associate Himself with the Exodus rather than the Creation of the world since the latter was certainly more lofty? Because no man saw the creation but millions witnessed the Exodus, as testimony to G-d's involvement in the world. As refutation to those who believe that G-d directs big things like the rise and fall of nations but doesn't concern Himself with the lowly deeds of individual men, the verse states that G-d not only took the entire nation of Israel out of Egypt but each individual family out of their own personal "house of bondage".


Despite G-d's Abssolute "Unknowable-ness", that He is Ein Sof, limitless, He is not unreachable. G-d is accessible to everyone who sincerely calls upon Him in prayer. The Torah forbids the use of an intercessor, stating "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:2), before Me ie. as an intercessor. Praying to a demigod or something else to reach G-d is blasphemous and idolatrous. There is nothing else worth our prayers and devotion other than HaShem, Everlasting G-d. The only power or divinity is HaShem and no man, angel, star, creature or force of nature has any power besides Him. Since G-d is Omnipotent and calls upon us to pray to Him directly, why waste time directing prayers to anyone other than the Ribono shel Olam, Master of the World?

"Know this day, and lay it to thy heart, that HaShem, He is G-d in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else."

There is none else!

58 comments:

Elmer's Brother said...

El HaShamayim - The God Of The Heavens: (Psalm 136:26).

kahaneloyalist said...

Beautiful article, what inspired you to write it?

Yehudi01 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yehudi01 said...

Fantastic post, BK! I do disagree with one thing, though. You said,
"HaShem is One, an absolute unity, since more-than-oneness is a feature of physicality, which He is not limited to." Since Hashem supercedes all laws of physics and is fact, omnipresent. Therefore, G-d is not an absolute unity because 'yachid' is never used to describe Him in the Tanakh...always 'echad,' which sometimes is used to describe an absolute unity, but also can be used to describe a compound unity.

The mystics teach that there are characteristics of G-d that are yachid and echad.

In general, there are two levels of this revelation: "the light that shines to Himself" and "the light that shines to the other."

"The light that shines to Himself" refers to the sha'ashuim atzmi'im, to be described. "The light that shines to the other" refers to the "arousal" within G-d's infinite light (as revealed to Himself) to shine and bestow goodness to others. The meaning of "the light that shines to the other," is thus "...for the sake of the other," for no other is yet in existence.

Herein lies the secret of Echad. Even before the beginning of the creative process, from the moment, as it were, that G-d desires to shine His infinite light to an other there is, in truth, an other, though absolutely void of any state of "existence" whatsoever. G-d and His desire to create (with the implied presence of Creation itself) is here truly One.

In general, the level of Echad is the secret of God's Essential Name Havayah--the Name that reveals (to Himself) His very Essence--before the beginning of Creation.

"Here O' Israel Havayah is our God Havayah is One." Our sages teach us that "One" refers to God's true and absolute unity within His Creation. Here, the level of Echad represents the ultimate origin of this unity before Creation.

In Kabbalah we are taught that the four words "Havayah is our G-d Havayah is One" correspond to the four letters of G-d's Essential Name Havayah. The first two words, "Havayah is our G-d," correspond to the higher union of the first two letters of Havayah--yud hei--"the concealed things are to Havayah our G-d." The following two words, "Havayah is One," correspond to the lower union of the second two letters of Havayah--vav hei--the revealed things are to us and our children."

The higher union is that of the sha'ashuim atzmi'im, which possess in themselves two levels corresponding to the two letters yud hei. The lower union is that of the two levels of aliat ha'ratzon and ana emloch corresponding to the two letters vav hei.

As it is the lower union that reflects in particular the secret of "Havayah is One (Echad)," often the level of Echad refers to the union of aliat ha'ratzon and ana emloch in particular.

As for yachid, there are three general levels of G-d's Infinite light before the initial tzimtzum, the beginning of the actualization of the creative process: Yachid ("The Single One"); Echad ("The One"); Kadmon ("The Primordial").

Yachid refers to the essence of G-d's Infinite light as it is concealed within Atzmut, before it becomes revealed even to Himself, as it were. Yachid is thus understood to be the absolute omnipotence of G-d, the fact that G-d Himself is able to do all. Just as He is able to do so is He, equally, able not to do. This is the ultimate origin of the two lines, right and left, chasadim and gevurot, as they exist, as it were, in Atzmut.

Just as the duality of chasadim and gevurot is present (though absolutely concealed), at the level of Yachid, so are all of the ten sefirot present here in a state of the totally abstract "ability" (He is able to be wise; He is able to be kind etc.). The ten sefirot are here seen to be "innate," as it were, in G-d.

This level, before the tzimtzum, corresponds to the level of Atik Yomin, the inner partzuf of keter, after the tzimtzum.

Therefore, it is more correct to describe G-d as a compound unity, echad.

? said...

Is G_d necessary or contingent?

If G_d is omnipotent then he could do ANYTHING, including destroying himself. So he then becomes contingent (on his ongoing choices not to commit Deicide).

But a contingent phenomenon cannot be a singularity/unity, since it has compound causes.

Is G_d a necessary being or a contingent one?

Yehudi01 said...

That's an idiotic, rhetorical question...kinda like "Can G-d make a rock that He can't lift?"

Be more productive with your time.

Eitan said...

elmer's brother: I was just wondering: are you Christian(because Christianity pretty much teaches to idol-worshipping and I mean no offense by that. It's what the post is saying--not me, buddy!

Yehudi01 said...

Eitan, where did you get "christian" from his post? I missed something.

The Frank Family said...

eitan -- I'm a christian and have never bowed to anyone but the living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

nanc said...

eitan - how does christianity teach idol worship?

just curious.

i am a christian and DO NOT worship idols.

Eitan said...

To be clear on this: I thought this post talked about idol worship and churches (usually) have plenty of forms of Jesus on the Cross plastered all over the place. That's what I was referring to. I don't have an answer to the question: "Is Christianity a pagan religion?" and for all I care even if it were, I'd still have plenty of Christian friends and be on the same side of the fight on terror as most (practicing) Christians so I couldn't care less. I was alluding to the post and what I thought it had to say.

nanc said...

eitan - you speak of the catholic church - elbro is not a catholic. you shouldn't presume to know about a person based on what you THINK you know. he is a very strong many of God and i take offense at your accusation of my friend.

Bar Kochba said...

Eitan is right. Just think:
- Do you believe in an opponent of G-d, a demonic Adversary?
- Do you pray to something other than HaShem (any other supposedle divine power?)
- Are there more than one divinities?
- Is G-d the One and Only?
- Does G-d have a physical form, shape or image?

According to the vast majority of rabbis, Christianity is idolatrous or has certain idolatrous components, though it is far above complete paganism.

?: Since by the very definition of G-d, He has no limits, one cannot ask the question 'can G-d create a rock that He cannot destroy' since that would be imposing a limit on Him.

The Frank Family said...

"According to the vast majority of rabbis, Christianity is idolatrous or has certain idolatrous components, though it is far above complete paganism."

There you go again. When will you stop taking the word of mere mortal men over the WORD of the LORD? It doesn't matter what a rabbi says. What does God say?

nanc said...

eitan was wrong about elbro.

Yehudi01 said...

BK, do you agree with what I said?

Elmer's Brother said...

I posted this name for G-d because I find the Hebrew names for the LORD beautiful...as to your question

this is my understanding of the word idolatry:

Worship of idols.
Blind or excessive devotion to something.

I do not worship an idol...the cross, or representations of Jesus on the cross, saints or Mary

I don't have a blind devotion to Christ...as I studied Christianity quite extensively before my conversion

Christians believe Jesus to be the incarnation of G-d...

Jesus himself said in John 10:10 I and the Father are one. He also refered to Himself as "I AM". In fact this is the reason He was put to death.

I consider myself a friend and love the Jewish people. I hope that despite our theological differences we can be friends.

Bar Kochba said...

