Revised Messiah – Excerpt from Critique of Vol. 4

IV. 5. Objection 5.15

Brown presents an objection to Christianity:

“When Jesus failed to fulfill the prophecies, his followers invented the myth of his substitutionary death, his resurrection, and finally his second coming, which, of course, they completely expected in his lifetime.”

Brown responds on behalf of Christianity:

“In order to make this claim, you virtually have to rewrite the entire New Testament, since a central theme of those writings, from their earliest strata on, is that Jesus had to go to the cross and suffer and die and then rise from the dead.”

Brown’s response does not begin to address the objection. The New Testament was written after the disappointed followers of Jesus had already developed a semi-coherent theology to explain the death of their leader. No one claims that any part of the New Testament was written while Jesus was alive. The fact that the New Testament claims that Jesus preached about his death is to be expected. At the same time, the authors of the New Testament admit that the disciples of Jesus did not expect him to die, and that they originally saw his death as a refutation to his Messianic claim (Luke 24:21).

Brown himself admits that the disciples of Jesus only understood his death as part of his Messianic mission after the crucifixion (page 107). So there is no question that Jesus did not teach about his death in a clear and explicit way. It was only after his death and after rumors of his resurrection began to circulate that his disciples came up with the story that he had already taught about his death during his lifetime, but that they had not properly understood his teaching at the time.

Brown goes on to argue: “Since this objection has no historical or textual support…”

How audacious! The Christian Scriptures provide all the necessary textual support for this objection. (The argument that there is no historical support for the objection is irrelevant. There is little if any historical support for the existence of Jesus. The entire point of the objection is that the Christian Scriptures themselves testify against the claims of Christianity.)

Let us summarize what the Christian Scriptures tell us about the progression of events in the community of Jesus’ disciples.

A)    – While Jesus was alive, his disciples believed he was the Messiah, but did not expect him to die.

What we learn from this is that Jesus did not teach his disciples the Christian doctrine of the substitutionary death of the Messiah. If we assume that the disciples of Jesus were familiar with the Jewish Scriptures, then this fact teaches us that the disciples of Jesus read the entirety of the Jewish Scriptures, including Isaiah 53, Daniel 9, and Psalm 22 without seeing the concept of the substitutionary death of the Messiah. They obviously had a different interpretation of these passages. An interesting question to ponder is: On what basis did they understand that Jesus is the Messiah? This was before the crucifixion, so they didn’t have Isaiah 53, they didn’t have Daniel 9 or Psalm 22. They believed he was some type of divine being – but on what basis? And if these people were so credulous so as to accept these claims without a Biblical basis, then why should we trust anything these people tell us?

If we accept the alternative scenario; that the disciples of Jesus were ignorant of the Jewish Scriptures, then the fact that they accepted Jesus as the Messiah is meaningless. Their opinion would be worthless.

B)    – At the point of the crucifixion, the disciples despaired of Jesus being the Messiah.

C)    – At some point in time after the crucifixion, the disciples “came to understand” that this was the role of the Messiah all along.

This means that the crucifixion of their beloved leader caused them to reinterpret the Jewish Scriptures in a manner that they had not understood them until now. Not only were they reinterpreting the Jewish Scriptures, but they were also reinterpreting the message of Jesus. These were the people who were with Jesus throughout his entire teaching career – and they had never heard of the concept of the “substitutionary death of the Messiah”.

In analyzing this situation we are left with two options: 1) – Jesus really did teach about his substitutionary death, and the Jewish Scriptures are also quite clear on this subject – but for some odd reason – although the disciples had the evidence staring them in the face – they couldn’t understand this most foundational teaching of their beloved teacher. This begs the question: what other teachings of Jesus did his disciples misunderstand or simply “not get”?

Option 2) – Jesus never taught about the substitutionary death of the Messiah, and the Jewish Scriptures do not present any clear teaching on this matter – but with the unexpected death of their beloved leader – the disciples could not admit that their leader was a fraud – so their internal mental defense mechanism slowly came up with the theology of the substitutionary death of the Messiah – including some imaginative readings of both the Jewish Scriptures and of the teachings of their leader.

To help you with this analysis – please consider the following: From a historical perspective – how many followers of charismatic leaders had the courage and honesty to admit that the devotion they felt towards their leader was wrong when the facts didn’t turn out as expected?

Brown puts down 6 points that the proponents of this objection (that the theology of the Messiah’s death was invented as a result of Jesus’ death) must believe – and Brown takes the pains to point out how ludicrous he considers each of these 6 points to be.

