Ninth of Av 5771 – Another Excerpt

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

15.Page 209

Brown tells us that the disciples of Jesus found strength in the loss of the Temple rather than weakness. He goes on to say that the followers of Jesus have no spiritual lack with the destruction of the Temple and actually come to a richer spiritual experience without the Temple.

I find this statement quite revealing. The God of Israel dwelt in that Temple. He promised that when He returns, He will take His residence up in that same Temple (Ezekiel 37:28). If someone finds “strength” in the Temple’s absence, and comes into a “richer spiritual experience” without the dwelling place of God – we can be sure that this “spiritual experience” has nothing to do with the God of Israel.

In the context of this particular discussion (“did Jesus abolish the Law?”), Brown could not have made a stronger point for the position he is trying…

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Kindness of Your Youth

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Kindness of Your Youth

 

The Talmud describes the Book of Jeremiah as “kulei churbena” – it is all about the destruction (Bava Batra 14b). In light of this description Jeremiah’s first prophecy to Israel seems out of place. “Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying: So says the Lord, I remember for you the kindness of your youth, the love of your nuptials, when you followed me into the wilderness, into an unsown land. Israel is holy to the Lord, the first of His crop; all who devour them will be held guilty; evil shall come upon them.” (Jeremiah 2:2,3).

 

Visions of destruction and pain fill the Book of Jeremiah. At the same time, throughout the book, the prophet provides words of comfort and reassurance with the vision of the final redemption. But this introductory prophecy, a prophecy about Israel’s past, still calls for an explanation…

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What Does the Resurrection Prove? – by Concerned Reader

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

(A Letter to E. Lion)

Lion, the issue is really one of claims. The Christian religion is nothing more and nothing less than people making a claim about the fulfillment of the Jewish Bible, and about the promised role of the Jewish messiah. We all know that the Jewish bible stands or falls on the commandments of G-d. Christianity believes that one Jesus of Nazareth fulfills the Tanakh’s picture of the Messiah, Judaism respectfully disagrees.

Consider the following points very carefully

1. The Hebrew Bible is a book primarily composed of the commandments of G-d which he told Israel to follow in all their generations. It clearly and unambiguously teaches Jews the worship of G-d alone so they can be separated from polytheism. The tanakh says mankind can master their evil inclination and that G-d forgives the repentant. The fathers are not punished for the sins of sons, nor the…

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Daniel to the Nines – by Mordechai

~Daniel to the Nines~

Daniel 9 is one of the top two passages in the missionary arsenal. Although Isaiah 53 is their favorite go-to passage, there’s enough ambiguity that some Jews still do not seem to see Jesus in the text. With Daniel 9, though, we appear to have a clear date for his arrival and, possibly, his crucifixion.

Here’s how the King James Version (KJV) has the passage (verses 24-26), and although the KJV alters the text a little bit, it’s still a good source for our specific purpose today:

“[24] Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. [25] Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. [26] And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself…”

In my experience, Christians will present this verse to declare that the Messiah had to arrive before the destruction of the Second Temple and usually stop there. Presumably because there is math involved and because we need to establish timelines, it’s not a passage many wish (or are able) to discuss in depth. Therefore, we need to examine this as simply as possible to determine if Jesus fits the passage, assuming we accept the Christian assertion that this speaks of the Messiah.

It’s important to understand that many prominent Christian apologists (such as Dr. Michael Brown) understand that the seventy “weeks” terminate with the destruction of the Temple in 70CE, which is how normative, classical Judaism understands the timeline as well. With that as our common ground, let’s examine the passage again:

“…from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks”

Summarily, 483 years after a given starting point, the Messiah (literally, “anointed one”) will arrive.

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself…”

And after a period of 434 years will this person be killed.

Again, for this article we are not dealing with translations or punctuation. Often the Christian who presents this passage will have little familiarity with Hebrew to understand the difference. Our goal is to clarify the passage using their understanding.

If we use the KJV, we see that although the period discusses a 70 “week” period (490 years), there appears to be some ambiguity: where do the 62 “weeks” in verse 26 belong? Are they the same 62 “weeks” from verse 25 or are they a different set? If we were to say that they are different than the previously-mentioned 62 “weeks,” then we have two serious problems.

