The Historical Jesus and the Historicity of the Christian Scriptures
Much ink has been expended in the effort to uncover the historical Jesus. The questions abound. Was Jesus a radical revolutionary against the oppressive Roman Empire or was he a pacifist who decried the use of force? Was Jesus an imposter or was he a messenger from on high? Was he a prophet or was he a deluded dreamer? What theology did Jesus preach? Did he preach a Trinity or did he advocate a pure monotheistic faith?
All of these arguments center on the work of literature that is known as the Christian Scripture. It is in this set of books that the character and the history of Jesus are depicted. This series of books brings a new set of questions to the discussion. Who authored these books? When were these books authored? Was there another document that preceded these books from which these writers drew their narratives? Are these books reliable?
It is not for me to attempt to resolve these questions. I do not believe that these questions can be resolved decisively and conclusively. The events in questions took place in the distant past. Any theory, no matter how convincing, can only remain speculation.
What we can do and what is incumbent upon us to do is to put this discussion in perspective. In the complexities of the conversations certain common denominators tend to get lost. By recognizing the common thread that is present in all of the theories about Jesus and the books that describe his life we can bring some balance to this debate.
Any discussion about a human being must recognize its limitations. No man can truly know what transpires in the heart of his fellow man. Only God can see the heart (1Samuel 16:7). We can only evaluate the words and the activities that our subject brought out into the open. Since this discussion is about a man who lived and died a long time ago, we cannot evaluate all of his words and actions. We can only measure those words and those actions that were preserved in the writings and in the hearts of those who were impacted by his life. In other words this can never be a discussion about Jesus. We can only discuss the impression that Jesus left behind him in this world.
These impressions themselves are ever-changing. New interpretations of Jesus’ words and teachings are being developed on a regular basis. Is it at all possible to determine with any accuracy the content of the original impression that Jesus left behind him? I think that not. But I do believe that we can be confident about one element of the original impression that Jesus made on those who lived with him. There is one constant quality that every strand of evidence affirms concerning the impression that Jesus left behind him. There is no dispute that Jesus raised up a following that saw love for Jesus as a central feature, if not the central feature of their universe.
Since that time, all who considered themselves followers of Jesus accepted this constant. All who follow Jesus accept that a person’s love for Jesus or lack thereof is the most important defining quality of man. These followers of Jesus defined themselves and they evaluated their connection to other people primarily on the basis of their feelings toward Jesus.
Yes, there was and there still is conflict about which Jesus to love. Is it a Trinitarian Jesus or is it a Unitarian Jesus? Is it a pacifist Jesus or is it a Jesus who wants to see his enemies destroyed? But all who like to see themselves as extensions of Jesus’ impact on human society agree that love for Jesus is a central feature of their worldview.
The books of the Christian Scriptures were products of this community. It is difficult to determine with any certainty the precise theological parameters of the writers of the gospels, but there is no question that they saw love for Jesus as a principal element of existence. The most important line in the universe of the gospel writers was the divide between those who love Jesus and those who don’t.
It is naïve to read the books of Christian Scripture without recognizing this truth. These writers loved Jesus in an extreme way. It is clear that these people would not have demanded the same standard of evidence that an objective outsider would demand before accepting something positive or before discounting something negative about their hero.
To say that the books of Christian Scriptures are historical documents is misleading. Yes, these books were written a long time ago. But do these books present objective historical facts? It would be foolish to believe so. It is clear that these books are presenting the worldview of people whose hearts were completely committed to Jesus. Not only were these books written by people with a deep love for Jesus in their hearts, but these books were written with the express purpose of promoting and justifying that love. Few factors can distort a person’s view of reality to the same extent as the factor of love for an individual.
The ramifications of this truth are manifold. When the Christian Scriptures report that Jesus performed many glorious miracles, we need to read those words with the understanding that those who wrote them had a deep motivation to believe those reports. When these writers present fanciful Scriptural interpretations that exalt Jesus we need to recognize that there was a driving force in their hearts that wanted to see these interpretations in the words of the prophets. When the gospel writers vilify those who did not share their love for Jesus, we need to realize that the centerpiece of their worldview would have them interpret reality in this way.
We can know very little about Jesus today, so many centuries after his death. But we can be sure that he left behind him a legacy that elevated people’s love for him to an extreme degree.
The question that needs to be asked when reading the Christian Scriptures is if this love is justified? What legacy of justification did the gospel writers present for this central element of their message? Perhaps more important is the question of what kind of legacy of respect did they pass on concerning the ethical and moral responsibility for people to question that love.
Did the community that Jesus raised respect the process of honest questioning before loving? Or did they redefine honesty according to the love that was so central to their universe?
These are the questions that we should be asking about the historical Jesus. For this is the imprint that he left on the minds and hearts of men.
If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.
Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.
Yisroel C. Blumenthal
Until a person, Jew or gentile truly believes in the Lord God of Israel as the one true God, can a person believe in His Son Yeshua, The express image of His Father.
Reject the Son of Man, reject the Father of Heaven.
God requires mercy not sacrifice.
Debate on Him for a life time. Until you can circumcise your hearts and repent and in turn love the Lord your God with your hearts and not with your empty prayers, then and only then will the Lord God lift the scales from yours eyes.
If you feel that non-Christian Jews seek God with empty prayers and not with their hearts, then I feel you might have ‘scales’ on your eyes (or more likely, you don’t know or don’t care).
You seem to be under the impression that its mine and the churches responsibility/fault that you/Israel are in your current situation?
Like ive said before your liberal ” Theology” of Gods statutes are pityful.
Gods devine judgement will fall on ALL you reject Him. I didnt make the rules, niether did you. Read YOUR scriptures, YOUR history and future is clearly seen by those who love Him.
Yes I can see clearly, because God had it scribed so I could. God sent His Son also, so you could see. But you refuse to believe and see.
Paul– The church has cobbled together a narrative based on faulty hermeneutical principals that simply do not line up with scriptures in the Jewish bible. For example:
A) Where in Tanakh does it say that messiah will end the law?
Nowhere: Psalm 111:7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
8 They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and revered is his name.
Mal 4:4 “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.
B ) Where in Tanakh does it say that messiah will be granted the ability to forgive sin?
Nowhere: Only One who forgives, One Savior, Isaiah 43:“I, even I, am the Lord, And there is no savior besides Me.”
C) Where in Tanakh does it say that messiah will fulfill the law on our behalf?
Nowhere, in fact we are show still doing the law in the messianic era: And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. See Ezek 11, 36, 44.
D) Where in TORAH does G-d reveal to Moses that messiah will be a god-man hybrid?
Nowhere: In fact G-ds revelation of His nature and essence was closed at Sinai. 35 To you it was shown that you might know that the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him.
E) Where in Tanakh does it say that a dying and resurrecting personage is enough to crown him King Messiah?
Nowhere: Torah doesnt even hint at such a thing. And only by eisegesis can you derive it from the prophets. The messianic tasks must be completed or else the candidate is to be rejected. In Jesus’ case he failed Dt 13 and 18. Jesus failed in his spiritual priestly mission. He did not purify the sons of Levi and restore the sacrificial system to its previous glory and he totally failed to perform any Kingly duties.
F) Where in Tanakh does it say that the Jews will learn from the Gentile’s because they have truth?
Nowhere: Just the opposite, Jer 16:19 O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit….
21 Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The Lord….Hashem!……..(Not Jesus)
G) Where in Tanakh does it say that you must believe in someone to have atonement for sin?
Nowhere: Micah6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God
H) Where in Tanakh does it say that messiah will be a “gate” to G-d?
Nowhere: Isaiah 43:“I, even I, am the Lord, And there is no savior besides Me.”
I ) Where in Tanakh is there a a single verse that says when Elijah returns, he will be persecuted and murdered?
Nowhere: Mal 4:5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers,……this of course was not done by John the Baptist. Furthermore, Jesus says he will undo the work of Elijah and DIVIDE families…what?!
J) Where in Tanakh does it say that after messiah is killed, we are to pretend to eat his body and drink his blood?
Nowhere: Lev 1710 ‘And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.
46 This is the law regarding the animal and the bird, and every living thing that moves in the waters and everything that swarms on the earth, 47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the edible creature and the creature which is not to be eaten.
……………..So why pretend to eat unclean food? And note: The Jewish people had to eat the golden calf idol at Sinai…coincidence?
K) Where in Tanakh does it say that “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven”?
Nowhere: Totally foreign concept to Jewish doctrine more akin to witchcraft. “and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger.
L) Where in Tanakh does it say that there will be a change in the Priesthood that requires a change in the Law?
Nowhere: the Levitical priesthood is returning: Ezek 44:10 But the Levites who went far from Me when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, shall bear the punishment for their iniquity. 11 Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the house and ministering in the house; they shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. …23 Moreover, they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 In a dispute they shall take their stand to judge; they shall judge it according to My ordinances. They shall also keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed feasts and sanctify My sabbaths. 2
M) Where in Tanakh does it say that G-d will share His glory with messiah?
