The Bush, the Cloud and Genesis 18
Christians believe that Jesus, a man who lived and breathed like all other human beings, was in some mysterious way – divine. On the basis of this belief, Christians direct veneration and worship towards Jesus. They call this belief the “incarnation of the divine”.
Ever since Christians began promoting this belief, the Jewish people have identified it as idolatrous and have chosen to give their lives rather than direct worship to Jesus.
Christian apologists have presented many arguments in their attempt to justify their worship and their belief. All of these arguments are wasted on the Jew who is loyal to his or her nation’s covenant with God. The heart of the Jew’s covenant with God is the knowledge that God directly implanted into the hearts and the minds of His nation – that there is no entity deserving of worship aside from Him (Deuteronomy 4:35). This knowledge was bestowed upon the Jewish people before God gave them the Bible and it is in the context of this knowledge that the Bible is to be read. An argument that is based on the piecing together of a complex and mysterious theological structure from enigmatic passages scattered throughout a book that contains about 30,000 verses – cannot go against the direct teaching of God.
With this in mind, we will direct our focus to some of those passages that Christian theologians see as a support for the doctrine of the incarnation.
Christians point to the burning bush which Moses encountered at Horeb (Exodus 3:1-4). The Christian contends that if God spoke to Moses out of the fire in the bush, He can also speak to us out of the person of Jesus.
Another passage that Christians point to is Exodus 40:34, where the cloud covers the tabernacle and the glory of the Lord is said to have filled the tabernacle. The Christian argues that if God’s glory can be manifest in a cloud, why can it not be manifest in the person of Jesus?
These arguments ring hollow for several reasons, but in the space of this brief article, we will limit our focus to one argument.
The Christian does not believe that the relationship between Jesus and God is the same as the relationship between God and the burning bush or between God and the cloud. No Christian theologian ever maintained that there are five members in the trinity (- add the bush and the cloud to the trinity). The person of the bush and the person of the cloud are insignificant entities in our relationship with God. No one ever recorded an adoring description of the bush or the cloud. The bush and the cloud were used by God to convey certain messages and that is all that remains of these two entities – the messages that God conveyed through them. Christians do not see Jesus as a mere medium that was used to convey a message. The person of Jesus himself is exalted and venerated by Christianity. The books that describe Jesus’ human activities; his birth, his travels, his human struggles and his suffering and death stand at the center of the Christian’s worship of Jesus. These books have no parallel in the Jewish memory of the bush or the cloud, and the Christian veneration of the person of Jesus has no parallel in the Jewish Bible’s teachings on the bush and the cloud.
Another passage that Christians point to in support of the incarnation doctrine is Genesis 18, where Abraham hosted three men. Two of these men turn out to be angels (Genesis 19:1) but who was the third one? The text tells us that after the men went to Sodom, Abraham was still standing before the Lord (Genesis 18:22). Since the text tells us that only two of the men arrived in Sodom, these Christian concludes that the third man is the one before whom Abraham was still standing.
The widely held Jewish interpretation of this passage posits that four separate entities appeared to Abraham; God (in a prophetic vision) and three men. Throughout Scripture, visions of God are accompanied by the sighting of angels and this is but another example (Judges 6:12-23, Isaiah 6:1,2). When the two angels left, the third stayed behind while Abraham spoke with God. There is no contextual reason to assume that God and the third person are one and the same.
However, some Jewish commentators (Rashbam) explain that the third person was the Angel of the Lord who is commissioned to speak God’s words throughout the Scriptures. It is he that is called “Lord” in his capacity of bringing God’s word to Abraham. Christian theologians, on the other hand, argue that this person was God incarnate.
Before we determine which of these two positions is rooted in the Jewish Scriptures, we will point out that even according to the Christian interpretation (which is erroneous), this text cannot serve as a justification for the worship of Jesus. The Bible tells us nothing about this person aside from the words that he said and the message that he conveyed. The entire function of this entity was to convey a message and that is the only function the Bible assigns to him. The Christian concept of venerating the human activities of the one that they see as an incarnation of the divine has no parallel in the Jewish Scriptures.
But who was this person? The Bible provided us with an answer before we got to this chapter. In chapter 16 in this same book (16:7-13), Hagar meets the Angel of the Lord. In an uncharacteristic usage of Hebrew, the text emphasizes that it was the Angel of the Lord who spoke to Hagar. Three verses, one after another, all open with the words: “And the Angel of the Lord said to her” (16:9,10,11). Yet when Hagar speaks of her encounter with the Angel, she says that it was the Lord who spoke to her (16:13). It is clear that the Angel of the Lord is chosen to convey God’s words and that when one converses with this angel, he or she has conversed with God Himself – although they have only seen the angel.
We encounter this same angel in the book of Numbers. The text describes how the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw the Angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:31). The text makes it clear that the Lord and His Angel are two different entities. The Angel goes on to warn Balaam that he may only speak what he, the Angel, will tell him to speak (22:35). When Balaam actually receives the word that he is to pronounce, the text tells us that it was the “Lord” who met Balaam and placed the words in his mouth (23:16). But the text has already made clear that it was the angel who was commissioned by God to put the words into Balaam’s mouth. This passage gives us to understand that when one meets with the Angel of the Lord, it is described by the text as having met the Lord.
In the book of Exodus we are told that the Lord traveled before His people in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). Yet when the pillar of cloud moved from its position in front of the people to stand behind them to protect them from the pursuing Egyptians, the text tells us that it was the Angel of God who moved from before them to stand behind them. Again, we learn that when God acts through the agency of the Angel, the text will describe it as the Lord traveling before His people.
In light of all of these texts we can confidently state that the Jewish interpretation that it was the Angel of the Lord who Abraham saw as a man and not God Himself, is firmly rooted in the words of Scripture. The Christian interpretation, that insists that it was God Himself incarnated as a man, is without Scriptural foundation. There is not one passage in Scripture which Christians can point to with confidence and say that here God appeared as a physical human being.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
I was raised Catholic but over the years have come to agree with your comments in “The Bush, the Cloud and Genesis 18”. It’s funny, when it comes to apparations even the catholic church teaches you do not need to believe in “private” visions like fatima etc. Yet, Some how they want us to believe in Mary’s private vision that she would give birth to the son of God. Well, if it’s true it will remain a mystery to me. This very difficult to say, I was raised to believe in all they teach. If you do not mind I would like to ask since you did not mention it, in Genesis God said he would make man in our image. What is the teaching on this? Any suggestions where a ex catholic can enjoy the teachings online or books I need to get? thanks
This is a disappointing distortion of Scripture, really. Although the rabbi lumped together G-d’s appearance to Abraham along with the story of Balaam and the donkey and other stories (in what I think may be an intentional attempt to deceive), they are not at ALL presented the same in Hebrew, which I view as an intentional twisting of Scripture.
In Genesis 18, the Bible clearly says Abramah saw THREE men, and it refers to one of them as YHWH, consistently throughout the chapter. In Numbers 22, in the story of Balaam and the donkey, it clearly says there was an angel of the LORD and that the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth. The LORD did not appear as an angel or as the donkey. And no verse in Numbers 22 says the LORD Himself was present.
The bottom line is that you cannot contradict G-d Himself, and you must remember that your own reasoning is just that – your own reasoning. What comes out of YOUR mouth is not at all equal to G-d’s Word.
Why is it that if an angel or a man appears in the same scripture where YHVH speaks it must be Jesus?
If this idea is so important and correct then why doesn’t Jesus spend any time confirming this?
The closest thing to it is when Jesus supposedly says, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Christians believe this is Jesus using the name of the Almighty and attaching it to himself. The problem with this is when G-d says the phrase, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” to Moses in the burning bush, He did not say what translates to, “I am who I am” because “Ehyeh” is future tense as in “I will be” not “I am”, present tense.
The author that penned Jesus saying, “Before Abraham was, I am,” must have not been schooled in Hebrew. The NT Greek text clearly uses the phrase, “Ego Eimi” which only can be translated as, “I am” and Jesus is not the only one that speaks these words. So according to Christians, if we are to use their logic, there are many in the NT that call themselves the Almighty by using this phrase.
Christians will always come up short when it comes to anyone in the NT speaking about these “theophanies” and equating them with Jesus…
They must not have thought that these appearance were Jesus but for some reason modern Christians think all of these “appearances” scream, “JESUS”.
I write about this in more detail in my book, Leaving Jesus.
Actually, the Tanakh itself translates the Hebrew term you refer to (אֱהָיָה) as EITHER “I Am That I Am,” “I Am Who I Am,” “I Will Be What I Will Be,” “I Am,” or “I Will Be,” so I find your argument rather irrelevant – not to mention the fact that I haven’t seen anything about JESUS in the above posts except in your own. It is an interesting thought, though.
In my own comment, I was merely noting the fact that, unlike in the story of Balaam and the donkey or similar Scriptural incidents, YHWH declared Himself (not an angel) to be in Abraham’s presence in Genesis 18, using the same term – יְהֹוָה – as is used in Genesis 2:4 in reference to our LORD G-d Creator.
Reading Genesis 18 and 19 quite carefully, one of the three men (and ONLY one of them, not all three) is referred to as YHWH. This is important because it disproves the argument that G-d was simply referring to an angels. There are times He clearly says “an angel of the LORD” appeared (as in the case with Balaam and the donkey). In this scenario, importantly, He did not say that in any part of the account, and only ONE of the three men is referred to as the LORD (same exact term as is used in Genesis 2 – not Elohim of Genesis 1, but YHWH of Genesis 2:4). It is important to read Scripture accurately, for what it says, and to not lump it together with other Scriptures that do NOT say the LORD appeared but instead refer to an angel of the LORD, or say the LORD opened an animal’s mouth. That is NOT the case at all in Genesis 18-19; it clearly refers only to the LORD, not to an angel of the LORD, and uses the term YHWH of Genesis 2:4. In other words, if you conclude it was only an angel that Abraham saw, then – using the same reasoning – you could also conclude that an angel was our Creator.
Furthermore, although at the beginning of Genesis 18 it says THREE men appeared, in chapter 19 we see that only TWO went on to Sodom and Gomorrah. This is important because all throughout chapter 18 it says the LORD Himself talked to both Abraham and Sarah, and it furthermore says the other two men went on, but the LORD stayed behind and talked more with them. Then in the next chapter, only TWO men went on to the city, consistent with that.
I did not at any time say that referred to Jesus, so I find your conclusion interesting.
P.S. It is also important to note that it was Hagar, and not G-d, who said the LORD spoke to her. HE (the LORD) said it was an angel of the LORD who appeared to her. In addition, even Hagar did not say she had seen the LORD, but rather said He had seen her.
In Genesis 18, on the other hand, G-d HIMSELF, who told the story (and not merely recounting a human’s quote) said He, YHWH, appeared to Abraham. Read the entire account for yourself. He means what He says, and to declare otherwise is presumptuous.
I speak about this in the Council of My Nation – click on it at the top of the page – I think you will find it in the index
I cut and pasted it – D. Anthropomorphisms
Christians sometimes quote passages in scripture that speak of God in anthropomorphic terms. These passage may refer to God’s hands or feet, they may talk of God going down or up, in short these passages speak of God in a way that in a literal sense, would only be applicable to humans. Take the verse in Zechariah 14:4 which tells us that “His (God’s) feet shall stand that day on the Mount of Olives”. Christians understand this verse as a reference to physical feet of a human god. The Jewish understanding is that these words are a metaphor describing God’s actions. The point of the verse is that God will cause a direct impact on the Mount of Olives in a manner that will be unmistakably attributed to Him and to Him alone. So whose interpretation is correct?
The vast majority of anthropomorphisms used by scripture can in no way be interpreted literally. The outstretched arm of the exodus (Exodus 6:6, Deuteronomy 4:34, 5:15, 26:8, 2Kings 17:36), the heavens as God’s throne (Isaiah 66:1, Psalms 11:4, 103:19), the eyes of God (Deuteronomy 11:12, Amos 9:8, Zechariah 4:10, Ps. 34:16, Proverbs 5:21, 15:3, 22:12) are just some of the expressions scripture uses to describe God’s actions – and cannot be understood as a description of His being.
Furthermore, scripture uses the same figures of speech to describe the actions of entities other than God. Isaiah 55;12 has the trees “clapping their hands”, while Psalm 98:8 attributes the same action to the rivers. 2Samuel 12:11 speaks of the “eyes of the sun”, while Jeremiah 30:18 describes a palace “sitting”.
In the language of scripture both human actions and the limbs of the human body represent various concepts. The outstretched arm denotes a manifestation of strength, while the luminous face represents favor. The human body as a whole, together with the full range of human activity stand for a complete conceptual image. This image encompasses the entire spectrum of interaction that is possible between the Creator and His creations. This is not a coincidence. The passage in Genesis is telling us that this is the mold in which man was formed. God formed man in the image of the conceptual totality of His own interaction with His creations. Thus whenever scripture describes an action of God, it finds a metaphor from this conceptual human image. The image projected by the animals does not encompass the full range of activities possible between God and His creations. Thus it is only man that is created in the image of God.
Thank you, that helps.
What then did the prophet see in Ezek 1.26? Could even argue from Isa 6.1.
By the way, “the [true] Christian interpretation” of who Moses saw in Ex 3.14 is told to us by Stephen in Acts 7.30, 35. A Christian! 😉
Ezekiel and Isaiah are talking about prophetic visions – not about people that walk around here on earth and breath like you and me.
Thanks for the reference from Acts – I appreciate it.
My point was simply that scripture tells as that YHWH, the one God of Israel CAN and HAS appeared as a human being! Although He obviously is not a human being!
This ties in with our fundamental disagreement that that same God was “made flesh” via His “tabernacling/residing” in the person of His uniquely created Son and Messiah, Jesus [John 1.1-14]. Within your own scriptures there is precedence of how people [Moses], places [Bethel] and even things [the Temple] have been embodied by YHWH, God.
This is also a challenge for modern Judaism to grasp. Tell me who “breathed” the breath of life in the dirt form that became a living soul? If God doesn’t breath who is He in this passage in Torah? Genesis 2 And the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and “He breathed” into his nostrils the “soul of life”, “and” “man became a living soul”. ז. וַיִּיצֶר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים וַיְהִי הָאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה:
Rashi~He made him of earthly matter and of heavenly matter: the body of earthly matter the soul of heavenly matter.
Genesis 6:9 These are the generations of Noah, Noah was a righteous man he was perfect in his generations; NOAH WALKED WITH GOD. ט. אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת נֹחַ נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה בְּדֹרֹתָיו אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים הִתְהַלֶּךְ נֹחַ:
Rashi~Noah walked with God: But concerning Abraham, Scripture says (below 24:40): “[the Lord] before Whom I walked.” Noah required [God’s] support to uphold him [in righteousness], but Abraham strengthened himself and walked in his righteousness by himself. — [Tan. Noach 5] את האלה ים התהלך נח: ובאברהם הוא אומר (יז א) התהלך לפני, (כד מ) אשר התהלכתי לפניו, נח היה צריך סעד לתומכו, אבל אברהם היה מתחזק ומהלך בצדקו מאליו:
walked: (הִתְהַלֶּךְ) is here in the past tense. The following is the usage of the “lammed” : in the “heavy” (כָּבֵד) form [this refers to conjugations with a dagesh in one of the root letters, in this case, in the lammed], one form can be used [both] for the future [really the imperative] and the past tense. For example, (Gen. ibid. 13): “Rise, walk (הִתְהַלֵּךְ)” is the future (i.e., imperative). “Noah walked (הִתְהַלֶּךְ)” is the past. (I Sam. 12:19): “Pray (הִתְפַּלֵּל) for your servants” is future (i.e., imperative), and (I Kings 8:42) “and he will come and pray (וְהִתְפַּלֵּל) toward this house” is past, only that the “vav” at the beginning converts it to the future. — [as explained by Mizrachi] התהלך: לשון עבר, וזהו שמושו של למד בלשון כבד, משמשת להבא ולשעבר בלשון אחד, (שם יג יז) קום התהלך להבא, התהלך נח, לשעבר, (ש”א יב יט) התפלל בעד עבדיך להבא, (מלכים א ח מב) ובא והתפלל אל הבית הזה, לשון עבר, אלא שהוי”ו שבראשו הופכו להבא:
You missed the point of the article. Scripture NEVER points to a human being, nor to a tabernacle, nor to a bush and nor to an angel as being 100% divine and 100% human/bush/tabernacle. Scripture NEVER points to any of these to encourage worship of them. The Chritsian concept of an incarnation of God that demands worship has NO parallel in the Jewish Scriptures.
Its all parallel when He is a king.. Jewish scriptures say you bow to the king and the king sits on the throne of the Lord worthy of worship of both. If you blaspheme a king you blaspheme who… the one who anointed Him position. It says not to worship things that do not have breath in them or a soul.. why? Because they cannot save. Jewish scriptures that is actually a oxymoron for me…. just answer me this, was Moshe a Jew?
1 Chronicles 29:20 And David said to the entire assembly, “Now bless the Lord your God,” and the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers, and THEY KNEELED and PROSTRATED THEMSELVES “before the Lord AND before the king.” כ. וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִיד לְכָל הַקָּהָל בָּרְכוּ נָא אֶת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וַיְבָרְכוּ כָל הַקָּהָל לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵיהֶם וַיִּקְּדוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַיהֹוָה וְלַמֶּלֶךְ:
21. And they slaughtered sacrifices to the Lord and they offered burnt-offerings to the Lord on the morrow of that day, a thousand bulls, a thousand rams, a thousand lambs, and their libations, and numerous sacrifices for all Israel. כא. וַיִּזְבְּחוּ לַיהֹוָה| זְבָחִים וַיַּעֲלוּ עֹלוֹת לַיהֹוָה לְמָחֳרַת הַיּוֹם הַהוּא פָּרִים אֶלֶף אֵילִים אֶלֶף כְּבָשִׂים אֶלֶף וְנִסְכֵּיהֶם וּזְבָחִים לָרֹב לְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
22. And they ate and drank before the Lord on that day with great joy, and they crowned Solomon the son of David a second time, and they anointed [him] to the Lord as ruler and Zadok as priest. כב. וַיֹּאכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתּוּ לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא בְּשִׂמְחָה גְדוֹלָה וַיַּמְלִיכוּ שֵׁנִית לִשְׁלֹמֹה בֶן דָּוִיד וַיִּמְשְׁחוּ לַיהֹוָה לְנָגִיד וּלְצָדוֹק לְכֹהֵן:
23. And Solomon “SAT ON THE THRONE OF THE LORD AS KING” instead of David his father, and he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him. כג. וַיֵּשֶׁב שְׁלֹמֹה עַל כִּסֵּא יְהֹוָה| לְמֶלֶךְ תַּחַת דָּוִיד אָבִיו וַיַּצְלַח וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֵלָיו כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
Scripture never points to????? In Genesis 18 Abraham saw three men He invited them to eat. While eating they (the 3) stated Where is Sarah your wife. Then One of the 3 stated that Sarah would have a child same time next year. Sarah overheard and laughed. The one who had stated the promise of the child is called YHVH. The men left but Abraham remained with YHVH although he called him Adonai. Thus Abraham saw a man who ate with him, yet it is YHVH. Two of the men (angels) arrive at Sodom as commanded. The long discussion between Abraham and YHVH whom Abraham called Adonai (a term of respect) continues until YHVH leaves. How can anyone read this without predjudice and say YHVH never appeared as a man? It speaks of sever predjudice not honest dealing with the verse.
That is an excellent point, Thomas. The fact that a human has the audacity to contradict G-d Himself, who is the who called HIMESELF by His Holy Name YHWH in Genesis 18, is a clear example of a person intentionally hardening his heart to G-d’s own Holy Word. If His name “doesn’t really mean HIM” there, how can we know it REALLY means Him anywhere else? Next, they’ll be telling us it was an angel and not G-d who is our Creator! Those who intentionally turn from the truth will have their hearts hardened and their eyes blinded, lest they know the truth! How very sad indeed that what G-d clearly says in Scripture would be denied and lied about in this way.
Read what I wrote
We have read it; sadly, you have presented an “excellently” deceptive post, denying what G-d Himself said in Scripture. You can try to rationalize away the truth, but G-d’s Word will prevail against your words. Those who truly seek the truth will read Scripture for what it truly says, not for how you have explained it away as a lie.
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What is sad is that this blatant, intentional twisting of Scripture — even redefining the terms of G-d Himself and directly contradicting what HE said in Scripture — is prevalent among a number of Jewish leaders…who should be a beacon of truth to the people and not a blanket that shields them from looking to the LORD. For example, a number of them have intentionally directed people away from the truths of the blood sacrifices so clearly provided in Scripture, offering pretenses such as “Well, G-d only ALLOWED blood sacrifices at that time because of the culture, but blood sacrifices were always inferior, in reality…”
Really? If that were the case, G-d had every opportunity to show that from the very beginning, from the FIRST recorded sacrifice. Instead, He clearly showed the opposite — rejecting Cain’s grain sacrifice and accepting Abel’s blood sacrifice offered in faith.
Time after time in Scripture, G-d clearly showed the importance of blood, at every important event in Israel’s history, in fact, from Abraham’s sacrifice of the ram in place of his son, to the Passover lamb at Israel’s exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12), to the many, many times Israel would return to G-d and immediately offer huge blood sacrifices of many animals. Yet these leaders deceive the people, pretended God did not REALLY say what He in fact DID say.
Be warned, my people. G-d does indeed hold you responsible to read and know His Scriptures for yourself. You are without excuse, even if you have a leader who deceives you. Each person is accountable to study and know the G-d of Scripture, not the god of your leader, and must come to Him in humility, seeking and accepting the truth that appears in His Own Word, not in theirs.
I challenge you to present just ONE verse from the Jewish Scriptures which states that there is no atonement for sin without blood
Torah: For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have therefore given it to you [to be placed] upon the altar, to atone for your souls. For it is the blood that atones for the soul. יא. כִּי נֶפֶשׁ הַבָּשָׂר בַּדָּם הִוא וַאֲנִי נְתַתִּיו לָכֶם עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לְכַפֵּר עַל נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם כִּי הַדָּם הוּא בַּנֶּפֶשׁ יְכַפֵּר:
Rashi~ For the soul of the flesh: of every creature is dependent upon the blood, and therefore, I have given it to atone for the soul of man. [In this way,] one “soul” [namely, the blood of a sacrifice] shall come and atone for another soul. כי נפש הבשר: של כל בריה בדם היא תלויה, ולפיכך נתתיו על המזבח לכפר על נפש האדם. תבוא נפש ותכפר על הנפש:
It’s clear throughout all of Scripture. I’ll present many verses…but first, you’re missing the point altogether. The point is that some of you leaders try to direct people AWAY from the MANY, MANY clear verses in Scripture in which G-d HIMSELF showed that it was HE who ordained the blood sacrifices. And to your shame, you deny those truths. To your shame, you deceive your own beloved people.