The first point that Brown brings out, is that those who present this objection must posit that there are no biblical prophecies that point to the “Messiah’s suffering”. Brown argues that this would contradict the objection that some people raise against Christianity which posits that the disciples reconstructed Jesus’ life to fit those prophecies.

The flaws in Brown’s argument are readily apparent. Brown himself admits that while Jesus was alive, the disciples did not find any prophecies in the Jewish Bible that speak of the Messiah’s suffering. Brown acknowledges that it was only after Jesus’ death that the disciples “discovered” these “prophecies”. This means that one could read the Jewish Bible without an “anti-Jesus” bias and still fail to see anything about a suffering Messiah. It is only when one reads the Bible with a “pro-post-crucifixion-Jesus” bias that he or she will “see” the concept of a suffering Messiah. After the disciples began reconstructing their concept of the Messiah, it is entirely reasonable to assume that the same imaginations that saw a suffering Messiah where there was none to be seen, also wished events into existence in order to fit their new theology.

The second point that Brown makes in defense of Christianity is that the proponents of this objection (that the disciples invented the concept of the Messiah’s death out of thin air) would have to believe that Jesus never taught this foundational Christian doctrine. Brown considers this to be untenable because the gospels do record such teachings of Jesus.

Brown fails to consider the fact that all of the people that were with Jesus throughout his entire teaching career did not expect him to die. This tells us that Jesus did NOT teach about his suffering and death. He certainly didn’t teach it in an open and unambiguous way. After the disciples invented this myth and retrojected this concept into the mouth of Jesus, we are not surprised to find that the gospels report that Jesus taught this concept. But the disciple’s confusion at the time clearly indicates that Jesus did NOT teach his disciples about the supposed suffering of the Messiah.

The third argument that Brown advances focuses on the last supper. Brown points out that if the disciples invented the concept of the Messiah’s death, this would then mean that the last supper never took place, and that Jesus never spoke of his blood being shed to inaugurate a new covenant. Brown sees this as an impossible proposition because of the fact that the followers of Jesus had been practicing this ritual since his death.

The question that we must ask here is: at what point in time did the disciples come to understand that the last supper was a “foreshadowing” of Jesus’ death? According to the Christian’s own gospels, the disciples were in a state of confusion even after the crucifixion. They did not understand how their beloved leader could die. If, as Brown argues, Jesus had clearly taught about his impending redemptive death, then why would the disciples despair? Why the confusion? It is clear that Jesus did not provide his disciples with any clear teaching about his impending death. It was only with the passing of time that his disciples came to reinterpret his death and his last supper in a manner that would allow them to maintain their belief in their beloved leader.

Another detail worthy of consideration in relation to this argument is the fact that Paul claims that the concept of the last supper had been revealed to him personally by the dead Jesus (1Corinthians 11:23). This would seem to indicate that until Paul had received this “revelation”, the last supper was not “properly” understood by the followers of Jesus. The Christian Scriptures tell us that it was Paul, and not Jesus, who gave “prophetic” significance to the ritual of the last supper.

The fourth argument that Brown presents as a refutation to this objection (that the concept of the death of the Messiah was a myth invented by the disciples after the death of Jesus) only serves to accentuate the lack of logical cohesion that permeates Brown’s arguments. Brown argues that if the objection is correct in its basic supposition that the disciples invented the theology of the suffering and death of the Messiah, then we would also have to accept the supposition that the resurrection never happened. That is like saying that if we are to accept the supposition that a specific person is guilty, we must be aware that we will also have to assume that he is not innocent.

The proponents of the argument that Jesus’ disciples concocted the concept of a suffering Messiah will certainly also believe that the resurrection never happened.

Brown explains to his readers why it is that he finds the belief that the resurrection never happened to be so preposterous. He claims that those who believe that the resurrection never happened will have to accept that: “the books of the New Testament… are 100 percent wrong 100 percent of the time about the most foundational element of their faith.”

This argument is fallacious from several angles. First and most obviously is that those who reject Islam or Judaism have to live with the fact that they believe that the books of these two world religions are 100 percent wrong 100 percent of the time about the most foundational elements of their faith. This is no problem for people who do not attribute too much validity to the foundational texts of these religions to begin with. But Christianity claims to accept the Jewish Bible. The Jewish Bible teaches that the foundational event of the belief system; the Sinai revelation, taught the Jewish people that to attribute deity to any inhabitant of heaven or earth is a violation of our relationship with God. Christianity rejects this teaching. This means that Christians have to accept that the Jewish Bible is 100 percent wrong 100 percent of the time about the most foundational element of the faith. Christianity does this at the same time that it pays lip-service to its reverence of the Jewish Bible.