Nowhere: Isaiah 48…And My glory I will not give to another.
N) Why does G-d tell us in Dt 30 that we can do the law, the law is forever and then 1500 years later, through Paul, tell us we cant do the law? G-d withholds Jesus from us for 1500 years letting us flounder in hopelessness?
This is the false narrative of the church. Making G-ds word untrustworthy and deceitful.
The composite portrait of Jesus, cobbled together fails every test of scripture.
“Reject the Son of Man, reject the Father of Heaven”
You say to read “YOUR” scripture. Okay, where in the Hebrew scriptures does it say such a thing. I Have read where it says do Not put any trust in the “Son of Man”. So I, for one, will Most certainly Not put any trust in This son of man.
Paul, what you and other Christians who preach to us about our spiritual blindness do not realize is how self-righteous, smug, and superior you sound, thereby increasing the moral unattractiveness of Christianity to us.
Because we are in your view thus blinded, you are absolved of the responsibility to actually defend your faith on rational grounds. You can remain comfortably seated on your high horse, preaching at us but refusing to listen with your mind and heart to the words of God’s chosen witnesses, who bear the testimony of His truth.
Furthermore, Paul, how do you know we don’t love God? How do you know our prayers are empty? Have you looked into our hearts? What arrogance is this? Only God is privy to our innermost hearts.
God does love Israel and rightly will restore her.
Currently you have no Land (fully) no king, priest or temple service.
So how are you witnessing the truth? At least get someone to build on the temple mount and get the Law of sacrifices up and running again.
Why hasnt your Messiah come and rescued you from the church?
How are we witnessing the truth?
Aw, come on now, that’s easy. It’s called Torah, G-d’s only truth!
Our messiah’s mission is not to rescue us from the church or any other religion.
Why hasn’t your messiah rescued you from Islam, Buddhism, Atheism and the like?
It is very obvious to me Paul that you really do not understand the Hebrew bible.
I believe that I and others on this blog have told you that we are indeed suffering for our sins, but not the sin of idolatry that you would like us to commit. Show me one place in the Torah that says that I must accept the Messiah and worship him as God or else I would be punished for it.
You asked why our messiah hasn’t rescued us from the Church. Are you defending the Church’s actions? If not, then you have to answer the question why not, if the Church was carrying out God’s will.
I also don’t make up the rules. I didn’t make up the rule that “I will bless those who bless you and those who curse you I will curse” (Genesis 12:3). You are not a prophet with the authority to rebuke the Jewish people, nor do you have permission from God to curse us.
If you say these things out of love, you are doing a poor job of showing it. The substance and tone of your comments are hateful.
Since I don’t care to dialogue with haters, you will have to change your tone if you wish to carry on this discussion with me.
My tone to you only appears offensive to you because you dont like to hear an oppersite view. I will not change my view just to appease your emotions. Of course I hear and read comments also, that are intruding to my thoughts but thats the result of discusing subjects of two oppersites. Of course no direct personal, ethnic or other insults are exceptable, ever.
Im not a Jew hater as you might think? But thats ok with me.
To answer your opening question by response is;
1. Deut. 18 V 18
2 Ex 3 v1_10.
3. Ex 20 18_21
4.Ex 32 7_35.
I have a lot to say; I will try to get to it later today. Otherwise it will wait till sometime this week. I ask for your patience.
Sorry for the delay in responding. First, you prove Rabbi Blumenthal’s point in his post “Respect for the Process” (https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/respect-for-the-process/). By hurling threats at us instead of examining the evidence together, you show your contempt for the process of truth seeking. I suggest you replace that contempt with love and join me in the exhilarating search for clarity.
Second, I do not know which question of mine you are answering. I looked up the sources you presented and I am not sure what your point is. May I trouble you to clarify?
“Why hasnt your Messiah come and rescued you from the church?”
Interesting, you admit that the Church attack literally or not true Jews!
Dina, Well said!
You wrote: These are the questions that we should be asking about the historical Jesus. For this is the imprint that he left on the minds and hearts of men.
I suggest to approach the phenomenon “Jesus” a different way: These are the questions that we should be asking about the historical Jesus. For this is the imprint that the Christian churches left on the minds and hearts of men. – Who was “Jesus”? I suggest another different question:
Adonai ELOHEYNU Adonai Echad – Where is “Jesus” now? No “Jesus” – no questions! Thus we can forget all Christian, Islamic and Jewish assertions about “Jesus”. I simply suggest to forget this graven idol on a crucifix or in a xmas manger. All information about him are as trustworthy as the information about the Greek theos Zeus e. g. The HOLY one in Israel never was in need of a pagan idol called “Jesus”. There could have been a historical “Jesus” in fact who was circumsized on the eighth day, obtained his BarMitzva on Passover and attended a Jewish Synagoge every Shabbat but then, the name “Jesus” is a pagan fraud. As soon as you start thinking about a “historical Jesus” it is not unlikely that you think about a pagan idol and forget to think about “Adonai Echad”.
You said: “Adonai ELOHEYNU Adonai Echad – Where is “Jesus” now? No “Jesus” – no questions!”
Scholars agree that Proverbs 8:22-31 is figurative of Jesus the Messiah.
Verse 22 Complete Jewish Bible “ADONAI MADE me as the beginning of his way, the first of his ancient works” (Caps mine. Some translations use “created:)
Verse 30 “Then I was by him, [as] a master workman; And I was daily [his] delight, Rejoicing always before him,”
Today’s Trinitarian churches stubbornly maintain that these verses are referring to “wisdom” and not a person. Why? Because it undermines their pagan Trinity because clearly shows that the man Jesus has a pre-existence as the first of Jehovah’s creation.
(at least there was a time when he was brought into existence by the Father, Jehovah) before the rest of creation. Note the following TRINITARIAN translations of Prov. 8:22:
1. “The LORD [Jehovah] CREATED me at the beginning of his work” – RSV, and NRSV. (Footnote in NRSV says “Or [created] me as the beginning [of his work].”).
It may be that figures of speech and personification sometimes appear to be carried too far for our tastes today. But if this scripture only shows a quality personified, but not actually a person (as some Trinitarians claim), how can we explain that “Wisdom” (at Prov. 8:22-30) came into existence before the rest of creation?
The scriptures show that Jehovah God (and only Jehovah God) has always existed (Ps. 90:2). Since he is from eternity and has obviously always been wise, then Jehovah’s own personal wisdom has always existed; it never was created or produced. And since wisdom cannot exist apart from a personality who is capable of using it, and, since the “Wisdom” of Prov. 8:22-30 came into existence before the rest of creation, it cannot represent the wisdom of any other creature (whether angels or men) but a “firstborn Son”. (John 1:18; Rev. 3:14; Col. 1:15) (American Standard Version)
You said: ““Jesus” is a pagan fraud. As soon as you start thinking about a “historical Jesus” it is not unlikely that you think about a pagan idol and forget to think about “Adonai Echad”.
Yes indeed! Jehovah is ONE there is no other God but He, Jesus himself confirms this at Mark 12:29 where he replies to a Scribe who asked him which was the most important commandment of all.
Jesus never claimed to be God in fact he prayed to Jehovah his God. His apostles never believed he was God.
Throughout history from the time that the pagan doctrine was forcefully in-grafted into what had became a corrupted Church in 325 AD and finally settled at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD…many Christians who would not accept such paganism were severely persecuted some cruelly burnt at the stake.
Scholars Agree?? Just because some agree certainly does not mean they are correct. If you read through it carefully it is quite obviously “Torah”. Read and “Study” each sentence carefully. There are hidden treasures there if one really wants to see them.
The Scriptures are the words of Jehovah God. There is a saying “Scripture interpretes Scripture” If an incorrect rendering of a Bible passage is made…then countless other passages will contradict the incorrect one.
I would be most interested to read your understanding/rendering of Proverbs 8: 22-31
Such a silly question. The speaker is wisdom and is a “she”. Surely you do not mean to imply this is Jesus. Perhaps you should read the whole chapter.
Jim, I have read the whole chapter. Maybe you can explain chapter 8:22-31 and explain why “wisdom” is “created” why “it” was “brought forth” as with labor pains” How it came to be “beside” Jehovah as a “master workman” and why “he”/it came to be the “one” that Jehovah became specially fond of. Also how “wisdom” was “being glad” before Jehovah all the time. Thank you in anticipation.
I only have a couple minutes so I’ll just make a point. You are saying there was no “wisdom” before this point in time. G-d had No wisdom. This doesn’t even sound plausible. Also, take note on what was guarding the Tree of Life in Gan Eden. What is on the Ark of the Covenant. Can you see where this is going. If it were Yeshu then he is a “creation” and thus no different than any other person.