Leviticus 16 – read it. Note that G-d clearly showed that He knew the Israelites were and would always still be sinners, despite their best efforts to follow the Law. We know this because although they already knew the Law they were to keep, G-d STILL provided the most thorough explanation of a sacrifice provided in all of Scripture – Yom Kippur. An entire chapter is devoted to this blood sacrifice which could only be made by the high priest on behalf of the people, in which He clearly states that it was to be made every year “for all time” and HE is the one who says it would atone for the sin of the people. G-d said that, not Christians. He clearly and thoroughly described how they were to cleanse the altar with blood.
He also SHOWS, rather than merely telling, the importance of the blood sacrifice every time the Israelites would come back to G-d after sinning horribly against Him – all times, they always offered a blood sacrifice of many animals (2 Chronicles 29, 30, 35, many many others).
To your shame, you also do not teach the importance of the Passover as G-d clearly commanded in Exodus 12, where he said that, too, was to be taught to the children “for all time.” The story of the lamb’s blood applied to the doorpost of each home, and the angel of death would pass over that home when he saw the blood. To your shame, you skirt around these entire passages, redirecting the people to go against G-d’s direct command to focus on these verses and teach them to the children, instructing them to instead look elsewhere and forget about G-d’s clear command.
Instead, you bring up a vague verse in Hosea, pulling it out of context to claim that blood sacrifices were not really necessary. Yet the context of that verse is one of an entire book describing Israel in SIN, and THAT was why Israel was without king and without sacrifice (read chapters 3 and 4, and the entire book, actually).
In addition, each and every instance in which prayer and repentance are mentioned as atonement, the blood sacrifices were ALREADY being performed, as G-d commanded. He was in no way saying sacrifices should cease. Case in point – in Hosea’s day, blood sacrifices were certainly being offered. No priests of that day understood the verse, in its context, to be saying blood sacrifices were not of G-d. G-d established them from the very very first sacrifice – that of Cain and Abel. To teach people that G-d really only allowed sacrifice because of the culture of the day is a lie, and it is evil to lie. G-d told the story of Cain and Abel, of Abraham and the ram he offered in place of his son, of the Passover lamb, of Yom Kippur and of so many, many other passages exactly as HE wanted them told. You have no right to contradict Him and mislead His people.
My point is the intentional and deceitful redirecting of people to turn away from these passages G-d clearly gave great importance to. May G-d have mercy on your soul.
You wrote:”To your shame, you deceive”…”To your shame, you also do not teach the importance of the Passover”…. “the intentional and deceitful redirecting of people”…
First off, why are you making this personal and casting borderline antijew aspersions?
Second, I will submit that it is you, who come to the Tanakh and change G-ds holy revelation by painting the man from Nazareth into the text. I can prove it with two questions to you.
1) Where in Tanakh, does it EVER say, even once, that messiah will end the law?
2) Where in Tanakh, does it EVER say, even once, that messiah will fulfill the law on our behalf?
I could pose several other questions like that of church doctrine with zero scriptural basis in Tanakh. But start with those. There are no verses you can use to justify such doctrine.
You wrote “He clearly states that it was to be made every year “for all time” and HE is the one who says it would atone for the sin of the people.”
Yes, and as Rabbi B told you…he agrees, it is for all time WHEN there is a temple. And since it is for all time, isnt it the church who defies G-d by “ending the law”? When the temple returns, the church says sacrifices will be for a memorial for the man from Nazareth? Who is defying G-ds clear message?
You wrote:…(Passover)…”was to be taught to the children “for all time.” The story of the lamb’s blood applied to the doorpost of each home, and the angel of death would pass over that home when he saw the blood.
First, that is still taught. But it is the church, who gets the meaning all twisted up through the filter of the NT. As you surely must know, the Pesach lamb had zero atoning value. And the blood on the doorway, read it carefully, says:
3 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are,…
The blood does NOT atone…it is a SIGN…for who? For YOU…those inside the house…it has nothing to do with the man from Nazareth except that G-d does employ a great deal of irony here….the previous verse:
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.
“I will bring judgement on ALL THE GODS OF EGYPT…” Including the lamb-ram god (or goat) . So, the Israelite’s are killing and eating a god(s) of Egypt. Had G-d not been faithful to His promise, the Egyptians would have slaughtered the Jews for that act!…So, what is the real story here? TRUSTING and OBEYING G-d!
How ironic the the church makes Jsus the god-man, a symbolic “lamb” from the passover that is all about destroying false gods! oh the irony!
Back to your criticism of G-ds atonement process….You make such a big deal about blood and sacrifice…do you forget that G-d is all knowing? Did he not foreknow that there would be exiles? Of course He did! Did He leave His people without recourse in exile? NO! Example:
How did Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel, Mordecai, Esther and all the Jews in the first exile, who lived and died without temple sacrifice obtain forgiveness? Did G-d leaves those holy ones high and dry?
Of course not. They obtained forgiveness, the same way we do today. If it was good enough for Ezekiel et al, why not for us?
You are the one making this personal – I did not in any way cast borderline anti-Jew aspersions. If you knew me at all, or read what I have said at all, you would be well aware that I strictly adhere to G-d’s Word and would also know that I dearly love Israel and eagerly seek her restoration. My concern – and perhaps there were times when I stated it too strongly in this blog post – was for a careful rendering of what G-d’s Word actually says, without explanations that it means something other than what it actually says. I might add that if you thoroughly read what I have written, you would also know that I confront all equally – Jew, Christian, or any other religion – when I feel that they have veered away from the Holy Word of G-d.
And of course the blood atones; the rabbi himself has said as much in a recent post, and more important than what either I or the rabbi say, I would suggest that you read Scripture to find that truth clearly stated various times, too. Leviticus 16 is just one place where He says the blood did in fact atone (read verses 33 and 34), and that it was to be for all time. All of that was in effect long before the Temple and before Ezekiel’s time, too. Most importantly, they trusted in G-d alone. These men of G-d — the ones G-d clearly stated pleased Him — are always depicted in Scripture as having been far, far from trusting in their own righteousness…read Daniel chapter 9, too many Psalms to list, and the humility of those who would offer the Passover, cleansing the altar with blood, when Israel would return to G-d after having strayed (2 Chronicles 29, 30, 35, just to name a few such chapters). All of these examples show us a deep humility and acknowledgment of the death sin brings – it’s immense cost…yet the Mercy of our Holy G-d.
That said, none of what I have said has in any way referenced the church, so I am not sure where you are coming from with regard to that. Nonetheless, I am happy to take this moment to acknowledge that I have enjoyed the discussions with the rabbi, whom I now call Friend 🙂 and that I believe I stated some of my feelings on the matter too strongly. I am extremely zealous for the Truth of Scripture, and I am still learning how exactly is the right approach to expressing that zeal. I do not state my own name (with any of the people I have debated with, whether Jew, Christian, or some other religion) because I am not a leader of any sort or anyone that people would recognize by name, and also because I do not want any of what I say to become about me. None of this is about me (or at least, it should not be) but rather is about the Truth of Scripture. Insomuch as those with whom I speak read for themselves the same things I say in Scripture, I pray they will be moved to search and love Scripture even more deeply, seeing Him and falling in love with Him there. Insomuch as any words I speak are only mine, or some misinterpretation of mine, I would pray that they would still be moved to search and love Scripture and that He, in His immense and unimaginably faithful Love, will lead them closer to Himself in spite of me, if not because of me.
“Leviticus 16 is just one place where He says the blood did in fact atone (read verses 33 and 34), and that it was to be for all time. All of that was in effect long before the Temple and before Ezekiel’s time, too. ”
Freedom, you have reiterated this claim several times in past posts, and I have already pointed out to you that it is untrue. There is nothing about the sacrificial ritual atonements that preceded the Temple, as they all were commanded in the express context of the temple or the Tabernacle which served as a pre-temple complete with a a holy-of-holies.
In fact there is nothing that could be more clear about Lev 16, than the fact that it is introduced (Lev 16:2) as a warning about the sanctity of the holy-of-holies – which requires that there BE A HOLY-OF-HOLIES.
So I would again ask you to adhere to your own dearly held doctrine of sticking to what is in the scripture and not what we would like to impute to the scripture.
None of this was in effect before there was a temple.
And we’ve already dealt with Cain and Abel so let’s not rehash that either.
I am surprised at your response, given that I quoted directly from Scripture – have you not read these verses? In my previous post, I referred to Leviticus 16:33-34, which are very clear in themselves. But even backing up to a few verses earlier:
Leviticus 16:27 “And the bullock of the sin-offering, and the goat of the sin-offering, whose blood was brought in TO MAKE ATONEMENT in the holy place…30 For on this day SHALL ATONEMENT BE MADE FOR YOU, TO CLEANSE YOU; FROM ALL YOUR SINS SHALL YE BE CLEAN BEFORE THE LORD…”
In verses 33-34, He then said this atonement was to be for all sin for all time. Those are Hashem’s Words, not mine. Let us not contradict Hashem as if He somehow did not mean what He said there, and for the exact time frame in which He, in His infinite Wisdom, said it. I do indeed adhere to sticking to what is in Scripture – not explaining it away, changing it, or redefining it in any way. He said what He meant to say, and He meant what He said.
There is also the fact that godly men throughout Scripture are consistently portrayed as bringing blood sacrifices to G-d. This was not necessarily in the context of Leviticus 16, but we do clearly see that both individually and as a nation, deep repentance did indeed accompany blood sacrifices, all throughout the Tanakh. Sin has resulted in death since the beginning of time – before the first sacrifices. G-d Himself killed an animal, did He not? Else where did the “skins” for Adam and Eve’s clothing come from, after they sinned?
I am in no way tying this animal death to the Passover sacrifices that Israel as a nation offered when they would repent and return to the LORD (Ezra chapter 6, 2Chronicles chapters 29, 30, 35, and so forth), or to the yearly blood sacrifices that G-d said were to atone for all the sins of the people once a year in Leviticus 16. What I am saying is that sin has always been associated with death, from the very beginning. And we do consistently see the most godly men offering blood sacrifices throughout Scripture, accompanying their deep repentance and acknowledgment of sin and its cost.
P.S. One final thought – I think some people may mistake “atonement” for “punishment for sin”…perhaps believing that this atonement G-d mentions in Scripture means they get to escape earthly punishment for whatever wrongs they have committed. Of course I don’t believe it means that! G-d’s Word has always clearly said that sins have their punishments – an eye for an eye. In other words: Do I believe that an Israelite could steal and murder and then believe – “Oh, I attended the yearly atonement of Leviticus 16, so none of my sins will be punished”? Of course not! All of the things G-d already said regarding specific punishments for specific sins already applied. They also served to show sin’s cost. Yet G-d did unmistakably refer to atonement for sin on a national level in Leviticus 16, quite apart from the individual, specific sins that required individual, specific acknowledgment, repentance, and (sometimes) earthly punishment of varying degrees and forms. So clearly, this was something else. I believe this “atonement for all sin” referred to atonement for the ever-presence of sin – allowing the barriers to be removed that otherwise separated man from G-d (i.e., although Israel had the Law, G-d clearly knew sin would always be present – man would fail his part of the Covenant – and He provided this means of atoning for mankind’s sinfulness). Isaiah 59:2 is just one of many Scriptures that references the barrier man’s sinfulness creates between us and G-d.
I just wanted to clarify what I meant. I certainly do not agree with the philosophy some seem to have that atonement equates to escape from the punishments for sin that G-d already ordained and clearly listed throughout Scripture. In my opinion, such a position is in fact irresponsible and ignores huge portions of Scripture. Rather, this atonement refers to the removal of the barriers between sinful man (a condition always acknowledged by the holy men of G-d throughout Scripture) and a Holy G-d, allowing us to come into His presence to repent and worship Him.
This is in response to your last round of posts.
Frankly, I am at least equally surprised by your responses since they have little if anything to do with what I wrote.
First let’s get something straight. If you are under the impression that I somehow deny God-s explicit instructions regarding the atoning effect of blood sacrifices, please rest assured that I of course accept that, as I can read the verses in question.
This is NOT was I’ve been addressing.
What I AM addressing is your insistence that “All of that was in effect long before the Temple and before Ezekiel’s time, too.”
This will now be the third time I’ve asked you what your scriptural evidence is that God said anything whatsoever about atoning blood sacrifices “long before there was a temple”, and more importantly, that he said anything about atoning blood sacrifices outside of the specific temple-based setting?
So far you have offered me nothing in response to this question other than your non-scriptural conjecture that this was understood by men of God. Nor have you cared to comment on the fact that the entirety of the Yom Kippur service – Lev. 16 – is introduced as an admonition about not entering the holy of holies at any other time, underscoring the fairly obvious scriptural reality that the entirety of the service is dependent upon the presence of the temple and the holy of holies.
Now let me address another point you keep repeating. That is with regard to Lev. 16:33-34 and the eternal nature of the Yom Kippur service.
I have a question for you. Ezekiel was no doubt one of the men of God to whom you keep referring. I will assume we agree about that and I assume you would agree that he understood Lev 16:33:34 and its eternal message as well as either of us.
So tell me, what did Ezekiel understand Leviticus 16:33-34 and its eternal once each year message ‘to be expecting of himself, and the Jewish people at large, to do on the tenth day of the seventh month, when Ezekiel found himself in Babylon years after the destruction of Solomon’s temple without an altar and without a holy-of-holies? Did Ezekiel perform the prescribed services under those circumstances?
I am sorry that I clearly misunderstood what you were saying (you said my responses had little to do with what you wrote, while I believe we were discussing the same thing). I was responding to a couple of statements you made, one of which was this one: “None of this was in effect before there was a temple.”
You said now in this latest response that one of the things I did not answer (although I thought I did) was your objection at stated above:
“What I AM addressing is your insistence that “All of that was in effect long before the Temple and before Ezekiel’s time, too.” This will now be the third time I’ve asked you what your scriptural evidence is that God said anything whatsoever about atoning blood sacrifices “long before there was a temple”, and more importantly, that he said anything about atoning blood sacrifices outside of the specific temple-based setting?”
I am a little confused; what exactly are we disagreeing about? Do you not believe that Leviticus 16 was given before the Temple and before Ezekiel’s time? Ezekiel was obviously born long after the time of Leviticus 16, and these atoning sacrifices were already practiced on a yearly basis long before his time. Or are you saying Leviticus 16 was not practiced before the Temple? Clearly it was practiced before the Temple by Aaron and his descendants – the Temple was not built until the time of Solomon, but these practices were going on long before then.
Do you think that I am saying anyone could do this at any time and in any place? (I am still trying to figure out what in my statement you see as differing from Scripture.) Of course I do not believe that; I believe fully that this specific atoning blood sacrifice offered in acknowledgement of man’s sinfulness and as an atonement for sin was to be done ONLY by the high priest on behalf of the people, and ONLY in the specific holy place, as G-d clearly stated. (What I do wonder is why rebuilding a holy place does not seem to have been a priority these many years, if G-d’s clear directives regarding atonement is considered important.)
I am also a little puzzled about what exactly you are asking with regard to Ezekiel (and you previous comments about Daniel and the rest). Are you asking whether I think they performed the sacrifice of Leviticus 16 (no, I do not – it was to be done ONLY by the high priest) or whether I think they offered blood sacrifices at all? (I do not see a reason to claim they did NOT offer blood sacrifices, although whether they did or not has never been my argument.) Or are you asking whether I believe blood sacrifices offered by the many men of G-d outside of the Temple setting actually atoned for anything? (Obviously you can’t be asking whether I believe they occurred because we both know they did, from Abraham to Israel as a nation when she would return to the LORD from sin – as previously mentioned in 2Chronicles chapters 29, 30, 35 and many others – so your question must be whether I consider these blood sacrifices to be of some specific merit beyond that of a grain sacrifice, correct?) If that is the question – and again, please forgive me for this puzzlement of this entire thing and for my “missing the point” if I am – then let me state clearly what I believe we see in these blood sacrifices outside of the Temple setting:
1. I do NOT believe they substituted for the atoning sacrifice made by the high priest in the holy place (Leviticus 16, in other words). Those could be done ONLY in the holy place and ONLY by the high priest. That meant someone else had to do this on the people’s behalf, when it was done; the people could not atone for their own sinfulness in the way described in Leviticus 16 (although the high priest did have to atone for his own sin, too). So – no, these blood sacrifices outside of the Temple setting were obviously not substitutes for Leviticus 16.
2. I DO believe it is clearly shown in Scripture that sin serves as a barrier between mankind and G-d (Isaiah 59:2, as stated previously, though there are many others) and that sin is (many, many times) associated with death all throughout Scripture, from the very first sin committed by Adam and Eve.
3. I DO believe people acknowledged sin’s cost in bringing blood sacrifices apart from the Temple setting. I also believe they understood and respected its significance, never acting as though it really didn’t matter. We see this in the precise men of G-d you mentioned – Ezekiel and Daniel, to name two.
Throughout Ezekiel chapter 20, we see the immense wrongs committed by Israel against G-d, one of which was the worship of idols, and another of which was the sacrifice of their own children. We also see G-d condemn this practice by the Israelites in Ezekiel 23:39: “For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into My sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of My house.”
Later in Ezekiel, he shows regard for true worship and sacrifice with a right heart.
Ezekiel 44:11 “and they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering in the house: they shall slay the burnt-offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.”
Obviously, the high priest (as described in Leviticus 16) is the only one who could offer this atoning sacrifice on behalf of the people, and only in the holy place. My argument has never been otherwise. Yet I do wonder why reestablishing a holy place has not seemingly been a priority. I also wonder why so many people have actually denied the importance of the blood sacrifice, or acted offended when it is brought up in conversation. Why would bringing it up be offensive, when G-d himself provided a blood sacrifice for Abraham to offer in place of his son? At the exodus, too, what was commanded was a blood sacrifice, and when the angel of death saw the blood on the homes, as it says in Scripture, he would pass over the homes and the firstborn would live. I would think these are issues that should be celebrated, not things that bring offense. We also see the nation of Israel always ascribing great importance to these sacrifices – as previously mentioned, Israel would offer the Passover sacrifice of many, many animals when they would return to the LORD after having sinned against Him (2Chronicles 29, 30, 35). They obviously saw these sacrifices as important. Not only that, but Daniel himself ascribes importance to them. For example, although the Bible does not directly state what he offered, he does mention the evening offering as a regular occurrence (Daniel 9:20-21). The same word is used in Hebrew for both Cain’s and Abel’s offerings, one of which was crops and the other a blood sacrifice, so we do not know what exactly he offered. However, I do not see a reason to assume he did NOT offer blood sacrifices. Later in the same chapter, he mentions a terrible one who would one day abolish the sacrifices (Daniel 9:26-27). Thus, Daniel was obviously familiar with the sacrifices, and he saw their cessation as something negative, with the context being one of terrible occurrences.
In any case, these men of G-d clearly recognized the blood sacrifices as ordained by G-d, and they mentioned them (and offered them) often and eagerly. I do not think, therefore, that the topic is something we should avoid talking about. That said, I certainly agree with you (what I think you are saying) that Leviticus 16 itself certainly was not done by any of these men (or by anyone except the high priest), and I am not saying the godly men throughout Scripture personally offered THAT sacrifice. They did certainly regularly and eagerly humbly recognize their own unworthiness before a Holy G-d and offer blood sacrifices, however, as did the nation of Israel in recognition of sin when returning to G-d.
I hope to respond to you more fully within a few of days as time escapes me right now. However your last lengthy post actually does a great deal to illuminate 1) precisely where you continue to miss or ignore my point 2) where some of your key misunderstandings about Jewish thinking lay, and 3) where your positions are at least as dependent on your personal interpretations and non-scriptural imputations as the positions you routinely criticize as having this failing. (Consider for example, how many times your last post appeals to phraseology like “I believe”, “I DO believe”, or “I do not see a reason to assume”. Such formulations are not appeals to scriptural evidence. They are opinions and you are most certainly entitled to them.
Talk to you soon
Please do, Yehuda; I look forward to reading what you have to say about these issues, and I am eager to clarify WHY (with Scripture verses) I believe the statements I have made once I know what you are referring to. I assure you that I have not intentionally ignored anything you have said, so I will be happy to learn what exactly you were disagreeing with, especially given that my statements were based on Scripture in its plain reading, as far as I can tell. Of course I am not above possibly making errors (I am human), but I am certainly not intentionally twisting or redefining or ignoring anything in Scripture.
My saying “I believe” is not in any way meant to imply that I am believing something based on some notion apart from Scripture; rather, I believe what I believe BECAUSE of what the Bible says in its clear and plain reading. I frequently search out interesting things I find in Scripture to discover where else they appear in the Tanakh, so that I can learn more about them in their context.
Oh what the hey, It didn’t take that long. Here you go. I’ve interspersed quotes from your last post with my responses.
1) Where you continue to miss or ignore my point
A) “I am a little confused; what exactly are we disagreeing about? Do you not believe that Leviticus 16 was given before the Temple and before Ezekiel’s time? Ezekiel was obviously born long after the time of Leviticus 16, and these atoning sacrifices were already practiced on a yearly basis long before his time.” Or are you saying Leviticus 16 was not practiced before the Temple? Clearly it was practiced before the Temple by Aaron and his descendants – the Temple was not built until the time of Solomon, but these practices were going on long before then.”
All true, but the Tabernacle was as much a temple as was Solomon’s structure and NONE of this was practiced before the tabernacle, ergo it was not practiced before the “temple”. Why do you not recognize the Tabernacle as a “Temple” for the purpose of Lev 16?
B) “Of course I do not believe that; I believe fully that this specific atoning blood sacrifice offered in acknowledgement of man’s sinfulness and as an atonement for sin was to be done ONLY by the high priest on behalf of the people, and ONLY in the specific holy place, as G-d clearly stated.”
Then why do you keep reiterating the Lev 16: 33-34 and its reference to the Yom Kippur service as being each year for all eternity if you acknowledge that this particular service was not even uninterrupted enough to have made it through Ezekiel’s lifetime.
C) “…with regard to Ezekiel,,,and Daniel… are you asking whether…I think they offered blood sacrifices at all? (I do not see a reason to claim they did NOT offer blood sacrifices, although whether they did or not has never been my argument.)”
Well then you concede it to be both your conjecture and irrelevant, so let’s drop the issue.
D) “Or are you asking whether I believe blood sacrifices offered by the many men of G-d outside of the Temple setting actually atoned for anything? “
Yes I am
“If that is the question …then let me state clearly what I believe we see in these blood sacrifices outside of the Temple setting… I DO believe people acknowledged sin’s cost in bringing blood sacrifices apart from the Temple setting. I also believe they understood and respected its significance, never acting as though it really didn’t matter. We see this in the precise men of G-d you mentioned – Ezekiel and Daniel, to name two.”
Please point me to the scripture describing the outside-the-temple blood sacrifices brought by Ezekiel and Daniel which make this point.