I've never gotten an answer for this one but I hope that I will finally. Read Deut. 7:


"8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, even matters of controversy within thy gates; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose. 9 And thou shall come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days; and thou shalt inquire; and they shall declare unto thee the sentence of judgment. 10 And thou shalt do according to the tenor of the sentence, which they shall declare unto thee from that place which the LORD shall choose; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they shall teach thee. 11 According to the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 And the man that doeth presumptuously, in not hearkening unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die; and thou shalt exterminate the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously." {S}

In the time of Yeishu (if he even existed), according to the Christian story, the entire Sanhedrin, about which the verse says "thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.", all of the rabbis and the vast majority of the Jewish people rejected. Even though he was a Jew, the Christian Bible manuscripts were preserved in Greek and not Hebrew, just to show the level of Jewish antipathy towards that man. How can any Jew, or gentile, accept something contrary to the will of the Sanhedrin, which is the will of G-d as the verse makes clear? And if great scholars of the Torah, the most brilliant, could reject that man whose coming was supposedly clearly predicted in the Torah, how should we accept him? Wouldn't they recognize the allusions to him?

But please rate yourself according to the criteria I set up. The Christian Bible says that no one comes to the Father (HaShem) except by way of that man. Doesn't that violate the Torah's command of not having any other gods before Me, as intercessors?

Though it is awfully self-righteous for Christians to claim that Jews are following the words of men when Christianity is in essence the worship of a man (albeit G-d in human form), set down in a series of books written centuries after JC by men (G-d doesn't even speak in the Christian Bible), and the divinity of their god and their entire creed was established by men in a vote at Nicea. On the other hand, Judaism today is practiced the same way as G-d handed it down from Sinai.

Elmer's Brother said...

and because of my respect for Jews I wouldn't come here looking for a theological fight. It not only would be bad manners but I have no reason to muddie BK's beautiful post with something we will probably never agree on.

Peace.

Bar Kochba said...

Yehudi: Very interesting though I think that what it means is that G-d cannot be called Yachid as long as there is a world, something other than Him. and not the absolute 'only-ness' of Him in Atzmut.

Bar Kochba said...

Elmer's bro: I want this post to be about discussion. I'm not afraid of any Christian coming here and asserting their beliefs or explaining how I am wrong. As the Talmud says, an argument that is for the sake of heaven will endure. Please continue to debate as much as you want. I want to know how Christians explain this.

“God is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a mortal that He should relent…” (Numbers 23:19)

“the Strength of Israel will neither lie nor repent, for He is not a man to repent." (1 Samuel 15:29)

“For He [God] is not man like me,” (Job 9:32)

“…for I am God and not a man.”(Hosea 11:9)

“Take therefore good heed unto yourselves--for you saw no manner of form on the day that the Lord spoke to you in Horeb our of the midst of the fire-- lest you deal corruptly and make you a graven image, even the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female.” (Deuteronomy 4:15-16) Doesn't JC have a form, a likeness of male or female?

The Frank Family said...

The key to the passage in Deuteronomy is the first verse you quoted -- verse 8. The only matters to be decided by the Levites were matters too hard to decide without them. For example, matters that God did not clearly speak about. They were not given license to decide everything about all matters of faith. Their right to decide was not the rule but rather the exception.

Bar Kochba said...

"The only matters to be decided by the Levites were matters too hard to decide without them. For example, matters that God did not clearly speak about."

Exactly. I'm so surprise that you'd agree with me. The Prophets and the Torah does not breathe one word about G-d sending His son down to earth to be sacrificed. You'd think that if the Christian claim is true that acceptance of that man is the most important thing upon which all salvation rests, the Torah would be absolutely clear and unequivocal about it. Surely G-d knew at the time of Mount Sinai that He would take human form (G-d forbid), so why doesn't He say so. In fact, the verses that I just quoted say the opposite, that G-d is not a man. But please: If JC's coming was clear from the Torah, why did the entire Sanhedrin composed of the 72 most brilliant rabbis who spent their entire lives studying the Torah, reject him, as did the vast majority of Jews in all ages? Every Christian 'proof-text' is a mistranslation, out of context of even completely fabricated.

Elmer's Brother said...

I appreciate that

In the time of Yeishu (if he even existed)

I believe this is a matter of historical record based on extra biblical narratives from such historians as Josephus, Tacitus and rabbinic record.

I think your basic question is about Jesus' divinity and why is it not considered idolatry.

As to the specific question concerning Deuteronomy I'll have to do some studying as I have not come across this section of Scripture as a means to argue your point.

All but one of the writers of the NT were Jews. They recognized that Messiah had come to atone for the sins of His people. They based their beliefs on the Hebrew Scriptures alone. (the NT had not been written yet) Thus they knew that Yeshua was the Jewish Messiah because He fulfilled the Old Covenant prophecies. He fulfilled over 60 major OT prophecies concerning the Messiah. If He had not fulfilled the prophecies then they would not have followed Him. They recognized Him because He fit the description perfectly.

Why didn't the other Jewish leaders of the day acknowledge that Yeshua was in fact the Messiah? The answer again is simple: They weren't looking for Him. They were looking for another. The Messiah of the rabbis was not the Messiah of the Bible. And yet the thing they longed for most was the very thing they missed, for Messiah had come to save them from their sins.

Greek and Aramaic were widely used and was a common language througout the Roman empire.

I'm on my way to Bible study now..but I do want to continue the conversation.

Elmer's Brother said...

I'll provide some OT basis for what I've commented when I return.

Peace

Eitan said...

Nanc: Once again, I strayed into waters which were not intended for me. I was trying to state a fact: Christians do not abide by the Noahide Laws and ended up getting you mad with me. I then clarified myself. Let me do so again...

I find Christianity, whether Catholisism, Protestantism, or otherwise a religion which has bears its roots in the Old Testament--hence in Judaism. I think most Christians(unlike of Muslims) are good, enlightened people and we have many American Christians to thank for bringing thousands of Soviet Jews back to Israel and America. We, Jews, live in a Christian country surrounded by allies in the war on terror.

So, Nanc: by all means engage in religious dialogue as I do with my born-again Christian friends but please realize that I have the right to do the same. In no way did I mean to insult elmer's brother or you. I offer you my sincere apologies and if you don't want me stating my opinions that's ok...I won't.

The Frank Family said...

I guess that the 72 rabbis rejected him just as the nation of Israel as a whole rejected the words that God gave them at Sinai by not following the commands He gave them. Please don't misunderstand me here. I don't say that to in any way pass judgement on them but just to show how it's possible for them to be wrong. I do not look down on Israel for that at all. Israel fulfilled the purpose of the law which is in essence to show that completely following the law in every way all the time is beyond the capabilities of man. By the time of Christ the nation of Israel was being run by these 72 men and Jesus repeatedly challenged them and chastised them for the same thing we are discussing right here. They were teaching the words of men as God's law causing Jesus to call them a brood of vipers and saying that they honored God with their lips but that their hearts were far from Him. As for the reason that God didn't explain this at Sinai I would offer that if He did it would defeat His own purpose. He gave the law to teach the people right from wrong and to show that wrong actions, as well as right actions, have consequences. Of course this is only my own idea of what God may have been thinking. I don't need to remind you that God is infinite and His ways are higher than our ways. The reason that He withheld His entire plan from the people at Sinai is up to Him.

nanc said...

i'm not mad at anybody, eitan. honestly, i do enjoy being a spectator to a lively debate or partaking, but i'll usually allow those more eloquent than i to do the talking, having led too often with my heart rather than with my head.

Bar Kochba said...

I need not remind you that Israel in the time of the Romans was crawling with all sort of heretical cults like the Sadducees, Essenes and of course the Christians, groups that were rejected by Torah-Judaism, derogatorily called Pharisees by Christians.

I have taken a look at the so-called Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Yeishu and they are underwhelming at best. Most of them are out of context and have nothing to do the moshiach. However, (you must ignore the fact that JC's geneology disqulaiifies him from the messiahood, a topic for another time), he fulfilled NONE of the core requirements of the moshiach, namely world peace, ingatheing of the exiles, rebuilding of the Temple, the whole world worshiping G-d... The Second Coming is a cop-out which has no Torah basis and JC promised to return 'before this generations dies out'- I'm still waiting. No where does it say that the moshiach brings repentance. There is no need for JC because one can simply do teshuva.

“That every man will turn from his evil way, then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.” (Jeremiah 36:3).

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:7)

“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, `I will confess my transgressions to the Lord', and You did forgive the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)

“And if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)

“But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has practiced he shall live...When a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life...Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you (Ezekiel 18:21- 22, 27, 30)

“By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for...” (Proverbs 16:6)

“If you return to God you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent...then you will delight in God...” (Job 22:23-27)

“Depart from evil, and do good, so you will abide forever.” (Psalm 37:27, cf. Ezekiel 33, Zechariah 1:3, Jeremiah 26:13)


I apologize for however harsh this may sound but here is the harsh truth: G-d gave the Torah as an inheritance to Israel, the Written and Oral Torah. The ancestors of the Christians stole the Written Torah and mistranslated it to get all of these goyyishe ideas. However, they never stole the Oral Law (incidentally, this is one reason why it was never written down- so that the goyyim would not steal it). However it is necessary to the understanding of the Torah. The ideas that you present would be laughed at by any child in a Jewish school who knew his Torah.