If you’ve read the whole chapter you know that Wisdom is a “she” not a “he” as you wrote above. If you hadn’t dropped into the middle of the chapter, you might have understood it, but because you found some part of the chapter that sounded like your theology regarding Jesus, you shaved off the front of the chapter as if it had no existence. This allows you to call wisdom a “he” when the chapter specifically calls it a “she”.
If I thought you really wanted to understand the chapter, I would gladly take the time to “discuss” it here. But because it is more likely that you are only trying to insinuate Jesus into a passage that has nothing to do with him, I am not inclined to enter such a discussion. If I am mistaken regarding your motives, then I apologize.
In the event that I’ve misunderstood you, I will assist you by asking what good wisdom serves in a person’s life? And, what is wisdom? Those two questions, most likely to be answered in the reverse order should enable you to understand the chapter if you don’t pretend the first half doesn’t exist, or for that matter, the whole rest of the book.
I should also point out, with my tongue firmly in cheek, that it can’t be Jesus, because according to Paul, Christ crucified is “foolishness.” (As I said, my tongue is in my cheek. No need to tell me that I’ve taken Paul out of context.)
Jim if you read my first reply you will clearly see that I said Jehovah is eternal and always possessed wisdom, can anyone imagine a time when Almighty God did not have wisdom?
Jesus was a creation…he was the beginning of God’s creation he said so himself at Revelation 3:14 (American Standard Version): “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:” He was in effect an Arch Angel who was Jehovah’s “master workman” and through him all other things was created….he was empowered by the Almighty God Jehovah, he became his “master workman”.
John 17:5 ASV Jesus prayed: “And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”
Jim it is getting late, but I can go much deeper into this if you wish.
Jim, I’m waiting for your answer to the above questions, if wisdom is just an attribute how can those terms above make sense.
Jehovah’s own personal wisdom has always existed; it never was created or produced. And since wisdom cannot exist apart from a personality who is capable of using it, and, since the “Wisdom” of Prov. 8:22-30 came into existence before the rest of creation, it cannot represent the wisdom of any other creature (whether angels or men) but a “firstborn Son”!
There is no need to go deeper into this. The Trinitarian is clearly wrong. Nevertheless, it is also quite absurd to take wisdom and make it about Jesus. Such a position is also untenable. Jesus is irrelevant to the passage. Reading him into it is a serious error, not because such a position refutes Trinitarianism, but because it interjects meanings onto the passage that aren’t there. It is no different that Matthew absurdly making out Hosea 11.1 to be about Jesus, when it is clearly speaking of Israel.
Furthermore, you do a great disservice to yourself. By reading Jesus into the passage, you hinder yourself in understanding what Solomon was trying to teach us. By ignoring the context of the book, you may be able to locate Jesus in whatever passage you so desire, but you will not find the truth being conveyed. But that is your business, not mine.
You should read the Previous chapter and also Tehillim and how David HaMelech speaks of Torah. Until a person can understand the significance of Torah as it relates to Am Yisrael then it is impossible to understand what is written. You listen to a “man” who had wrote nothing on his own. Who was it who actually wrote that about the quote from Mishlei. He was just another man. The Torah has the actual words from Hashem. Does the Xtian bible have anyone relating that G-d said to him saying… We do know that every Jew that believed in this has been lost to history and their generations that should have come have not. This alone should be a sign to every Jew.
That last Should have been a reply to Ludensian.
When used figuratively (i.e., God is a rock, fortress, love, etc. ) words in NT Greek and OT Hebrew do not necessarily agree with the gender of the person they are describing.
Notice the figurative use of the neuter “Lamb” in Rev. 5:6; 5:12; and 6:1 for Jesus. (or “the Light” – Jn 8:12 – ). The masculine “Jesus” and “Christ,” etc. of his literal name and descriptions show that he is a male person in spite of the neuter articles and pronouns that must be used in the NT Greek to agree with the neuter “Lamb” (or “Light”).
Even in Proverbs 8 we see that ‘amon’ (‘Master Worker’) is masculine and yet it is describing the feminine “Wisdom.”
Perhaps more to the point is 1 Cor, 1:24 where Christ is called the power (masc.) and the WISDOM (fem.) of God.
This common use of NT Greek (and OT Hebrew) is the reason that so many of those early writers (who actually spoke and used NT Greek), including trinitarians such as Athanasius, accepted Prov. 8:22ff. as applying to the Messiah
Since you understand metaphors, then surely it isn’t too difficult to understand that God acquiring wisdom is a metaphor. You read literally whatever you choose and as metaphor whatever you choose, ignoring the context. When wisdom is called a “sister”, I’m sure that will be a metaphor. (Prov. 7.4) (Why should I call her “my sister”; why not my lord?) When it is a tree of life, I’m sure that will be a metaphor. (Why? Maybe it’s teaching us that wisdom is Horace’s Tree.) But somehow you don’t take it as a metaphor that wisdom is being enthroned, etc. Was Jesus “playing in the habitable world of His earth”? (8.31.) Or is that a metaphor?
What I’m saying is, you want it both ways. Solomon is teaching us about wisdom. That is the subject of the chapter and those that precede it. Of course he’s using metaphor. But you take it literally, only not the parts that conflict with your theology. You ask the wrong questions. Instead of asking what does Solomon mean by comparing wisdom to a child, ruler, etc., you ask, “How can this be literally true?” And then, since it can’t, you decide it must be about Jesus.
You write that scripture interprets scripture. Good. Interpret Proverbs 8 by the rest of Proverbs, then, and your interpretation will disappear. Then you will understand Solomon’s teachings on wisdom. You will no longer force upon the text a new topic, when he has already identified the topic for you. And you will stop rejecting metaphors for not being literal, while accepting other parts as metaphor to fit your theology.
As Jim pointed out the Hebrew word for wisdom, חָכְמָה (hochMAH), is a feminine noun. If Jesus “was” wisdom why does Luke 2:52 say “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature”? BTW the word “Jehovah” is made up by Christians who don’t seem to realize that Hebrew does not have a “J” sound.
Thank you Sophie for your response.
Allow me to explain : If a woman were figuratively called “a rock” (masculine ending), it could read like this in the Hebrew: “Hannah (fem. ending) was a rock (masc. ending), and he (masc. pronoun referring to “rock”) was immovable.” Or, we could see: “The Messiah (masc.) is Wisdom (fem. ending), and she (fem. pronoun) was created by God in the beginning.” When we see such things in the original language we know that an impersonal thing is being used to figuratively describe a person in some respect.
It is very similar in NT Greek. When a word is literally applied to an adult person (“man,” “woman,” “husband,” “bride,” etc.) telling what he or she literally is, then the gender must match with that person’s actual gender. And, again, this is especially true of personal names: “John,” “Mary,” “Jesus,” etc.
But if it is a word or name literally applied to a thing, then it may be masculine, feminine, or neuter. (Of course if it is neuter, there is no doubt that it is an impersonal thing.)
Thus, as in Hebrew, “wisdom” is always feminine even though it is literally a thing. We know it’s a thing, but since both the OT Hebrew and NT Greek happen to call it “wisdom” with a feminine ending and use feminine pronouns (“she,” “her,” “herself”) with it, we can’t prove grammatically that it is a thing and not a person.
However, “day” is masculine in the Hebrew (and uses masculine pronouns and articles) and feminine in the Greek (where it, of course, uses feminine pronouns and articles)! This makes it grammatically obvious (when we examine both the Old and the New Testaments) that “day” cannot be a person.
And, of course, whenever we find a word in NT Greek that is neuter (Hebrew doesn’t use a neuter form – LaSor, p. 75), it is already grammatically defined as a non-personal thing (infants and young children are sometimes excepted).
Let’s take as an example those who are already known to be heavenly spirit persons. God and the pre-existent person who became Jesus on earth are both clearly and often shown in the form of men in both the Old and New Testaments. They both have literal personal names (“Jesus” and “Jehovah”) and descriptive titles (“Father” and “Son”) which are masculine in both the Old and New Testaments. They both always have masculine pronouns applied to them in both the Old and New Testaments. Thus they are grammatically (and obviously) shown to be persons.
The other heavenly spirit persons are the angels. Some theologians (Christian and Jewish) say that these are not really persons, but simply the personified influences, energies, etc. from God used to accomplish his purpose. This may seem a possibility, but grammatically we should know better.
The angels, like God and the heavenly Christ, are always represented as masculine persons. Even if in reality they are genderless, they are nevertheless always given a gender by the inspired writers to show us that they really are persons. When they come to earth and take on a physical form, it is in the form of a man in both the Hebrew and Greek inspired writings. Their personal names (e.g., “Michael” and “Gabriel”) are masculine in both the Hebrew and Greek writings. (Just having a literal personal name shows they are persons. A personal name was extremely important to the Hebrews during Bible times.) And all their literal titles/descriptions (e.g., “angel,” “cherub,” “seraph,” etc.) have masculine endings in both biblical Greek and Hebrew. All pronouns used for the angels in both Hebrew and Greek are always masculine: “he,” “him,” “his,” “himself. There can be no doubt grammatically that the inspired Bible writers intended for us to know that angels are truly persons!