A second point that we ought to consider is the question: who says that the alleged resurrection of Jesus was the most foundational element of the faith of Jesus’ disciples? Let us remember, these disciples were totally devoted to faith in Jesus long before the crucifixion. They were not even expecting him to die and be resurrected. So how can the resurrection have been so foundational to their faith?

The fifth argument that Brown advances against the objection that proposes that the disciples made up the theology of the suffering of Messiah after the death of Jesus focuses on the disciples activities after the death of Jesus. Proponents of the objection, argues Brown, will have to accept that: “Within days, all the disciples, without breaking ranks, overcame the shock and trauma of their masters ignominious death; quickly came up with this fabricated account; developed a whole new theology to support it – although until that time they had never once entertained the idea…”

This argument is just as hollow as the previous arguments. For starters, the fact that Brown finds it incredulous that the disciples had: “until that time never once entertained the idea” utterly discredits him. Brown himself acknowledges, and the Christian Scriptures teach, that up until the crucifixion of Jesus the disciples had no clue about the supposed sacrificial death of the Messiah. This sentence has no honest place in Brown’s argument.

Furthermore, how does Brown know that it only took days for the disciples to develop this theology together with the supporting mythology? The earliest dating for the Christian Scriptures places them decades after the death of Jesus. History is replete with the followers of failed movements coming up with new theologies and supporting mythical events to support them. A typical historical template would have the disciples sharing their inspired visions of their master, and with time these came to be interpreted as physical sightings. If there was some confusing physical event that the disciples seized upon in order to overcome their disappointment, this would have only accelerated the process. This could have been a report of a sighting or a report of an empty grave. Neither of these scenarios necessitates belief in an actual resurrection. It is common for people who suddenly lose a loved one to think they see him or her somewhere. The scenario of an empty grave is actually supported by the Christian Scriptures. According to the gospels, Jesus was buried hastily, close to nightfall, with few people attending the burial, and in a grave designated for another person. How difficult would it be to assume that the disciples were mistaken about the location of the grave? How difficult would it be to assume that the rightful owners of the grave removed Jesus’ body? In fact John presents this scenario as the first thought that came to Mary’s mind when she found an empty grave (John 20:2). Would the devoted followers of a charismatic leader need more “evidence” than that which any of these scenarios provide before believing a resurrection? History testifies that devoted followers of charismatic have a strong tendency to believe the most preposterous things about their leader provided that they support their devotion.

Finally, how does Brown know that there was no “breaking of ranks”? Matthew reports that there was an element of doubt about the resurrection in the mind of some of the disciples. How can Brown be confident that these disciples did not break rank with those who believed the resurrection in a literal sense?

The sixth and last argument presented by Brown points out that the proponents of the objection (that the disciples invented the suffering Messiah concept) would have to believe that: “On top of all this, they not only created the myth of a second coming but then misunderstood the myth they created, wrongly believing it would happen in their lifetime when, in fact they were fully aware that they made the whole thing up.”

Brown finishes his argument with: “If you believe this, I have an exclusive contract for you on the Brooklyn Bridge…”

Brown is in the process of trying to sell his readers the equivalent to a contract on the BrooklynBridge, and he yet accuses his critics of trying to sell the BrooklynBridge!

The disciples understood that Jesus will return in their lifetime based on words that Jesus spoke before the crucifixion. As it is with most Messianic pretenders, Jesus promised his following that they will merit to witness the age of Israel’s glory. Before the crucifixion, this was understood by Jesus’ followers to mean that he will soon assume the position of Israel’s Messiah. After the crucifixion, his disciples reinterpreted his message to mean that he will return from the dead to assume what they considered his rightful position. Is this chain of events so preposterous? It is the common template followed by the disappointed devotees of almost every failed Messiah.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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34 Responses to Revised Messiah – Excerpt from Critique of Vol. 4

  1. Dina says:

    I just had a thought. If “Contra Brown” and its supplement were to be published, Dr. Brown would have no choice but to offer a written rebuttal. I think.