Jason, you comparison with the Golden Calf is flawed. The rabbis were not an ignorant rabble from Egypt but brilliant scholars, the greatest the Am Yisrael ever had. In those days, the Temple still stood and our leaders were on a much higher level than today. They lived to serve G-d and to bring Israel closer to Him. The idea that they rejected JC because of their own wickedness is pure stupidity and also smacks of anti-semitism - the perfiduous Jews rejedcting G-d out of their own greed and hard-heartedness.

G-d revealed the Torah in front of millions of men, women and children at Sinai. Why would He not do the same when He revealed JC, unless of course it is a myth and a farce.

Question: Who do you call upon in prayer? Do you pray to HaShem, the Father or to JC? And if you do pray to JC, is that not an intercessor? Why should you snub HaShem by praying to anything other than Him?

Bar Kochba said...

If we want to talk about the Golden Calf, it is Christianity that is most similar. The Jews thought that G-d was far too great so they needed a physical representation. Similarly, Christians saw/see G-d as inaccessible, except through JC, and they need a shape for Him.

The Frank Family said...

A few observations:

1. - I love the word "goyyishe " - It just makes me smile. :)

2. - The New Testament has dealings with the sadducees and the pharisees separately. I have not studied the exact differences and so I won't speak to that. If it were not the actual Jewish ruling body that Jesus was talking to then why are they the ones that Pilate sent Jesus to before his crucifixion?

3. -" The idea that they rejected JC because of their own wickedness is pure stupidity and also smacks of anti-semitism - the perfiduous Jews rejedcting G-d out of their own greed and hard-heartedness."

Like I said before I do not judge these people or look down on them. Please do not think of me as being anti-semitic. I could give you numerous examples throughout history of those who set themselves up as leaders of chritianity being greedy and hard-hearted as well. For you to think it not possible would be to ignore Jewish history. How many times did God admonish Israel for being stiff-necked or proud or hard-hearted in the Old Testament?

4. I, myself, only pray to the Father as was taught to us by Jesus. When asked about prayer Jesus said:

Matthew chapter 6

9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.[a]' 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The Frank Family said...

Just for your info -- there is no picture of Jesus or statue of Jesus or anything of the sort in my home or my church. I have no need for anything but the WORD of the LORD.

Bar Kochba said...

Baruch Hashem.

Elmer's Brother said...

If we first can agree that he was at least an historical figure then I assume we can then move on.

Here are some of the OT prophecies fulfilled by Christ

Even the writings of the Sanhedrin

Josephus Jewish Antiquities (c.93 C.E.)
(later interpolations in brackets)

"Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man [if it be lawful to call him a man], for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. [He was the Messiah.] And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him [for he appeared to them alive again at the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him]. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this date.1

Pliny the Younger Letter to Trajan (c.111-117 C.E.)

"...they maintained that their fault or error amounted to nothing more than this: they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before sunrise and reciting an antiphonal hymn to Christ as God, and binding themselves with an oath not to commit any crime, but to abstain from all acts of theft, robbery and adultery, from breaches of faith, from repudiating a trust when called upon to honour it."2

Tacitus Roman Annals (c.115-117 C.E.)

"They got their name from Christ, who was executed by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. That checked the pernicious superstition for a short time, but it broke out afresh--not only in Judea, where the plague first arose, but in Rome itself, where all the horrible and shameful things in the world collect and find a home."3

Sanhedrin 43a (200-500 C.E.)

"On the eve of the Passover Yeshu4 was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Any one who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf. But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of Passover!"5

Antiquities xviii. 33 (early second century) from F.F. Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), 37.
Pliny, Epistles x.96, from Bruce, p.26.
Tacitus, Annals xv, 44, from Bruce, p. 22.
Talmudic designation of Jesus.
"Sanhedrin," vol 3 of Nezikin, Babylonian Talmud, edited by Isidore Epstein, reprint (London: Soncino, 1938), 281.

As to OT scriptures which foretell the Messiah:

You will also notice in this list that there are OT prophecies that speak of the divinity of the Messiah

another list

The Sanhedrin were probably focused on a political figure.

The Messianic hope in Christ's time had become greatly politicized in the minds of the people. They were seeking deliverance from the tyranny of Rome. Although the Scripture spoke both of the sufferings and of the victories of the Messiah, the victorious aspect had become uppermost in the minds of the common people because of the Roman domination. This "lopsided" view of the Messiah has stuck with Jewish people, and the politicization of the Messianic hope has continued. Thus the hope of a political rather than a spiritual Messiah contributes to both the acceptance of people such as Bar Kochba, and the rejection of Jesus in his role as a Messiah.

Isaiah 53 is an important chapter for Christians because we believe it foretold of His suffering.

The Talmudic rabbis concurred that Isaiah 53 was a prediction of the Messiah, by medieval times the pressure from those who applied this prophecy to Jesus was so great that Rashi, that greatest medieval Biblical scholar, reinterpreted the chapter and said it referred to the nation of Israel. This interpretation is maintained today by many Jewish scholars, though it only dates back to the Middle Ages.

The Angel of the LORD in the OT he is sometimes said to be a man and sometimes said to be G-d.

Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin who showed favor to Christ and many believe Joseph of Arimethea was also a member of the Sanhedrin who provided the tomb in which He was buried.

I realize I may have not addressed your main point...but thought might help to answer some of your questions about how Christians reconcile some of these things.

Elmer's Brother said...

eitan...for the record I never felt insulted and I too appreciate these lively discussions

I care deeply for my Jewish friends

Elmer's Brother said...

the early Christians used the Oral Tradition to pass along what they saw Jesus do, that is before the NT was written

For further reading on the reliability of the NT I would recommend Evidence that Demands a Verdict Vol 1 and 2 by Josh Mcdowell and The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

Bar Kochba said...

I'm actually having the debate about the historicity of Jesus with Deborah at lovedeborah.blogspot.com. We haven't started quite yet but I'll just wait until then.

As for Isaiah 53, I'll just post 2 articles. The first is from Jews for Judaism:

Before engaging in an examination of Isaiah 53 itself, some preliminary issues must be considered. First is the issue of circular reasoning. Even if we interpret the chapter as the Christians do (forgetting for a minute the mistranslations and distortions of context which will be noted below), the most that could be said is this: Isaiah 53 is about someone who dies for the sins of others. People may have seen Jesus die, but did anyone see him die as an atonement for the sins of others? Of course not; this is simply the meaning which the New Testament gives to his death. Only if you already accept the New Testament teaching that his death had a non-visible, spiritual significance can you than go back to Isaiah and say, "see - the Prophet predicted what I already believe." Isaiah 53, then, is in reality no "proof" at all, but rather a contrived confirmation for someone who has already chosen Christianity.

Second (and consistent with all Jewish teaching at the time), Jesus' own disciples didn't view Isaiah 53 as a messianic prophecy. For example, after Peter identifies Jesus as the Messiah (Matt. 16:16), he is informed that Jesus will be killed (Matt. 16:21). His response: "God forbid it, lord! This shall never happen to you" (Matt. 16:22). See, also, Mk. 9:31-32; Mk. 16:10-11; Jn. 20:9. Even Jesus didn't see Isaiah 53 as crucial to his messianic claims - why else did he call the Jews children of the devil for not believing in him before the alleged resurrection (Jn. 8:39-47)? And why did he later request that God "remove this cup from me" (Mk. 14:36) - didn't he know that a "removal of the cup" would violate the gentile understanding of Isaiah 53?

And third, even if we accept the gentile Christian interpretation of Isaiah 53, where is it indicated (either in Isaiah 53 or anywhere else in our Jewish Scriptures) that you must believe in this "Messiah" to get the benefits?

B. CONTEXT
Since any portion of Scripture is only understood properly when viewed in the context of God's revelation as a whole, some additional study will be helpful before you "tackle" Isaiah 53.