But let’s suppose, as an example, that someone who didn’t know the ancient Hebrew understanding of the often personified “name of God” began to believe that it had been “revealed” to him that it is actually another person of the “Godhead”! A few of the many scriptures he might use as evidence are:
“I had pity for my holy Name.” – Ezek. 36:21.
“to bring your sons from far away, … to the name of Jehovah your God and to the Holy One of Israel” – Is. 60:9, KJIIV (and the literal text of The Interlinear Bible, Baker Book House).
“God has caused his name to dwell there.” – Ezra 6:12.
“the place where your name dwells on earth” – Ps. 74:7 – KJIIV.
“incense shall be offered to my name.” – Malachi 1:11
“and sing to thy name” – Ro. 15:9, RSV.
But if this individual to whom the “mystery” of “The Name of God” has been revealed had actually analyzed the grammar of both the Old and New Testaments, he should have known that the “Holy Name of God” was a holy thing not a person!
You see, although often personified, “The Name (of God)” is never literally seen in the Bible as a person (masc. or fem.). And the literal name of “the Holy Name” is masculine in the Hebrew all right, but it is neuter in the New Testament Greek! (And being neuter in the inspired New Testament language is enough, by itself, to prove that it is not a person, but a thing.) So, although masculine pronouns (“he,” “him,” “his,” etc.) are used for “The Holy Name” at times in Hebrew, neuter pronouns (“it,” “itself,” “which”) are used for this same word in the original New Testament Greek! We know grammatically, therefore, that, unlike real spirit persons, (God, Christ, and the holy angels), “the Holy Name” is merely a personalized thing!
Hi once again Sophie. Yes there is no J sound in Hebrew. The personal name of God. (Isa 42:8; 54:5) Though Scripturally designated by such descriptive titles as “God,” “Sovereign Lord,” “Creator,” “Father,” “the Almighty,” and “the Most High,” his personality and attributes—who and what he is—are fully summed up and expressed only in this personal name.—Ps 83:18.
Correct Pronunciation of the Divine Name. “Jehovah” is the best known English pronunciation of the divine name, although “Yahweh” is favored by most Hebrew scholars. The oldest Hebrew manuscripts present the name in the form of four consonants, commonly called the Tetragrammaton (from Greek te·tra-, meaning “four,” and gram’ma, “letter”). These four letters (written from right to left) are ???? and may be transliterated into English as YHWH (or, JHVH). (excuse the ???? I do not have a Hebrew font)
The Hebrew consonants of the name are therefore known. The question is, Which vowels are to be combined with those consonants? Vowel points did not come into use in Hebrew until the second half of the first millennium C.E.
Furthermore, because of a religious superstition that had begun centuries earlier, the vowel pointing found in Hebrew manuscripts does not provide the key for determining which vowels should appear in the divine name.
At some point a superstitious idea arose among the Jews that it was wrong even to pronounce the divine name (represented by the Tetragrammaton). Just what basis was originally assigned for discontinuing the use of the name is not definitely known. Some hold that the name was viewed as being too sacred for imperfect lips to speak. Yet the Hebrew Scriptures themselves give no evidence that any of God’s true servants ever felt any hesitancy about pronouncing his name. Non-Biblical Hebrew documents, such as the so-called Lachish Letters, show the name was used in regular correspondence in Palestine during the latter part of the seventh century B.C.E.
Another view is that the intent was to keep non-Jewish peoples from knowing the name and possibly misusing it. However, Jehovah himself said that he would ‘have his name declared in all the earth’ (Ex 9:16; compare 1Ch 16:23, 24; Ps 113:3; Mal 1:11, 14), to be known even by his adversaries. (Isa 64:2) The name was in fact known and used by pagan nations both in pre-Common Era times and in the early centuries of the Common Era. (The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1976, Vol. XII, p. 119) Another claim is that the purpose was to protect the name from use in magical rites. If so, this was poor reasoning, as it is obvious that the more mysterious the name became through disuse the more it would suit the purposes of practicers of magic.
When did the superstition take hold? Just as the reason or reasons originally advanced for discontinuing the use of the divine name are uncertain, so, too, there is much uncertainty as to when this superstitious view really took hold. Some claim that it began following the Babylonian exile (607-537 B.C.E.). This theory, however, is based on a supposed reduction in the use of the name by the later writers of the Hebrew Scriptures, a view that does not hold up under examination. Malachi, for example, was evidently one of the last books of the Hebrew Scriptures written (in the latter half of the fifth century B.C.E.), and it gives great prominence to the divine name.
Many reference works have suggested that the name ceased to be used by about 300 B.C.E. Evidence for this date supposedly was found in the absence of the Tetragrammaton (or a transliteration of it) in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, begun about 280 B.C.E. It is true that the most complete manuscript copies of the Septuagint now known do consistently follow the practice of substituting the Greek words Ky’ri·os (Lord) or The·os’ (God) for the Tetragrammaton. But these major manuscripts date back only as far as the fourth and fifth centuries C.E. More ancient copies, though in fragmentary form, have been discovered that prove that the earliest copies of the Septuagint did contain the divine name.
So, at least in written form, there is no sound evidence of any disappearance or disuse of the divine name in the B.C.E. period. In the first century C.E., there first appears some evidence of a superstitious attitude toward the name. Josephus, the Jewish historian from a priestly family, when recounting God’s revelation to Moses at the site of the burning bush, says: “Then God revealed to him His name, which ere then had not come to men’s ears, and of which I am forbidden to speak.” (Jewish Antiquities, II, 276 [xii, 4]) Josephus’ statement, however, besides being inaccurate as to knowledge of the divine name prior to Moses, is vague and does not clearly reveal just what the general attitude current in the first century was as to pronouncing or using the divine name.
In the second half of the first millennium C.E., Jewish scholars introduced a system of points to represent the missing vowels in the consonantal Hebrew text. When it came to God’s name, instead of inserting the proper vowel signs for it, they put other vowel signs to remind the reader that he should say ‘Adho·nai’ (meaning “Sovereign Lord”) or ‘Elo·him’ (meaning “God”).
The Codex Leningrad B 19A, of the 11th century C.E., vowel points the Tetragrammaton to read Yehwah’, Yehwih’, and Yeho·wah’. Ginsburg’s edition of the Masoretic text vowel points the divine name to read Yeho·wah’. (Ge 3:14, ftn) Hebrew scholars generally favor “Yahweh” as the most likely pronunciation. They point out that the abbreviated form of the name is Yah (Jah in the Latinized form), as at Psalm 89:8 and in the expression Ha·lelu-Yah’ (meaning “Praise Jah, you people!”). (Ps 104:35; 150:1, 6) Also, the forms Yehoh’, Yoh, Yah, and Ya’hu, found in the Hebrew spelling of the names Jehoshaphat, Joshaphat, Shephatiah, and others, can all be derived from Yahweh. Greek transliterations of the name by early Christian writers point in a somewhat similar direction with spellings such as I·a·be’ and I·a·ou·e’, which, as pronounced in Greek, resemble Yahweh. Still, there is by no means unanimity among scholars on the subject, some favoring yet other pronunciations, such as “Yahuwa,” “Yahuah,” or “Yehuah.”
Since certainty of pronunciation is not now attainable, there seems to be no reason for abandoning in English the well-known form “Jehovah” in favor of some other suggested pronunciation. If such a change were made, then, to be consistent, changes should be made in the spelling and pronunciation of a host of other names found in the Scriptures: Jeremiah would be changed to Yir·meyah’, Isaiah would become Yesha?·ya’hu, and Jesus would be either Yehoh·shu’a? (as in Hebrew) or I·e·sous’ (as in Greek). The purpose of words is to transmit thoughts; in English the name Jehovah identifies the true God, transmitting this thought more satisfactorily today than any of the suggested substitutes.
Many modern scholars and Bible translators advocate following the tradition of eliminating the distinctive name of God. They not only claim that its uncertain pronunciation justifies such a course but also hold that the supremacy and uniqueness of the true God make unnecessary his having a particular name. Such a view receives no support from the inspired Scriptures, either those of pre-Christian times or those of the Christian Greek Scriptures.
Sophie, as is made absolutely clear by the many verses I have given above, Jehovah/Yahweh did not forbid respectful use of his divine name.
Ludensian, out of kindness I recommend that you not argue about a language you do not speak with those who do.
Also, what is the point of all of this? It is a distraction. The main issue: show us where in the Torah we are told to worship the Messiah as divine. Show us where the Torah tells us that we can only atone for sin through faith in an individual.
Hello Dina and thank you for your friendly advise. I never intended my replies to be a distraction or heaven forbid offensive.
Neither in the Torah or the New (Christian) Testament are we told to worship the Messiah.
You asked: “Show us where the Torah tells us that we can only atone for sin through faith in an individual.”
Dina do you believe that the first man Adam existed or is the account allegorical?