  2. Yedidiah says:

    Literally, there are significant contradictions between the gospels and the writings of Paul. Likewise, you will find many contradictions when you compare each gospel with the others (e.g., between the “synoptics” and John or between Matthew and Luke). There are also internal contradictions within each gospel (e.g., Matthew contradicts Matthew). If you take the entire NT writings literally as truth and history, as Brown seems to, (as if we had only original documents written within the “lifetime of Jesus” or at least within hours or days after his death, and none of which were written decades or centuries later and none of which were ever edited later – all things which even the early church fathers testify were not true), then you will come up with the irrational and contradictory statements made by Brown that are quoted above. According to Brown, you must somehow believe contradictions as 100% truth and you must see confusion as clarity, or you MUST reject 100% of the NT. Since “confusion is of the devil”, according to Brown your soul depends upon you rejecting the gospels in its entirety. Most Christian scholars or apologists would strongly disagree and would not go as far as he (as a “bluff” just in order to win an argument?) saying the NT is “100% wrong 100% of the time”. But as Rabbi Blumenthal so clearly sees and noted, it is the Christian scriptures themselves that testify against Christianity. And Brown, Shapira, and others who have to must of their life (& for some, their livelihood) invested in Jesus, aka Yeshua, must invent a “Revised Messiah” and as Brown put it, “virtually rewrite the entire New Testament” in order to make sense of it and hold on to it.

    • Yedidiah says:

      Edits: “or you MUST reject” should be “or else you MUST reject”. And, “have to must …. invested”, should be “have too much … invested”.

  3. C.S says:

    I said that a while ago. I completely agree. People I have spoken to seem to be very well versed in Browns works, and from the outsiders point of view, finding Rabbi Blumenthals extensive critiques of these books are not so easy to find unless like me, you actively look for it. I only found this blog because I contacted Rabbi Skobac at Jews for Judaism looking for a response to Daniel Boyarins book the Jewish Gospels which I found on Amazon. If Rabbi Blumenthals critiques were published in book form or even Kindle and ranked high with some searches on google, or could be found in Amazon then I think it would force Brown to respond, make known the Jewish response to the missionary literature to those who are reading it. It can also be used to further promote this blog for further reading…

  4. junzey says:

    Dear Rabbi Yisroel, I did not learn about Yeshua/Jesus from charismatic leaders! Hashem revealed Himself to me – He visited me with His Presence and changed my life. I then read the Scriptures (Old Testament) and The Holy Spirit enlightened my eyes – opened my eyes – to our Messiah! He revealed Himself to me in the Torah, Prophets and Psalms.

    Yeshua did talk with His disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) but they didn’t understand Him until the breaking of bread then they knew and understood all He was saying … that was after his crucifixion.

    May Hashem visit you like He visited me. Your love for Him is real, so you will know it Is He – and bow your knee. Then you will know The Truth and The Truth will set you free. With Respect, June

  5. June Volk says:

    Dear Rabbi Yisroel,
    I did not learn about Yeshua/Jesus from charismatic leaders! Hashem revealed Himself to me – He visited me with His Presence and changed my life. I then read the Scriptures (Old Testament) and The Holy Spirit enlightened my eyes – opened my eyes – to our Messiah! He revealed Himself to me in the Torah, Prophets and Psalms.

    Yeshua did talk with His disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) but they didn’t understand Him …until the breaking of bread … then they knew and understood all He was saying … that was after his crucifixion.

    May Hashem visit you like He visited me. Your love for Him is real, so you will know it Is He – and bow your knee. Then you will know The Truth and The Truth will set you free.
    With Respect,
    June
    On Jan 19, 2014, at 11:02 PM, “Yisroel Blumenthal” wrote:

    June
    So you accept while Jesus walked the earth he did not teach the concept “substitutionary death of the Messiah” – it was only “revealed” later. That was the point of my article and it seems that you agree.
    May Hashem open your eyes to read what it says in His holy word and not what the failed mission of a charismatic leader would “reveal” to you.
    Yisroel

    • Jim says:

      June,

      You only verify that belief preceded knowledge. Once you believed, then you were able to interpret Jesus into the text. But that is the complete opposite of what should have happened. You should have been able to read the Tanach and have a clear picture from them regarding Messiah, and afterward noticed that Jesus fit the description. Because your belief preceded knowledge, your belief is unreliable, and now so is your knowledge, because you have based it according to your opinion.

      Jim

      • John says:

        I would have to ask you then, what is it that the jews holds to? Where is the evidence of the miracles? The Scrolls? The holy artifcats? Didn’t God promise Abraham before he showed him? God commanded Abraham have faith and obey first. Then he showed him the promise. It is the same with Noah. Did Noah believe in the flood from Knowledge or from Faith, and in turn build the ark? Your argument is flawed.

    • Dina says:

      Dear June the Jewess,

      You have ignored my comments to you in the past, but I am writing to you again in the hope that you are listening.

      How in your mind does this work? Can someone come to your beliefs through rational thought, or must one hope that one receives a visitation such as what you experienced? If the latter, is it a matter of pure luck? As in, June is so lucky because she had this visitation, but other Jews don’t get to have that. They are stuck with their spiritual blindness, so sad. Who gets chosen and why?

      In your mind, is there any room for engaging in rational debate?