Look at the setting in which Isaiah 53 occurs. Earlier on in Isaiah, God had predicted exile and calamity for the Jewish people. Chapter 53, however, occurs in the midst of Isaiah's "Messages of Consolation", which tell of the restoration of Israel to a position of prominence and a vindication of their status as God's chosen people. In chapter 52, for example, Israel is described as "oppressed without cause" (v.4) and "taken away" (v.5), yet God promises a brighter future ahead, one in which Israel will again prosper and be redeemed in the sight of all the nations (v.1-3, 8-12).

Chapter 54 further elaborates upon the redemption which awaits the nation of Israel. Following immediately after chapter 53's promise of a reward for God's servant in return for all of its suffering (53:10-12), chapter 54 describes an unequivocally joyous fate for the Jewish people. Speaking clearly of the Jewish people and their exalted status (even according to all Christian commentaries), chapter 54 ends as follows: "`This is the heritage of the servants of the L-rd and their vindication is from Me,' declares the L-rd."

C. ISAIAH 53
In the original Hebrew texts, there are no chapter divisions, and Jew and Christian alike agree that chapter 53 is actually a continuation of the prophecy which begins at 52:13. Accordingly, our analysis must begin at that verse.

52:13 "Behold, My servant will prosper." Israel in the singular is called God's servant throughout Isaiah, both explicitly (Isa. 41:8-9; 44:1-2; 45:4; 48:20; 49:3) and implicitly (Isa. 42:19-20; 43:10) - the Messiah is not. Other references to Israel as God's servant include Jer. 30:10 (note that in Jer. 30:17, the servant Israel is regarded by the nations as an outcast, forsaken by God, as in Isa. 53:4); Jer. 46:27-28; Ps. 136:22; Lk. 1:54. ALSO: Given the Christian view that Jesus is God, is God His own servant?

52:15 - 53:1 "So shall he (the servant) startle many nations, the kings will stand speechless; For that which had not been told them they shall see and that which they had not heard shall they ponder. Who would believe what we have heard?" Quite clearly, the nations and their kings will be amazed at what happens to the "servant of the L-rd," and they will say "who would believe what we have heard?". 52:15 tells us explicitly that it is the nations of the world, the gentiles, who are doing the talking in Isaiah 53. See, also, Micah 7:12-17, which speaks of the nations' astonishment when the Jewish people again blossom in the Messianic age.

53:1 "And to whom has the arm of the L-rd been revealed?" In Isaiah, and throughout our Scriptures, God's "arm" refers to the physical redemption of the Jewish people from the oppression of other nations (see, e.g., Isa. 52:8-12; Isa. 63:12; Deut. 4:34; Deut. 7:19; Ps. 44:3).

53:3 "Despised and rejected of men." While this is clearly applicable to Israel (see Isa. 60:15; Ps. 44:13-14), it cannot be reconciled with the New Testament account of Jesus, a man who was supposedly "praised by all" (Lk. 4:14-15) and followed by multitudes (Matt. 4:25), who would later acclaim him as a prophet upon his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:9-11). Even as he was taken to be crucified, a multitude bemoaned his fate (Lk. 23:27). Jesus had to be taken by stealth, as the rulers feared "a riot of the people" (Mk. 14:1-2).

53:3 "A man of pains and acquainted with disease." Israel's adversities are frequently likened to sickness - see, e.g., Isa. 1:5-6; Jer. 10:19; Jer 30:12.

53:4 "Surely our diseases he carried and our pains he bore." In Matt. 8:17, this is correctly translated, and said to be literally (not spiritually) fulfilled in Jesus' healing of the sick, a reading inconsistent with the Christian mistranslation of 53:4 itself.

53:4 "Yet we ourselves esteemed him stricken, smitten of G- D and afflicted." See Jer. 30:17 - of God's servant Israel (30:10), it is said by the nations, "It is Zion; no one cares for her."

53:5 "But he was wounded from (NOTE: not for) our transgressions, he was crushed from (AGAIN: not for) our iniquities." Whereas the nations had thought the Servant (Israel) was undergoing Divine retribution for its sins (53:4), they now realize that the Servant's sufferings stemmed from their actions and sinfulness. This theme is further developed throughout our Jewish Scriptures - see, e.g., Jer. 50:7; Jer. 10:25. ALSO: Note that the Messiah "shall not fail nor be crushed till he has set the right in the earth" (Isa. 42:4).

53:7 "He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so he did not open his mouth." Note that in the prior chapter (Isa. 52), Israel is said to have been oppressed and taken away without cause (52:4-5). A similar theme is developed in Psalm 44, wherein King David speaks of Israel's faithfulness even in the face of gentile oppression (44:17- 18) and describes Israel as "sheep to be slaughtered" in the midst of the unfaithful gentile nations (44:22,11).

Regarding the claim that Jesus "did not open his mouth" when faced with oppression and affliction, see Matt. 27:46, Jn. 18:23, 36-37.

53:8 "From dominion and judgment he was taken away." Note the correct translation of the Hebrew. The Christians are forced to mistranslate, since - by Jesus' own testimony - he never had any rights to rulership or judgment, at least not on the "first coming." See, e.g., Jn. 3:17; Jn. 8:15; Jn. 12:47; Jn. 18:36.

53:8 "He was cut off out of the land of the living." Israel is described as "cut off" in Ez 37:11.

53:8 "From my peoples' sins, there was injury to them."Here the Prophet makes absolutely clear, to anyone familiar with Biblical Hebrew, that the oppressed Servant is a collective Servant, not a single individual. The Hebrew word "lamoh - (lamed-mem-vav) ", when used in our Scriptures, always means "to them" never "to him" and may be found, for example, in Psalm 99:7 - "They kept his testimonies, and the statute that He gave to them."

53:9 "His grave was assigned with wicked men." See Ez. 37:11-14, wherein Israel is described as "cut off" and God promises to open its "graves" and bring Israel back into its own land. Other examples of figurative deaths include Ex. 10:17; 2 Sam. 9:8; 2 Sam. 16:9.

53:9 "And with the rich in his deaths." Perhaps King James should have changed the original Hebrew, which the plural "deaths" makes clear that we are dealing with a collective Servant, i.e., Israel, which will "come to life" when the exile ends (Ez. 37:14).

53:9 "He had done no violence." See Matt. 21:12; Mk. 11:15-16; Lk. 19:45; Lk. 19:27; Matt. 10:34 and Lk. 12:51; then judge for yourself whether this passage is truly consistent with the New Testament account of Jesus.

53:10 "He shall see his seed." The Hebrew word for "seed", used in this verse, always refers to physical descendants in our Jewish Scriptures. See, e.g., Gen. 12:7; Gen. 15:13; Gen. 46:6; Ex. 28:43. A different word, generally translated as "sons", is used to refer to spiritual descendants (see Deut. 14:1, e.g.).

53:10 "He will prolong his days." Not only did Jesus die young, but how could the days be prolonged of someone who is alleged to be God?

53:11 "With his knowledge the righteous one, my Servant, will cause many to be just." Note again the correct translation: the Servant will cause many to be just, he will not "justify the many." The Jewish mission is to serve as a "light to the nations" which will ultimately lead the world to a knowledge of the one true God, this both by example (Deut. 4:5-8; Zech. 8:23) and by instructing the nations in God's Law (Isa. 2:3-4; Micah 4:2-3).

53:12 "Therefore, I will divide a portion to him with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty." If Jesus is God, does the idea of reward have any meaning? Is it not rather the Jewish people - who righteously bore the sins of the world and yet remained faithful to God (Ps. 44) - who will be rewarded, and this in the manner described more fully in Isaiah chapters 52 and 54?
*****

And the second is from Christianity Revealed:

Isaiah 53 does not point to Jesus! And if it did–so what would that prove? Let us ask ourselves, "Why doesn't our Bible ever tell us that we will face dire consequences if we do not accept our messiah?" The answer is simple: when the messiah really comes, he will be accepted. There is no need for a command to believe in him. The very fact that Jews deny that Jesus is the messiah proves that he isn't their messiah.



Isaiah 53 is the number one proof-text in the Missionary arsenal. This chapter will almost always be the first thing the missionary will grab to support the concept of Jesus suffering and dying for sin. Many Christians are so confident that this chapter (12 verses) points directly to Jesus, they feel that all Jews have to do is read it and they will turn to Jesus. The reality is that Isaiah 53 can sound very convincing, but only if you already believe that Jesus suffered and died to atonement for the world's sins. This is an important point: the only reason to say that Jesus died for everyone's sins is because the Christian Bible says so. Isaiah 53 does not say that Jesus died for everyone's sins. Even according to the Christian reading, the most they can honestly claim is that someone is to die for others’ sins. Christians may want that person to be Jesus; Moonies might want this person to be Reverend Moon; Mormons might say it's Joseph Smith; Muslims might say it was Mohammed; pagan religions have said that their demigod died for their sins and we can say that it can apply to any one of the millions of Jews who died in the cattle cars or gas chambers during the Holocaust. Isaiah 53 does not point exclusively to Jesus. To say that Isaiah 53 is about Jesus is to employ narrow minded–one sided circular reasoning.