If you accept that he did indeed exist and disobeyed God then his offspring (that’s us) would inherit Adams imperfection.
At Genesis 2: 16,17 God gave Adam one simple command which as you know he disobeyed. God warned him that in the day you eat of that fruit you will die and return to the dust from which he was made. No sending to Hellfire, he would just grow old and die…returning to dust in other word non-existence.. Adam and Eve had not produced offspring, so when they came along they would inherit their parents imperfection. The rest is history, we all grow old and die…this is not a loving God intended.
However Almighty God’s purpose can never be thwarted and if you read Genesis 3:15 God speaks to the serpent although in reality he speaks to Satan who used the serpent to beguile Eve.
Here God mentions a “seed” who will crush Satan in the head (fatal) and Satan would “bruise the “seed” in the heel. (not fatal) This theme is spoken of throughout the OT.
So who is the seed? What is God’s plan?
If He replaced the now imperfect Adam with a perfect man who would prove faithful to Him even unto death as a ransom for mankind… then God would prove not only to Satan but all mankind that a perfect man could be faithful.
You see the problem Dina is that you do not accept the New Testament so I am at a disadvantage here.
To continue: The Israelites gave blood sacrifices for the forgiveness of their sins…but they had to continue to do so …these animal sacrifices could not “wipe the slate clean” they had to be repeated as no life of an animal could be equal to the once “perfect” life of Adam. …But the Messiah had to die only once. Therefore true Christians are required to believe in that ransom sacrifice and following the teachings of Jesus who they believe was the Messiah…but he should respected but not worshiped.
Jehovah’s law is same for same, so a the perfect life of Jesus for the perfect life that Adam lost. The “slate was wiped clean” that is the only way complete atonement could be achieved…a perfect life for a perfect life lost…same for same.
I used to be a Roman Catholic but when I came to the age of reasoning I abandoned it. I could never accept the pagan doctrine of the Trinity making Jesus God…something which Jesus or his Jewish apostles ever claimed.
However over nearly two thousand years the early church have wrested many scriptures to support their pagan Trinity…but these wrested verses contradict other numerous holy Scriptures.
Dina I hope I have explained to your satisfaction. If not please let me know.
Would I be correct in assuming you are a Unitarian? You might be surprised to learn that I hold your theology to be even more idolatrous than Trinitarian theology. You see, Trinitarians at least believe that they are worshiping one God. Unitarians say that Jesus is not God–and worship him anyway. By making a man the focus and center of their worship, Unitarians give him the kind of veneration that belongs to God alone.
But be that as it may.
I am pressed for time so forgive me for referring you to different sources to refute your arguments. For a thorough treatment of you Genesis 3:15, please see http://thejewishhome.org/counter/Gen315.pdf.
For the Jewish understanding of atonement, see 1 Kings 8:46-53; Hosea 14:1-2; Psalms 141:2; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 2 Chronicles 6:21; Proverbs 15:8; 2 Samuel 12:13; Psalms 32:5; Proverbs 28:13; Ezekiel 18:21-23; Ezekiel 33:14-16; Jeremiah 36:3; Isaiah 55:6-7; Jonah 3:6-10; Daniel 4:27; Job 22:22; Proverbs 16:6; Isaiah 1:18-19; Isaiah 27:9; Isaiah 1:11-16; Amos 5:22-24; Psalms 51:15-17; Jeremiah 7:1-7; Micah 6:6-8; Proverbs 21:3; Hosea 6:6; 1 Samuel 15:22,30-31; Psalms 78:35-39; Micah 7:18-20; Joel 2:12-13; Psalms 86:5-6; Isaiah 43:22-25; Nehemiah 9:16-17; Jonah 4:2.
The fact is, Ludensian, you cannot find a clear teaching anywhere in Tanach that our eternal salvation hinges on faith in an individual. Instead you presented verses accompanied with your own eisegesis.
I am curious as to how you reconcile the discrepancies. I encourage you to read Hebrew Scripture from beginning to end, in context. You will find similar contradictions between Hebrew Scripture and other Christian doctrines.
Adho·nai’ (meaning “Sovereign Lord”) or ‘Elo·him’ (meaning “God”).
Wrong on both counts!
Malachi, for example, was evidently one of the last books of the Hebrew Scriptures written
Malachi was Ezra the Scribe.
You don’t speak Hebrew — if you did you wouldn’t say “Jehovah” and you certainly wouldn’t have made the claim you did in your last post (that G-d did not forbid the use of His divine name). Vayikra / Leviticus 24:15-16 tell us “anyone who speaks the Four-Lettered Name must be put to death—the entire community is to execute him—the same applies to a foreigner as to a citizen—he must die for speaking the Name.”
Christian bibles mistranslate the above — but as is typical with “proof texts” they get it right everywhere else!
You are on a Jewish page and it would be considerate if you showed some respect to the Jews here who find both terms offensive. However, if you were respectful you probably wouldn’t be here proselytizing in the first place.
As for “wisdom” and your seemingly not knowing the difference from masculine and feminine (e.g. wisdom being a feminine noun in Hebrew) — NT Greek is NOT T’nach Hebrew! A feminine noun is FEMININE. Unless you want to state that Jesus was a woman the “wisdom” argument flies out the window. Likewise the made up name Jehovah (which is right up there with the made up name “Yahweh”). Jehovah is a Latinization of the Hebrew — and Jews don’t speak Latin! It is disrespectful to use G-d’s holiest name in conversation.
Good evening Sophie.
You said: “You don’t speak Hebrew — if you did you wouldn’t say “Jehovah” and you certainly wouldn’t have made the claim you did in your last post (that G-d did not
forbid the use of His divine name). Vayikra / Leviticus 24:15-16 tell us “anyone who
speaks the Four-Lettered Name must be put to death—the entire community is to execute him—the same applies to a foreigner as to a citizen—he must die for speaking the Name.”
Leviticus 24:15-16 (American Standard Version) “And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever CURSETH his God shall bear his sin. 16 And he that BLASPHEMETH the name of Jehovah, he shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the sojourner, as the home-born, when he blasphemeth the name [of Jehovah], shall be put to death.”
These verses do not forbid the use of God’s name…they forbid its “misuse”! I praise and honor Gods name. For heavens sake Sophie you go to such extremes, you even omit the “o” in God. Is God such a tyrant that He tells us his name and forbids use to use it to the point where the correct pronouncement is lost.? A name which He says is “a memorial for all generations” I use the name Jehovah to distinguish the true God from false gods.
I do not worship Jesus as God, but I do respect him, as the Son of Jehovah God.
1 Chronicles 16:8 ASV: “O give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name; Make known his doings among the peoples”
Psalm 79:6 ASV: “Pour out thy wrath upon the nations that know thee not, And upon the kingdoms that call NOT upon thy name.” (Caps mine)
Psalm 105:1 ASV “Oh give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name; Make known among the peoples his doings.”
Psalm 116:13 ASV “I will take the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of Jehovah.”
Psalm 116:17 ASV “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of Jehovah.”
Isaiah 12:4 ASV “And in that day shall ye say, Give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name, declare his doings among the peoples, make mention that his name is exalted.”
Isaiah 48:2 ASV “for they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; Jehovah of hosts is his name”
Jeremiah 10:25 ASV “Pour out thy wrath upon the nations that know thee not, and upon the families that CALL NOT on thy name: ”
Zephaniah 3:9 ASV
“For then will I turn to the peoples of a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of Jehovah, to serve him with one consent.”
Malachi 1:11 ASV “…for my name [shall be] great among the Gentiles, saith Jehovah of hosts.”
Sophie, how can we call upon Gods name…if we are forbidden to speak it?
God told Moses: ““This is my name to time indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation.”
How can God’s name be a memorial to Him if it cannot be spoken?
Psalms 86:9 “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; And they shall glorify thy name.
How can “all the nations” worship and glorify God’s name if it is not spoken to them?
PSALM 86:12. I praise you, O Jehovah my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify your name forever,”
How can you glorify His name if you cannot speak His name or do not know His name?
As for Proverbs 8:22-31 I have given clear explanations in a previous reply.
Finally, It is never my intention to disrespect anyone of another faith particularly the Jewish faith. I have the greatest respect for the state of Israel and hope to visit it in the future. It reminds me of an oasis in the midst of chaos, hate, violence and bigotry and I pray that God will protect its people.
First of all, using a Xtian version is Why you suffer from confusion. As usual, a Xtian will only quote just enough to further their agenda. It says the son of the Israelite woman “pronounced” the name and thereby blasphemed. The reason behind this prohibition is rooted when Moshe killed the Egyptian with G-d’s Explicit Name. It’s just as the Priest can remove the unclean by his words. In all the references you cited it does Not say to “pronounce” the Name.
Your misunderstanding comes from ignorance in Hashem’s relationship to the world. What does Exodus 3:14 tell us. It tells us that His Name signifies what Action is taking place. It is as simple as that.