      Also, how do you know that this encounter of yours wasn’t with Satan, trying to lead you astray?

      And finally, what would you tell people who have had powerful spiritual experiences that lead them to different deities?

      I asked you in a different comment something that is worth repeating in case you didn’t read it then. Do you care about being Jewish? Are you aware of how history treats every Jew who converts to Christianity? Every single time without fail, their line disappears into oblivion, usually through assimilation. Does it trouble you to know that in one, two, or three generations, your descendants will no longer identify as Jews or even know that great-grandma June was a Jewess? And if it does trouble you, what are you going to do about it?

      Please, oh please, take the time to think instead of feel.

      Peace and blessings,
      Dina

      • June Volk says:

        Hi Dina,
        Sorry you thought I ignored you; I never saw your questions to me in the past, this is the first I have seen. Please forgive my delaying to respond to you.
        First of all, when one is a seeker of Truth, and is open to knowing if Jesus/Yeshua is the Messiah and Son of God, for our Jewish people, and Savior of the world, then the God of our Fathers can open your eyes to His Word. Anyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. In other words, if you want to know the Truth, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can reveal it to you in His Written Word, or in your life experiences, which would be undeniable if The Holy One of Israel touches you.
        Secondly, The Lord has shown Himself faithful to our family. All of our children and grandchildren love the Lord and they have a burden for Israel and for our people. My son teaches the Jewish Roots of our faith around the world. We are Jewish believers.
        David Brickner, who is the overseer of Jews For Jesus, is a 5th generation Jewish believer. His sister married a Jewish believer and they serve the Lord in Illinois reaching out to their community. David’s parents are leaders amongst Jewish believers in Israel. So your thought of my family not knowing they are Jews, I trust God with that truth, and the imporance of their being a ‘witness’ in the earth as Jewish believers.
        I love Hashem, I love the Scriptures and I will pray for you, Dina. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and your questions with me – hope this helps you to understand that I’m a Jewish believer in Jesus – there are thousands upon thousands of us around the world.
        With Blessings,
        June
        PS Sorry, Rabbi, I thought it would be rude of me to not repond to Dina. I will not be on this page again, so know that my not answering is because I want to show respect to My Pharisee friend whom I appreciate and love.

        • Dina says:

          Hi June.

          Thank you for responding. What you are basically saying is that if you reach out to God sincerely, He will stop by for tea. And if He doesn’t, that means you weren’t sincere.

          I do not think you realize how very self-serving that argument is. So I will ask you some other questions.

          This question is not directed at you specifically, so I’d like you to try to answer this theoretically if it doesn’t apply to you. Suppose you have a son. He falls in love with a woman is beautiful inside and out, and even better, her values and religion line up with yours.

          There is only one little problem.

          She isn’t Jewish.

          Will it bother you if your son marries her, effectively ending your Jewish line? If so, what reason can you give him to end the relationship before he takes it to the next level?

          I propose that there is no reason you can give him which he will not perceive as racist.

          Do you see where this will lead you, and all other Messianic Jews, ultimately? So it might take five generations, it might take six, but it won’t last forever.

          I’d like you tell me some other things.

          Please tell me why you feel comfortable in a religion which consigns the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust to hell while their Christian murderers celebrate in heaven.

          Please tell me why you feel comfortable in a religion which has been throughout the centuries a spectacular moral failure. And I’m not referring just to persecution of Jews, which is bad enough. I’m talking about the incredibly large buckets of blood shed through wars between Catholics and Protestants, through witch trials, through death penalties for petty crimes, and so on (you should study history; it’s illuminating).

          Please tell me why you feel comfortable in a religion whose sacred text preaches love on the one hand but hatred to a particular group on the other. That particular group being the one from which you sprang.

          Have you studied the history of the Jewish people, especially during the time Christian scripture was written, from non-biblical sources? Have you made a careful study of the history of Christian Jewish relations? Have you learned Hebrew so you can study the Torah in its original language?

          June, you have made a decision that is uninformed and uneducated. Instead of assuming spiritual blindness on the part of Jews who don’t accept your god, take a good, hard look in the mirror to see who is being willfully ignorant.

          I hope you take my words to heart and open your mind to listening and understanding the traditional Jewish position. May God lead you and I both in the light of His truth.

          Good luck,
          Dina

          • Annelise says:

            June… what Dina is saying is very important… but even if you had Jewish Christians in your family for five hundred years to come that still wouldn’t make the following or worship of Yeshua true… what matters is how Hashem sees it.