Missionaries favor Isaiah 53 over other proof texts because it's the only one that appears to be in any sort of context; it's not just a verse or two but a whole chapter. To the missionary, Isaiah 53 also has the additional attraction of serving as what appears to be at first glance, a fairly good biographical sketch of Jesus. No other missionary proof text can be interpreted to do that. Other proof texts may only supply a superficial point or two about Jesus, not his entire life story.



If Jesus was to died for the sins of mankind as outlined in Isaiah 53, why didn't Jesus' disciples―who acknowledged Jesus as the Jewish messiah (Matt 16:16―understand that Jesus was supposed to die for the world's sins? After all, according to Christianity, Isaiah 53 is clearly a prophecy concerning the nature of the messiah's job. When Jesus tells them that he will be killed (Matt 16:21), Peter doesn't say "Praise God! Isaiah 53 will be fulfilled through you, the Messiah." Instead, Peter says, "God forbid it, lord! This shall never happen to you" (Matt. 16:22). This would suggest that Peter had a completely different understanding of Isaiah 53.



Isaiah 53 is vague. A servant is mentioned, but not identified. Isaiah does not say "Behold, my Servant the messiah shall deal prudently...." and if you read this chapter very carefully, you will see no reference to a "messiah", a "king of the Jews", or a "Branch of Jesse". There is nothing in Isaiah 53 that suggests that it's about the messiah. Throughout Isaiah writing, he tells us who the “Servant” of God was. Over and over again Isaiah was talking about Israel being the Servant of God.



Isaiah 53:8 in the Christian bible reads "…for the transgression of my people he was stricken."



Question: Is this the correct translation from the Hebrew bible?



Answer - No. The correct translation of Isaiah 53:8 (from the Hebrew bible) is: "as a result of the transgression of my people, they were afflicted."



Notice the correct translation is THEY, not He! It is the plural "They" not the singular “He” as the Christians wrote. This Hebrew word for "they" appears over 40 times in the Hebrew bible――always translated as "they"! Jews ask, why must the Christian bible alter the Hebrew? It is only an attempt to prove Jesus was mentioned or even implied.



Finally, not many Christian know, Isaiah 53 actually starts with Chapter 52:13. In Hebrew, the scripture portions are divided by “stumas.” A space of several letters can be found at the closing of a passage before the next passage begins. This can ONLY be seen in a Hebrew Bible. A Torah scribe has to strictly follow these rules. By reading the passage in its entirety, you learn that God is speaking to his servant and that the servant shall prosper and be exalted and be very high (Isaiah 52:13).



People should learn who the servant really is state that The name of the servant is Israel and is clearly shown in Isaiah 41:8 & 44:1-2 & 45:4. These verses continue to describe the amazement of the world when they see the Jewish people redeemed. In particular, they are written in an exclamatory fashion to describe how the nations "despised" the Jewish people and gave "no regard" for them. The reason it is written in the singular is because the Jews are regarded as one body, called "Israel." There are many instances of the Jewish people being referred to with a singular pronoun throughout the Torah.



The Talmud says; “Anyone who saves a single Jewish soul is as if he has saved an entire world.” Over and over again you see that Jews are responsible for the lives of Jews throughout the world. In other words, a Jew’s actions affect the entire world as God’s “chosen” to show the rest of the world the truth of Torah. This is why Jews are all referred to as being one― of one thought―of one purpose and spoken of in the singular.



Yes, anyone can pick up any book and read into it anything they wish, especially by changing a word here and a sentence there. Rabbi Allan Kensky, Dean of the Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America wrote:



“Jews have, since the early Middle Ages, understood that Chapter to be referring to the suffering of the Jewish people Israel as a whole, rather than to any individual. So that is a traditional interpretation and that is how generally it's explained.”

That chapter of Isaiah is not a chapter that we necessarily teach to our students. Partially it's just that this chapter has not seemed to be crucial in any understanding of Judaism. It's been more crucial in Christianity. In other ways, we do not dwell on this subject. We do not spend much time defending Isaiah’s position as it is not important.



Jesus was not the Jewish messiah – period!



(1) he was not from the Royal Blood line of the Tribe of Judea through David and his son Solomon because Jesus had no human father.



(2) Jesus did not perform nor put into place any of the Jewish prophecies, such as World Peace and the Universal knowledge of God and the gathering in of the exiles and the building of the Third Temple.



If Isaiah 53 was referring to Jesus, why was Peter surprised to learn that Jesus would suffer? Matthew, in 16:21-22, wrote “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer and be killed… Peter took him rebuking him saying, Be it far from thee, lord, this shall not be unto thee”. Peter would have known―after all, they built a church in his name and the first Pope was named Peter. Peter would have said; “Horray, prophesy is being fulfilled!” But, he didn’t.



Therefore, any discussion on Isaiah 53 is meaningless from a Christian position. The ONLY valid meaning is that of the original Hebrew.

nanc said...

b.k. - according to isaiah 53, WHO will be pierced? and, for WHOSE transgressions?

when HE comes, will HE be pierced?

why?

i know you've gone over this before with me, but i'd appreciate some more clarification - not to be impertinent.

Eitan said...

Nanc and elmer's brother: I'm glad we're on the same page at last! I'm not an observant Jew, though I'm just beginning the process of return to tshuva(for about the fourth time or so) and G-d willing will be able to spar with you on issues of religion. However, whether I agree with you or not has nothing to do with me being on good terms with you which I intend on doing. Have a good night!

Elmer's Brother said...

Peter was surprised because he too was expecting a political figure..up until the crucifixion

Elmer's Brother said...

It's commonly maintained that Isaiah 53 was never considered messianic by rabbis and Jewish sages. Sometimes the statement is phrased as, "Judaism teaches" that Isaiah 53 refers to the nation of Israel.

The fact is that Isaiah 53 (more precisely, 52:13 to 53:12) has been interpreted in messianic terms by a wide variety of Jewish commentators over a long period of time. Other interpretations have certainly been offered, including the view first popularized by Rashi in medieval times that the prophet speaks of the nation of Israel. Neverthless the messianic interpretation has a long history in Jewish Bible exegesis, as shown by the quotations below.

The Targum
Behold, My Servant the Messiah shall prosper.

Targum ("Targum Jonathan") to Isaiah 52:13, various editions (such as Samson H. Levey, The Messiah: An Aramaic Interpretation; the Messianic Exegesis of the Targum." Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College, 1974, p. 63).

In the early cycle of synagogue readings
We know that messianic homilies based on Joseph's career (his saving role preceded by suffering), and using Isaiah 53 as the prophetic portion, were preached in certain old synagogues which used the triennial cycle...

Rav Asher Soloff, "The Fifty Third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Commentators, to the Sixteenth Century" (Ph.D. Thesis, Drew University,1967), p. 146.

The addition of 53.4-5 [to the cycle of synagogue readings] was evidently of a Messianic purport by reason of the theory of a suffering Messiah. The earlier part of [the Haftarah] (52.7ff.) dealt with the redemption of Israel, and in this connection the tribulations of the Messiah were briefly alluded to by the recital of the above 2 verses.

Jacob Mann, The Bible as Read and Preached in the Old Synagogue (NY: Ktav, 1971, © 1940), p. 298.

Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b
The Rabbis said: His name is "the leper scholar," as it is written, Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted. [Isaiah 53:4].

Soncino Talmud edition.

Ruth Rabbah 5:6
The fifth interpretation [of Ruth 2:14] makes it refer to the Messiah. Come hither: approach to royal state. And eat of the BREAD refers to the bread of royalty; AND DIP THY MORSEL IN THE VINEGAR refers to his sufferings, as it is said, But he was wounded because of our transgressions. (Isa. LIII, 5).

Soncino Midrash Rabbah (vol. 8, p. 64).