2) Where some of your key misunderstandings about Jewish thinking lay
A) “What I do wonder is why rebuilding a holy place does not seem to have been a priority these many years, if G-d’s clear directives regarding atonement is considered important.
“Yet I do wonder why reestablishing a holy place has not seemingly been a priority.”
We DO put intense priority on it, We pray for it three times a day at a minimum. But we do not believe it can happen purely through human action. We believe we believe we need God’s help to overcome a number of physical and spiritual obstacles, and that is what we pray for.
B) “I also wonder why so many people have actually denied the importance of the blood sacrifice, or acted offended when it is brought up in conversation.”
We do not deny it and we are not offended by the notion We Do NOT however believe it is the only pathway to atonement for a variety of reasons that Rabbi Blumenthal has articulated to you and which you have chosen to ignore. That we neither deny nor take offense at this notion renders a great deal of your running commentary irrelevant.
3) where your positions are at least as dependent on your personal interpretations and non-scriptural imputations as the positions you routinely criticize as having this failing.
“…although the Bible does not directly state what he offered, he does mention the evening offering as a regular occurrence (Daniel 9:20-21). The same word is used in Hebrew for both Cain’s and Abel’s offerings, one of which was crops and the other a blood sacrifice, so we do not know what exactly he offered. However, I do not see a reason to assume he did NOT offer blood sacrifices.”
More of your conjecture . And I DO see a reason to make that assumption. God instructed us not to. See Deut 12.
So where are you coming from then? Are you a follower of the god-man from Nazareth?
No one here is saying that blood doesnt atone. Just that Passover doesnt atone. It does exactly as stated in Torah. No more, no less. G-d is not obsessed with blood. Many times, he states forgiveness without blood. Such as:
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
And he said that right after Solomon built the temple! He did not say, if my people which are called by my name, shall offer blood sacrifices….I will forgive …
If blood sacrifices were the only thing that atoned, then G-d would have not made a requirement for a temple or never destroyed it.
Again, what did the holy ones in the Babylonian exile do for atonement?
Please read my reply to Yehuda, directly above. (The one that ends as follows:
“In any case, these men of G-d clearly recognized the blood sacrifices as ordained by G-d, and they mentioned them (and offered them) often and eagerly. I do not think, therefore, that the topic is something we should avoid talking about. That said, I certainly agree with you (what I think you are saying) that Leviticus 16 itself certainly was not done by any of these men (or by anyone except the high priest), and I am not saying the godly men throughout Scripture personally offered THAT sacrifice. They did certainly regularly and eagerly humbly recognize their own unworthiness before a Holy G-d and offer blood sacrifices, however, as did the nation of Israel in recognition of sin when returning to G-d.”)
I will be happy to respond if that is not what you are asking about, but I think we were both writing at the same time, and about the same topic. 🙂 Shalom.
Mr. Freedom, I do not agree with everything the rabbi has stated, but to call his faith and sincerity into question is absolutely shameful in such a disrespectful tone too. This man has studied more Tanakh in his life than probably anyone on this blog, and I would never refer to him as “you leader.” If you wish tho raise your points, fine. I have no doubt whatsoever though that rabbi B loves G-d, and loves his people, and despite some of the mockery he employs, I would say he loves Christians too, and wishes to share the truth as he sees it with them out of love. I can tell that you have never set foot in a synagogue, or attended a Jewish service. You mentioned repeatedly that there seems to be a disdain for blood atonement in Judaism. This is not the case. Even when blood is provided for a covering, the person.must be of a repentant spirit for the blood to count. That is what is being said. Moreover, even the New Testament notes that those covered by Jesus, but living sinfully are not covered. The lords supper, if eaten unworthily is said to be bringing damnation for not discerning the body of Christ.
If Jews didn’t care about sacrifices, they would not pray for the establishment of G-d’s holy house in Jerusalem, daily (May it occur soon.) May I suggest that you be more polite, and try not to judge this man’s intentions or heart. He loves G-d, to imply otherwise is just ludicrous.
You did not respond to my challenge – yes – when we have a Temple – we need blood sacrifices – but in order to get back teh Temple – we need repentance – this is cearly and unequivocaly stated in Scripture – it is you who reject the blood sacrifices ordained by Scripture with your unscriptural doctrine that they never “really” atoned
You might be enlightened by the following posts
This doesn’t help your clause… since there hasn’t been a temple for two thousand years its past the Messianic times and you have no King or Messiah and no Priests to sanctify it. And there is proofs its been swept under the table. Your in direct defiance and can clearly see you are to walk three days journey sanctify yourself and offer your sacrifice on a non hewn stone altar. Rules are rules Rabbi part of the 613 to have a temple. No temple means you haven’t repented yet. There is not atonement with no system. No priests no king no mercy seat no tablets no ark no sacred objects. The system was profaned by who? God left the temple and the temple left us. I have my temple….and God dwells in it. I needant a priest to sacrifice for my sins… now. He already did two thousand years ago.
I most certainly did not reject the blood sacrifices ordained by Scripture, nor did I say they did not atone. What I did was clearly show you in Scripture what you have denied, even misleading G-d’s dearly beloved to LOOK AWAY from the importance of blood sacrifices that G-d Himself ordained since the beginning of time, attempting to explain them away and decrease the importance of these precepts that G-d clearly said were to be “for all time.” Remember that because you say, “G-d did this for this reason only” does not make it so. Your reasoning for “why” G-d did what He did equates to YOUR words, not to G-d’s Words. There is a very, very big difference.
If you truly wish to see the importance that G-d placed on the blood sacrifices, instead of continually seeking to distract away from it, you need look no further than every major event in the entire history of mankind, and especially, of Israel.
Cain and Abel. Did G-d indicate here that a grain offering was preferred and that blood sacrifices were “only because that is what the nations of that day offered”? No He certainly did not, and that argument, perpetuated by several Jewish leaders, is an outright lie. Here in the very first sacrifice we see that the sacrifice G-d accepted was in fact the blood sacrifice, NOT the grain sacrifice.
Abraham. This is the forefather of all Israel. And it is no coincidence that it was with him that G-d requested something He has always abhorred – human sacrifice, asking Abraham to sacrifice his son. And then it was G-d Himself who provided the substitute, the ram, to die in Isaac’s place.
The Exodus. This was the significant event when Israel was about to leave the land of slavery to inhabit their very own G-d given Promised Land. A momentous event indeed. And at this time, G-d required that they kill a lamb and apply its blood to the doorposts. When the angel of death saw the blood, as Exodus 12 clearly says, he would pass over that home and spare the firstborn son.
Yom Kippur. As already covered, this was a time when G-d clarified, beyond a shadow of doubt, that makind was and always would be sinners in need of blood atonement despite their best efforts to please G-d. This was not the personal sacrifices for unintentional sin as were offered in Leviticus 4-7. This was the blood sacrifice made by the high priest, after purging the altar with blood, on behalf of the people, and G-d clearly says in Leviticus 16:34 that this was to atone “for ALL their sins” [emphasis mine] once a year, and that it was to be “for all time.” That mankind did indeed require a blood atonement on his behalf is made clear here in that the Israelites already had the Law. Yet clearly, G-d knew they would never perfectly keep it, because He says here their sin would need atoned every year.
Every time Israel turned back to the LORD our G-d, after having sinned against Him, they always offered animal sacrifices. THEY did indeed clearly understand the need for a blood sacrifice, as is demonstrated by their behaviors.
And certainly, sacrifices alone were not all that G-d desired; He desired their hearts. Without a heart of repentance, sacrifices were nothing more than dead animals – as we clearly see those times when Israel would mechanically bring sacrifice yet their heart was far from Him. He desired repentance, prayer, their hearts. He desired that they desire to seek His ways and love His Laws. Yet, importantly, even WITH repentance and WITH the Law, He STILL said these blood sacrifices were to be “for all time.” Those times when he mentioned desiring something else were times when Israel was missing the heart of what blood sacrifice and atonement was all about – humility, a recognition of sin, a turning to G-d. And in Hosea, the mention of prayers taking the place of bulls, it is clear that the message there is one of true neediness and sin before a Holy G-d, not one of a self-righteous, arrogant proclamation that the blood atonement was unnecessary. The entire book of Hosea makes that clear – that Israel was in SIN and therefore was without sacrifices or king. He was beseeching G-d for mercy, during Israel’s time of great sin. And all of the priests during Hosea’s time clearly understood that, offering the required sacrifices as always.
It is you, not G-d, who has indicated that the blood sacrifice itself was somewhat irrelevant (as I’ve seen you indicate in your previous posts). What HE says in Scripture is something else altogether: that the blood was indeed extremely significant and was to be taught “for all time.” And not just what He says but what He clearly shows, time after time, at all of these important occasions. The times when repentance and prayer are mentioned as forms of atonement, these yearly atoning sacrifices were already in place, according to G-d’s command.
What is clear is that if you will accept only a specific answer given only a certain way (instead of being willing to look at the clear patterns established all through the history of mankind and Israel), then your concern is not really for the truth. One who desires the truth wants to place importance where G-d placed it and wants to teach those things G-d said were to be taught forever. It is one who wants to skirt around the truth who wants to allow room only for a certain kind of answer rather than looking at what G-d established. It is what G-d says, after all, and not our own reasoning ABOUT what G-d said, that needs to be taught forever.
Are you waiting for the restoration of the sacrifices as God promised?
There is only One sacrifice that can fulfill payment for Genesis 9:5-6. And for every animal that has been sacrificed over aprox. 2,500 years breaking Jewish law without priesthood or a temple… every animal will mankind pay for writing God’s name on it. Because there was no priests to give their inheritance of skins from the sacrifices… yet mankind chose to break laws to take beasts of the field and made torah and made tefillin. Mankind is who has to pay. Jesus Christ (a first born Priest) took upon Himself the position to take the portions inherited to Him. Those skins are the flesh of mankind. They were inherited from Genesis when He clothed man with them. He paid the price for our blatant disobedience and for all the blood of the animals and blood of the people who died in vain for our sin.
Let me quote a bit of Ken Johnsons book The Ancient Seder Olam. Page 176 and 177 [” Daniel had elucidated to us the knowledge of the end times. However, since they are secret, the wise [rabbis] have barred the calculation of hte days of the Messiah’s coming so that the untutored populace will not be led astray when they see that the End times have already come but there is not sign of Messiah.” Maimonides: Igeret Teiman, Chapter 3. “The anointed King is destined to stand up and restore the Davidic Kingdom to its antiquity, to the first sovereignty. He will build the temple in Jerusalem and gather the strayed ones of Israel together. All laws will return in his days as they were before: Sacrificial offerings are offered and the Sabbatical years and Jubilees are kept, according to all its precepts that are mention in the Torah. WHOEVER DOES NOT BELIEVE IN HIM, OR WHOEVER DOES NOT WAIT FOR HIS COMING, NOT ONLY DOES HE “DEFY” THE OTHER PROPHETS , BUT ALSO THE TORAH AND MOSES OUR TEACHER… Bar Kokhba, claimed that he was King Messiah. He and all the Sages of his generation deemed him King Messiah, until he was killed by sins; only since he was killed, they knew that Bar Kokhba was not the Messiah.” Maimonides: Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Melakhim Umilchamoteihem, Chapter 11. “These times (Daniel’s 70-weeks) were over long ago.” Rabbi Judah: Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin. “I have examined and searched all the Holy Scriptures and have not found the time for the coming Messiah more clearly fixed, except in the words of Gabriel to the prophet Daniel, which are written in the 9th Chapter of the prophecy of Daniel.” Rabbi Moses Abraham Levi. “Similarly, one should not try to calculate the appointed time [for the coming of the Messiah]. Our Sages declared: [Sanhedrin 97b] ‘May the spirits of those who attempt to calculate the final time [of the Messiah’s coming] expire!’ Rather, one should await [his coming] and believe in the general conception of the matter, as we have explained.” Maimonides : Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Melakhim Umilchameoteihem, Chapter 12. “…ALL WE NEED IS TO DO TESHUVA UNTIL MESSIAH COMES, FOR ALL THE PREDESTINED DATES FOR REDEMPTION HAS PASSED.” Talmud: Sanhedrin 97b. ” ALL TIME LIMITS FOR REDEMPTION (the coming of Messiah) HAVE PASSED AND THE MATTER NOW DEPENDS ONLY ON REPENTANCE AND GOOD DEEDS.” Babylonian Talmud: Rabbi Rabh. In addition to this, the tamud records temple miracles stopped occurring about forty years before the destruction of the temple: “The lot for the goat to be sacrificed ceased to come up on the hand of the High Priest as previously; the crimson cloth they put out on Yom Kippur (a Jewish festival) would not turn white as it had before.” Talmud: Rosh Hashanah 31b.
Lori since you brought it up, may I get a link to Ken Johnsons web site. I’m sure he has one if he is selling so many books.
Skip the question I found his website.
Unfortunately as is the case with many christian writers preachers I’ve researched their colleges do not exist. We can assume then that neither do their degrees.
Larry, before you assume people are lying, contact them. I personally know people (religious and nonreligious alike) who have attended private colleges that would be recognized by at least some excellent companies but that may not necessarily be easy to find by the average person. If you truly are interested in researching them, the best place to start is by contacting them personally and asking a simple question.
Normally I do not contact phonys and ask if their phony.
Are you phony?
Larry let us concur…. does a driver’s license make you a good driver? Does a hair license make a good hair dresser? Does a college degree make you a good teacher? Fact is you learn from college what other men wrote. The reason I posted those comments were for the Rabbi and as you can see HE DID NOT RESPOND TO THE SAGES WRITINGS. Which are MAN’s writings. You immediately tried to debunk the person quoting… and know not what of the men he quoted. This is the problem today you rely more on where the man went to school… yet you do not say Rabbi what about these quotes from the sages and where did the prophets go to school. Since it is the prophets words we are discussing. You show me the credentials of the Prophets please. Thank you… furthermore do they exist today.
Lori– I do not mean any disrespect but there probably isn’t much you and I can concur on at this point. That is why I will not try.
Freedom—I said—-“You miss my point, It only matters if he lied about it. I ASSUME he THEN is a liar.” As usual, YOU never misinterpret anything, everyone else is wrong, or misleading. Good luck with those scripture interpretations.
guess you like bad hair days and car wrecks….
What I’m saying is simply that, it doesn’t sound like you have been following his teachings (to have reason to believe he is lying) or that you have personally contacted him in any way to inquire. It seems a bit premature, then, to start talking about “if he has lied” about it, then he’s likely lied about other things… That’s operating on a premise that hasn’t even been established. That’s why I suggested that before calling someone a phony and suggesting they are lying about their degree, that you consider a positive approach of simply asking him personally about it. I do believe in speaking to people directly, not behind their backs. 🙂
It was only a suggestion; my intent was not to be offensive. That’s my recommendation if you would truly like to find out about his degree.
You miss my point, It only matters if he lied about it. I assume he then is a liar. I don’t ever remember reading about the Prophets having credentials, so I cannot show you. But be assured if they said they did, Me and a whole lot of people would be looking into it.
Larrry, I would be careful about calling someone a liar without personally examining their works and speaking to them in person. Not all credentials are easy for the average person to find. If you really want to know (and not just accuse), you can always write and ask him. That would be the more positive approach.
Freedom, if you read carefully you’ll see that I do not call anyone a liar. I was referring to the point that if he lied about one thing he probably would about others.
Larry, it came across as though you were assuming he lied about his degree, when you really don’t know that at all. That’s why I suggested you contact him personally, as a positive approach to determining where he went to college, if you are interested in finding that out.
Freedom—I said—-”You miss my point, It only matters if he lied about it. I ASSUME he THEN is a liar.” As usual, YOU never misinterpret anything, everyone else is wrong, or misleading. Good luck with those scripture interpretations.
sorry about the double post
Freedom said….. Larry, before you assume people are lying, contact them. I personally know people (religious and nonreligious alike) who have attended private colleges that would be recognized by at least some excellent companies but that may not necessarily be easy to find by the average person. If you truly are interested in researching them, the best place to start is by contacting them personally and asking a simple question.
and Larry says:
February 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm
Normally I do not contact phonys and ask if their phony.
What I’m saying is simply that, it doesn’t sound like you have been following his teachings (to have reason to believe he is lying) or that you have personally contacted him in any way to inquire. It seems a bit premature, then, to start talking about “if he has lied” about it, then he’s likely lied about other things… That’s operating on a premise that hasn’t even been established. That’s why I suggested that before calling someone a phony and suggesting they are lying about their degree, that you consider a positive approach of simply asking him personally about it. I do believe in speaking to people directly, not behind their backs. 🙂
It was only a suggestion; my intent was not to be offensive. That’s my recommendation if you would truly like to find out about his degree.
The fact is Judaism isn’t the old covenant. Not for two thousand years now. The jig is up. Were not buying the whole playing the ignorant anymore with the cover up. The fact is true Jewry is not religion you can buy or be sold on. You can’t bottle it and put it on a shelf and say this is what it is buy it and you can be a Jew. It is purely a relationship between you and God none else, BY HERITAGE. The rights and responsibility to speak truth to be true light on what is truth and know your way to God. That people know God is with you by proofs. That means Sages stories compiled in Talmud over two hundred years after Jesus Christ and the gospel is actually saying Daniel was a false prophet if they do not recognize all the proofs brought and accomplished by Jesus Christ the Messiah. You defy the Torah written at the hand of Moshe and all prophets by saying it never happened in the year he said it would. We are done playing around its time the truth which you call a living torah is exposed. That Torah scroll is the sacrifice. It had blood before it was torah. It was a living breathing seeing eating hearing speaking animal, ALIVE! And died at the hands of man to be your guide book which does not eat speak hear see or breath which God said not to worship,yet you put God’s name on it whom you say you worship, then you dress it in gold and silver all the likes of a man and a king with a crown and a priest with a shield with all the stones of tribes of Israel then kiss it a dead (graven image) animal (beast of the field) on shabbat. Dance around and feast following with all the works of man’s hands that gets put in its place and does not move unless man moves it. As in Isaiah 46. Genesis 9:5-6 tells you who is responsible for that blood offering it also tells you what the blood means to God. At no time will you tell me sages is over the prophets and no time will you say the prophets is over God but you will quote that which you do not see as God. And if you have not two witnesses who seen it is not true or hold up water in court. Now if you did not see anything on the mountain you cannot account for whom was there. Now you say it was not Jesus? How do you know if you weren’t there. And if you believe in reincarnation and you say you were there, yet you cannot tell me what was witnessed but only quote that which is already laid out to you by some else as in the Bible. You are merely quoting others today… that, Jesus Christ is not the Messiah or God then you tell me who was Messiah in the time Daniel said? You tell me why is it true Jewry and acceptable in the house of David to bow and to worship a King? 1 Chronicles 29:20. I’ll answer it for you….. because He sits on the “throne of the Lord.” Now your king may be a dead carcase in gold and in a ark in the shul made by man’s hands…. but my Messiah breathes eats hears sees and speaks. And not made by man’s hands. I HAVE GRAVEN YOU UPON THE PALMS OF MY HANDS AND YOUR WALLS ARE CONTINUALLY BEFORE ME. I WILL MAKE FOR YOU A MAN BETTER THAN ALL THE GOLD OF OPHIR AND MY NAME IS IN HIM. Zechariah 8:23 ten nations will go with by the skirt of “a” (TRUE) “Jew” ( not Jew”s”) but A Jew and they will hear God is with. The problem is you clearly forget who is the Jew. Don’t know your way to God and God is not a dead animal on its throne in shul. But is a King on the Lords throne worthy of all praise. I will point out here in Ken Johnson’s book page 176…. that even then when it was found your sages did believe in Bar Kokhba till he died. You clearly are looking for something other than man something more divine then a man which dies. Rebbe died and did not raise from the dead either. Now….. you have more than four witnesses that holds true to Jewish law who seen with their own eyes…. of Jesus Christ. And came in the time the prophets lay out for you. And your walls are continually before Him.
Pharisee friend, you can’t calculate without first knowing temple calculations. And thus “times changed” the factor of Daniel. In honour of the moon you changed calendars. And in this time those years were not 365 1/4 days. You have to change the times back to system used in those days to calculate. Your Daniel article is wrong. And furthermore…. the calculations have to fall within the lions gate of time. There are only two children who came during that time and both were sought out to be killed. Moshe and Jesus. There are two children in Isaiah 11. Both have a challenge to complete to free that mountain. But only one child will lead the animals. the scriptures are correct and if you think they are not remove Daniel from it and you loose Ezekiel and Genesis and Jacobs last words and the last words of Moshe, you have to throw it all out. You tell me who is Cyrus….a Davidic line Jew? Did he die? and what age…
Before you read Ken Johnson – try reading the Jewish Bible – without any preconcieved notions – pick up a world view – from the Tanach and only from the Tanach – and you will see why we insist on remaining loyal to God
You might be enlightened by this
Click to access The-Elephant-and-the-suit.pdf
Rabbi, I suggest you follow your own advice and stop trying to redefine the clear terms of “what G-d really meant,” arrogantly equating your own reasoning to G-d’s Holy Word.
YOUR human reasoning and YOUR blogs, which seem to be generally nothing more than a poor attempt to explain away clearly stated truths, principles, and patterns G-d Himself provided in the Tanakh, are not – I repeat NOT – the Jewish Bible.
It is you who rely on the reasoning of desperate men every one of the principles of my faith are explictly spelled out in the Jewish Scripture – not one priniciple of your faith is in the Bible – your theolgians piece together various fragments to get your version of Christianity
this one can also help you
Rabbi, again, you deceive only yourself. You gloss over patterns G-d clearly set forth since the very first sacrifice of Cain and Abel. You either ignore long passages in which G-d clearly established the blood sacrifice, which was to be taught “for all time,” or you take just ONE instance of the many such scenarios G-d presented in Scripture, and you pretend it is unrelated to all of the rest of similar Scripture in your attempt explain it away. Then you proceed to the next, to attempt to do the same. Yet the pattern is clear, time after time in Scripture, as I’ve already previously outlined.
All the while – to your shame! – you refuse to acknowledge what G-d Himself established and said in His Own Word; you even directly contradict His Word and claim to be speaking from G-d! May G-d have mercy on your soul.
This is the problem – you are taking “patterns” and piecing them together and calling it the word of God – I am giving you explicit passages that teach what I believe
It is the church that ignores the clear scriptures and patterns. The church gives a retrograde revelation. Why?
A) G-ds revelation to the Patriarchs is that He is One…incorporeal and says so at least 40 times. This was a profound revelation considering all other cultures had dozens to hundreds of gods. The church tells us…no…god is 3-n-1. Reversing G-ds revelation to man back to a poly-godhead.
B) G-ds revelation of no human sacrifice. G-d tells us EXPLICTLY in Dt 12 and Jer 19. Paraphrasing…see what those pagans are doing? Dont DO IT! What they are doing…I HATE….it is an ABOMINATION to me….if fact, it is so horrific, the thought never entered my mind! What does the church say?