As Shakespeare once said “what is in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. . .” Would you like someone to make up a name for you and garble your REAL name in the process? Using a fake name (like Jehovah) is insulting to G-d. Your quible of the “o” is silly — particularly in light of my quote to you showing that the Bible itself (Deuteronomy 12) tells us not to WRITE G-d’s name (in Hebrew) where it can be destroyed. It is a sign of respect — honoring His name, versus making up a fake name to call Him by.
Speaking of “names” it may surprise you to know that G-d doesn’t really have a “name.” The words we use to call Him by are human descriptions. Elo-him (which is used to speak of people and even false gods) is a powerful judge. Adon-ai is a master. And on it goes. Even the name you are trying to use is in reality a description, not a name. וַיֹּֽאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל מֹשֶׁה אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה (“G-d said to Moses, ‘Ĕhyĕh ashĕr ĕhyĕh’…”). Moses had just asked G-d what to tell the Jews when (if) they asked him for the Name of the G-d who had sent him. The answer he is given is not to say that “The G-d whose Name is ‘Ĕhyĕh ashĕr ĕhyĕh’ sent me” — read the meaning of the WORDS. ‘Ĕhyĕh ashĕr ĕhyĕh’ means that G-d will be with us as He has always been with us (“I will be as I will be”). As Rashi puts it: “I, the G-d who has been with them throughout their enslavement by the Egyptians, will continue to be with them throughout all the other troubles and persecutions that they are going to suffer at the hands of many other conquerors.”
This is often mistranslated as, “I Am Who I Am,” but that is not a very good translation.
The term Ehyeh is a first person future tense conjugation of the verb “to be.” So Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh translated should read: “I will be what I will be”
This clearly says that G-d is as He will be. He is unchanging. He will be in the future exactly as He was to Moses. He is not a man and He will never be a man.
So we have statement after statement clearly saying G-d is not a man (ish or adam, take your pick). We have clear statements saying G-d does not change. He is what He is. He will be what He will be.
Go back a few lines in Exodus 3. G-d says:
Exodus 3:6. And He said, “I am the G-d of your father, the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob.”
Then we have:
Exodus 3:15 15. And G-d said further to Moses, “So shall you say to the children of Israel, HaShem G-d of your forefathers, the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is how I should be mentioned in every generation.”
But perhaps the most important part comes next. G-d has just told us He is the G-d of the past – the G-d of our fathers. The G-d of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob. He has then told us He is the G-d of the future “I will be what I will be.”
This is my name FOREVER. This is how I should be mentioned in every generation.
His name FOREVER.
Jesus was a “god they did not know” (Deuteronomy 13) – a god who was a man (G-d is not a man) and a god with a different name (Jesus).
Not Jesus. Not a man-god.
G-d is not a man.
G-d is unchanging.
Deuteronomy 32:39, See now that I myself am He! There is no god except Me . .
This is His name forever.
This shows clearly that G-d will NEVER be a man.
And lest you have any doubts left:
“I am HaShem; that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42:7).
G-d is the Supreme Being, and there is none other besides Him! Deuteronomy 4:35
HaShem, He is G-d in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other! Deuteronomy 4:39.
Where to start
“returning to dust in other word non-existence..”
You assume the body is predominant and the soul is encapsulated. It’s actually the reverse. The soul has a temporary body.
“Here God mentions a “seed” who will crush Satan in the head (fatal) and Satan would “bruise the “seed” in the heel. (not fatal) This theme is spoken of throughout the OT.”
And who is the Satan. He is one of the holy angels who does Hashem’s bidding. Bruise the “Heel”. If your metaphor were correct the bruise would have to be on the head to make any sense whatsoever.
“If He replaced the now imperfect Adam with a perfect man who would prove faithful to Him even unto death as a ransom for mankind… then God would prove not only to Satan but all mankind that a perfect man could be faithful.”
This is completely illogical to the extreme. The lesson of Adam is to teach that what Hashem wanted was accepting responsibility and to repent. Just as He told Kayin, sin crouches at the door but it can be overcome. Hashem never ever expected perfection. Otherwise He could and would have created Adam without free will to begin with. There was already a creation without free will, the angels.
“The Israelites gave blood sacrifices for the forgiveness of their sins…but they had to continue to do so …these animal sacrifices could not “wipe the slate clean” they had to be repeated as no life of an animal could be equal to the once “perfect” life of Adam. …But the Messiah had to die only once. Therefore true Christians are required to believe in that ransom sacrifice and following the teachings of Jesus who they believe was the Messiah…but he should respected but not worshiped.”
Completely missing the mark, if you can decipher that statement. The only sacrifice for sin was the unintentional sin. An intentional sin cannot be atoned for with a sacrifice. NOWHERE does Hashem say a person had to continue to do so. This is a total fabrication. If “The Messiah” had to die only ONCE then why are there going to be the SAME sin sacrifices upon “his return”.
I find it admirable that you were able to leave behind the Trinitarianism of your youth. It can be difficult to abandon the beliefs with which one is raised.
If you are willing, I would like to take that same standard you applied to Trinitarianism and apply it to the NT. As I understand it, you rejected the deity of Jesus, because the only way to adhere to such a doctrine was to take scripture out of context. I think that is a very reasonable test. And if I compare the NT to the Jewish scriptures, to see if it too takes scripture out of context, I think I will be able to weigh the claim that Jesus is the Messiah.
But, because the NT is already considered scripture, this makes it hard for us to measure it impartially. Once something is on paper and has a certain cachet it is easy for us to take it for granted. Old things are often considered true, independent of their claims, based solely on their age and “staying power”. To judge the NT properly, then, we need to ignore both its age and its reputation among Christians.
To aid us in this, I propose that we imagine ourselves on the streets of Jerusalem, say twenty years after the time of Jesus. Matthew has not yet written his gospel, but he is out preaching. He is announcing that Jesus is the Messiah. We are interested in the claim, at first finding it absolutely bizarre. After all, this dead man (we don’t yet know of the resurrection) did not usher in the time of peace or universal knowledge of God announced by the prophets. We are dubious but curious, so we decide to talk to him, and find out why he thinks Jesus is the Messiah.
Among the proofs he offers are two categories of particular interest. One is the miracles Jesus performed. These are not what we want to focus on, because we are applying the method you used to shed your Trinitarianism. But they are an important part of the NT’s claims about Jesus and missionary arguments, so I do not want to wholly neglect them. But we will wait to investigate them, for reasons that will become clear after we examine the other proof. Of course, that proof is the fulfillment of the Jewish scriptures. This proof is the one we will pursue, because it is easily investigated.
Matthew tells us all sorts of things. He tells us for example that Jesus was born of a virgin, just as prophesied in Isaiah 7.14. However, we quickly realize that Matthew 7.14 doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus. It isn’t Messianic. It doesn’t even mention a virgin. He neglected the next verse, which is part of the same prophecy. It has nothing to do with what Matthew makes it out to be. We become suspicious of his methodology.
Soon, he’s telling us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, just like Micah told us the Messiah would have to be. We can’t know if that one is true or not. Jesus didn’t remain there long, and according to Matthew he was only there as a baby for a short time. He didn’t grow up there. When we read Micah, we can maybe see that Matthew’s interpretation might be possible. Nothing else written of the Messiah there was fulfilled by Jesus, so we have a little trouble with it. And we wonder if being born some place is the same as being from that place. (I was born in Hawaii, but I’m not Hawaiian.) But we are less ready to say that Matthew took Micah out of context.
Then he tells us about the slaughter of the innocents. Bethlehemite babies are killed in an attempt to eliminate a threat to Herod’s power. He tells us that this was foretold in Jeremiah. But when we look that up, we see it’s talking about the exile. And Rachel, who is mourning for her children, is assured that her children will be coming back. Matthew has clearly imposed a meaning to the passage foreign to the text.
When he tells us that Jesus was taken to Egypt to fulfill Hosea 11.1, he quotes hardly any of the actual sentence. In fact, the prophet identifies “God’s son” there as Israel. We notice that this has nothing to do with the Messiah. It’s not a prophecy of the future at all. We can only say that Matthew is again taking the scripture out-of-context, and imposing a meaning that is foreign to the text.
And it continues this way. Virtually every time Matthew mentions a prophecy that Jesus is to have fulfilled, we find that he’s taken it out of context. His friend John comes over to help answer questions. He too quotes the Jewish scriptures, but much more sparingly. He mentions that Jesus was betrayed as in the psalm that foretold his betrayal. We point out, however, that the psalmist mentions his own sin in the same chapter, the sin of the one betrayed, and that if they want to tell us that the psalm is about him, they have to admit that Jesus sinned, which they seem unwilling to do. Again, they have taken things out-of-context.
They show us the writings of Paul. We see that he too, almost any time he quotes scripture—though he affirms its goodness—denies the plain meaning of the passage, omitting much and contradicting passages with his own teaching. How can we accept this? This is absurd. Their proofs from the Jewish scriptures are almost entirely taken out-of-context. Even their teachings often contradict the scriptures, even when—especially when—they quote it.