The Karaite Yefeth ben Ali (10th c.)
As to myself, I am inclined, with Benjamin of Nehawend, to regard it as alluding to the Messiah, and as opening with a description of his condition in exile, from the time of his birth to his accession to the throne: for the prophet begins by speaking of his being seated in a position of great honour, and then goes back to relate all that will happen to him during the captivity. He thus gives us to understand two things: In the first instance, that the Messiah will only reach his highest degree of honour after long and severe trials; and secondly, that these trials will be sent upon him as a kind of sign, so that, if he finds himself under the yoke of misfortunes whilst remaining pure in his actions, he may know that he is the desired one....

S. R. Driver and A. Neubauer, editors, The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters (2 volumes; New York: Ktav, 1969), pp. 19-20. The English translations used here are taken from volume 2. The original texts are in volume 1. Cf. Soloff, pp. 107-09.

Another statement from Yefeth ben Ali:
By the words "surely he hath carried our sicknesses," they mean that the pains and sickness which he fell into were merited by them, but that he bore them instead. . . . And here I think it necessary to pause for a few moments, in order to explain why God caused these sicknesses to attach themselves to the Messiah for the sake of Israel. . . . The nation deserved from God greater punishment than that which actually came upon them, but not being strong enough to bear it. . . God appoints his servant to carry their sins, and by doing so lighten their punishment in order that Israel might not be completely exterminated.

Driver and Neubauer, pp. 23 ff.; Soloff pp. 108-109.

Another statement from Yefeth ben Ali:
"And the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all." The prophet does not by avon mean iniquity, but punishment for iniquity, as in the passage, "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Num. xxxii. 23).

Driver and Neubauer, p. 26; Soloff p. 109.

Mysteries of R. Shim'on ben Yohai (midrash, date uncertain)
And Armilaus will join battle with Messiah, the son of Ephraim, in the East gate . . .; and Messiah, the son of Ephraim, will die there, and Israel will mourn for him. And afterwards the Holy One will reveal to them Messiah, the son of David, whom Israel will desire to stone, saying, Thou speakest falsely; already is the Messiah slain, and there is non other Messiah to stand up (after him): and so they will despise him, as it is written, "Despised and forlorn of men;" but he will turn and hide himself from them, according to the words, "Like one hiding his face from us."

Driver and Neubauer, p. 32, citing the edition of Jellinek, Beth ha-Midrash (1855), part iii. p. 80.

Lekach Tov (11th c. midrash)
"And let his [Israel's] kingdom be exalted," in the days of the Messiah, of whom it is said, "Behold my servant shall prosper; he will be high and exalted, and lofty exceedingly."

Driver and Neubauer, p. 36.

Maimonides, Letter to Yemen (12th c.)
What is to be the manner of Messiah's advent, and where will be the place of his appearance? . . . And Isaiah speaks similarly of the time when he will appear, without his father or mother of family being known, He came up as a sucker before him, and as a root out of the dry earth, etc. But the unique phenomenon attending his manifestation is, that all the kings of the earth will be thrown into terror at the fame of him -- their kingdoms will be in consternation, and they themselves will be devising whether to oppose him with arms, or to adopt some different course, confessing, in fact, their inability to contend with him or ignore his presence, and so confounded at the wonders which they will see him work, that they will lay their hands upon their mouth; in the words of Isaiah, when describing the manner in which the kings will hearken to him, At him kings will shut their mouth; for that which had not been told them have they seen, and that which they had not heard they have perceived.

Driver and Neubauer vol 1: p. 322. Edition is Abraham S. Halkin, ed., Igeret Teman (NY: American Academy for Jewish Research, 1952). See Soloff pp. 127-128.

Zohar II, 212a (medieval)
There is in the Garden of Eden a palace named the Palace of the Sons of Sickness. This palace the Messiah enters, and He summons every pain and every chastisement of Israel. All of these come and rest upon Him. And had He not thus lightened them upon Himself, there had been no man able to bear Israel's chastisements for the transgressions of the law; as it is written, "Surely our sicknesses he has carried."

Cited in Driver and Neubauer, pp. 14-15 from section "va-yiqqahel". Translation from Frydland, Rachmiel, What the Rabbis Know About the Messiah (Cincinnati: Messianic Literature Outreach, 1991), p. 56, n. 27. Note that this section is not found in the Soncino edition which says that it was an interpolation.

Nachmanides (R. Moshe ben Nachman)(13th c.)
The right view respecting this Parashah is to suppose that by the phrase "my servant" the whole of Israel is meant. . . .As a different opinion, however, is adopted by the Midrash, which refers it to the Messiah, it is necessary for us to explain it in conformity with the view there maintained. The prophet says, The Messiah, the son of David of whom the text speaks, will never be conquered or perish by the hands of his enemies. And, in fact the text teaches this clearly. . . .

And by his stripes we were healed -- because the stripes by which he is vexed and distressed will heal us; God will pardon us for his righteousness, and we shall be healed both from our own transgressions and from the iniquities of our fathers.

Driver and Neubauer, pp. 78 ff.

Yalkut ii: 571 (13th c.)
Who art thou, O great mountain (Zech. iv. 7.) This refers to the King Messiah. And why does he call him "the great mountain?" Because he is greater than the patriarchs, as it is said, "My servant shall be high, and lifted up, and lofty exceedingly" -- he will be higher than Abraham, . . . lifted up above Moses, . . . loftier than the ministering angels.

Driver and Neubauer, p. 9.

The same passage is found in Midrash Tanhuma to Genesis (perhaps 9th c.), ed. John T. Townsend (Hoboken, NJ: Ktav, 1989), p. 166.

Yalkut ii. 620 (13th c.), in regard to Psalm 2:6
I.e., I have drawn him out of the chastisements. . . .The chastisements are divided into three parts: one for David and the fathers, one for our own generation, and one for the King Messiah; and this is that which is written, "He was wounded for our transgressions," etc.

Driver and Neubauer, p. 10.

R. Mosheh Kohen ibn Crispin (14th c.)
This Parashah the commentators agree in explaining of the Captivity of Israel, although the singular number is used in it throughout. . . .As there is no cause constraining us to do so, why should we here interpret the word collectively, and thereby distort the passage from its natural sense?. . . As then it seemed to me that the doors of the literal interpretation of the Parashah were shut in their face, and that "they wearied themselves to find the entrance," having forsaken the knowledge of our Teachers, and inclined after the "stubbornness of their own hearts," and of their own opinion, I am pleased to interpret it, in accordance with the teaching of our Rabbis, of the King Messiah, and will be careful, so far as I am able, to adhere to the literal sense.

Driver and Neubauer, pp. 99-100.

Another comment from R. Mosheh Kohen ibn Crispin
If his soul makes itself into a trespass-offering, implying that his soul will treat itself as guilty, and so receive punishment for our trespasses and transgressions.

Driver and Neubauer, p. 112.

R. Sh'lomoh Astruc (14th c.)
My servant shall prosper, or be truly intelligent, because by intelligence man is really man -- it is intelligence which makes a man what he is. And the prophet calls the King Messiah my servant, speaking as one who sent him. Or he may call the whole people my servant, as he says above my people (lii. 6): when he speaks of the people, the King Messiah is included in it; and when he speaks of the King Messiah, the people is comprehended with him. What he says then is, that my servant the King Messiah will prosper.

Driver and Neubauer, p. 129.

R. Elijah de Vidas (16th c.)
Since the Messiah bears our iniquities which produce the effect of His being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities, must endure and suffer for them himself.

Driver and Neubauer, p. 331.

Rabbi Moshe Alshekh (El-Sheikh) of Sefad (16th c.)
I may remark, then, that our Rabbis with one voice accept and affirm the opinion that the prophet is speaking of the King Messiah, and we ourselves also adhere to the same view.

Driver and Neubauer, p. 258.

Herz Homberg (18th-19th c.)
The fact is, that it refers to the King Messiah, who will come in the latter days, when it will be the Lord's good pleasure to redeem Israel from among the different nations of the earth.....Whatever he underwent was in consequence of their own transgression, the Lord having chosen him to be a trespass-offering, like the scape-goat which bore all the iniquities of the house of Israel.

Driver and Neubauer, p. 400-401.

The musaf (additional) service for the Day of Atonement, Philips machzor (20th c.)
Our righteous anointed is departed from us: horror hath seized us, and we have non to justify us. He hath borne the yoke of our iniquities, and our transgression, and is wounded because of our transgression. He beareth our sins on his shoulder, that he may find pardon for our iniquities. We shall be healed by his wound, at the time that the Eternal will create him (the Messiah) as a new creature. O bring him up from the circle of the earth. Raise him up from Seir, to assemble us the second time on Mount Lebanon, by the hand of Yinnon.