        • June
          No need to apologize. I am happy to provide a forum for such discussion – I believe that these discussions lead to the truth

        • John says:

          Dear Dina, what do you think would have been Abrahams answer to you? Would your rational mind be able to accept the answer that Abraham would give you? Imagine the conversation.

          Why did you take your sun up the mountain for? … Oh because God told you to?… You left home and family to wander the land because why? And you were promised what? That you would be the father of many nations?… How many sons do you have? None? Oh you have been promised one? And your how old? 80 years old? When will you get that son? Oh you don’t know. OK, I think I am going to stay away from you. Your not a very rational man. Actually you claim to hear God speak, you obey that voice and you even were willing to kill your son in obedience of that Voice.

          It was his Fath that made him trust and see the Glory of God. Let me show you what a Rational Mind did. He was taught that people came from an evolutionary process. He was taught that people were genetically different and so there were superior races and inferior. He lost his faith in God and became an atheist, but it was his rational that confirmed to that he was right in what he did. Because he used his education and his godlessness to support his views he also embraced eugenics and came to a rational belief that survival of the fittest was the answer to fix humanities problems. You already know that I am talking about Hitler. From a non-emotional, atheistic perspective, following the beliefs of the time, he was being rational. His rational killed six+ million Humans, jews to be exact.

          Man is able to rationalize anything. This the reasons for two different Jewish branches coming forth via Christianity and Judaism. But even amongst the Judaic branch you have other Branches as well, and so in Christianity. Rational is about as good to people as a firebrand in the dessert. Unless God opens your eyes you remain in darkness. But it takes realizing that you are lost first. That requires what Abraham had, faith in an unseen, unknown God. A God who revealed himself to him. A God that has not Changed, and will never change. It is us who must Change. It is in the Tanak that it says, God reveals himself to those who diligently seek him. So what June says is correct according to your very own book. So is this self serving then? Are you saying that Gods command to diligently seek him is wrong? You reject what she says because you don’t believe the Tanak the way she sees it. But it is also possible that you are the one who is wrong in your understanding?

          The Nation of Isreal doesn’t have a good track record of hearing and obeying Gods voice. And as Jesus says, God didn’t send Elijah to a Jewish woman during the drought, No he sent him to a gentile. The majority of the tribes of Isreal are full of gentile bloodlines and many of them nations that God had commanded destroyed. Obedience is better than sacrifice. In the Torah God commands atonement for the sins of a nation and he punished the people for the evils of their kings. Isreal has a lot of atoning to do, but God loves you, that is why he promises a seed (Genesis) that through faith (Cain and able) is accepted by God. A son who will crush the serpent’s head. The first promise is to crush the enemy of humanity. The promise of the holy seed is what God must fullfill. Not just the establishment of a nation. Messiah comes to crush Satan. But Satan is not a man, he is a spirit. So how will a physical defeat of the enemies of Isreal produce an obedient people? It didn’t happen in the OT. How can it happen without the crushing of the serpent first? The tempter of our souls (Job).

          • Dina says:

            Hi John,

            Comments like yours make me wonder why Christians think that by insulting Jews they will attract us to your religion. (Being nice doesn’t work either, a revelation which disgusted Martin Luther.) In your comment you managed to insult me three times. You compared me to Hitler (!). You implied that I lack faith. And you implied that I am spiritually blind. Charming!

            Now that I have addressed your unkind words, I shall address your arguments. Although you disdain reason, I shall appeal to your sense of logic, as that is the only means of conducting a debate.

            You argue that reason must not be used to discover the truth because it leads you down the path of eugenics, racial genocide, and similar evil ideologies. The only way to discover the truth, you say, is for God to personally visit you if you sincerely seek him out. I’m not sure what you mean by that. And, yes, this is self-serving, because you can always say that anyone who comes to a non-Christian conclusion must not have been sincere.

            John, I believe you are confusing two words, rational and rationalize. I suggest you look them up. They do not mean the same thing.

            Suppose someone is seeking the truth and in the process is examining the competing and contradictory claims of five major world religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Since these religions contradict each other on their fundamental principles, our truth seeker faces two options. Either only one of these religions is true, or none of them are true. Four of the five religions tell him he should not use his God-given ability to reason to discover which one, if any, is true. He should just have faith. He should just believe, each respective one says, “because I say so.”

            One of the five, Judaism, tells him to use his reason to examine the evidence for each claim and to make a rational decision, praying all the while for guidance and clarity. You see, Judaism believes in free will. God gave us the ability to reason and to choose. Our spiritual destiny is in our own hands (Deuteronomy 30). Scripture furthermore tells us that turning to God in prayer and repentance is enough to atone for our sins (Ezekiel 18 and 33).