G-d actually found the pagan ways compelling enough that G-d COPIES the pagans….takes a mans wife…impregnates her…(adultery) and then kills His own human son. As a one-size-fits-all sacrifice…(where is that in Tanakh?)
C) G-ds revelation to mankind through the Patriarchs is for DIRECT relationship with the Creator. The churches retrograde revelation? No, you have to go through a NEW gate…a god-man messiah AND you must be born again. Where in Tanakh does it ever say even once that access to G-d will be conditional on a gate? On being “born again”? It says it nowhere….
G-ds revelation of His nature and essence was closed at Sinai. Was Jsus presented at Sinai? No. Was a trinity presented at Sinai? No. Was a human sacrifice ending the law presented at Sinai? No. The church is teaching a false doctrine. Heresy. Blasphemy.
To say that there is not one principle of our faith in the Bible…. what faith would that be? I have theolgians? They have various fragments? To get my version of Christianity? Rabbi I beg to differ. My God said thou shalt not kill. Yet the book you have is made out of a dead carcase. My God said not to use His name in vain and your book has His name written on a dead carcase. My God said not to tattoo flesh or gash or mark for the dead, your book is a animal that has to have its flesh gashed off then man to write on it with ink. My God said not to worship things that do not breath. A dead animal can’t breath can it? My God said not to worship graven images, how graven is dead? My God said not to covet, how is not coveting a sacrifice of someones sins and using it for these things. Since the priests inherit the skins why then do we covet that which is not our inheritance and is strictly for the priesthood though sacrifices to the temple. My God said to determine between things that are clean and unclean, why then do we kiss a carcase on shabbat. My God said to honour your Mother and your Father then why fight over which one makes you Jew. My God said not to steal, how then do we atone… when you have to steal blood from a animal. I think that you forget what the writing says and forget to apply. You can make a outline for God. But God doesn’t have to follow your authority. Command ye Me? In true Judaism…. we believe that God will be what He will be and no man can say what that is nor can they MANipulate the scriptures. Ever read the scripture about kissing the calf? Why then do we?
Lori=== where does the bible say not to worship things that do not breath?
Deuteronomy 4:28 And there you will worship gods, man’s handiwork, wood and stone, which neither see, hear, eat, nor smell. כח. וַעֲבַדְתֶּם שָׁם אֱלֹהִים מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי אָדָם עֵץ וָאֶבֶן אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִרְאוּן וְלֹא יִשְׁמְעוּן וְלֹא יֹאכְלוּן וְלֹא יְרִיחֻן:
Psalms 135: 15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the handiwork of man. טו. עֲצַבֵּי הַגּוֹיִם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי אָדָם:
16. They have a mouth but do not speak; they have eyes but do not see. טז. פֶּה לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ:
17. They have ears but do not listen; neither is there any breath in their mouth. יז. אָזְנַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יַאֲזִינוּ אַף אֵין יֶשׁ רוּחַ בְּפִיהֶם:
18. Like them will be those who make them, all who trust in them. יח. כְּמוֹהֶם יִהְיוּ עֹשֵׂיהֶם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם:
Psalms 115:2 Why should the nations say, “Where is your God now?” ב. לָמָּה יֹאמְרוּ הַגּוֹיִם אַיֵּה נָא אֱלֹהֵיהֶם:
3. But our God is in heaven; whatever He wishes, He does. ג. וֵאלֹהֵינוּ בַשָּׁמָיִם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר חָפֵץ עָשָׂה:
4. Their idols are silver and gold, the handiwork of man. ד. עֲצַבֵּיהֶם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי אָדָם:
5. They have a mouth but they do not speak; they have eyes but they do not see. ה. פֶּה לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ:
6. They have ears but they do not hear; they have a nose but they do not smell. ו. אָזְנַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִשְׁמָעוּ אַף לָהֶם וְלֹא יְרִיחוּן:
7. Their hands-but they do not feel; their feet-but they do not walk; they do not murmur with their throat. ז. יְדֵיהֶם | וְלֹא יְמִישׁוּן רַגְלֵיהֶם וְלֹא יְהַלֵּכוּ לֹא יֶהְגּוּ בִּגְרוֹנָם:
8. Like them shall be those who make them, all who trust in them. ח. כְּמוֹהֶם יִהְיוּ עֹשֵׂיהֶם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם:
Jeremiah 10:5 Like a palm tree they are beaten, and they do not speak; they are carried for they do not step; fear them not for they will do no harm, neither is it in them to do good. ה. כְּתֹמֶר מִקְשָׁה הֵמָּה וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ נָשׂוֹא יִנָּשׂוּא כִּי לֹא יִצְעָדוּ אַל תִּירְאוּ מֵהֶם כִּי לֹא יָרֵעוּ וְגַם הֵיטֵיב אֵין אוֹתָם:
[Jeremiah 10:14 Every man is brutish without knowledge; every smith is put to shame by his graven image, for his molten images are false, without spirit [breath] in them. יד. נִבְעַר כָּל אָדָם מִדַּעַת הֹבִישׁ כָּל צוֹרֵף מִפָּסֶל כִּי שֶׁקֶר נִסְכּוֹ וְלֹא רוּחַ בָּם:] [Levitcus 26:30 I will demolish your edifices and cut down your sun idols; I will make your corpses [fall] upon the corpses of your idols, and My Spirit [soul] will [abhor] reject you. ל. וְהִשְׁמַדְתִּי אֶת בָּמֹתֵיכֶם וְהִכְרַתִּי אֶת חַמָּנֵיכֶם וְנָתַתִּי אֶת פִּגְרֵיכֶם עַל פִּגְרֵי גִּלּוּלֵיכֶם וְגָעֲלָה נַפְשִׁי אֶתְכֶם:] [Habakkuk 2:18 What did a graven image avail that its maker has graven it? A molten image and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusted in it to make dumb idols? יח. מָה הוֹעִיל פֶּסֶל כִּי פְסָלוֹ יֹצְרוֹ מַסֵּכָה וּמוֹרֶה שָּׁקֶר כִּי בָטַח יֹצֵר יִצְרוֹ עָלָיו לַעֲשׂוֹת אֱלִילִים אִלְּמִים:
19. Woe to him who says to the wood, “Awaken!”; to the dumb stone, “Arise!” Shall it teach? Behold it is overlaid with gold and silver, and no spirit is within it. יט. הוֹי אֹמֵר לָעֵץ הָקִיצָה עוּרִי לְאֶבֶן דּוּמָם הוּא יוֹרֶה הִנֵּה הוּא תָּפוּשׂ זָהָב וָכֶסֶף וְכָל רוּחַ אֵין בְּקִרְבּוֹ:
20. But the Lord is in His Holy Temple. Silence the whole earth before Him. כ. וַיהֹוָה בְּהֵיכַל קָדְשׁוֹ הַס מִפָּנָיו כָּל הָאָרֶץ:] [Daniel 5:23 But over the Lord of heaven you exalted yourself, and the vessels of His House they brought before you, and you, your dignitaries, your queen, and your concubines drank wine in them, and you praised gods of silver and gold, copper, iron, wood and stone, “which neither see nor hear nor know”, but the God in Whose hand is your soul [breath] and all your ways-He you did not glorify. כג. וְעַל מָרֵא שְׁמַיָּא| הִתְרוֹמַמְתָּ וּלְמָאנַיָּא דִי בַיְתֵהּ הַיְתִיו קֳדָמָךְ וְאַנְתְּ וְרַבְרְבָנָךְ שֵׁגְלָתָךְ וּלְחֵנָתָךְ חַמְרָא שָׁתַיִן בְּהוֹן וְלֵאלָהֵי כַסְפָּא וְדַהֲבָא נְחָשָׁא פַרְזְלָא אָעָא וְאַבְנָא דִּי לָא חָזַיִן וְלָא שָׁמְעִין וְלָא יָדְעִין שַׁבַּחְתָּ וְלֵאלָהָא דִּי נִשְׁמְתָךְ בִּידֵהּ וְכָל אָֹרְחָתָךְ לֵהּ לָא הַדַּרְתָּ:
24. Then from before Him the palm of a hand was sent forth, and it inscribed this writing. כד. בֵּאדַיִן מִן קֳדָמוֹהִי שְׁלִיחַ פַּסָּא דִי יְדָא וּכְתָבָא דְנָה רְשִׁים:] [ Isaiah 41:29 Behold them all, their deeds are nought, of no substance; wind and nothingness are their molten images. כט. הֵן כֻּלָּם אָוֶן אֶפֶס מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם רוּחַ וָתֹהוּ נִסְכֵּיהֶם:] [Isaiah 46: To whom shall you liken Me and make Me equal and compare Me that we may be alike? ה. לְמִי תְדַמְּיוּנִי וְתַשְׁווּ וְתַמְשִׁלוּנִי וְנִדְמֶה:
6. Those who let gold run from the purse and weigh silver with the balance; they hire a goldsmith and he makes it a god, they kneel, yea they prostrate themselves. ו. הַזָּלִים זָהָב מִכִּיס וְכֶסֶף בַּקָּנֶה יִשְׁקֹלוּ יִשְׂכְּרוּ צוֹרֵף וְיַעֲשֵֹהוּ אֵל יִסְגְּדוּ אַף יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ:
7. They bear it, on the shoulder they carry it, and they put it in its place and it stands, from its place it does not move; yea he cries to it and it does not answer; from his distress it does not save him. ז. יִשָּׂאֻהוּ עַל כָּתֵף יִסְבְּלֻהוּ וְיַנִּיחֻהוּ תַחְתָּיו וְיַעֲמֹד מִמְּקוֹמוֹ לֹא יָמִישׁ אַף יִצְעַק אֵלָיו וְלֹא יַעֲנֶה מִצָּרָתוֹ לֹא יוֹשִׁיעֶנּוּ:
8. Remember this and strengthen yourselves, take to heart, you transgressors. ח. זִכְרוּ זֹאת וְהִתְאֹשָׁשׁוּ הָשִׁיבוּ פוֹשְׁעִים עַל לֵב:
9. Remember the first things of old, that I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like Me. ט. זִכְרוּ רִאשֹׁנוֹת מֵעוֹלָם כִּי אָנֹכִי אֵל וְאֵין עוֹד אֱלֹהִים וְאֶפֶס כָּמוֹנִי:] [Jeremiah 51: 17 Every man is brutish without knowledge; every smith is put to shame by his graven image, for his molten images are false, without spirit in them. יז. נִבְעַר כָּל אָדָם מִדַּעַת הֹבִישׁ כָּל צֹרֵף מִפָּסֶל כִּי שֶׁקֶר נִסְכּוֹ וְלֹא רוּחַ בָּם:
18. They are vanity, a work of delusion; at the time of their visitation, they shall perish. יח. הֶבֶל הֵמָּה מַעֲשֵׂה תַּעְתֻּעִים בְּעֵת פְּקֻדָּתָם יֹאבֵדוּ:] [ Jeremiah 2:28 They say to the wood, “You are my father,” and to the stone, “You bore us,” for they turned to Me their nape and not their face, and at the time of their misfortune they say, “Arise and save us. ” כז. אֹמְרִים לָעֵץ אָבִי אַתָּה וְלָאֶבֶן אַתְּ יְלִדְתָּנוּ כִּי פָנוּ אֵלַי עֹרֶף וְלֹא פָנִים וּבְעֵת רָעָתָם יֹאמְרוּ קוּמָה וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ:
28. Now where are your gods that you have made for yourself; let them get up if they will save you at the time of your misfortune, for as many as your cities were your gods, O Judea. כח. וְאַיֵּה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ לָּךְ יָקוּמוּ אִם יוֹשִׁיעוּךָ בְּעֵת רָעָתֶךָ כִּי מִסְפַּר עָרֶיךָ הָיוּ אֱלֹהֶיךָ יְהוּדָה:
29. Why should you strive with Me? All of you have rebelled against Me, says the Lord. כט. לָמָּה תָרִיבוּ אֵלָי כֻּלְּכֶם פְּשַׁעְתֶּם בִּי נְאֻם יְהֹוָה:] [ Those who form idols are all of them vanity, and their treasures are of no avail, and they are their witnesses; they neither see nor hear, nor do they know, so that they be ashamed. ט. יֹצְרֵי פֶסֶל כֻּלָּם תֹּהוּ וַחֲמוּדֵיהֶם בַּל יוֹעִילוּ וְעֵדֵיהֶם הֵמָּה בַּל יִרְאוּ וּבַל יֵדְעוּ לְמַעַן יֵבֹשׁוּ:
10. Who formed a god or molded an image, being of no avail? י. מִי יָצַר אֵל וּפֶסֶל נָסָךְ לְבִלְתִּי הוֹעִיל:
11. Behold, all his colleagues shall be ashamed, and they are smiths-of man. Let all of them gather, let them stand, they shall fear, they shall be ashamed together. יא. הֵן כָּל חֲבֵרָיו יֵבֹשׁוּ וְחָרָשִׁים הֵמָּה מֵאָדָם יִתְקַבְּצוּ כֻלָּם יַעֲמֹדוּ יִפְחֲדוּ יֵבֹשׁוּ יָחַד:
12. The ironsmith [makes] an axe, and he works with coal, and with sledge hammers he fashions it; and he made it with his strong arm; yea he is hungry, and he has no strength, he did not drink water and he becomes faint. יב. חָרַשׁ בַּרְזֶל מַעֲצָד וּפָעַל בַּפֶּחָם וּבַמַּקָּבוֹת יִצְּרֵהוּ וַיִּפְעָלֵהוּ בִּזְרוֹעַ כֹּחוֹ גַּם רָעֵב וְאֵין כֹּחַ לֹא שָׁתָה מַיִם וַיִּעָף:
13. The carpenter stretched out a line, he beautifies it with a saw; he fixes it with planes, and with a compass he rounds it, and he made it in the likeness of a man, like the beauty of man to sit [in] the house. יג. חָרַשׁ עֵצִים נָטָה קָו יְתָאֲרֵהוּ בַשֶּׂרֶד יַעֲשֵׂהוּ בַּמַּקְצֻעוֹת וּבַמְּחוּגָה יְתָאֳרֵהוּ וַיַּעֲשֵׂהוּ כְּתַבְנִית אִישׁ כְּתִפְאֶרֶת אָדָם לָשֶׁבֶת בָּיִת:
14. To hew for himself cedars, and he took an ilex and an oak and he reenforced it with forest trees; he planted a sapling, and rain makes it grow. יד. לִכְרָת לוֹ אֲרָזִים וַיִּקַּח תִּרְזָה וְאַלּוֹן וַיְאַמֶּץ לוֹ בַּעֲצֵי יָעַר נָטַע אֹרֶן וְגֶשֶׁם יְגַדֵּל:
15. And it was for man to ignite, and he took from them and warmed himself; he even heated [the oven] and baked bread; he even made a god and prostrated himself, he made a graven image and bowed to them. טו. וְהָיָה לְאָדָם לְבָעֵר וַיִּקַּח מֵהֶם וַיָּחָם אַף יַשִּׂיק וְאָפָה לָחֶם אַף יִפְעַל אֵל וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ עָשָׂהוּ פֶסֶל וַיִּסְגָּד לָמוֹ:
16. Half of it he burnt with fire, on half of it he ate meat, he roasted a roast and became sated; he even warmed himself and said, “Aha, I am warm, I see fire.” טז. חֶצְיוֹ שָׂרַף בְּמוֹ אֵשׁ עַל חֶצְיוֹ בָּשָׂר יֹאכֵל יִצְלֶה צָלִי וְיִשְׂבָּע אַף יָחֹם וְיֹאמַר הֶאָח חַמּוֹתִי רָאִיתִי אוּר:
17. And what is left over from it he made for a god, for his graven image; he kneels to it and prostrates himself and prays to it, and he says, “Save me, for you are my god.” יז. וּשְׁאֵרִיתוֹ לְאֵל עָשָׂה לְפִסְלוֹ יִסְגָּד לוֹ וְיִשְׁתַּחוּ וְיִתְפַּלֵּל אֵלָיו וְיֹאמַר הַצִּילֵנִי כִּי אֵלִי אָתָּה:
18. Neither do they know nor do they understand, for their eyes are bedaubed from seeing, their hearts from understanding. יח. לֹא יָדְעוּ וְלֹא יָבִינוּ כִּי טַח מֵרְאוֹת עֵינֵיהֶם מֵהַשְׂכִּיל לִבֹּתָם:] Isaiah 44:9 just a few for now…. I encourage you to compare to KJV
Lori–I’ll retract that question and blame it on the time of day. Thats what I get for trying to think when I’m asleep.
I only gave you a few come on! lol
Freedom– Now I’m an ex christian, and I have nothing to add to the comments here, but I do have a question. How is the rabbi arrogantly redefining the clear terms of what G-d really meant? ( ” What did he say vs what the bible says” ) You also acuse him of human reasoning, so we should suppose yours is devine? If not devine, how is yours superior? If not superior, then why should one listen to you?
The rabbi is arrogantly redefining the clear terms of what G-d really said in explaining away Genesis 18, equating it to the account of Balaam and the donkey. The two stories are not the same, and to say that G-d did NOT appear to Abraham in Genesis 18, in which YHWH declared Himself (not an angel) to be in Abraham’s presence in Genesis 18, using the same term – יְהֹוָה – as is used in Genesis 2:4 in reference to our LORD G-d Creator.
Reading Genesis 18 and 19 quite carefully, one of the three men (and ONLY one of them, not all three) is referred to as YHWH. This is important because it disproves the argument that G-d was simply referring to angels. The other two were angels, and they were at no time referred to as YHWH – to do so would be heresy. It is important to read Scripture accurately, for what it says, and to not lump it together with other Scriptures that do NOT say the LORD appeared but instead refer to an angel of the LORD, or say the LORD opened an animal’s mouth. Genesis 18 clearly refers only to the LORD, not to an angel of the LORD, and uses the term YHWH of Genesis 2:4. In other words, if you conclude it was only an angel that Abraham saw, then – using the same reasoning – you could also conclude that an angel was our Creator.
In what I said regarding his arrogance in contradicting G-d Himself, I was also referring to his previous posts in which he indicated that the blood sacrifice was irrelevant and unnecessary, really, for atonement. That is a direct contradiction to what G-d commanded outright (see Leviticus 16:33-34) that Yom Kippur, the atoning blood sacrifice, be performed every year to atone for the sin of the people (i.e., their sin needed atoning every year, even though they had the law, and it says it was to atone for ALL their sin, and that it was to be done “for all time”). Not only that, but he and other Jewish leaders have contradicted the importance G-d gave to the Passover lamb at the exodus of Egypt (Exodus 12) in which G-d likewise said THIS incident (of the lamb’s blood being applied to the doorposts, and the angel of death passing over the homes and sparing the firstborn when he saw the blood) was to be told to their children “for all time.” Saying other things can be placed on the doorposts, in place of the lamb’s blood, is adding to Scripture; G-d told the story exactly as He wanted it told, and HE had them kill a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts. THAT is the story we need to recount, not some human reasoning that it really wasn’t about the blood, that other things can be done instead, and so forth. That is what I mean by human reasoning. What I am saying is not “reasoning” at all; I am not explaining away scriptural passages or in any way attempting to change what G-d said, as he is doing. What I am doing is reminding what THE VERSE actually says, which has somehow gotten completely overlooked in the attempt to discredit any necessity for a blood sacrifice.
One simply cannot overlook the entire Jewish history – the most important of all Jewish forefathers being Abraham, perhaps, the friend of G-d who trusted G-d and to whom G-d reckoned that to his merit BECAUSE he trusted in G-d (Gen. 15:6). To Abraham, G-d requested a most unusual thing – that he sacrifice his son (although G-d clearly stated elsewhere that He hated human sacrifice). Then G-d Himself provided the substitute to die in Isaac’s place – a ram.
In recounting that story, I am in no way adding to Scripture or explaining it through human reasoning, or any of those things. I am merely telling what happened in the account that G-d chose to give us. You can read it for yourself in Genesis 22. Conversely, the rabbi is equating his own explanations for WHY G-d did that to Holy Truth, as though he were able to speak for G-d and explain away G-d’s actions.
Read all of these accounts in Scripture for yourself. There has also been the false claim by several well-known rabbis – an outright lie, in fact – that G-d allowed animal sacrifice ONLY because the nations / cultures of the day offered sacrifice. Clearly, in the account of the very first sacrifice recorded in the Bible (Cain and Abel), G-d demonstrated the opposite – He accepted Abel’s animal sacrifice and rejected Cain’s sacrifice of crops. My telling this story is likewise unrelated to human reasoning – I am merely recounting what actually happened. Read it for yourself in Genesis 4.
To attempt to take each story that G-d HIMSELF gave us in Scripture, with a clear pattern seen in the most important events of Israel’s history, and distort them by discrediting and in some cases even attempting to redefine the clear terms provided there, is to contradict G-d Himself. And to anyone who is unsure who is really telling the truth, my challenge is simply – read the Scripture for yourself, with an open mind, and without a background of “Oh, but G-d only did this because…” or “G-d REALLY meant [not what Scripture says but something else entirely]”. See what G-d’s Word, not the rabbi, says in all of these recorded instances in Scripture. It is not what I say or what the rabbi says but what YHWH says that truly matters.
P.S. Note also that in attempting to equate G-d’s appearance to Abraham with that of the angel of the LORD who spoke with Hagar, the rabbi is twisting Scripture. Scripture does not say, at any time, that the LORD appeared to Hagar. Even one who concludes from the passage that Hagar thinks she saw the LORD, if he honestly reads the Scripture, can clearly see that is HER thought, not what G-d said. What HE clearly said throughout that passage was that it was an angel and not the LORD Himself.
In Genesis 18, on the other hand, G-d at no time says the One who spoke with Abraham was an angel. In fact, had that been the case, all three of the men whom Abraham saw and spoke with in Genesis 18 should have been referred to by the same name. Instead, it is ONE and only One of the three referred to (consistently throughout the chapter) as YHWH. Clearly, he was differentiated from the two angels.
So, to try to say that G-d’s Word says something other than what G-d Himself said is evil and arrogant.
I agree Freedom.
“So, to try to say that G-d’s Word says something other than what G-d Himself said is evil and arrogant.”
Being a mere human myself, and I believe we can all agree on one thing that, all of us here are humans. Since were all humans we all use our unique levels of human understanding. Now, using your defination of evil and arrogant, at the end of the day, who decides what G-ds words say? You might point to this word/words and then group them with other words. All the time explaining that words mean things. I absolutely agree. But who decides? now I just re read genesis 18, I even went to the catholic online website and read it from the New Jerusalem Bible, and clearly, in my heart, I have to agree with the rabbi. How you do not see this is beyond me. Now, one of us has a splinter in their eye, maybe, but I do not think of it as evil or arrogant. Unless your anti education. In that case I would point you to:
First of all please be enlightened by Thomas’s wise words
Second – lets get this straight – I point to Deuteronomy 4 to explain who it is I worship – this passage is explcitly presented by the Author of Scripture as a teaching on this very subject; the passage is clear and comprehensive – I don’t need to say anymore than is written in the word
You point to Genesis 18 to justify your devotion to one who appeared as a man – note – Gnesis 18 is not presented as a teaching on the subject of directing worship; it is not clear – even you admit that one has to “read it carefully” in order to get the message – and it is far from comprehensive (it doesn’t tell us how many incarnations God could have and how many of them we are supposed to worship and how often)
– and you accuse me of following my own reasoning instead of the word of God!