A. Th. Philips, Machzor Leyom Kippur / Prayer Book for the Day of Atonement with English Translation; Revised and Enlarged Edition (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1931), p. 239. The passage can also be found in, e.g., the 1937 edition. Also, Driver and Neubauer, p. 399.

The Babylonian Talmud[13] in Sanhedrin 98b states that the Messiah was the leprous one that bore our sicknesses.[14] Actually the Babylonian Talmud is the oldest and “earliest indisputable, firsthand evidence of a rabbinic interpretation of Isaiah 53 which takes the servant as the Messiah, and attributes suffering to him.”[15] A date of about 200 C.E. for the tradition of this Talmud is suggested along with other
"http://www.amfi.org/ABOUTWHOM.htm">reasons.

Elmer's Brother said...

During the time that the ancient rabbis were writing the Talmud,[7] most of the rabbis believed that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah was referring to the Messiah.[8] Actually it was not until about the 11th century C.E. that other views were proffered.

Yehudi01 said...

That's a compelling argument regarding Isaiah 53.

Bar Kochba said...

Nanc: Isaiah 53:5
"But he was wounded BECAUSE of our transgressions, he was crushed BECAUSE of our iniquities". It is an anxiom of Judaism that sin causes punishment. And one hardly needs to stretch their imagination to see how the Jewish People were wounded, often by followers of your messiah, I might add.

Christian missionaries claim that it is only with the commentary of Rashi (1040-1105), seeking to refute the Christian interpretation, that the Jews began to refer Isaiah 52:13-53:12 to the entire nation of Israel. This misconception perhaps owes its origin to Edward Pusey, who wrote in his 1876 introduction to The "Suffering Servant" of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpretations (trans. Driver and Neubauer, [reprinted] New York: Hermon Press, 1969) that "The new interpretation began with Rashi" (p. XLIV). The interpretation was neither new, nor began with Rashi. This missionary allegation is refuted even by a Christian source. In Contra Celsum, written in 248 C.E. (some 800 years before Rashi), the Church Father Origen records that Jews contemporary with him interpreted this passage as referring to the entire nation of Israel. He wrote:

I remember that once in a discussion with some whom the Jews regard as learned I used these prophecies [Isaiah 52:13-53:8]. At this the Jew said that these prophecies referred to the whole people as though of a single individual, since they were scattered in the dispersion and smitten, that as a result of the scattering of the Jews among the other nations many might become proselytes. In this way he explained the text: "Thy form shall be inglorious among men"; and "those to whom he was not proclaimed shall see him"; "being a man in calamity." (Origen, Contra Celsum, trans. Henry Chadwick, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Book 1.55, 1965, p. 50)

This shows that Jewish biblical exegesis subscribing to the belief that the people of Israel was the suffering servant spoken of throughout the entire passage pre- dates Rashi by many centuries.

According to the words "He shall see seed, he shall prolong days," the suffering servant is to be rewarded for his selflessness in the service of the Almighty by being blessed with children and prolongation of life. These two promises must be treated as a unit, as described in greater detail in Isaiah 65:20- 23. Each promise complements the other, highlighting the ancient Hebraic ideal of viewing children and a long life as the two greatest rewards God gives to man here on earth. This is further illustrated in Job 5:25-26: "You shall know also that your seed shall be great, and your offspring as the grass of the earth. You shall come to your grave in ripe age, as a shock of corn in its season." From the manner in which the Hebrew word zer'a ("seed") is used in the Scriptures, there can be no doubt that actual physical offspring is meant here.

Christian commentators have interpreted certain verses in the Scriptures (Genesis 3:15, 38:8; Isaiah 1:4, 57:4; Malachi 2:15; Psalms 22:31; Proverbs 11:21) as referring only symbolically to "bodily seed." But such an interpretation is unwarranted, since in each of these verses the term "seed" can be taken in a literal and physical sense. While the literal understanding of these verses is generally evident, those from the Book of Isaiah are misunderstood by some people.

In Isaiah 57, the prophet castigates certain individuals (not the nation as a whole) for perpetuating the idolatrous practices of their parents. Isaiah calls them "sons of the sorceress, the seed of adulterers and the harlot" (verse 3). He then asks, "Are you not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood?" (verse 4). These verses are a scathing denunciation of wicked offspring who uphold the sinful ways of their parents. They are what the prophet has earlier termed a "seed of evil-doers" (1:4) that is, children of parents who do evil deeds. Those spoken to in Isaiah 57 were conceived in adultery and harlotry; they are the resultant products of transgression and falsehood. Literally, they are children born as a result of parental transgression, a seed born as a result of parental falsehood.

Christian commentators would like us to believe that the term "seed" is used metaphorically, meaning, in Isaiah 53:10, "disciples." Generally, the Hebrew word bayn ("son") may be employed metaphorically with the meaning "disciples," but never is the term zer'a ("seed") used in this sense. For example, "And Abraham said: 'Behold to me You have given no seed (zer'a), and, see the son (ben) of my house is my heir.' And, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying: 'This man shall not be your heir, but he that shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir'" (Genesis 15:3-4). Hence, zer'a must be taken literally, which rules out the possibility that it refers to Jesus since he had no children of his own.

The second part of the promise, ". . . he shall prolong days," also cannot be applied to Jesus, who died at a young age. To apply these words, as Christian commentators do, is not only evasive but also meaningless. How can such a promise have any meaning for Jesus, who is viewed as being of divine substance and whose existence is believed by Christianity to be eternal? There would be no need for God to assure a fellow member of the Trinity eternal life.

In understanding the meaning of the phrase ". . . he shall prolong days" it should be understood that there is a difference in meaning between the concept of prolonging of days and that of gaining eternal life. The concept of a prolonged life cannot be treated as the equivalent of eternal life because in an eternal context, time of any duration is of no consequence. Consequently, one cannot speak of an eternal being as having his days prolonged: "Are Your days as the days of man, or Your years as a man's days?" (Job 10:5). God must be referred to as eternal: "The number of his years is unsearchable" (Job 36:26). He is the first, He is the last, He cannot be anything else. Prolonging the days of one who is already supposed to be eternal would make his life longer than eternity. That is an obvious impossibility. If the promise of prolonged days is applied to Jesus, he could not be of divine origin.

Prolonging of life implies earthly mortality, a cut-off date in the future, while the term eternal life refers to immortality. Therefore, the phrase "prolonged life" can only relate to the limited bodily existence in this world, and not to the endlessness of eternal life. Since the blessings of seeing children and prolonging life are only appropriate when applied to a mortal individual and not to an immortal being, these blessings cannot be applied to the Jesus of Christian theology. Jesus died young and childless. If, after his alleged resurrection, he returned to heaven to become an eternal heavenly being again, this stage of his existence cannot be appropriately referred to as prolongation of days.

Once again, we see that Isaiah 53's description of the suffering servant of the Lord does not find fulfillment in the New Testament's description of Jesus.


Elmer's Bro: As a Christian, you do not accept the validity of the Oral Law, the Talmud or the rabbis so please don't play that game. If you want, I could easily point you to the page in the Talmud where it calls Yeishu an idolater and says clearly that he was not the messiah. I will also quote all the places that make clear that Christianity is heresy and idolatry. A few comments ago, Jason Frank called the rabbis broods of vipers so don't you think that it is a bit hypocritical to use their words?

The Frank Family said...

Do not misquote me please. I said that Jesus referred to the pharisees as a brood of vipers. I said nothing of the sort about rabbis. Many rabbis are wonderful men of God but a rabbis word should never be placed even with or above the WORD of the LORD.

The Frank Family said...

Here is the passage:

Matthew chapter 23

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'

8"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.[b] 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.[c]

15"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

16"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' 17You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18You also say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.' 19You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it.

23"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' 31So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!

33"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.

37"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'[d]"

Bar Kochba said...

I'm not calling you an anti-semite because I know that you certainly are not but that is certainly one of the most anti-Jews passages in the Christian Bible. From it, the idea of the perfidous Jews who distort G-d's word, comes from. It infers that keeping tzitit or tfillin is wrong and that the Torah has been superseded by JC, that the rabbis are all hypocrites and that Judaism is the product of wicked, corrupt men. It implies that those who follow the Torah without accepting Jeezus will burn in hell. Think how much blood has been spilt because of this evil passage!