First, this interpretation would suggest that the Messiah (who arrives after 69 “weeks” and dies after another 62 “weeks”) should have lived 434 years before dying. Should the Christian insist that this speaks of Jesus, then either he was born well before Herod (from Matthew 2) or the census of Quirinius/Caesar Agustus (Luke 2), or that he died well after the destruction of the Second Temple.

The second complication is that if this is a legitimate reading of the text, then we have a period of time much longer than 490 years (7 weeks + 62 weeks + 62 weeks + 1 week = 924 years), and the angel clearly told Daniel that it would be only 490 years, ending with that horrible time in 70CE.

Another possible reading is from the NIV, which reads, (verse 26) “after the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death….” The use of the word “the” before “sixty-two” indicates that these sixty-two are the same as the previous sixty-two (which is actually consistent with the Hebrew text, by the way). We then have two more questions to consider regarding the Christian view.

One question is simple: If these are the same 62 weeks, why does verse 25 combine them with the seven weeks? Verse 26 doesn’t say “after the sixty-nine weeks,” or even “after the sixty-two weeks and seven weeks;” it only mentions the sixty-two. This suggests that there are in fact three distinct periods making up the full 70 weeks: seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and one week.

The second question is a little more complex. As stated above, Jews and most Christians agree the 490 years ends in the year 70. However we look at the timeline (69 and the same 62 or 69 and a new 62), the anointed one is to be cut off immediately before the final week commences, meaning that this anointed one should have died about the year 63. However, no one will say that Jesus lived that long: conservative estimates have Jesus dying before the year 35.

Thus, according to Christian readings of the text, we have a serious conundrum. Christians would have to argue that either A) Jesus was born 400 years before the gospels say he was, B) Jesus lived more than 400 years and was still alive when the Temple was destroyed, or C) that Jesus died in the year 63CE.

However we look at it, Jesus could not have been the subject of Daniel 9.

-Mordechai

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Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus – Excerpt From Critique of Volume 1

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

16.Objection 1.8
Here Brown tries to explain to his readers why Jews have not accepted Jesus as their god. Brown lists several explanations for the Jewish position but Brown fails to tell his readers the most important reason why Jesus was never an option for the Jew. The Christian Scriptures themselves testify that the most important Jewish reaction to Jesus was: “how can a man claim to be god?” In other words, Jews in Jesus’ time and until today, recognize that attributing divinity to a human being is idolatry. It is for this reason and for this reason only that Jews gave their lives rather than accept Jesus. Judaism teaches that human life is sacred, but in order to avoid idolatry, one must be ready to die.
Imagine the following scenario. A certain drug manufacturer developed a drug that he claimed would cure chicken pox. The FDA refuses to approve the…

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The Historical Jesus – excerpt from Kosher Reality