I suggest you read the following prayerfully and carefully – you may learn something as others have before you
How do you read Genesis 16:13 where the prophetic narrator calls the one who spoke to Hagar by the name of God?
In any case – if it is “evil and arrogant” to misquote Scripture – then what do you say to Matthew who misquotes Isaiah 7:14 and Jeremiah 31:14? Or to Paul who misquotes Isaiah 59:20 and Psalm 40:7?
There was no prophetic narrator who called the one Hagar saw YHWH. Read it again. The NARRATOR clearly says it was an ANGEL of the LORD, and not the LORD Himself. He was clear on that issue throughout the entire account. Hagar is the one who later commented on the LORD having spoken with her, and that the LORD had seen her.
Even IF what Hagar meant there was to say that she had seen the LORD, which is not actually what she said and not necessarily the meaning, either, that still was HER saying what was said and not the prophetic narrator. To cross-reference with another example, it would be like quoting G-d or a prophetic narrator as having said something that one of Job’s three friends said. Their quotes appear in Scripture, do they not? Indeed they do. Yet what they said is THEIR quotes, and not quotes from G-d. If we were to have any doubt about that at all, we need only look at the latter chapter where G-d commanded them to bring animal sacrifices for Job to offer on their behalf, with G-d saying that they had not spoken the truth about Him and that He was incensed at them because of it.
It is very important, in analyzing Scripture, to review WHO is doing the speaking. When it is the LORD or the prophetic narrator, that is a very different matter than when G-d makes it VERY CLEAR that He is NOT the one doing the talking and that a mere human’s opinions or thoughts are being recorded. Especially when He clarifies WHO that human was (as in the case of Hagar, Job’s three friends, Aaron’s quote when he said the people gave him gold and that he merely hurled it into the fire and “out came this calf” and so forth), we are not to interpret those humans’ quotes as having been directed by G-d. In the case of Aaron, as with Hagar, we know from the previous part of the chapter that what he said at that time was not in fact what happened. Earlier in Exodus 32, we see that in fact Aaron cast the gold into a mold; he did not merely hurl them into the fire and find a calf come leap forth at all.
Job’s three friends, Hagar, Aaron, etc are only a few of many such instances in Scripture when humans are recorded as having said things that did not at all equate to a message from G-d. If G-d clarified at any other part of Scripture exactly what His thoughts were about that issue, then we know that any contradictory thoughts they had were merely their own human thoughts.
Do you have blood on your doorpost?
You continue to skirt the issue and justify your lies, twisting of Scripture, and attempts to explain away what G-d clearly said. G-d told the stories as He wanted them told; He does not need or want you to add to His Word – and certainly doesn’t want you to change them.
As I said before, I pray He will have mercy on your soul and that one day your eyes may be opened to truthfully read and understand His Word in the way that He gave it, and not the way you rewrite it.
Larry and Rabbi,
When I refer to reading G-d’s Words for what they actually say, I refer to not adding to or reasoning away what G-d’s Word actually says. It is not just Genesis 18 that one must read carefully and accept what the LORD (and not the rabbi) says there. It is also the many, many other passages I have mentioned that the rabbi has, in the past, attempted to explain away and distort through human reasoning – even ignoring G-d’s clear Word.
In addition, I did not point to Genesis 18 to justify “devotion to one appearing as a man” but rather to show one of the many instances in which you, Rabbi, have twisted Scripture to make it fit your preconceived beliefs. In other words, Genesis 18 does not say an angel of the LORD appeared, as do the other passages of Scripture you lumped it together with.
Note that it was not even the primary issue I pointed out your error in. You have also attempted to take instance after instance in which G-d clearly revealed His requirement of a blood atonement and tried to explain them away as well. Yet G-d’s Word stands and will continue to prevail long after you have passed on.
And at Passover, I assure you, I do indeed celebrate the blood of the lamb, as Exodus 12 says to do.
Rabbi why do you always write things about “Christians have mans’ words”…. We have God’s words…. yet for some reason you always tell us to go to them?
Rabbi… I do. You may have a wooden carving made by man’s hands right ? to remind you of what?
Larry, I am not able to respond to your post below, so I will do so here:
Deciding what G-d’s Word says is quite simple: Read what it actually says. Don’t add “angel of…” where G-d did NOT add that. Other passages include that phrase in the Hebrew (and I advise you to look at what the Hebrew says, not the Catholic Bible or some other English translation), while Genesis 18 does not.
The same with the other many passages of Scripture I mentioned. None of them are to be distorted, added to, subtracted from, changed, or explained away. G-d meant what He said, and He said what He meant. Period.
I noticed that you did not call me evil and arrogant. Even though I totally disagreed with you on genesis 18. Why is that? Your much more charitable to me than the rabbi here.
Larry are you a convert?
Whats a convert?
Because I do not really care if someone disagrees with me on Genesis 18. That issue in itself, contrary to what it seems from his comments that the rabbi believes about me, is not my concern.
What is my concern is the pervasive (in post after post) attempt to redefine “what God REALLY meant” (i.e., something OTHER than what He actually said), even redefining the terms G-d Himself used – terms the rabbi would consider clear enough if the passage said what he wanted it to say. It’s not just Genesis 18; it’s all of the other issues in past posts. I view such attempts to “explain away” what Scripture says as a distortion of Scripture and as brainwashing, through human reasoning, those who hang on the rabbi’s every word instead of holding on to the Word of G-d.Those are teachers of the Word must be be more responsible than anyone else to teach what it actually SAYS, not what they rewrite it to say.
Furthermore, those who teach with a slant to “explain away” Scripture obviously do not have the intention of drawing people to G-d Himself, in the way that HE defined Himself and in the stories HE said were to be taught “for all time” the way HE recorded them. Rather, such teachers have some other agenda – to turn people away from something…whatever it is they dislike themselves. G-d does not need any help rewriting His Word. He told things the way HE wanted them told – and I might add that I do not see this as a problem of only Jewish leaders. I’ve encounted the same thing among some Christian leaders (of redefining Scripture, glossing over or altering what HE ACTUALLY SAID) and I am equally appalled in both cases.
Finally, you have already made it clear that you really do not know that much about the Bible and the exact terms G-d used (in your mention of looking up what the Catholic Bible says). Conversely, the rabbi is surely (hopefully) fully aware that he has ADDED “angel of…” to the Hebrew where YHWH Himself put only “the LORD”; that he (the rabbi) has also added additional qualifiers for “something else” to take the place of the lamb’s blood at Passover (which G-d NEVER condoned); that he has deflected people’s attention from G-d’s etablishment of the blood sacrifice from the very beginning, with Cain and Abel; that he has taken as his primary message an attempt to show the fallacies of Christian teaching (and I assure you, I agree some Christians have presumptuously done the same things the rabbi has done), and so forth. REGARDLESS of what other people may inaccurately teach. when a teacher’s main focus becomes to teach “against” someone rather than to simply teach the Word of G-d in its clear and straightforward meaning (even adding qualifiers that G-d did not add), the focus is all wrong. Were I to put out blogs sharing Sciptures and then redefining them, saying, “G-d really didn’t mean what He said here…,” I hope someone will come on and reply to MY post, too, that I must be careful to teach what YHWH said, not my own additions.
As for me being much more charitable to you than to the rabbi – I doubt I would dislike the rabbi in person. It is his persistent error in attempting to add qualifiers to and redefine Scripture (again, not just in this post but in many, many previous posts I’ve seen) that I’m responding to. Those who mislead others are accountable for their own errors and for their part in leading others away from the concept of simply studying G-d’s Word for what it says in its plain and clear meaning.
Freedom—you know the old saying -judge not, lest ye be judged-. I admit that I really like the rabbi here, and that I really dislike you and your side kick Lori. If I was a person just starting to get interested in learning about G-d and I heard you and her in a room talking about G-d, I would run as fast as I could away from you. I would not be running from the truth, I would be running from the way you present it. In my experience, christians have a real problem with that. The reason I made the charitable comment is because I know two people can read something and walk away with two completely different interpretations. Scientist, lawyers, doctors, religious people do it all the time. Leave the name calling on the playground. He is teaching what he believes, you are teaching what you believe. I choose to listen to him over you because he shows me things I never saw. You show the same negative rehtoric I listened to most of my life.
Lori is not my sidekick; I represent only myself. As for you feeling that I have a negative approach, that is likely because of the subject matter – one in which there has been distortion of Scripture and rewriting of G-d’s Word. And I am sorry, but Moshe did not repond postively to Aaron’s lies or to the people who turned away from the LORD. And the many prophets were often rejected, too – precisely because the kings or the people did not want to hear something negative. Remember Ahab didn’t want to call in the one and only prophet of the LORD (2 Chronicles 18:7) but rather preferred to listen to all of the false prophets who told him positive things – told him what he wanted to hear, in other words, even if it was a lie.
I wonder whether you would have run away from Moshe. Have you noticed that none of the 10 Commandments are particularly positive in tone? The sacrifices that G-d ordained from the beginning involved death. In Deuteronomy 28 and 29, when G-d listed the blessings and curses that would come about for Israel, depending on whether the people followed Him or turned away from him, have you noticed how many curses there are in comparison to the blessings? Only the first 14 verses of chapter 28 deal with blessings. The 55 remaining verses of that chapter (and much of the next) deal with curses. I wonder if you might view that as “negative” and something to run from as well.
In the end, what matters is not so much what we like to hear; what matters is the truth. G-d does not tell us negative things for no reason; he tells us so that we will humbly realize how blessed we have been that He has taken note of us, that He has loved us. He tells us so that we can truly see for the first time as we realize all that we have is because of HIS goodness and overwhelming love. And it is only after we have been willing to see our own corrupt and erroneous hearts that we will open them to know His Truths.
As for “presentation”; I agree, there are certainly some Christians who have been offensive and arrogant in presentation. Might I add that there have been some Jews who have talked of treating Christians as “Baal-worshippers” to be killed and have called them names, lied about them, and treated them horribly as well. Is that a reason to accept or reject what the Word of G-d actually says?
I recommend that you turn to the Word of G-d and not to man for the truth; in the end, it is what HE says, even if you don’t find it agreeable, that really matters.
Thank you for your comment regarding presentation, however. I will certainly think about it. I do not disagree with you that two people can read the same thing and understand it differently – but as I said before, it is not primarily Genesis 18 that I have an issue with; it is the persistent reinterpretation of G-d’s Word, essentially rewriting it to say that G-d didn’t really mean what He said, in many, many posts I’ve read. G-d did indeed mean what He said. He did not say other things serve as substitutes for the blood of the lamb at Passover. He did establish the blood atonement (from the very first sacrifice), and he demanded it again many, many times (Lev. 16, Job 42, just to name two). And there have been many, many other issues (posts) in which what G-d’s Word actually says seems to have somehow become irrelvant and replaced with the rabbi’s own thoughts.
I’m sure that sounds rude, but I don’t know any other way to truthfully put it. G-d told the stories He wanted told the way He wanted them told. And we need to get back to the truth of the Word of G-d, not man’s rewriting of it (whether Christian, Jew, or otherwise). This does not relate to “what I believe” versus “what the rabbi believes”; it relates to what the Bible actually says. On one issue, there may be times a person sees a passage differently than another person, but there should not be a pattern of explaining away clear and solid passages in which G-d said what He wanted done and how He wanted it done.
That said, I am not trying to be self-righteous here, and I admit I am still growing myself in learning how to approach some of these issues. On the one hand, it IS important to expose distortions of Scripture and call them what they are. Moshe did that quite a number of times; his rebukes were at times quite fierce, in fact. The same goes for a number of the LORD’s prophets who prophesied “negative things” the king and the people didn’t want to hear (and thus imprisoned them). Some of the things Elijah said come across even to me as offensive and rude.
On the other hand, it is also important to let G-d do His Work in His time, perhaps even drawing back to Himself those who lead others away from His Word. He certainly wants to do that; He loves everyone – I truly believe that. Where there is life, there is a person G-d seeks to draw to Himself. So there is a fine line in seeking to both rebuke those who may be influencing others to reject truths that G-d clearly presented in His Word yet also hoping for them that they, too, will come to repentance and humility before a Holy G-d who already gave His Word as He wanted it read.
I will certainly think and pray about your suggestion, seeking G-d’s wisdom in the future.
Rabbi I am most certain you know me by now…. and with that said, I go forth with the challenge. I will respond to you. I read first four paragraphs and was convinced I drew conclusion about the third but went on to the fourth to make sure. I am no average stereo type so feel free to not take it easy on me and please do not hold back according to gender. I personally found the elephant in the room long time ago when God told me about the calf in the room. I soon realized who is the one who robbed God’s Torah. And surely you know this story is not…. Christian. So please you give me the conversation by all means. If there is anyone guilty…. we know who is the bottom and responsible for the worlds mess. After all the light…. any light…. in a dark room in that place where it at when it is turned on…. darkness ceases to exist. I read Tanakh.
Lori—“If there is anyone guilty…. we know who is the bottom and responsible for the worlds mess.”
Who is responsible for the worlds mess?
Larry I have read your comment above.. And surely they didn’t like it when Jesus came to the temple and threw down the tables of money exchange for profit of peoples sanctification. I don’t talk to you with lovey dovey counsel I talk to you with open rebuke is better than hidden love. I think you have hurts you run from. And that is why you run here. If you like the Rabbi here that is great and fine… but you don’t see him here answer you you see me an another posting you proofs in scripture while you have a Rabbi posting you things he wrote. I am not warranted anything for bringing you truth. But Rabbi is neglecting to bring it here. I posted the comment above because if you read the bible you would see the chosen had laws to keep and those laws included teaching truth to others. Through out the test of time Israel did not bring those truths and today modern judaism follows the footsteps of mistakes they already made. No where in the Bible does it say wear a dead ox on your head but they do… no where does it say make a scroll out of calf and gold and raise it kiss it reverence it and write God’s name on it and call it the manifestation of God but they do. No you can get the truth or you can get a lie.. this is your own choice. But the choice God is wanted is truth. I and Freedom has posted you. You can run but you can’t hide from truth. I am not side kick to no one but the Jew who wears the skirt….. with the true dye His name is Jesus Christ Son of God and His righteousness the man better than all the gold of Ophir with His name in Him. I have graven you upon the palms of My hands and your walls are continually before Me. You have kept your walls up. And any negative you feel about Christianity you blame on individuals who follow verses the One leading. Because you can look at me and say I will run from that… but at least you are moving…when you run you will run right back into Him. I am glad you admitted you look to people as your opinion of what God is …. now you have found your problem.
Lori–Your rant did not answer the question.
First we had
“we know who is the bottom and responsible for the worlds mess”
Now we have.
But instead became much of the worlds darkness/mess.
So, You mean the Jew is responsible for the worlds mess and not only that they “are”
much of the worlds darkness/mess.
If I have read you correctly about who is responsible, please continue and tell me how they are responsible. Are they also responsible for you believing in a false messiah?
Lori–I did not know you we’re quoting Ken J. You still have not explained how the Jewish people are responsible for the worlds mess / nor how they have become much of the worlds mess. I’m not sure what your saying here. You also say ” we know who is the bottom” now who is we? And what is the bottom?
Best part about a Bush and a Cloud is…. they are descriptive and have form and visual. If you seen something and stated what it looks like… then you have gave it form. The whole fact being a witness on the mountain we saw nothing… thus you cannot describe God. Because facts are we weren’t on the mountain we were forbidden to touch ever the base of it. We saw nothing means we are not witness. In Jewish law if two people says yes I saw and it was a cloud by day a pillar of smoke at night we have description and form. Let us not make fools out of those who put with best efforts to paper to describe the sight they witnessed.
If you read Tanach – give me one explicit verse that says that there is no forgiveness for sin without faith in an individual
Then who needs a slip of paper that says your Jew.
[give me one explicit verse that says that there is not forgiveness for sin without faith in an individual.] Because it takes a individual to first sin. And it takes repentance the individual sinner through faith in a One God to forgive.. you rely on the Saviors grace you cannot say whether God will forgive. Since God is also a Just God. In a court of law can you ask the judge to forgive and walk away without repercussion of your sin? Since you are governed by law? Can the writer of individual justice also excuse individual injustice? Able died and was bound to the curse of the ground for his brothers sins. Both brothers were bound to the ground to become back dust because of the parents sins. So the curse of the choice to sin warrants destruction from a just God who says don’t eat from a tree or you will die. Yet the Saviour, who saves from individual sin. As per your direction in this note is quite bias. I know exactly what answer you want and have heard this all before.. and because I have studied lots of Talmud (yes, man’s writings) I will answer you this. We must first ask ourselves… Can a man atone for the blood of another? Genesis 9:5-6 and thus the covenant was made vs 11. Lastly… I will leave you with this…..God gave Seth instead no Able back. So an injustice lay bound to a curse. That curse God lifted with promise to raise the dead. Now if you cant see Ezekiel’s answer was not no God I don’t BELIEVE OR HAVE FAITH AN INDIVIDUAL can do this, he answered more like this…. God only you know. Chapter 37 vs 4 God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones to hear the word of the Lord. vs5-6 he tells the bones what the Lord says. vs 7 he prophesied what was commanded and the bones came together vs 8 after God raised the Whole house of Israel with sinews and flesh upon them they still had not breath. vs 9 Then God tells a man to prophesy to the wind and he tells the wind what the Lord God said. vs 10So as He commanded me and the breath came into them AND THEY LIVED. Vs 11 who is the bones? the whole house of Israel. 12 Behold my people I WILL OPEN YOUR GRAVES and cause you to come up out of your graves. Read through to the verse about one stick, and about ONE INDIVIDUAL KING then comes another covenant. Now you tell me…. do you blaspheme God by blaspheme the king? When Jesus fully filled the promise with his individual life for all mankinds sin and the graves opened and those came out and lived. The “single individual branch in the hand of God as in Ezekiel 37 and Jeremiah 33. I want to know what king have you? Jeremiah 33:14-26. Why shout Moshiach now if all Jews are “One” and why talk bad about Jesus? Either is clearly faith in individual as one. The fact is this….. Zechariah 8:23 is your scripture you have. In this scripture is by the skirt of “A” “Jew” all other nations will come (clearly not all wearing skirts of their own… and Jew”s”). Now are they all apostates? They “hear” God is with and go with, or do they have to have a skirt first? that skirt is the real dye and commands of all commands not snail and cuddle fish. Clearly takes individual faith and a individual guide to salvation. When you lead yourself. As for forgiveness… its clear tradition doesn’t get you there.
Now with all that said… and your admitting the word “exactly”, here is your verse… [Take this BOOK OF THE LAW, and put it in the SIDE of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, THAT IT MAY BE THERE “FOR A WITNESS AGAINST THEE”.] Two questions….. five books of who? (individual) What are they avenue to? (atonement/forgiveness- for sin)? The whole book is your scripture of faith of a individual to forgiveness for sin. A manuel…. and Im Manuel.
[When we examine the matter just a bit beyond the superficial, it becomes clear that it is Protestant Christianity who relies on the words of men, while Judaism leans on the words of God.] Genesis 3:22 and the Lord said, behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now lest he put forth HIS HAND, and TAKE also of the tree of life. and eat and live forever. Rabbi You show me your words of God. Because last I knew you don’t have the tablets written at the hand of God. You have copies through centuries of mans hands copied. A scroll written at the hand of Mosh. The staff thrown down and became a snake at the hand of Moshe.The rock bringing forth water at the hand of Moshe. Ezekiel 37 the two sticks are one in the hand of God. That pillar you keep talking about is two covenants and if you don’t take part in both you have not day or a man on the throne. Jeremiah 33. There is not a evening or morning declaring it seventh day but we all know the one through six does and what do you do on the sixth day? do the work for the seventh. Look real hard who is on the sixth day…. beast and man. Both. And what does man make to worship a beast of the field a calf covered in gold. And what do you have for tefillen? and Torah? Exactly. You do not have stone written on by the hand of God. And you wanted one verse about blood sacrifice? You show me one verse that says you can have a calf in the shul decorated in gold. And I will show you one that says its a no no. And it took a blood sacrifice to get that Torah.
[Did you ever notice that NOT ONE of the core doctrines of Protestant Christianity are directly spelled put in the Jewish Scripture? The Protestant cannot point to one verse that says: “put your faith in the Messiah in order to receive eternal salvation”. There is not one passage in Scripture that says that belief in the Messiah effects atonement, and there is not one passage in Scripture that encourages us to direct our devotion to a human incarnation of God.] You have to put your faith in a priest to atone. Which is better position one who anoints or one who anointed. Isaiah 45:11 and His maker… command ye Me? and 45:21-25 a Just God and a “Savior”. You can’t have one without the other.
[EVERY ONE of the core doctrines of Judaism are EXPLICITLY and DIRECTLY spelled out in Scripture. God introduced Himself to our fathers and said: “I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt, you should have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2,3). God explicitly said that repentance is all that is necessary to wipe the slate of guilt clean (Ezekiel 33:16). And the Scriptures explicitly declare that the path to the restoration of Israel is through observance of the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 30:2).] You know what is funny… you know your religion says its a scroll and it rolls out.. right why chop all the middle out? lol you wrote Ex. and jump to the only place in time a brutal sick destruction took place where God left the temple. And because no one was with a contrite heart. The ink horn went out and marked all who were crying for the abominations in the TEMPLE the what? The TEMPLE! and what was that mark? TAV a cross. Then God hasn’t had you a man on the seat for all this time? Jeremiah 33. The fact is the proof is in the pudding if Judaism is right where is the ark? The temple? The REAL dye? The crimson cloth? The sacrifices? The whole system? To do your 613 bound to your arm, hand, and head? You look to the other pillar’s things it offers but you claim the other pillar. You can’t do one without the other.
[Furthermore, the entire faith of Christianity stands on the reasoning of biased men. No one ever SAW Jesus die for anyone’s sins, and no one ever SAW that Jesus is the second person in a triune godhead. What happened was that a group of people, who were already completely devoted to Jesus, came up with these theories (Jesus’ atoning death, and his alleged divine nature) as an INTERPRETATION of various phenomena they saw or heard. But it was a TWO-STEP PROCESS. They first saw and heard the phenomena (Jesus’ life, death and alleged resurrection), they then processed these events in their human minds, and only then did they came up with these theological theories as an EXPLANATION to the events that they believed had happened. The fact is that the Christian’s faith must lean on these explanations concocted by finite human beings.] So much for not seeing anything on the mountain. The whole fact your TNK is written by man’s hands and witnessed by Moshe a man crushes your whole premise. Why then do you look for a Messiah that won’t die according to the sages? Where is the bones of Moshe to say he even ever existed? You put on tfillen a ox a beast of the field made on the same day as man. On your head and hand. Which is not a ink horn tav. That ox has to die first before its skinned. Its life blood (Genesis 9:5-6) we are held accountable. And its not the inheritance of a Priest because there hasn’t been a temple for thousands of years. No ark not system. No priest hood. You sacrifice lives of animals to be your tradition why? Because man says to. You have a copy of a scroll in the temple that survives because man makes it. When God said not to worship the things that is made by man’s hands. This too is a dead carcase that MAN writes GOD’S name to forging His signature. You have crushed your own religion/Judaism by these three points of subjects.