            You further argued that our track record with sinning isn’t perfect. Are you arguing that since we don’t have a perfect track record, we should therefore abandon the faith of our fathers completely? What kind of argument is that?

            It is unseemly for you, a Christian, to sit on your high horse and lecture to us about our sins. Rather, you should examine the far graver sins committed by your own spiritual ancestors, sins of persecution, torture, and bloodshed against God’s firstborn son, Israel. And sins of bloodshed against each other. The wars that pitted Christian against Christian, Catholic against Protestant, the errors of clergy made against innocents condemned for witchcraft, the horrible practice of hanging criminals for petty crimes. The list is endless.

            Take the beam out of your own before removing the splinter from your friend’s eye, John.

            And while you are sawing off that beam, consider this.

            Nowhere in Hebrew scripture is there a hint that we must have faith in the Messiah to attain eternal salvation.

            Nowhere in Hebrew scripture is there a hint that turning to God in prayer and repentance is not enough to atone for our sins.

            Nowhere in Hebrew scripture is there a hint that we must change our worship of God to include a trinity.

            Nowhere in Hebrew scripture is there a hint that the Jews will come to the gentiles to learn the truth about God.

            And finally, I will tell you that I am a woman of deep faith.

            I believe that God is the one and only Creator of all, that He is alone, that He has no form or image, that He is the First and He is the Last, that only to Him and to no one else should I direct my prayers, that the words of the prophets of the Tanach are true, that Moses is a true prophet and the greatest of them all, that Moses gave us the Torah that is in our hands today, that this Torah will never be changed or switched to something else (like Christian scripture), that God knows our hearts, that God rewards us for good deeds and punishes us for bad, that the Messiah will come, and that the dead will be resurrected.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

  6. Yedidiah says:

    It does not matter if one learns about Jesus from charismatic leaders or from not-so-charismatic leaders or because of some other pre-suppositions and acquaintance with Jesus from your family or your social environment, if you believe in Jesus as a “messiah” first and then see you “Jesus/Yeshua” where the authors 100’s of years before Jesus did not put an “Iesous/Yeshua”, then you are searching for some justification for your belief in Jesus (and not HaShem, the supposed sender of the supposed messenger, Jesus). You are making the text tell you “sweet nothings” or making it lie for the benefit of beliefs that you already hold. If Hashem revealed Himself, then it is HaShem alone that you would see and not some some other one; not a messiah and not Jesus.

    It must be remembered that Jesus came around long after the texts were written and the Christian writings, by unknown persons and at unknown times, all took place quite a while after Jesus. So, of course you will find a relatively small number of verses from the “Original Testament” used (or most often, rather mis-used, mis-quoted, & mis-interpreted) to justify Jesus by those few persons who wanted to read the original into their new bible. But these writers also came after Assyria, Babylon, Hellenism, the Roman Empire and the Caesars, Chrishna, Tammuz, Ba’alim, Zoroastrianism (the gospels Magi), numerous “dying-rising man-god” religions, Plato, Cynicism and Stoicism, etc. So you can justify belief in Jesus/Yeshua and have him revealed to you from many non-Jewish and pagan writings as well. Perhaps more so. But it is much harder to find HaShem in those writings. If Jesus was “sent” by HaShem, shouldn’t Jesus and his disciples have preached HaShem alone? Shouldn’t God (the God of the Israel, the Original God of the “Original Testament” be the one that is revealed in the NT and not Jesus? If Almighty God is supposed to be the “purpose of Jesus”, the focus, why is the vast majority of the focus on a man named Jesus, instead of the One who is greater, who is not a man, who is God, Yh-Wh, HaShem? Why is not the revelation or focus on “The Anointer”, instead of the focus being placed on a man who mere men call one “who was anointed”?

    As one raised and trained as a Christian, I know that it takes quite some effort and human will-power to read Jesus into “all of the Christian OT”. But it is much, much easier not to see a single verse in the Tanach that is about Jesus/Yeshua. No prophesies, no revelation, no valid clues. And by minimizing Jesus or by completely eliminating Jesus from Tanach, it is HaShem, God, who is magnified much more than Christians can possibly magnify Jesus or even our non-Jewish revision of God.