The Historical Jesus and the Historicity of the Christian Scriptures
Much ink has been expended in the effort to uncover the historical Jesus. The questions abound. Was Jesus a radical revolutionary against the oppressive Roman Empire or was he a pacifist who decried the use of force? Was Jesus an imposter or was he a messenger from on high? Was he a prophet or was he a deluded dreamer? What theology did Jesus preach? Did he preach a Trinity or did he advocate a pure monotheistic faith?
All of these arguments center on the work of literature that is known as the Christian Scripture. It is in this set of books that the character and the history of Jesus are depicted. This series of books brings a new set of questions to the discussion. Who authored these books? When were these books authored? Was there another document that preceded these books from which these writers drew their narratives? Are these books reliable?
It is not for me to attempt to resolve these questions. I do not believe that these questions can be resolved decisively and conclusively. The events in questions took place in the distant past. Any theory, no matter how convincing, can only remain speculation.
What we can do and what is incumbent upon us to do is to put this discussion into perspective. In the complexities of the conversations certain common denominators tend to get lost. By recognizing the common thread that is present in all of the theories about Jesus and the books that describe his life we can bring some balance to this debate.
Any discussion about a human being must recognize its limitations. No man can truly know what transpires in the heart of his fellow man. Only God can see the heart (1Samuel 16:7). What we can judge are the words and the activities that our subject brought out into the open. Since this discussion is about a man who lived and died a long time ago, we cannot evaluate all of his words and actions. We can only measure those words and those actions that were preserved in the writings and in the hearts of those who were impacted by his life. In other words this can never be a discussion about Jesus. We can only discuss the impression that Jesus left behind him in this world.
These impressions themselves are ever-changing. New interpretations of Jesus’ words and teachings are being developed on a regular basis. Is it at all possible to determine with any accuracy the content of the original impression that Jesus left behind him? I think that not. But I do believe that we can be confident about one element of the original impression that Jesus made on those who lived with him. There is one constant quality that every strand of evidence affirms concerning the impression that Jesus left behind him. There is no dispute that Jesus raised up a following that saw love for Jesus as a central feature, if not the central feature of their universe.
Since that time, all who considered themselves followers of Jesus accepted this constant. All who follow Jesus accept that a person’s love for Jesus or lack thereof is the most important defining quality of man. These followers of Jesus defined themselves and they evaluated their connection to other people primarily on the basis of their feelings toward Jesus.
Yes, there was and there still is conflict about which Jesus to love. Is it a Trinitarian Jesus or is it a Unitarian Jesus? Is it a pacifist Jesus or is it a Jesus who wants to see his enemies destroyed? But all who like to see themselves as extensions of Jesus’ impact on human society agree that love for Jesus is a central feature of their worldview.
The books of the Christian Scriptures were products of this community. It is difficult to determine with any certainty the precise theological parameters of the writers of the gospels, but there is no question that they saw love for Jesus as a principal element of existence. The most important line in the universe of the gospel writers was the divide between those who love Jesus and those who don’t.
It is naïve to read the books of Christian Scripture without recognizing this truth. These writers loved Jesus in an extreme way. It is clear that these people would not have demanded the same standard of evidence that an objective outsider would demand before accepting something positive or before discounting something negative about their hero.
To say that the books of Christian Scriptures are historical documents is misleading. Yes, these books were written a long time ago. But do these books present objective historical facts? It would be foolish to believe so. It is clear that these books are presenting the worldview of people whose hearts were completely committed to Jesus. Not only were these books written by people with a deep love for Jesus in their hearts, but these books were written with the express purpose of promoting and justifying that love. Few factors can distort a person’s view of reality to the same extent as the factor of love for an individual.
The ramifications of this truth are manifold. When the Christian Scriptures report that Jesus performed many glorious miracles, we need to read those words with the understanding that those who wrote them had a deep motivation to believe those reports. When these writers present fanciful Scriptural interpretations that exalt Jesus we need to recognize that there was a driving force in their hearts that wanted to see these interpretations in the words of the prophets. When the gospel writers vilify those who did not share their love for Jesus, we need to realize that the centerpiece of their worldview would have them reinterpret reality in this way.
We can know very little about Jesus today, so many centuries after his death. But we can be sure that he left behind him a legacy that elevated people’s love for him to an extreme degree.
The question that needs to be asked when reading the Christian Scriptures is if this love is justified. What legacy of justification did they leave for this central element of their message? Perhaps more important is the question of what kind of legacy of respect did they pass on concerning the ethical and moral responsibility for people to question that love.
Did the community that Jesus raised respect the process of honest questioning before loving? Or did they redefine honesty according to the love that was so central to their universe?
These are the questions that we should be asking about the historical Jesus. For this is the imprint that he left on the minds and hearts of men.

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Letter to SY about Messiah

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

The following essay was sent to a Messianic leader. He suggested that we exchange our respective views about the Messiah that was predicted by the prophets of the Jewish Scriptures. I sent him my point of view, but I never received any response from him. I do find it interesting that most of my correspondence with Messianics and Christians adhere to the same template. I write something based on Scripture, and the response I get is generally the same: silence. I wonder why?  

As we agreed – here is my presentation of the Messiah from the perspective of the Jewish Scriptures.

Genesis 49:10 tells us that the Messiah will have the nations gather to him.

Numbers 24:17-19 tells us that the Messiah will achieve military victory over Israel’s enemies.

Isaiah 11:1-12:6 Describes a leader imbued with a spirit of God, wisdom, understanding, council, strength, knowledge and fear of God. He will be a righteous…

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