Let us not forget it took a man to form religions and it takes a man to do it. It took prophets/men to bring it to the men who can’t see or hear. Let us not forget we are all man.
I asked a simple question – just give chapter and verse
Lori and Freedom
The two of you might enjoy this
what is there to enjoy about this?
Now I ask you a question…. where does it say in the tanakh who pays for the worship of the golden calf?
And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Have you ever sinned? Please reread the verse.
Freedom…. lol, now you know why I said I was working toward something….
On the contrary… Rabbi majority of Jews today were never even by birthright a Jew. You have replaced the apostates with non Jews. Majority are converts. And with no temple to bring sacrifice or offering for circumcision…. well? Are they really truly Jew? They are the strangers in the gate now over the Jew as written. Majority of Jews today are deemed Jewish by a few acts of compliance to mankind’s outline of…. you too can be a Jew/God’s elect and chosen by inheritance. This is preposterous. Was Moshe a Jew? Noah a Jew? Come on already. There is not Greek or Jew in Jesus Christ all mankind is one. And as per your article… Jesus didn’t convert the law man. He took away the tools to do law.
If there is no Jew today then how will Zechariah 8:23 be fulfilled? Note – the verse finishes with the plural “imachem” -so don’t give me any song and dance that this is talking about one specific Jew
If I may interrupte this conversation – and I speak only for myself here – I do not personally (and never have) seen Zechariah 8:23 as referring to only one Jew. What I do see is that, at that time, the Jews will have turned back to G-d. Importantly, earlier in the same chapter, G-d reiterates over and over that TRUTH must first be present, that they are to speak TRUTH to one another, that they MUST LOVE HONESTY AND INTEGRITY.
And these issues, friend, are precisely what are lacking. We have entirely too many leaders presenting their own words, and not G-d’s Words, as truth. We have leaders contradicting the importance of the very precepts G-d established and said were to be “for all time” – the blood sacrifices. We have leaders attempting to redefine clear Scriptures, claiming they do not really mean what they say. And we have leaders attempting to TURN PEOPLE AWAY from the clear and solid Word of G-d rather than draw them to read Scriptures for exactly what they say.
We have all of these lies. How can we expect that in our days anyone will cling to a Jew and ask to come along with him?
P.S. It is also important to note that G-d prophesied, over and over in Scripture, the state Israel would be in if the people turned away from Him. In Deuteronomy 28-29, the cursed state described, not the blessed state, is obviously the one more in line with Israel’s current condition. And in 2 Chronicles chapter 7, He said people will be appalled at the destruction of the land and of the LORD’s house, and the reason for all of the destruction, even becoming a byword among all people, is that they forsook the LORD G-d of their fathers.
And in looking at these truths, I pray we may return to Truth and read and believe in Scripture for what it really says, not what man may rewrite it to say.
What is a Jew? if a ger can’t give proper sacrifice of circumcision? Was the nations…. apostates in this? let us remind all Jews are One that makes you One with Jesus Christ granted you gave sacrifice and offering for circumcision…. since for 2000 years…. there hasn’t been a temple. Just think of how many died in those 2000 years. There was A Jew. Let us not forget the two sticks that became ONE in the hand of God. Isaiah 11 there is two children…. but only One leads….
Verse 13 in chapter 16 of Genesis says that she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her…
That is the prophetic narrator telling us what Hagar did – not what she thought she did
In any case your entire premise of expecting all the informationto be in the Bible is unbiblical
The verse does not say what you think it says, and the prophetic narrator does NOT say she saw the LORD. Her words refer to The One Who Sees, in reference to HIM seeing HER; they are NOT in reference to HER seeing HIM. The prophecy is a name for G-d and not a name for her, in other words.
And I wish you would stop responding to me with your own posts; it comes across as though you view your own writings as somehow equal to G-d’s Word, which they are not at all.
Finally, I do not expect “all information” to be in the Bible. If you reread my post, what I said is that many times – even with godly men such as Aaron, the priest, their words are NOT a message from G-d and in fact were inaccurate. Aaron saying a calf simply “came out” of the fire when he threw the gold into the fire, for example, is completely inconsistent with what see when we read the occurrence that the PROPHETIC NARRATOR, and not Aaron, said. Earlier in that same chapter, Exodus 32, we clearly see that in fact Aaron cast it into a mold! And to add insult to injury, he then built an altar before it, saying, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the LORD!”
Clearly, when Scripture later records him saying to Moses that a calf simply came out of the fire, he was either lying or remembering incorrectly at the moment.
The same occurred with Job’s three friends; their quotes are recorded, and if one read only that, one might assume they were the voice of G-d Himself. In the last chapter of Job, however, we read that G-d was angry with them and told them to bring animal sacrifices that Job would offer on their behalf. G-d said they had not spoken the truth about Him.
Thus, what I am saying, and what I said above, is not that EVERYTHING appears in Scripture. To quote me as having said that is to twist my words. What I in fact said is that WHERE G-D MAKES HIS THOUGHTS KNOWN ELSEWHERE IN SCRIPTURE, we know that any human quotes in reference to the same incident are merely their own human thoughts and not a message from G-d.
And with regard to Hagar, the entire acount makes it clear that the one WHOM SHE SAW was an angel and not the LORD Himself. Her own quote does not say she saw Him either; it says He saw her. Note that the name is not a new name for HAGAR but rather a name for G-D. Thus, the reference to seeing is clearly a reference to HIS having seen her, and the entire context was one of her gratitude at His having taken note of her.
You might be enlightened by this one
What did I say that makes you think that I equate my word with God’s word? I respond with my posts to YOUR words explaining how they are contrary to God’s word.
The purpose of this blog is to help people read the Jewish Scriptures as God intended that they be read – without Christian glasses – I suggest that you take the time to read everything that I wrote here before commenting. if you expect me to read your words – then read mine.
By the way – you completely misunderstood what I was saying about Hagar – I was saying that the prophetic narrator identifies the entity that she was naming as Lord
I wonder why you did not respond to my questions about Matthew and Paul?
I am referring to your continual referral to your own PAST posts (your own links) in your responses. I have already read your posts, and when you continually respond in new posts by saying things like, “You might be enlighted by______ [your own words]” it comes across as rather arrogant. I’m not looking to your words (or links to your past posts) to determine truth or to become enlightened; I’m looking to G-d’s Words. Why would you continually hold your own past posts as the measure by which we ought to determine the facts of the Bible?
The purpose of this blog, or any blog that claims to follow G-d, SHOULD be to read the Scriptures as they ARE; that is how G-d intends that they be read. When you feel a need to continually reinterpret them to be sure they fit your own glasses, it should be a good sign that something is wrong.
And I disagree with you with regard to Hagar. As I’ve stated before, that really isn’t my main concern in what I’ve seen on this blog (rather, it’s the consistent redefining Scripture as YOU decide G-d wants them understood instead of as HE presented them). However, in G-d having sent His angel, Hagar was realizing that G-d had indeed seen her and noted her need. Thus, she mentioned that name of His as One who saw her, and she was humbly grateful. This was not about her seeing the LORD or the LORD having appeared to her. It was about G-d having taken note of her. At no time throughout the entire account did the prophetic narrator say that the one she saw was the LORD.
As to your questions about Matthew and Paul, I do not really see how they relate to any of this. I feel they are merely a distraction. What I have to say to you (and I would love to meet you in person and speak with you; I think I would enjoy that) relates to the way YOU have distracted from issues G-d gave great importance to throughout Scriptures, in many of your posts. Perhaps you justify it in believing that is how “G-d really intendes they be understood” but the problem is that G-d never asked any of us to rewrite His Word or determine that He REALLY meant something other than what He said. G-d gave His Word exactly as He wants it to be read, and we are not to change, add to, or subtract from it.
It seems like that we are on the same page on one issue – we both accept that the plain reading of Scripture is authoritative and we both believe that we are following it. The primary difference between us is that I believe that if someone sees Scripture differently than I do – then a respectful conversation can help whichever one of us is seeing through the lens of bias while you seem to be under the impression that if anyone reads Scripture different than you then they must be evil and arrogant
I allow for comments on this blog so that people can point to me where they think I erred and I am willing to have a civil respectful converstaion with them to try to get to the bottom of things
Now – as it relates to Hagar – the prophetic Narrator gives us the identity of the one who spoke with her as Lord (in verse 16) while earlier in the chapter it tells us three times that an angel spoke to her and never says that the Lord spoke to her – that was my point which you didn’t seem to get
Would you agree that in order to properly evaluate the claims of Jesus what we need to do is to read the Jewish Scriptures and the Jewish Scriptures alone – imbibe their spirit and build a world view on the basis of the Jewish Scripture ALONE and then and only then evaluate the claims of Christianity in light of the worldview presented by the Jewish Scriptures?
I do not think we are on the same page at all, with regard to Scripture reading. To avoid unnecessarily repeating myself, I refer to many previous posts that I’ve read of yours in which you “explain away” the clear, plain, and simple reading of what G-d says in His Word. I do not judge those as evil and arrogant who merely see a passage differently than I see it; I do, however, consider it a very serious matter when the issue has progressed to a case of repeatedly denying that Scriptures mean what they actually say, or one of adding one’s own thoughts to Scripture presentation. Proverbs 30:5-6 warns against adding to G-d’s Word. The reason I take this so seriously, too, is that G-d expressed judgment for prophets and leaders who lead the people astray. Just one such passage is Micah 3: 5-8, in which the one telling the truth was the one who confronted Israel with the sin and rebellion present.
I did get your point about Hagar. Again, I disagree with you. Verse 16 of chapter 16 does not say that the one she saw was the LORD, nor can it be equated to Genesis chapter 18, in which throughout the entire account, the prophetic narrator is clear that the LORD appeared to Abraham, speaking to both him and Sarah. Multiple times in Scripture, we see the LORD saying “the LORD spoke” through various entities (2 Kings 21:9-11; Jeremiah 50:1, Genesis 16:7-13, and many others). In each case, the prophetic narrator clarifies who the entity was through whom the LORD spoke. Yet in none of these instances was the entity himself referred to as the LORD. In Genesis 18, G-d specifically refers to Himself appearing and speaking, with three men originally appearing to Abraham and only two continuing to Sodom and Gomorrah. That same passage clarifies that the LORD stayed behind and the other two went on. To call an angel the LORD would be heresy (likewise, to call the LORD an angel is heresy). Where G-d refers to Himself by the same term He used in Genesis 2:4, we read the passage the same; we do not change G-d Word or add other phrases to make it fit our preconceived belief that G-d could not mean what He said there.
As for your question regarding whether “what we need to do is to read the Jewish Scriptures and the Jewish Scriptures alone – imbibe their spirit and build a worldview on the basis of the Jewish Scripture ALONE, and then and only then evaluate the claims of Christianity in light of the worldview presented by the Jewish Scriptures?” let me respond to you with a question:
Can we read the Jewish Scriptures with a preconceived opinion that Scripture CANNOT mean what G-d Himself said (i.e., in reference to those who had the Law still requiring blood atonement for their sin every year “for all time” (Lev. 16), in reference to Genesis 18, in reference to G-d’s requirements for the Passover, in reference to the blood sacrifices G-d established from the very beginning with Cain and Abel before the Temple even existed, with regard to G-d’s clear pronunciation of what the “cursed” state of Israel would be versus the blessed state as an indication of where the nation was at with regard to her condition before a Holy G-d (Deuteronomy 28-29, 2 Chronicles 7, and many others) and so forth) – and expect to properly understand Scriptures?
P.S. I apologize that my question became long; in the final section, I was referring to the pretense that Israel is following G-d despite the fact that G-d clearly outlines in Scripture, multiple times, clear indicators for determining whether Israel WAS following G-d (and therefore blessed – the head and not the tail, a lender but never a borrower, always above and never beneath, a testimony to “all the peoples of the earth” of the name of the LORD, etc. The indicators of when Israel is NOT following G-d were also clearly laid out, in the remaining 55 verses of the same chapter (Deuteronomy 28), some of which were that “the LORD will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you” and that Israel would be plucked out the land and scattered among all peoples (verses 63-66). Honestly reviewing this chapter (and 2 Chronicles 7:19-22), one cannot say that G-d has not already clearly laid out indicators for whether Israel IS following truth or IS NOT. That is why I asked, Can one can honestly expect to properly understand Jewish Scripture if one does not accept what God said?
To use such a comment like Christian glasses is quite offensive since no one here has told you to take of your modern Judaism sages glasses… since clearly you don’t see true Jewry. The scriptures are not yours to MANipulate . God intended for the light on the hill to shed light to the world not to hoard and misinterpret scriptures. The fact your tone saying in such a way as if God intended modern Jews as yourself to govern the scriptures in such a way to tell others that your blog is to teach them God’s word without Christian glasses is preposterous. First off where does this say this in scripture? no where! No where does it say to blog in such a way you have to have a skirt to get it! Nor do you have to be a Jew to read it. Nor go to the sages to interpret it. Rabbi I often wonder why your in this religion….
You accuse me of reading Scripture with preconceived notions. I must tell you that I am proud to say that I am guilty of that accusation. I approach Scripture with the pre-Scriptural teachings that God presented to our people before He gave them the first page of Scripture and I read Scripture in light of those teachings.
However – on this blog I am addressing people who do not necessarily have access to these pre-Scriptural teachings and to the social context into which God planted His word (Psalm 78:5). I encourage these people to attempt to the best of their ability to read the Jewish Scriptures without any preconceived notions. I attempt with my writing to help people along with this process.
You seem to be convinced that I am doing the exact opposite of what I set myself out to accomplish. Are you willing to entertain the possibility that you are doing the precise opposite of what you set out to accomplish? Are you perhaps guilty of the very accusation that you throw against me?
I believe that you are.
In fact your latest comment made it pretty clear that you don’t seem to understand the words “without preconceived notions”. You respond to my legitimate question about reading Scripture without preconceived notions with a slew of your own preconceived notions that you assume to be correct Scriptural interpretation. I will inform you that “without preconceived notions” means that you put all of your acquired knowledge aside before you start reading God’s word.
Still – I am willing to discuss the matter with you verse by verse passage by passage – are you willing to discuss this with me? Or is your intent just to preach and not join in a two way conversation?
If you want to have a two way conversation – then I humbly request that you set out the beliefs that you advocate – a statement of faith if you will. If you have a website of your own or a blog where you have already described your beliefs then we can start there. I will want to know where you stand on the issue of the alleged deity of Jesus, on the role of the Messiah, on God’s forgiveness from sin and on observance of the Law of Moses for the Jewish people in the present age.
However – if you are not interested in a two way conversation and you believe that you alone have the right to preach – then take your rant elsewhere.
I ask you the same question I asked Freedom – are you willing to have a two way conversation? If yes – give me a statement of faith and I’ll take it from there – otherwise – take your rant elsewhere
I do indeed constantly consider the very question you put forth – whether I am correctly interpreting Scripture. I am every day on my knees before a Holy G-d realizing that I am but human and could easily miss something G-d clearly conveys in Scripture, and I daily seek to understand Him and His Truth better.
However, but there are no “pre-Scriptural teachings” that G-d in any way ever indicated we should esteem above Scripture, or interpret Scripture through such glasses. G-d gave His written Word exactly the way He wants us to read it, and as I mentioned in my previous post, He specifically warns against adding to His Word.
I approach Deuteronomy 28 and 29 with no preconceived notions whatsoever but rather with an honest reading of the Word as G-d Himself gave it. And as I asked you in my last post – are you willing to believe that G-d actually meant what He said in those chapters? Because if you do cannot accept the authority of G-d Himself, or if you believe that He somehow had a slip of the tongue when He said precisely what I quoted from Scripture in my last post, then you cannot claim that the premise for your teachings is truly G-d’s Word.
As I mentioned in my previous post, G-d clearly outlines in Scripture, multiple times, clear indicators for determining whether Israel WAS following G-d, as in the first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 28, and therefore blessed – the head and not the tail, a lender but never a borrower, always above and never beneath, a testimony to “all the peoples of the earth” of the name of the LORD, etc.
The indicators of when Israel is NOT following G-d were also clearly laid out, in the remaining 55 verses of the same chapter (Deuteronomy 28), some of which were that “the LORD will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you” and that Israel would be plucked out the land and scattered among all peoples (verses 63-66). Honestly reviewing this chapter (and 2 Chronicles 7:19-22), one would be directly contradicting G-d’s Word if one were to claim that G-d has not already clearly laid out indicators for whether Israel IS following truth or IS NOT. G-d did not err when He wrote Deuteronomy chapter 28.
That is why I asked, Can one can honestly expect to properly understand Jewish Scripture if one refuses to accept what God has already clearly said in Jewish Scriptures?
I am very happy to have a two-way conversation. There are no specific faith issues I am advocating other than the clear, unchanged, unadulterated Word of G-d. I do, however, believe in looking at Scripture without glasses of “pre-Scriptural” teachings. G-d means what He said in Scripture, and He said what He means. That is my only premise for my beliefs.
My premise is also that God means what He says in Scripture and says what He means and that is also the only premise for my beliefs – However you come to certain conclusions that you believe are the obvious and plain meaning of Scripture while it seems that on certain issues I have come to the opposite conclusions based on what I believe is the plain and obvious meaning of Scripture – I am willing to hear you out and to discuss the issues with you – are you willing to do the same?
Before we start I would ask you – which books do you accept as canonical and why? What method did God put in place so that you came to the conclusion that these books are truly His word?
I have already asked you whether in fact you feel that we can conclude that G-d meant what He plainly said in Deuteronomy 28 regarding clear indicators of whether Israel was or was not following truth (G-d provided in that chapter clear statements of what Israel’s condition would be in both cases), and from my understanding of your reply, it seems you reject that G-d in fact meant what He said. You said that you read Scriptures in the light of “pre-Scriptural teachings,” or in other words, if I understand you correctly, you do not take Scripture at face value but rather look at it through preconceived concepts apart from Scripture itself. That is what I disagree with.
As for canonical books, let us approach this by reviewing solely the Tanakh.The Talmud and many other aspects of Jewish teaching are often debated, but I am interested particularly in the Tanakh because I feel that if we truly believe G-d meant exactly what He said in His Word and that He said what He meant, then anything we encounter there we should be able to discuss solely within that realm (without additions of anything else, including pre-Scriptural teachings). Is that acceptable to you?
If so, I would be interested in hearing your view of Deuteronomy 28 and 2 Chronicles 7:19-22. Thank you, and Shalom.
I acknowledge fully that the fact that we are in exile and without a Temple is a sure sign that we are under God’s wrath and that we are experiencing the curse of the covenant
This does not mean that we are not possessors of God’s truth – Psalm 78:5-8 clearly declares that even in our state of disobedience we are still the medium of communication to pass on God’s testimony to our children
You did not answer my question
How do you know that teh Tanach is God’s word? What method did God set in place that would help you arrive at such a conclusion?
Incidentally – Scripture clearly and explicitly talks of pre-Scriptural teachings
I do know the Tanakh is G-d’s Word, as He originally gave it and as we still have it recorded in Hebrew, and I believe G-d certainly did set methods in place that can help anyone who desires the truth to arrive at such a conclusion. He has used various means to show that He is the LORD G-d, such as the truth of the prophecies (throughout the entire Tanakh), signs (in Egypt, at the Exodus, also mentioned in Isaiah 66 and in many other places), victory in wars as the establishment of Israel’s G-d as the LORD (many books…and he also showed when Israel was not following the truth LORD G-d various times in allowing the opposite to occur, stating as much outright). And the list could go on. He gave proof of Himself and His truths in many, many ways.
However, my interest is not in discussing extra-Scriptural concepts but rather in discussing the truths G-d plainly outlined in His Written Word – which, clearly, He is the One who chose that these Words should be recorded in writing for all to see.
Please be aware that I understand G-d has certainly spoken outside of what He recorded in writing in Scripture, but we have to limit ourselves somewhere in terms of what we can both agree on, from the outset, as G-d’s clear Word. For example, obviously G-d must have provided instructions on sacrifice, or Abel would not have known what G-d wanted him to bring. Yet that was not recorded for us. Obviously, Job was aware of the afterlife because he refers in a somewhat vague sense to the “nether-world” and to destruction (Job 26:6), and Isaiah 66 refers also to G-d’s consuming fire, with the end of the chapter referring to the rebellious whose fire will not be quenched. These things were not clearly recorded in a way that we can state outright what all is entailed, however, which is why I do not attempt to do so. I am plenty willing to say that I believe G-d did clearly record the issues He wanted us to focus on, and I that I choose to focus on those things, realizing I am only human and do not know everything there is to know.
In reference to extra-Scriptural information, I do agree there was much of that even in the sense that preestablished guidelines and contexts were understood by the people of the day. I also believe that G-d sometimes showed His desires through His actions – when He punished, it was for a reason. He is not an unjust G-d. And where such things can be clearly seen in the context of written Scripture (taking into account what information the people of the day already clearly had, as seen in Scripture), I certainly accept and eagerly study that out.
I also agree with you that you certainly do have the truth, as seen in Psalms 78:5-8. However, if you read this passage thoroughly, it is not saying that Israel IS following the testimony outlined here but rather is commanding that Israel DO so, so that they will not be as their fathers, “a stubborn and rebellious generation; A generation that set not their heart aright, And whose spirit was not stedfast with G-d” (verse 8). Reading further, G-d provides account after account, in fact, in which Israel did NOT believe G-d, and He says that His anger went up against Israel “because they believed not in G-d, And trusted not in His salvation” (Psalms 78:21-22). Thus, the context of that entire chapter is clearly a warning – Israel does indeed have G-d’s Word, but as can be seen not only in this chapter but also in Isaiah 48 and in many, many other Scriptures, Israel has repeatedly failed to walk in the truth G-d provided. “Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, Who are called by the name of Israel…who make mention of the G-d of Israel, But not in truth, nor in righteousness. For they call themselves of the holy city…
I have announced unto thee new things from this time, Even hidden things, which thou hast not known. They are created now, and not from of old…
For I knew that thou wouldst deal very treacherously, And wast called a transgressor from the womb. For My name’s sake will I defer Mine anger…” (Isaiah 48).