They can see that they are losing us. We are unconvinced. So they appeal to the miracles. It seems to be a powerful argument. But then… we ask ourselves: Are these trustworthy witnesses. Look how much they’ve been willing to take out of context. That which is easily verifiable, they have been willing to misrepresent to further their agenda. Are we really going to rely on them for knowledge of miracles we did not witness? Do we really trust them to tell us about the resurrection? These are our witnesses?
Now, I don’t know about you, but I bid them goodbye. They can believe about Jesus whatever they want. But I cannot go with them. I cannot trust men who take the holy words of God and misrepresent them at every turn. Not only will I not accept Trinitarianism, I cannot accept the assertion that Jesus is the Messiah. And I certainly will not place any trust in him, nor believe that he is God’s firstborn. I will not rely on his sacrifice, nor accept that “no man comes to the Father” but through him.
I think, also, that if you will apply the same test to the NT that you applied to Trinitarianism, you will walk away from that as well. I leave it with you.
This is a reply to Jim. The reply button “Reply to JIM” is not responding. I can only hope that this response appears after his.
Jim I am most appreciative of the pains you have gone to in your reply… which gives me a better insight to why you do not accept Jesus as the Messiah. You are indeed well versed in the subject why Judaism rejects Jesus as the promised one.
You say: “. It can be difficult to abandon the beliefs with which one is raised.
Actually Jim it was a release from an incomprehensible mystery concocted by men at a time when the early church began accepting Platonic philosophy (the intellectual wisdom of the time) and incorporating it into the Christianity as founded by Jesus and his faithful Jewish disciples. There are other false doctrines which were exposed by my research…such as eternal punishment in Hell and the fallacy of an immortal soul.
Would it shock you that even the once pure Judaism has also been corrupted by the same Greek philosophy?…I refer to the belief in an immortal soul. Rather than leave that statement just hang there, I will explain why:
The connotations that the English “soul” commonly carries in the minds of most persons are not in agreement with the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words as used by the inspired Bible writers. This fact has steadily gained wider acknowledgment. Back in 1897, in the Journal of Biblical Literature (Vol. XVI, p. 30), Professor C. A. Briggs, as a result of detailed analysis of the use of ne’phesh, observed: “Soul in English usage at the present time conveys usually a very different meaning from ne’phesh in Hebrew, and it is easy for the incautious reader to misinterpret.”
More recently, when The Jewish Publication Society of America issued a new translation of the Torah, or first five books of the Bible, the editor-in-chief, H. M. Orlinsky of Hebrew Union College, stated that the word “soul” had been virtually eliminated from this translation because, “the Hebrew word in question here is ‘Nefesh.’” He added: “Other translators have interpreted it to mean ‘soul,’ which is completely inaccurate. The Bible does not say we have a soul. ‘Nefesh’ is the person himself, his need for food, the very blood in his veins, his being.”—The New York Times, October 12, 1962.
The difficulty lies in the fact that the meanings popularly attached to the English word “soul” stem primarily, not from the Hebrew or Christian Greek Scriptures, but from ancient Greek philosophy, actually pagan religious thought. Greek philosopher Plato, for example, quotes Socrates as saying: “The soul, . . . if it departs pure, dragging with it nothing of the body, . . . goes away into that which is like itself, into the invisible, divine, immortal, and wise, and when it arrives there it is happy, freed from error and folly and fear . . . and all the other human ills, and . . . lives in truth through all after time with the gods.”—Phaedo, 80, D, E; 81, A.
To return to your comment: Could you be more specific when you say that Jesus did not usher in “the time of peace or universal knowledge of God announced by the prophets.” Chapter and verse would be most helpful as I need to know how to respond. If the passages you refer to are :
Isaiah 11:7, 9 “And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”
9 “They will not do any harm of cause any ruin in all my holy mountain, because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the the very sea.”
Isaiah 65:25 “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith Jehovah.”
Psalms 22:27 “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto Jehovah; And all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.”
Jesus did not immediately “usher in in the time of peace or universal knowledge of God…that time is yet to come. Indeed at Matthew chapter 24 Jesus warns of much tribulation to come to the earth. God uses much symbolism in His prophecies and we as mere mortals have to use discernment. For instance at Isaiah chapter 13 the words open with a pronouncement regarding Babylon which of course He did have destroyed. However if we go to the last book of the NT Revelation which foretells of things to come, we see Babylon is resembled to false religion and corrupt world organisations and governments.
In Revelation 17:3-5, Babylon the Great is described as a woman arrayed in purple and scarlet, richly adorned, and sitting upon a scarlet-coloured wild beast having seven heads and ten horns. Upon her forehead a name is written, “a mystery: ‘Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.’” She is also depicted as sitting on “many waters” representing “peoples and crowds and nations and tongues.”—Rev 17:1-15.
There are many references made about this symbolic Babylon, here are just a few:
REV 14:8 “And another, a second angel, followed, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, that hath made all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
REV 16:19: “And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.”
REV 17:5“and upon her forehead a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
REV 18:21 “And a strong angel took up a stone as it were a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with a mighty fall shall Babylon, the great city, be cast down, and shall be found no more at all.”
REV 19:1-3 “After these things I heard as it were a great voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory, and power, belong to our God: 2 for true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great harlot, her that corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3 And a second time they say, Hallelujah. And her smoke goeth up for ever and ever.”
Finally Jim, I believe most Bible scholars agree that the prophecies in Isaiah Chapter 53 refers to the Messiah and fulfilled in the NT.
Thank you once again for your considered response and yes I suppose it is very difficult to change ones beliefs in which one was raised and accept a whole now theological concept. We must go where the evidence and our conscience takes us. Keep well and please excuse any typos.
I hope you and Jim don’t mind my jumping in to point out that you didn’t respond to Jim’s challenges concerning the misquotations of Tanach in Christian scripture. Instead, you digressed.
Nevertheless, I will briefly challenge your digression on the immortal soul. How do you explain the many phrases in the Torah of “he was gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8, for example)? How do you explain 1 Samuel Chapter 28, in which the witch of Endor raises the spirit of Samuel? And what does Samuel mean when he tells Saul that tomorrow Saul and his sons will BE WITH Samuel (verse 19)?
Furthermore, I have noticed your frequent invocation of anonymous consensus of scholars (such as “most Bible scholars”) in your final paragraph of your latest comment. Please be aware that anonymous sources are meaningless. Also, there is no consensus among Jewish and Christian scholars on scriptural interpretation. When you thus try to bolster your contentions, you are referring to Christian scholars, and we know it. Christian scholars agree that Isaiah 53 refers to the messiah; most Jewish scholars do not. (Isaiah 53 has been exhaustively analyzed on this blog.)
Finally, I will leave you with the classic Jewish challenge to Christianity. Unfortunately, it will make this comment very lengthy. I wish I could include it as an attachment! But here goes:
Hebrew scripture paints a clear picture of the type of person the Messiah will be and of the Messianic era. I am taking a lot of time to present the traditional Jewish view, so please read carefully.
First, what does “messiah” mean? Messiah is the English rendering of the Hebrew word “mashiach,” which means anointed one. The Hebrew Bible uses this word dozens of times: Aaron was anointed as priest, all the Jewish kings were anointed, and even objects were anointed. Interestingly, you will not find the term “the Messiah” in reference to the Messiah as either religion understands him.
Instead, Scripture describes a utopian era during which a Jewish king who will be a direct descendent of King David through his son Solomon (2 Samuel 7:12-14; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10) will rule in Israel (Isaiah 11:1-10; Jeremiah: 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-17; Ezekiel 34:23-30, 37:24-28). Since he will be an anointed king, we got into the habit of calling him the Messiah. Furthermore, the Messiah will be a sinful, not sinless, human being who will therefore be required to bring a sin offering at the Temple (Ezekiel 44:27-29; Ezekiel 45:22-23).
According to your belief, Jesus cannot be a direct descendant of King David, since tribal lineage can only be passed through patrilineal descent (see for example Numbers Chapter 1). According to you, Jesus was sinless, contradicting the Scriptural verses I cited above. He was not anointed as king; furthermore, he did not reign over all of Israel as King of the Jews (although he claimed that title for himself). He could not do this even if he had all the personal credentials to be the Davidic king because Israel was under the thumb of the Roman Empire.
To conclude the first part, Jesus could not have been the Messiah because he was not a direct descendant of King David through his son Solomon, he did not rule over Israel as king, and he was not sinful (according to you).