In truth, Jezuz was an arrogant man who claimed himself to be divine, in a long line of other failed and false messiah in that period. When chided for not keeping G-d's shabbat, his apostles arrogantly replied 'the son of man is the master of the sabbath!' (Matt. 12:8) He disregarded a hallowed Jewish fast day and explained that 'new wine must be poured into new wineskins.' (Luke 5:38) Apparently Yeishu thought himself to be the new wine that could not be put in the old wineskin of Moses' Torah.

[Daniel 11:14], "The renegades among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble."

"Can there be a greater stumbling block than [Christianity]? All the prophets spoke of Moshiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior, who would gather their dispersed ones and strengthen their [observance of] the mitzvos. In contrast [the founder of Christianity] caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humiliated, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the L-rd."
(Hilchot Melachim)

Bar Kochba said...

And I don't see that you have responded to the Jewish explanation and refutation of the Christian view of Isaiah 53.

The Frank Family said...

I did not respond to your interpretation of Isaiah 53 because I find it to be preposterous to take certain passages of the Torah so literally and yet go to such great lengths to discredit a simple and logical interpretation of this passage. In regards to its meaning we will never agree because this passage is at the heart of Christianity and you see Christianity as being anti-jew. That is also why you see the passage in Matthew as being against Jews instead of really being a great passage in support of Jews. You only see how hateful men have used it and not how Jesus intended it. Jesus longed for the best for the people and stood against those who used their positions for self gain and not to help their fellow Jews. Jesus continually pointed people to the Father and never away from Him. Jesus cared for the people deeply and taught them from the Torah without adding laws as one would add shackles to restrain someone. He taught how God had given the Sabbath as a gift of rest to the people. Man was not put on earth to honor the Sabbath but instead the Sabbath was given to honor man by giving him rest. Much of Jesus teaching, like his teaching on the Sabbath, was a paradigm shift. To gain your life you must lose it.

Bar Kochba said...

'I find it to be preposterous to take certain passages of the Torah so literally and yet go to such great lengths to discredit a simple and logical interpretation of this passage'

You only find it preposterous because they interpretation is not Christianity's. In reality, Christians have already accepted JC and therefore must twist the passages to suit his un-Jewish story. Instead of coming to the Torah and seeking to learn what it says, Christians come with predetermined ideas and read JC into everything. That's why every single proof text only works if you've already accepted Jezuz. The way it works is that the Torah says XXX and the we trust that the Christian Bible is being truthful that JC fufilled XXX therefore JC is the messiah. Point to me one passage where it says clearly 'JC is the moshiach' and I will belive you.

The Frank Family said...

We have now arrived at one of the major differences with the traditional Jewish faith and those who truly follow Christ. Please notice that I did not say christians. Few of the hundreds of millions of people that claim christianity truly follow Christ. Just as I believe in Christ and so I can easily see God preparing Israel for His coming in passages in the Old Testament you believe that there is no Christ and so you will not give thought to his being real until someone can tie down every one of your doubts with passages that you could not possibly find a way of getting around. God is spirit and those who worship Him worship Him in spirit and in truth. Abraham was not chosen by God because of his ability to reason. Abraham was not chosen by God because he was the best at holding to tradition. Abraham was not chosen by God because he was the best man that could be found. Abraham was chosen by God because of his faith. He was chosen because no matter what God said he cried out "Hineni!!!" (Thank you Daniel for teaching me that beautiful word!) Without faith it is impossible to please God because those who come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Those who truly follow Christ follow him in faith. It's like when Elisha prayed for his servant to see what actually was in 2 Kings:

"Go, find out where he is," the king ordered, "so I can send men and capture him." The report came back: "He is in Dothan." Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.
"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

It was not the servant seeing that caused the horses and chariots of fire to be there. They were there all along. Elisha did not need to see them because he had faith in the victory all along. Some people never believe and never see. Others simply know what is there already. And still others have their eyes opened by God so that they can see what was really there the whole time. This is how it is with the Christ.

Without a belief it will be impossible for you to see Christ in the Old Testament. My prayer is that God will open your eyes to see what is already there. Not to change you from being a Jew to being a Christian. (May that never happen.) But rather to show you His gift of Messiah that Jews have so longed for.

Deborah said...

BK,
Sorry I haven’t had the chance to start our debate regarding the Historicity of Yeshua. I just landed in Doha, Qatar, after spending 2 1/2/ fun-filled days in Dubai, UAE… NOT! :( We arrived Sunday, and at 4:00 p.m. a national holiday was announced for Monday in conjunction with President’s Bush’s arrival. Who’da thunk I’d end up booking the same time and place (Dubai) as President Bush? Oy vey! The “national holiday” on Monday shut EVERYTHING down – stores and all! Not to mention, I did not have a converter to plug in my computer at my hotel (I had used all of my battery on the plane), so I had no way of accessing the Internet during my stay in Dubai. I finally got access to the Internet sitting in Dubai International Airport for a short few minutes and now I’m paying $0.25 cents a minute to be on the Internet in my room in Doha... yada, yada, yada... so this will be short!

What do you think of the following passages of Scripture?

2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)

13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men... (Isaiah 29:13)

Also, FYI… the book of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. Even the Greek version is full of obvious Hebraisms when studied by linguistic scholars, which causes the Greek translations to read as gibberish in certain places. A Hebrew version of Matthew was preserved by a Spanish Jew named Shem-Tov Ibn Shaprut during the 14th century – the time of the Spanish inquisitions. AND… as I told you before all the books of the NT were written in the first century, most of the Gospels being written between 50 and 70 AD, before the destruction of the Temple. When you say they were written a few centuries later, I fear you’re referring to a Bishop of the early form of the Catholic church translating from the originals or copies of the originals.

Given the cost of being on the Internet, I’ll have to read all that has transpired here and get on with our debate after I arrive home on Sunday. Take care!

Shalom,
Deborah

kahaneloyalist said...

Heres an easy one, under Jewish law a King must be accepted either by a Navi or the Sanhedrin. Rambam Hilchot Melachim Perek Aleph, since there were no Neviim in the days of YESHU, and the Sanhedrin rejected him, even according to the Christians works, how could Yeshu be the Mashiakh, who is the Jewish king?

And BK, I am impressed with you; why this sudden if welcome article.

Bar Kochba said...

Deborah: I should be asking those questions of you. How can Christians add a whole other Bible?
I'm glad that you landed safely

KL: Why are you so surprised? I believe in the Torah just as much as you do.

kahaneloyalist said...

BK, indeed you do, but it seemed you were taking a more reconciliatory attitude towards the notzrim before now. But again beautiful article

Der Baron von Bornstein said...

In this post, you say that idolatry is "...giving Him a form".
You also use a picture of a galaxy to impress upon the reader the awe-inspiring nature of god.
Thus, giving a benchmark of how one should visually appreciate the notion of god.
Thus, giving god, a form.
?

Bar Kochba said...

Psalm 19:2
"The heavens declare the glory of G-d, and the firmament showeth His handiwork." This is the difference between paganism and monotheism. Paganism holds that since G-d created nature, He is nature (G-d forbid). By worshipping His creations, pagans believe themselves to be worshpping Him. We know, however, that HaShem created the universe and this helps us acknowledge His might but we only worship Him alone, as the Creator. It is similar to praying on a cliff or near an ocean, anywhere where there is an amazing view. Nothing has any power other than Him.

Anonymous said...

howdy... a OOOZ-S-A thing - Long live YHVH! - a single question to UZ-folks... what was the greatest GIFT YHVH would give a human, made in His / Her Image after the First Adam chose his Ishah (lady) over God's command and chose her over God Himself?....

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The Holy Spirit, that would remain... Joel 3 and Zach 4:6... to live is the Anointed One... to die is Gain... 1 God - 3 persons / natures - 7 Spirit who chose 12 men to represent the 12 tribes of Israel, the Israel of God, in the earth, per Genesis 49... Judah leads... praise THEM... as it says: Let US (not lettuce) make man in our image; male and female He created them... a mystery... Shalom and 1 Thes 5:23-24... LIFE is all about WHO or What we love, right? - I love the Everlasting Father of ISAIAH discourse... revealed by Messiah... only God the Spirit, can reveal God the Father and God the Word... that became Flesh... the Lord bless US and keep US, make His Face shine upon US, may He lift up His Countenance upon US and give us SHALOM... a-men? (agreement of men)...