In the sections I passed over, because they would simply be too long (and I know you are a good reader and well able to read the entire chapter for yourself), He also mentions that Israel is obstinate and with a neck like iron sinew and with a brow that is brass. My point in all of this is to point out that indeed you DO have the truth, and that is precisely why I would like to focus exclusively on the Tanakh rather than all of the other things we might each argue were already in existence at the time. What I see throughout the entire Scripture is a very sad story in which, for the most part, Israel was unfaithful to a G-d who loved – and still dearly loves – her. In saying I see this pattern, I am not piecing together unrelated Scriptures but rather am referring to account after account in which G-d clearly tells us exactly what happened – and warns, over and over, what will be Israel’s condition if she is not truly following G-d. In ALL of those very sad times of Israel’s suffering and defeat, as outlined in these many accounts, Israel had the truth. It was never an issue of not HAVING the truth; they had the Word then, and you have it now. Yet she wasn’t walking in it, wasn’t teaching it, wasn’t believing G-d, despite having the written Word within her very possession, despite having been dearly loved and favored by G-d.
Thus, I would like to focus on these many truths that Israel had then, and that we have now, in the Tanakh. The truths that are clearly recorded and now available for all of mankind to see.
You do not seem to realize what I am driving at with my point about pre-Scriptural teaching or with my point about the method God set in place to teach us that Tanach is His word.
If I understood you correctly – you are saying that all of the truth that Israel possesses is contained within Tanach – if that is what you are saying then Tanach testifies against you.
Psalm 78:5,6 does not merely speak of the passing on of a book – it speaks of fathers TALKING to their children – Deuteronomy 4:9 also speaks of fathers talking to their children – and this is the primary pre-Scriptural teaching that is relevant to our conversation – because it is testimony about the very identity of the One we are to worship (see also Deuteronomy 4:35 and Isaiah 43:10,12; 44:8)
We identify the true prophet if He encourages worship that our fathers testified to us about and we identify the false prophet when he encourages a worship different than the one our fathers taught us about (Deuteronomy 13:2-6).
Again – I am not denying the fact that we are in a state of disobedience and under a curse – what I am disputing is your contention that we are no longer God’s witnesses to bear testimony to the wonders of the exods and the Sinai experience.
I have three questions for you
1) How do you understand Israel’s calling as a witness nation before God?
2) How do you understand passages which speak of Israel’s vindication in the Messianic era (Isaiah 26:2; 62:2; Micah 7:10,16)?
3) Do you accept the Christian Scriptures as canonical?
Rabbi B. Permit me to add a little nuance to the question you are posing to Freedom.
Freedom, I hope you don’t mind my intrusion on your exchange with the Rabbi but let me elaborate a bit on the question and perhaps you might address it in your answer.
Rabbi B. if I’m missing your point as well please say so, and I’ll butt out.
Freedom: Suppose you were a Jew living in the year 20 of the common era. You were in possession of the books of Tanach which you considered canonical. You were also aware of a variety of other Hebrew writings of very similar nature which aspired to similar status but which were not considered canonical even though their content was not contradictory to the content of the accepted Tanach canon. What was your basis for accepting that the formally recognized canon list was indeed canonical while anything outside of that list was not. Why would you not have challenged the accepted list as being either overly inclusive or exclusive? Or would you have?
Thank you for your polite entrance. 🙂 I do realize there have been many other writings that have been debated even among rabbis as worthy or unworthy of study, but the Tanakh is accepted by all as G-d Holy Word, and that is the area I would personally prefer to concentrate on, lest an argument ensue over which pre-Scriptural issues should or should not be considered, and so forth. As I’ve mentioned above, I do have my opinions that I could offer on these pre-Scriptural issues, but for the sake of remaining focused (and because of the time involved), I would very much like to focus solely on the clear truths as we all read them the same in the Hebrew Tanakh.
Thank you for acknowledging me. But with all due respect, you didn’t answer my question (and what I believe to be an aspect of Rabbi B’s question). I said nothing about pre-scriptural issues. To repeat, I too am focusing on the written Tanach. as you said “Tanakh is accepted by all as G-d Holy Word”, And so I think a critically important precursor to any such discussion is identifying what the Tanach is.and how that came to be. So, again, what I asked you is how a first century Jew, say, in the in the year 15, went about identifying what the Tanach did and did not consist of and why he would have accepted the standard canon list presented to him by his teachers as absolutely authoritative. How did he know for example that Song of Songs was in and Maccabees was out?
In my response, I said that isn’t the direction I prefer to divert into, in my own responses. It would be a precursor to such a discussion if there were any uncertainly regarding what the Tanakh consists of, but that isn’t the case. We aren’t in the first century, and we do already all agree on what the Tanakh contains. It begins in Genesis and ends in 2 Chronicles. So, that being agreed on, we all know exactly what we refer to when we say we are discussing the Tanakh (and only the Tanakh), and there is no reason to ask whether we are all certain that this is really the Tanakh, I don’t think – we already all agree that it is.
P.S. No offense – I would enjoy a discussion about how the Tanakh came to be at some other time and place, perhaps, if there were sufficient time, but tomorrow I would like to focus on the two questions I mentioned below that I will respond to, which the rabbi asked. After work tomorrow I will sit down and write a long response and hope to also hear the rabbi’s thoughts on the matter – and perhaps yours, if you care to join. 🙂
I will answer at length tomorrow because my response will take time, but I just wanted to briefly address one issue before I leave for the evening. You said:
“If I understood you correctly – you are saying that all of the truth that Israel possesses is contained within Tanach – if that is what you are saying then Tanach testifies against you.
Psalm 78:5,6 does not merely speak of the passing on of a book – it speaks of fathers TALKING to their children – Deuteronomy 4:9 also speaks of fathers talking to their children – and this is the primary pre-Scriptural teaching that is relevant to our conversation – because it is testimony about the very identity of the One we are to worship (see also Deuteronomy 4:35 and Isaiah 43:10,12; 44:8)”
What I am saying with regard to Psalms 78:5,6 is not that fathers should not talk to their children; of course they should. Rather, what I am saying is that the entire context of Psalms 78 is a warning, NOT a statement that Israel is doing or has done what is commanded in the passage. If anything, it says the exact opposite – a clear statement of instances Israel HAS NOT done what should be done – which was to teach the truth to their children. It is also important to note that in all of the passages you mentioned above, G-d is saying for them to teach things SCRIPTURE HAS RECORDED, not extra-Biblical events. He mentions “the things you’ve seen” (Mt. Sinai, the Exodus). None of the passages in any way allude to extra-Scriptural issues of which we are not clearly aware through Scripture.
Thus, I agree with you wholeheartedly that fathers most certainly should be talking to their children. It is not enough to have a book, as we see over and over in reviewing Israel’s history as recorded within this very Book. Israel HAD the Law (yet they still sinned). They WERE favored by G-d (and yet they repeatedly were unfaithful to Him). So, clearly, it was not enough for them to merely pass on the Book; they needed to TEACH that Book and those truths, with humble hearts, to their children.
In addition, in those same passages you mentioned, the SUBJECT of what they should teach is made clear. You mentioned the Exodus…Exodus chapter 12 clearly describes (more than once) the killing of the lamb and applying its blood to the doorposts. When the angel of death saw that blood on that house, he would would Pass Over the home, sparing the firstborn from death. And G-d clearly said there, “Teach this to your children forever.” Nowhere in the chapter did He say to teach that other things can be substituted for any of the elements present in the story. What we are to teach, in other words, are the events as G-d recorded them for us, without adding our own alterations.
In any case, my main point is that I do not disagree with you at all with regard to these passages of Scripture saying fathers were to teach their children. We see over and over, through the recorded failures of Israel to humbly seek the LORD, that simply passing on the Book was not enough. They needed to TEACH that Book and those events that G-d had led them through as they actually happened; they needed to teach those things G-d told them to teach “for all time” in the way that He said to teach it.
I have to leave for now, but I will respond tomorrow to your first and second questions. As for the third, regarding Christian Scriptures and whether they are “canonical,” here are my feelings on that: I don’t think it would be fair to evaluate the Tanakh in light of the Christian Bible or through “Christian glasses”; do you? If in fact we can both agree that the Hebrew Tanakh, as given by G-d, is 100% truth and that G-d means what He says within it and says what He means, then the Tanakh alone should be able to stand on its own without any additions or alterations or interpretations through the eyes of outside sources. Do you agree? So let us limit ourselves to the Tanakh only, and I will be happy to respond to questions 1 and 2 tomorrow, and I will look forward to hearing your thoughts on those issues as well.
You seem to have misunderstood Psalm 78 and my point about pre-Scriptural teachings.
You are correct – Psalm 78 is a warning – but the warning is to go back to the testimony of our fathers as opposed to following their ways which opposed their own testimony – nowhere in the Psalm does it accuse Israel of not passing on the testimony to their children – on the contrary – the opening of the Psalm begins with the testimony that we are to follow even after all of the disobedience
My point about this and about Deuteronomy 4 is that we have access to those events (Exodus and Sinai) from a perspective outside of Scripture – namely the testimony of our parents – and Scripture itself affirms that God chose this medium of communication. If one closes their ears to the testimony of Israel and only reads the Scripture – they will only be getting half of the picture – God chose two methods of communication (living testimony and written word) for a reason.
The testimony of the exodus is not limited to the blood on the doorpost (Deuteronomy 4:34)- although I do not deny its significance. How do you explain that in 2Chronicles 35:11 the blood of the Passover was placed on the altar and not on the doorposts?
In any case – you don’t seem to realize the significance of Yehuda’s question – You see – a chain can’t be stronger than its weakest link – it is important for us to know WHY you accept Scripture – because your faith in Scripture cannot be stronger than your faith in whatever process that gave you Scripture. It is for this reason I ask you if you accept the Christian Scriptures – if you do then I will know that you do not accept the Jewish Scriptures on the basis of the testimony of Israel – but on some other foundation – and whatever that foundation is – it will certainly color your view of Scripture – just as Israel’s testimony colors mine
So I look forward to your responses to these questions as well as the other questions (I hope you can see now why this whole section of the discussion is relevant)
I will attempt to respond to each question one at a time.
First, because you have repeated this latter question several times by now, and Yehuda has as well, I will address the issue of canonization.
What is disturbing to me is that it seems, in the wording of this question, you indicate above that if a person accepts the Christian Scriptures, he or she is incapable of participating in a spiritual discussion. So let us clarify that issue first. Let us say, for the sake of argument, that I believe Christian Scriptures are Holy and part of G-d’s Word. Would that make me one with whom there is no point in engaging in a spiritual discussion?
If that is what you are saying, I am deeply disappointed because it contradicts what I understood you to say in your Feb. 19th post, titled “The Veil.” I had assumed, after reading that post, that you would be open to listening to anyone, whether he or she accepts the Christian Scriptures, rejects them, or simply hasn’t yet decided.
Let me quote from your post: The Veil, Feb. 19th: “A typical argument of these “one way propagandists” is the argument of spiritual blindness. They contend that their opponents are stricken by spiritual blindness so there is no point in engaging in a two way discussion with them.”
You further said, in that same post, “Dismissing your opponent’s ability to process information is the first step in dehumanizing your fellow man. Don’t go there.”
I would be highly disappointed, Friend, if you were to tell me that in fact you would dehumanize your fellow man by claiming that one who believes the Christian Scriptures are canonized is incapable of engaging in spiritual discussions with you. Earlier in the same post, you specifically expressed criticism of those who “…dismiss their opponents as people who are incapable of participating in the spiritual discussion.”
Thus, Friend, what I say here again is that I have already agreed with you completely, having read that post and having believed that you would stand by your word. I have suggested that both of us put any preconceptions we may have aside and that we allow the Tanakh to defend itself. For if, indeed, it is G-d’s Holy Word, which I believe it is, then it should need no further defense, revision, or additions to for us to read the way G-d meant for it to read. If indeed we both believe that He said what He meant and meant what He said.
I am in the process of attempting (out of respect for your time) to consolidate my many thoughts on the other two questions you presented above:
1) How do you understand Israel’s calling as a witness nation before God?
2) How do you understand passages which speak of Israel’s vindication in the Messianic era (Isaiah 26:2; 62:2; Micah 7:10,16)?
I have many, many thoughts written down already, but I will consolidate them, to the best of my ability, so that they are clear and concise, rather than repeating myself within them or digressing in any other directions, to avoid making you read pages and pages of Scripture quotes and what I believe G-d is saying through them. I will try to be both thorough and concise. I will also look forward to hearing your thoughts – I am not looking for a one-way discussion but rather welcome an honest look at the Tanakh for exactly what it says (with no “glasses” of any kind, and no preconceived notions). It will be much later today before I am able to consolidate my thoughts, as I still have some work obligations before I can apply myself fully to this task you have given me.
I said nothing about people being incapable of spiritual discussion – all I said is that we shoud recognize our biases and acknowledge them – in order to have a productive discussion about Scripture it would be silly to ignore the fact that we accept this book for different reasons – that’s all I said
I do believe that we shoud each strive to read it without preconceived notions – but this does not mean that we do not acknowledge where we picked up the book
In any case – I do want to commend you for your respectful tone in your last few posts – Thank you
I look forward to continuing this discussion with you – there is no question that there will be more misunderstandings and miscommunications – but patiently and respectfully I believe we will all move closer to the truth
I understand what you say about time constraints – I too cannot write as often as I would like – so take your time
Looking forward to hearing from you
Friend, addressing one question at a time, I will present some of my thoughts on question 1: How do you understand Israel’s calling as a witness nation before God?
I believe there are several aspects in which Israel is a witness nation before G-d. The first is G-d’s choosing of Israel to bless the entirety of mankind. Genesis 12:3 indicates that all nations would be blessed by Abraham and his descendants (ultimately, I believe, the Word and Knowledge that G-d gave through them would be the source of mankind’s relationship to G-d). In Genesis 26:4, the same was repeated to Isaac, and in Genesis 28:14, the same is repeated to Jacob.
Along this same vein, the entire Tanakh, with possibly the exception of Job, was written by people of Hebrew descent. G-d is One G-d and has One Word for all people of the world; and His Word came through the Jewish nation, who preserved this Word for the whole world. So all of those issues—G-d’s choosing of Israel as the preserver of His Word, His promises, and His blessings as expressed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—entail the first sense in which Israel is a “witness nation” (I have many, many verses to back up what I am expressing here, but I think you already know and agree with all of this, so I will move to the next point.)
A second sense I believe Israel is and always has been a witness nation before G-d is that it was to Israel that the promises were made—both of blessings and curses. Israel is the epitome of G-d’s Testimony regarding what pleases or angers Him, in fact, as well as of what He desires and what He rejects—in a nutshell, it is what we see played out between G-d and Israel throughout the Tanakh that is the root of all of our understanding of Who G-d Is and what He is like. Were it not for G-d’s dealings with Israel, we would know none of these things. BECAUSE OF Israel’s history and interaction with G-d throughout the Tanakh, we do know both how He responded to Israel’s obedience and trust in G-d as well as how He responded to a lack of obedience and trust in man instead of G-d.
Genesis 15:6 Abraham “trusted G-d” resulting in obedience (and G-d counted it to his merit),
Psalms 78:8 gives an admonition that they might… “not be like their fathers…a generation whose heart was inconstant,”
Psalms 78:22 “The LORD heard, and He raged…because they did not put their trust in God,”
Psalms 78: 37 “their hearts were inconstant toward Him,” (yet He restrained His wrath),
Numbers 13, Joshua 14, Israel trusted in man’s might rather than in G-d’s promise at the 12 spies’ first entrance to Canaan (and G-d became angry, disallowing them to enter the land). Through all of these recorded events, we see that He is a Holy G-d, that he desires our hearts, not just our compliance (Deuteronomy 4:29 / 6:5 / 11:13 / 30:16; Joshua 22:5, Joel 2:12–13, 2 Chronicles 31:21, and many, many more). We also see that He is always faithful to do what He says He will do—whether what He promised was a blessing or a curse (Deuteronomy 28). Yet we also see that despite our unfaithfulness, He continues to be faithful for His Own Name’s sake (Isaiah 48:8–9 / 65:1–2). In all of these things and too many more to list, for sake of time, Israel is our witness to the nations of Who G-d really is.
In saying that our understanding of G-d came through Israel, I am not trying to say that individuals outside of Israel did not know G-d or were not used by G-d. Before Abraham and the Covenant, Enoch pleased G-d and was taken directly to heaven. And there are various accounts of prophets (both Elijah and Elisha) being helped by non-Israelites (1 Kings 17:9–16: the widow of Zarephath of Sidon / 2 Kings 4:8: the Shunammite woman). In addition, Abraham himself gave a tenth of all to Melchizedek, named a “priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18–20). Thus, I believe we can clearly see that individuals outside the nation of Israel did know Truth and could know the LORD. Yet, interestingly, even with those individuals, it was through the G-d-breathed Writings that ISRAEL recorded for us that we are even aware of them today. And for many of those who did believe G-d at that time, it was through what they had heard about the G-d of ISRAEL, through Israel’s testimony of greatness, that led them to know G-d in the first place.
Third, G-d Himself states a sense in which He desired Israel to be a witness in Isaiah 43:10–12 “My witnesses are you—declares the LORD—My servant, whom I have chosen. To the end that you may take thought, and believe in Me…” Later in that same chapter, we see that it was not for Israel’s own righteousness that G-d forgave her, but for His Own Sake that He would wipe her transgression away and remember her sin no more (Isaiah 43:22–25).
He also reiterated numerous times that if Israel loves and follows Him with her whole heart, Israel would be a mighty nation…and all of the promises laid out in the first 14 verses of Deuteronomy chapter 28. In the remaining 55 verses of that chapter, He clearly laid out what would be the outcome if Israel was not following Him.
From the description provided in Deuteronomy 28, we see that Israel has been under the curse of the Covenant since the time of the Romans or earlier (i.e., around approximately 40 BCE, Herod besieged the city; Israel was actually continually attacked well before then…around 19 BCE, Herod expanded the Temple mount and rebuilt it as Herod’s temple, but non-Israeli kings gave offerings there…and later, the temple was destroyed entirely). Yet even in this sense, Israel is a witness to the nations—because G-d is clearly acting exactly as He said, in Deuteronomy 28, that He would act, and this, too, is a testimony of G-d’s faithfulness to His promises…although in this sense, the promise was that He would punish.
Those are only a few of the many, many ways Israel is a witness to the nations. ”
Is this to say that I believe all is negative for Israel now or that Israel is no longer the apple of G-d’s eye? No, that is not what I believe at all. In the latter chapters of Isaiah (one of my favorite books of the Bible), G-d demonstrates that He will show His great love for Israel; despite Israel’s sin, when He searches and finds no one to intervene, He will intercede Himself based on His own Righteousness (Isaiah 59). This is all stated in the past tense, as G-d often does in Scripture, but it is clearly His promise to Israel.
Another question that may arise: Am I saying, then, in my frequent mention of the harsh curses G-d pronounced in Deuteronomy 28, that Israel deserves all the horrendous suffering that she has been through? No. On the one hand, G-d is a righteous G-d, and He clarified repeatedly in Scripture that the blessings or curses He bestows on Israel will directly correlate with her OWN heart before Him. She is not responsible for the sin of other nations. Indeed, He reiterates, over and over, Israel’s sinfulness throughout Isaiah (Isaiah 48, 49, 58, 59, and so forth) and His desire for her to return to Him.
Importantly, however, I think this witness of sin really speaks to the sin of the world. Is Israel more sinful than other nations? No, not at all; Israel has been far less sinful than many, I would say. We are all sinful, and just as we see G-d’s testimony in the way He has loved Israel yet has shown His anger at sin, we also see that He will ultimately redeem her (Isaiah 59:20) for His Own Name’s sake (Isaiah 48:11, Daniel 9:19) so that all the world will know Him (Isaiah 45:4–6). And as He says in Isaiah 49:6 and Isaiah 66:19–21, He will also extend His arm and His glory to all nations.
The promise G-d made to Israel long ago, so many times, holds true today: if she will humble herself, acknowledging that G-d alone is righteous, and pray and seek His face…He will hear from heaven and forgive her sin and heal her land (2 Chronicles 7). G-d has never and will never abandon Israel. Quite the opposite: those who bless Israel, He will bless. Those who curse Israel, He will curse. And indeed the Vindicator shall come, for she will have already suffered double for her sin (Isaiah 40:2). And that, Friend, remains for question #2 that you presented: How do you understand passages which speak of Israel’s vindication in the Messianic era (Isaiah 26:2; 62:2; Micah 7:10,16)? …
Addressing question #2 that you presented: How do you understand passages which speak of Israel’s vindication in the Messianic era (Isaiah 26:2; 62:2; Micah 7:10,16)?
Here are some of my thoughts.
First, I see in Isaiah 26:2–3 G-d’s reiteration of His desire for faith in Him, as He correlates this trust in Him with righteousness. He says here, “Open the gates, and let a righteous nation enter, a nation that keeps faith. The confident mind You guard in safety, in safety BECAUSE IT TRUSTS IN YOU” [emphasis mine].
Later in that same chapter we see Israel’s plea: “Let them be shamed as they behold Your zeal for Your people and fire consuming Your adversaries. O LORD! May You appoint well-being for us, since You have also requited all our misdeeds” (Isaiah 26:11–12).
Here we can see that, throughout this chapter, Israel is not claiming innocence; she acknowledges that it was HER misdeeds that were requited. Yet as I said in the earlier post, this in no way implies that other nations were “better.” Did not G-d use Babylon to punish Israel, allowing Israel to be ruled and punished by a nation much worse than she was? Did not He do this same thing many times throughout the Tanakh, when Israel would stop seeking Him with all her heart? Many times G-d used even evil entities to carry out what He said He would do because He alone is G-d, and He can use anyone, no matter how evil, to accomplish His purposes.
Was He implying, as these other nations imagined, that they were righteous and only Israel was sinful? No indeed. I think it is instead a matter of Israel having been chosen to be a witness of G-d’s Holiness to all nations, both in the ways He blessed her when she trusted in Him and in the ways He cursed her when she turned away.
In other words, in allowing Israel the horrible suffering she has been through, I believe G-d’s rebuke of Israel’s sin is not solely meant to punish Israel but also is meant as a witness to the entire world of His Holiness, even in His rebuke of sin. Sin is what ALL the world is guilty of—many far more guilty than Israel. Thus, there will come a day when those who point the finger at Israel, claiming she is evil and despised by the LORD, will find that G-d having allowed Israel to suffer for her sin does NOT mean, as they assumed, that they themselves were more righteous—and in fact, quite the opposite. They will find that G-d did indeed still mean what He said when He promised Abraham that those who blessed his descendants would be blessed, and those who cursed his descendants would be cursed.