  7. Sophiee says:

    So many Christians speak to us of “feeling Jesus in their heart.” Followers of Ba’al and other false gods had (and have) this same emotional experience — and we are warned not to follow the whims of emotions and be led astray by our own inclinations. “Be careful that your heart not be tempted to go astray and worship other gods, bowing down to them.”. D’varim / Deuteronomy 11:16

    and

    D’varim / Deuteronomy 29: 17. Perhaps there is among you a man, woman, family, or tribe, whose heart strays this day from HaShem, our G-d, to go and worship the deities of those nations. Perhaps there is among you a root that produces hemlock and wormwood. 18. And it will be, when he [such a person] hears the words of this oath, that he will bless himself in his heart, saying, “I will have peace, even if I follow my heart’s desires,”. . . 19. HaShem will not be willing to forgive him; rather, then, HaShem’s fury and His zeal will fume against that man, and the entire curse written in this book will rest upon him, and HaShem will obliterate his name from beneath the heavens.

    For every Christian who has a “supernatural experience” I can find you a Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu who will claim the same. http://noahide-ancient-path.co.uk/index.php/judaism-articles/2011/05/q-a-but-look-how-believing-in-jesus-has-changed-my-life/

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  10. Yehuda says:

    To our new Arabic speaking friend. Welcome.

    I don’t personally have a good suggestion other that perhaps to have an English speaker help you translate your comments. Although I can’t help but see the humor in what results from the use of Google Translate which is what I suspect you have been using. (I suspect that
    “Glance advanced” , is what Google Translate came up with in translating the Arabic equivalent of “looking forward”.

    Here is a suggestion I learned from personal experience.

    When you use a translator, take the translated result it provides in the foreign language and translate it back in reverse to the original language. That way you can get see if the translation is understandable. If it is not you can then try changing some word choices. In general try to avoid idioms which will not translate well

    I will actually try this now on my last paragraph and add..the result to this post.

    عند استخدام مترجم، واتخاذ نتيجة ترجمته يوفر في لغة أجنبية وترجمة مرة أخرى في الاتجاه المعاكس إلى اللغة الأصلية. وبهذه الطريقة يمكنك الحصول على معرفة ما إذا كانت الترجمة هي مفهومة. إذا لم يكن يمكنك ثم حاول تغيير بعض الخيارات كلمة. بشكل عام في محاولة لتجنب التعابير التي لن تترجم جيدا

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  14. With respect, I have a few questions. It is a well known premise of Judaism’s reading of the servant songs in Isaiah that the nations mock Dispersed Israel, regarding him as rejected by G-d, until the day will come when G-d exalts the righteous remnant of Israel in the eyes of the nations unexpectedly,(presumably when the exiles are gathered, and a nation is built in a day.) This will presumably happen when either Israel is in a perfectly righteous generation, or a perfectly wicked one, according to the interpretation of Zechariah 9:9. This miraculous regathering and reconstitution will also presumably provoke Israel’s national repentance, and the repentance and purification of the surrounding peoples that they will serve G-d with one shoulder.

    So my questions are these

    1) given that nations fall and rise every day, sometimes quickly and miraculously, what will make Israel’s reconstitution special? Better Miracles?

    2) why will the nations see this reconstitution as reason to repent, and why would wicked nations who don’t know about G-d or Jews even care? Will it be because of the hurt inflicted on Israel by other nations and a feeling of remorse?

    3) we have seen Israel’s reconstitution in the past and in our own day without any of the above aspects of repentance, or reconciliation occurring in full. Even the Maccabean reconstitution which had the miracles of hannukah had a similar though more effective outcome (rebuilding the temple), while still not reaching the goal. How can the nation rising quickly, even miraculously accomplish this goal of repentance when this exact occurrence (even with an element of miracle occurring in 1948 and 1967) already occurred without expected results?

    4) How will those not of the righteous remnant of Israel (namely the irreligious among them) find a desire for repentance through this occurrence which they have doubtlessly heard the story of?

    • Annelise says:

      Hi Concerned Reader,

      I think the answer connects with the way there will be more to it than merely the sudden reconstitution.

      Blessings, have the best week,
      Annelise

  15. Hello Annelise, yeah, it appears there will be more than a national reconstitution, hence my questions. The thrust of the prevailing interpretation of the servant songs in Isaiah seems to be that the exaltation of the dispersed servant Israel will motivate great change, if there’s more to it, what is it?

  16. Concerned Reader
    The answer is that the exaltation will not be a simple physical exaltation – like the restoration of a nation in a physical sense or the ingathering of the exiles. No – the prophet speaks of God’s arm bared to the eyes of all the nations. This will be something similar to the manifestation of God that the nation saw when God’s presence came to rest in the Tabernacle and in the Temple (Exodus 40:35; 1Kings 8:11), only this time it will not be on top of a building but on top of a people – and all the nations will see and know. It will be an international revelation that will be collectively experienced by all mankind.

  17. That sounds a lot like the transfiguration of Jesus rabbi, except that it will be in the eyes of everyone?

  18. Not that I’m trying to equate the two either, rabbi.

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