Here in Isaiah 26:2, and also in Isaiah 62:2, I think, we are looking at the time when honesty and truth and humility will again be present in Israel. It will be a time when Israel will have humbled herself to acknowledge her own sin (as noted in Isaiah 26:11–12) and will not be claiming to be self-righteous. She will have put her trust in the LORD, and He will have made her righteous through His Own Righteousness, as He promised in Isaiah 43:25: “It is I, I, who—for My own sake—wipe your transgression away and remember your sins no more.” And here, once Israel has indeed humbled herself and acknowledged her own sin and forsaken her self-righteousness—bowing to G-d’s Holiness alone—He will clothe her in His righteousness, and all nations will see that His love for Israel was ever faithful. They will see that those who proclaimed themselves G-d’s messengers of justice to do evil against Israel were greater sinners than Israel. They will realize that the same G-d who showed His hatred for sin in punishing Israel for her sin has not forgotten her suffering, and has not forgotten the iniquity of those who showed her no mercy.
And at that day, they will see that they are without excuse; that instead of proclaiming their own self-righteousness, they ought to have trembled to realize that if G-d could punish the apple of His eye for her sin, He will certainly punish theirs. And then she will triumph over the nations as she turns to the LORD with her whole heart.
I believe this is consistent with Micah 7:10, 16 as well. Backing up to verse 9, we see the following: “I must bear the anger of the LORD, since I have sinned against Him…” Israel is speaking here, humbly acknowledging her own sin. She is not claiming innocence; she knows she is guilty of sin.
Yet she has now turned back to G-d, and she knows that just as G-d was faithful to punish sin, He will be faithful to vindicate the injustice in Israel having suffered mocking and hatred from nations more sinful than she. And as I said previously, I believe at that day, those nations will realize that Israel’s shame and suffering for her own sin did NOT mean at all what they had previously assumed—that they were somehow “better.” They were indeed NOT better. Rather, whom the LORD loves, he punishes, as a witness of His own Holiness. Yet that same Holy G-d is also a G-d who loves her beyond measure and will go to every means imaginable to draw her back to Himself.
And in that day, He will champion her cause as the world has never seen.
I hope, Friend, that I have answered your question regarding how I see these verses. And now, I would be interested to hear your thoughts as well.
Well spoken! I agree to most of what you have written – I believe you left out a key Scriptural principle – but I do want to thank you for taking the time to write these responses with integrity, passion and civility.
I agree that Israel is blessed by God, is tied in a covenantal relationship with God so that if she sins – her punishment is an example for God, and that Israel is not sinless.
However I do believe that you missed a key factor in understanding Israel’s calling as a witness nation before God. I will first give you some of the Scriptural references and then I will explain how I believe these passages are all tied together.
Exodus 31:12-17; Deuteronomy 4:6-15, 30-35; 33:4; 2Samuel 7:22-24; Isaiah 25:9; 41:8-16; 45:25; 49:23; 51:12-16; Jeremiah 10:14-16; Ezekiel 37:28; Psalm 97:6-8; 102:16-24.
My understanding is that the happiness of all mankind is when they recognize the absolute sovereignty of the One who Created us all – when they direct all of their worship to Him and to Him alone, when they rejoice in His love and mercy and submit themselves to Him completely. This is the calling for all mankind.
Israel was granted a deeper appreciation of the absolute sovereignty of God and how all of existence owes everything to God. This deeper appreciation was accomplished by the experiences of the exodus and the Sinai revelation. Israel does not necessarily possess more details of information – but they do possess a greater clarity and a deeper appreciation of these truths. The exodus miracles were designed by God to teach these truths (Exodus 10:2) and God designed certain observances to perpetuate the impact of these events (Exodus 12:27; 13:8,15; Leviticus 23:43; Deuteronomy 16:3). The observance of the Sabbath is also designed to perpetuate this truth in the hearts of Israel – that God is the sole Creator of all.
It is our responsibility to testify to this truth – and God made a covenant with us that He will be our God and we will be His nation. This means we are tied to God in a relationship that is much like marriage. A marriage changes the identity of both parties – each partner is now known as the life-partner of their spouse and is so identified to the people around them. So it is with God – we are His life partners and He is our God – and God wants to be identified as the God of Israel and we are identified as His people. When you see a Jewish person praying – you know who they are praying to and you know who they are not praying to.
It is on this basis that I accept the Scriptural canon ratified by God’s bride – they used this appreciation for God’s absolute sovereignty to measure the claimants to prophecy that came their way in accordance to the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 13:2-6)
Our exile came upon us because of our sins – and we need to fully repent from them before we are brought out from under the curse of exile. But even in this state of exile we are God’s life-partner and we are identified as such to the eyes of the world. The world recognizes that we hope to the God who created all and to no one else. When God’s sovereignty is revealed – and His mercy is poured out over the nation who hoped to Him – Israel will be vindicated as the nation who did not give their hearts to another god (on a national level) and that they hoped to God. God will be glorified when the world sees that those who hoped to Him and to Him alone are sanctified on that day.
In light of all this – I believe that Israel’s deep appreciation for God’s absolute sovereignty over every facet of creation is something that is righteous and good – and it is this appreciation that will be vindicated in the Messianic era.
Again – I am not claiming sinlessness and I am not even saying that we are as faithful to this principle as we should be – but there is a core of faith in God that is Israel’s portion and it is that faith that will be vindicated to be the light of the world.
What are your thoughts on this concept?
Thank you, also, for taking the time to express these thoughts. I am entertaining company in the next couple of days, but I hope to devote more time to the question you posed here before the weekend is over.
However, I do want to say, briefly, that I absolutely agree that Israel is G-d’s life partner. I see this principle in a pattern throughout Scripture both in the times Israel was walking with G-d and in the times she was in sin.
As for expanding on this concept of what exactly will be vindicated, and why, I will respond after I can fully devote some time to hopefully consolidating my thoughts and presenting them in a clear and well-spoken manner.
Thank you, and Shalom, Friend.
You have introduced many, many concepts, I believe, in your response, and I see that for me to respond with every thought and Scripture that comes to mind, I would be taking up pages and pages of space on your blog. I have attempted to consolidate, but my response is still rather long. I apologize for that, and I am attempting to respond to what I think you mean as the underlying concepts:
1. “Israel was granted a deeper appreciation of the absolute sovereignty of God and how all of existence owes everything to God. This deeper appreciation was accomplished by the experiences of the Exodus and the Sinai revelation. Israel does not necessarily possess more details of information – but they do possess a greater clarity and a deeper appreciation of these truths.”
You are completely right, Friend, that Israel as a nation has a deeper appreciation than any other for the experiences and events described all throughout the Tanakh through which G-d has shown Himself—because these were YOUR forefathers who experienced them and saw His Might, Holiness, Love, and Faithfulness. Indeed, your hearts should swell with praise and worship—and with humility, too—that He, the One and Only LORD of lords, chose YOU to be a blessing to all peoples of the Earth, to bring forth His Word, and to be His bride for all eternity. There will be no nation to replace Israel, ever.
2. “It is our responsibility to testify to this truth – and God made a covenant with us that He will be our God and we will be His nation. This means we are tied to God in a relationship that is much like marriage. A marriage changes the identity of both parties – each partner is now known as the life-partner of their spouse and is so identified to the people around them. So it is with God – we are His life partners and He is our God – and God wants to be identified as the God of Israel and we are identified as His people. When you see a Jewish person praying – you know who they are praying to and you know who they are not praying to.”
I absolutely agree that this is indeed the responsibility G-d gave you, that Israel is His chosen nation and bride, and that He wants to be (and will be) identified as the G-d of Israel as He has shown Himself throughout the Tanakh. However, G-d Himself repeatedly said in Scripture that although He DESIRED for Israel to only ever pray to One G-d, such has not been the case. There are many, many passages of Scripture in which G-d says it has been the exact opposite, but I would like to examine in detail only the very first instance we see Israel turning to graven images in Scripture: Exodus chapters 20 through 32.
Here we see G-d lay out His Holy instructions. The Israelites were to worship Him and Him alone, and He began His instructions as follows: “I am the LORD thy G-d, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image…”(Exodus 20:1–6).
After G-d’s complete instructions (over several chapters), He ended by, again, explicitly clarifying that they were NOT TO BOW DOWN TO ANY OTHER GODS OR GRAVEN IMAGES (Exodus 23:32–33). At this point, the people agreed. Moses then shed the blood of the animals and dashed half of it on the altar, reading the Covenant to the people, at which time the people confirmed again what they had already promised: “All that the LORD has spoken we will faithfully do!” Then Moses sprinkled the blood of the Covenant on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD now makes with you…” (Exodus 24:1–8). Then, although the people did not accompany them up to behold this, Moses and Aaron and the elders of Israel ascended and saw the G-d of Israel, and under His feet was something similar to a pavement like sapphire (Exodus 24:9–11). At that point, G-d said that Moses was to go up into the mountain and then come back down with the stone tablets, upon which would be written the teachings and commandments. The people saw some aspect of the glory of the Lord up on the mountain (like a fire), and then Moses remained in the cloud on the mountain for 40 days and nights.
In the meantime, with Moses up in the mountain receiving instruction for these people who had JUST solemnly promised, with a covenant in blood, that they would faithfully obey all of the LORD’s commandments forever (and what could have been more clear about G-d’s commandments than the one with which He both BEGAN and ENDED His instructions—that they were not to make or serve any other gods or graven images?) the people made and worshiped a golden calf—less than two months after promising faithfulness to G-d. Again, I stress that this was directly following their solemn promise, in blood, that they would be faithful to all that the LORD had instructed. If at any time, any of mankind could have been utterly faithful to the LORD, it would seem that this would have been the time—directly after they had PERSONALLY seen and experienced the great and mighty signs of the LORD’s Holiness never experienced by any other people of the earth.
Thus, we see that Israel did indeed turn to other gods from the very beginning. In addition, G-d also clearly states, throughout many passages in Jeremiah and in Psalms and many other books (I will note these in a later section), that this continued to be the case many times throughout Israel’s entire history.
3. (Continued from the previous quote…see #2) “It is on this basis that I accept the Scriptural canon ratified by God’s bride – they used this appreciation for God’s absolute sovereignty to measure the claimants to prophecy that came their way in accordance to the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 13:2-6).”
There are a number of concepts that we could discuss here, I think, but it would get too long. However, I would simply like to point out a couple of interesting issues that I feel relate to the underlying concept of vindication and return from exile for Israel.
The first is that, importantly, preceding and during the recorded Scriptural instances of Israel being fully restored by G-d, she came to Him with no claims whatsoever of having retained any measure of righteousness or innocence. Rather, she threw herself solely on His mercy.
Daniel 9:4–19 Daniel essentially says here that the nation of Israel has sinned, acted wickedly, and rebelled, also disobeying G-d’s prophets. G-d is right to punish Israel, he says, and the shame belongs to Israel while mercy and forgiveness belong to the LORD. And he beseeches the LORD to hear his prayer “not because of any merit of ours…but because of Your abundant mercies” (Daniel 9:18).
Nehemiah 9:7–31. This, too, is a chapter of great humility, claiming no aspect of righteousness or merit whatsoever but rather simply praising G-d for His goodness and faithfulness despite Israel’s repeated sin against Him, even making a molten calf and attributing to it G-d’s own great deeds (Nehemiah 9:18) and killing G-d’s prophets (Nehemiah 9:26).
The great king David, too, beseeches the Lord in a similar manner in Psalms 79:8–9: “forgive our sin, for the sake of Your name.” I also believe Scripture is clear that although David was clearly a sinner, he was a man of great humility, whose heart wholly recognized its own sin and threw itself at G-d’s mercy, with no claims of self-righteousness. And he is the one G-d called “a man after His own heart” (1Samuel 13:14).
My point in this issue is that I believe these examples were given for our learning, and what Israel needs to do to be fully restored is to follow these examples, with no claims of vindication for merit’s sake but only for G-d’s righteousness’ and mercies’ sake.
I also want to note that the final canonization of the Tanakh took place under Ezra, after Israel was restored, and every canonization always took place in times when Israel was clearly following G-d and NOT in exile—which has not been the case for Israel since before 40 BCE. Yet, importantly, in each instance of canonization, books were included that had previously been written by prophets who had often been, at the time, rejected by both the leaders of the nation and the majority of the people. My point is simply that although I agree with you that these godly prophets rightfully measured the claimants to prophecy that came their way in accordance to the Law of Moses, the pattern we see would seem to indicate that Israel was in a condition to properly assess these things only during times of restoration.
4. “Our exile came upon us because of our sins – and we need to fully repent from them before we are brought out from under the curse of exile. But even in this state of exile we are God’s life-partner and we are identified as such to the eyes of the world. The world recognizes that we hope to the God who created all and to no one else. When God’s sovereignty is revealed – and His mercy is poured out over the nation who hoped to Him – Israel will be vindicated as the nation who did not give their hearts to another god (on a national level) and that they hoped to God. God will be glorified when the world sees that those who hoped to Him and to Him alone are sanctified on that day.”
I think what will be vindicated is Israel’s heritage and G-d’s love for Israel. G-d did not say in Scripture that Israel is the nation that did not give their hearts to other gods; He said the opposite. Having already reviewed Exodus chapters 20–32 (and having taken a very long passage to do so), I do not want to disrespect your time or blog space by expounding further on additional passages that I know you are well able to read for yourself and form your own conclusions—but I do want to point out that there are MANY such passages in Scripture that very clearly state that Israel has given her heart to other gods: Deuteronomy 32:16–31 / Judges 3:7–8, 10:13 / 1Kings 22:53; 2Kings 21:21 / Jeremiah 2:11–36, 3:12–14, 8:19; and the entire chapters 16 and 17 of Jeremiah as well / Psalms 78:58, 106:36, and many, many more.
5. “In light of all this – I believe that Israel’s deep appreciation for God’s absolute sovereignty over every facet of creation is something that is righteous and good – and it is this appreciation that will be vindicated in the Messianic era.”
I do absolutely agree that Israel’s heritage will be vindicated, and G-d’s love for Israel will be vindicated as well. As previously stated, I do believe G-d’s Word clearly contradicts the concept that the reason for vindication will be that Israel has been the nation to not serve other gods, and I also fully believe, based on the Scriptures describing the heart and prayers of godly individuals who sought Israel’s restoration after exile in the past (a few of which I have already listed above), that the proper response is not to claim a measure of righteousness but rather to throw herself at G-d’s mercies. If she does that, He will certainly respond to His beloved, as He has always done in the past.
At the same time, I do completely agree that Israel as a nation has an appreciation for Who G-d really is, as revealed in the Tanakh, that far outshines the knowledge of any other nation as a whole. Other nations have often gotten a glimpse of G-d through a few portions of Scripture and have been satisfied with that, never really delving into the Scriptures to make them their own. Worse, leaders have often used small bits of truth and then mixed them with lies to change Him in their own minds to be like a man who thinks and acts like themselves—by rationalizing what is “right” and “wrong,” for example, while ignoring what G-d has already clearly stated is right and wrong. In doing so, they are calling good “evil” and evil “good” and are making G-d out to be of the same mind they are—a man like themselves—when He is not.
Considering both issues mentioned above, with regard to Israel’s ultimate vindication, I think there are two issues at play here: one includes a comparison between nations/humans, and the other entails a comparison between Israel’s character and G-d’s character.
What I mean is that in the many instances in which G-d condemns Israel’s sin, G-d is not and has never been comparing her to OTHER nations. Rather, when He states, over and over, in these many passages that she is faithless, sinful, even saying at some points that she is a harlot (Jeremiah 3:1–13), He is in no way saying that she is MORE sinful than the other nations. Indeed, He is not comparing her to any other nations at all. There are NO other nations to compare with in G-d’s eyes; she is His one and only. Thus, in these condemnations of her sin, He is comparing her only to His own perfect faithfulness, devotion, and unimaginably loyal love.
Thus, when these other nations read such passages and believe that Israel is cursed, evil, and abandoned by the LORD, what they do not realize is that Israel had and still has what they never had in the first place—G-d’s lifelong commitment and utter devotion. Israel is G-d’s one and only life partner, and in the descriptions G-d provides in Scripture of her sin and faithlessness, He is comparing her solely to Himself. There is no other nation, in G-d’s eyes. And G-d can indeed rightfully condemn her faithlessness because He is perfectly faithful. He can rightfully become angry at her failures because He alone never fails. And He can speak of Love and Redemption because He has gone to every imaginable means to draw her back to Himself, even clothing her in His own victory and righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) when she could not be righteous (Isaiah 43:25). When she failed in the two-way covenant established at Mt. Sinai, G-d remained true to the initial covenant He had already given Abraham—a one-way covenant in which G-d promised, with no strings attached, that those who blessed Israel would be blessed, and those who cursed her would be cursed. And in this we then see that only a one-way covenant, with G-d as the sole guarantor, could truly be trustworthy forever and ever…because G-d alone is Perfect, Faithful, and Holy. Thus, we see that all of these many passages that tell of Israel’s sin also tell a deeper story, one of His Everlasting and Redeeming Love, for He will never and has never abandoned her even when she abandoned Him.
Those are my thoughts, on this concept, Friend, and I hope I have addressed the primary issues you introduced here. I do not claim to be a significant person, which is a main reason I write to you anonymously. I am no one—not a teacher, a prophet, a rabbi, a preacher, or a proponent of any particular organization. I am but a sinful human prone to err, whose words remain true only insomuch as my eyes remain fixed on Him in the firm belief that His Word alone will stand forever. And if anything I say is good or true, the proof will be in that it leads the hearer to delve more deeply into G-d’s Word and to know Him, not me, more deeply.
I may appreciate some aspects of the amazing events in Israel’s history to a lesser extent than you do, but as I read His Word—the experiences, the awesome and intimate guidance, the utter devotion and love even in His anger, and the faithful promises He gave you—my own heart is humbled before a Mighty and Holy and Faithful G-d to realize that THIS IS WHAT THE G-D OF ISRAEL IS LIKE—and I, too, fall to my knees in worship.
And if I could be a blessing to you or to any other Israeli, I would want to do so, in obedience to the G-d I have now come to know as my own, the G-d who loves Israel with an everlasting, unfailing love. In the minor ways I am able, I try to provide financial support to those leaders who bless Israel, and I seek to influence, in the minor ways I can, any political decisions in Israel’s favor by calling and writing the lawmakers of my state. Yet I am not rich or a politician, and I think the best way I might hope to be a blessing would be to testify of the utter Faithfulness I have seen as I have searched these Scriptures that G-d gave through you, with the hope that through my testimony, another—someone of the nation that is the apple of G-d’s eye far more than is mine—will be moved to search more deeply these same Scriptures. And in searching, my hope is that they will find His unimaginably devoted and faithful Love and respond with a heart of humility and worship, falling in Love with Him there.
I again agree to most of what you wrote and again I will thank you for taking the time to write with humility and integrity
One point I disagree about is your assessment of yourself as “no one” – you were created in the image of God which is the main reason we respect anyone
I agree that Israel cannot claim any “merit” before God – in fact no one can claim merit before God becasue no one gives to God what God does not already possess – all of the vindication of Israel is to teh eyes of the nations who ridiculed her and reviled her for maintaining her loyalty to God – but it is not between God and Israel as you say – this entire appreciation for God’s sovereignty is a gift granted to us by God
The point I am making about our appreciation for God’s absolute sovereignty was not a point about merit but a point about responsiblity and context. I also agree with you about the canonization taking place in a situation of restored Israel – my point was that the tool that Israel used was this appreciation for God’s sovereignty – a tool that we don’y lose – perhaps we are not always loyal to it – but we never lose it.
Responsibility – it is our duty as a witness nation before God to maintain this appreciation and reject any theology which deifies an inhabitant of this earth
Context – The appreciation that we have of God’s absolute sovereignty was granted to us by God before we were given the first page of Scripture and therefore we read Scripture in light of that appreciation – the main point I was making with this post was that the book that was given to the witness nation will not teach an abandonment of the testimony with which they were entrusted
Thank you, Friend.
I do know I am created in G-d’s image (and am grateful); I merely mean that I am “no one” in the sense of leadership (someone people might recognize by name or by position anywhere). I am merely a human who loves G-d’s Word and desires to remain steadfastly true to the One who gave it and the way He gave it.
I also do agree with you that G-d will certainly not teach an abandonment of the testimony He gave in the first place. He remains true to His Holy Word and to Who He is as G-d. My prayer is simply that with great humility, you and other leaders of the people might continue to search out these examples G-d provided in godly men such as Daniel, David, Abraham, and so many others…men who, when they truly caught a glimpse of G-d’s Holiness and Faithfulness and Love, could see only Him, with no thought for any merit of their own. They were overwhelmed by the Righteousness of G-d, yet in their faith that His Everlasting Mercy would extend beyond the depths of even the worst of humanity, they sought Him with a whole heart, trusting in His Goodness, and I believe that is where they found and truly knew and loved Him.
I desire to see the restoration of Israel, and I believe that is what you desire as well.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts, Friend. Shalom.
traditional Jews pray that same prayer – that God restore our leaders so that we can serve Him in true humility and love – our prayer is based on God’s promise in Isaiah 1:26
I realize that you don’t like when I just put up posts – but I hope you will appreciate these
Thanks again for engaging in this discussion
Thank you, Friend.
I see these issues in a different context and in the light of different Scriptures as a background, but that must remain for another time and place – perhaps I will meet you one day and we can chat personally.
May a full and humble repentance and the restoration of Israel take place in our days.
Shalom, Friend, and thanks again for listening and responding to what I’ve shared with you.
Thank you – maybe we will meet one day – you can write to me at email@example.com
I just re-found in this article a really well-put line:
“The entire function of this entity [the angel] was to convey a message and that is the only function the Bible assigns to him. The Christian concept of venerating the human activities of the one that they see as an incarnation of the divine has no parallel in the Jewish Scriptures.”
For reference, here is a thought from Rabbi Blumenthal’s Contra-Brown on the same topic. The mention of Exodus 23:20-22 is especially helpful.
“Brown points to various instances in the Jewish scriptures where God seems to be represented by the human form – such as Genesis 18, and Exodus 24:10.
“Indeed the scriptures do explicitly teach that God could use an angel to represent His glory to the people. God tells Moses that He will send an angel to guide the people. This angel bears God’s name. God warns Moses:
“’hearken to his voice and do all that I speak’ (Exodus 23:20 – 22).
“It is the angel’s voice, but God has spoken. The same occurs in Genesis 22:16, andNumbers 22:35/23:5, where an angel speaks God’s words. But what does this have to do with Christianity? Christianity does not stop at the claim that Jesus was a representative of God to bring His words to the people, or to guide them and protect them – as preposterous as this claim would be. Christianity demands that the worship, the love, the awe and the adoration that belong to God, and to God alone, are to be directed towards Jesus.”
To consider more deeply the last thought there, we could use the terminology of Colossians 1:15-20, and say that Christianity demands that the love belonging only to God are to be directed towards a (claimed) reflection or ‘image’ of Him. An image is created, acted upon and caused to exist, a finite expression of the infinite. Only the infinite one deserves our hearts.
When He lets us see Him through a created manifestation, even when we look towards it, we don’t worship it as ‘part of Him’. It’s somewhat like when you see a beautiful landscape through a window. You look through the window, but you don’t consider it to be a part of the outdoors 🙂 It simply isn’t.
Reblogged this on helena birgitta.
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