The Jewish prophets painted a picture of the Messianic era in language so clear, unmistakable, and unequivocal as to be irrefutable. Following is a list of the elements of the Messianic era that they prophesied:
INGATHERING OF THE JEWISH EXILES (Deuteronomy 30:3-4; Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 43:5-6; Isaiah 49:12, 18, 22; Isaiah 60:4; Isaiah 66:20; Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 30:3; Jeremiah 31:7; Jeremiah 32:37; Ezekiel 11:17; Ezekiel 20:41; Ezekiel 34:13; Ezekiel 36:24; Ezekiel 37:21)
REBUILDING OF THE THIRD TEMPLE (Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 33:18; Ezekiel 37:26-28; Ezekiel 43:7; Ezekiel 44:15:-16; Micah 4:1)
NATIONAL RESURGENCE OF TORAH OBSERVANCE (Deuteronomy 30:10; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 11:20; Ezekiel 36:27; Ezekiel 37:24; Ezekiel 44:23-24)
UNIVERSAL PEACE (Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 65:25; Jeremiah 33:9, 16; Ezekiel 34:25, 28; Ezekiel 37:26; Hosea 2:20; Psalm 72:3)
UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 54:13; Isaiah 66:18, 19, 23; Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 38:23; Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 8:20-23; Zechariah: 14:16)
PUNISHMENT OF PERSECUTORS OF THE JEWS/VINDICATION OF THE JEWS IN THE EYES OF THE NATIONS (Deuteronomy 30:7; Isaiah 17:12-14; Isaiah 25:1-8; Isaiah 30:26; Isaiah 30:28; Isaiah 34:1-35:10; Isaiah 40:1-11; Isaiah 49:8-13; Isaiah 52:7-10; Isaiah 60:1-3; Zephaniah 3:8-20; Zechariah 8:23; Psalm 9)
This is a mere sampling; I did not get all the references, but this should show you the intense and high level of corroboration of all the elements of the Messianic era predicted by the Jewish prophets from Moses onward.
To conclude the second part, Jesus did not fulfill a single element of this picture. After his death, the Temple was destroyed and has not been rebuilt since, the Jews were taken into exile and scattered, war erupted, universal knowledge of God never happened, observance of God’s laws and statutes decreased among the nation of Israel, and obviously the Jews have yet to be vindicated, as most everyone (including you) thinks we are in error. We are still beset by enemies on all sides (think of the tiny state of Israel surrounded by bloodthirsty Arab nations and constantly facing international condemnation).
The idea that the Messiah will appear, fail to succeed in his mission, and then come back to life to complete it is non-Scriptural–and anyway, that is not what Christians believe. Contrary to the many citations above, Christians look forward to the time when Jesus will descend from the clouds, sweep up all his believers, leave everyone else (billions of people) to die, and shame Israel who rejected him. Jews on the other hand look forward to a glorious future of universal peace when all of God’s children will unite in His worship.
Thank you Dina for responding. I will give all you say consideration and hopefully reply later.
That’s great! I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks for your respectful consideration.
Thank you for your reply. I appreciate you taking the time to consider my arguments and respond. I’d like to clarify with a few points, however, if I may. (It’s very late right now, 2 am, a time when I am generally worthless, so if my responses end up incoherent, forgive me, please, for attempting this right now.)
First, my objections, while shared by Jews, aren’t Jewish by nature. These were the objections I raised as a Christian studying my own faith (at the time). I only mention this, because it might be easy to dismiss them as what I’ve been told. But I was not given these objections by anyone, although it is true that since I left the Christian faith, I have spent time listening to various lectures by “counter-missionaries” like R’ Michael Skobac and R’ Tovia Singer and reading articles by R’ Blumenthal. Still, the objections I raise are not because of any sort of prior bias, but, like your objections to Trinitarianism, come largely from the abuses of the Jewish scriptures perpetrated by the NT.
Those abuses you did not really address in your response. As Dina pointed out, you digressed. Whether or not Man has a “soul” is not the topic. The Revelation of John is not the topic. The topic is whether or not the authors of the NT took the Jewish scriptures out of context when trying to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. If they did, then by the standard you applied to Trinitarianism, they are not to be believed. My argument is that they clearly ripped the scriptures right out of context to make their points and cannot be trusted. Therefore, the NT cannot rightly be called scripture, nor can any credence be given to the supposed teachings of Jesus.
I do see that you tried to address this with Isaiah 53. You seem to be saying that Isaiah 53 is fulfilled in Jesus and is not taken out of context. But that runs into two problems. The first is that, if you did not accept all the prophecies clearly taken out of context, then you would be unlikely to think that Isaiah 53 was fulfilled by Jesus. The same people who claim Jesus fulfilled it are the same ones who abused all the other scriptures. The second problem is that no good reason exists to ascribe that prophecy to Jesus rather than some other candidate. In fact, the best reading relates it to Israel. Plenty of articles have been written on that topic, so I’ll go no further than that, unless you find it necessary.
Finally, you asked for scriptures showing that the Messiah would usher in a time of peace, etc. This I will decline to do, only because it would detract from the point. When I mentioned it, the point was that no visible signs existed to prove that Messiah had come. Twenty years after Jesus, the world was going on as it had been. If you and I had not seen Jesus rise from the dead and did not even know about it before Matthew told us about it, we would be amazed if someone told us that the Messiah had come. Why didn’t we see any evidence of his having come? But I granted that we would listen to him, if for no other reason, than for curiosity. And, since we would have no external proof, no visible sign that Jesus had been the Messiah, we would closely examine the scriptures Matthew presented. And surely we would find those wanting.
Forgive me if I am only recapitulating my argument. But the main point is that the way the NT uses the Jewish scriptures is abuse. It rips them out of context to force a new meaning upon each text. And, if that is the reason you leave behind Trinitarianism, I think it’s a good reason to leave behind the NT altogether.
Forgive me also if I am unfocused. As I wrote, it is quite late, and I am not exactly a night owl. Coherency becomes difficult for me sometime after midnight. But I did not want you to think I had ignored you.
If you’re still around (I hope you are), here are some more verses from Hebrew Scripture that allude to an immortal soul.
Ecclesiastes 12:7: And the dust returns to earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Psalms 16:10: Because you will not abandon my soul to the grave; You will not allow your devout one to witness destruction. (The next verse underscores this idea.)
To Dina and Jim. I wish to thank you both for your time and patience. I must admit that I naively believed that at least both Christendom and Judaism acceptance and understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures were reasonably similar…I now know that I was mistaken. Of course I always realised that Judaism could not possibly accept that Jesus was the promised Messiah for obvious reasons.
Both of you have given many verses from Scripture to support your case and I will examine them carefully when free time permits. The exigencies of work and family life (a wife and young daughter and son) restricts my time and I must give them priority. I expect both of you have similar restrictions on your respective free time. Consequently I am unable to address all you present me with. However I do have some further questions.
Dina gave Genesis 25:8 as proof of Samuel’s soul joining his ancestors: “he was gathered to his ancestors” But where was his ancestors, what possible realm do you think existed for them to be in?
At Job 14:13 in his suffering asked God “O that in She’ol you would conceal me. That you would keep me secret until your anger turns back. That you would set a time limit for me and remember me.”
Please bear with me Dina, but Samuel’s ancestors were also dead, they were in Sheol the common grave of mankind.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 (Complete Jewish Bible) clearly states: “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; there is no longer any reward for them, because all memory of them is lost.”
Ecclesiastes 9:10: “ Whatever task comes your way to do, do it with all your strength; because in Sh’ol, where you will go, there is neither working nor planning, neither knowledge nor wisdom.”
Psalm 146:4: “His breath goeth forth , he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish”
Psalm 6:5: “for in death, no one remembers you; in Sh’ol, who will praise you?
Isaiah 38:18-19 “For Sheol cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: They that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. 19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day:”
Ecclesiastes 12:7-8 “ the dust returns to earth, as it was, and the spirit [life force] returns to God, who gave it! 8 Pointless! Meaningless! -says Kohelet, Nothing matters at all!”
This means that any hope of future life for that person now rests entirely with God.
Regarding Saul consulting a witch or person who practises divination is absolutely forbidden under penalty of death by God.: “The person who turns to spirit-mediums and sorcerers to go fornicating after them -I will set myself against him and cut him off from his people. 7 Therefore consecrate yourselves -you people must be holy, because I am ADONAI your God.
It should be noted that Jehovah had not answered Saul’s previous inquiries and obviously did not do so by means of a practice condemned by His law which warranted the death penalty. Leviticus 20:6
Now as Ecclesiastes 12:7 states that the spirit returns to God and He forbids divination…why would He release the spirit of Samuel to speak to Saul at the behest of a witch? God could never be complicit in such an act therefore, what the woman said must have been of demonic origin. The message gave no comfort to Saul but filled him with fear.–1 Sam 28:4-25
The soul can die:
We are told by God at Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins, he shall die.”
See also: Genesis 12:13; 17:14; 19:20. Exodus 12:15,19; 31:14. Leviticus 7:20,21, 27; 19:8,28; 22:3; 23:30; 24:17. Numbers 9:13; 15:30,31,20; 23:10; 1Kings 19:4
It is unfortunate that some Bible translations exchange the word “soul” and replace it with “person” or “life” however the verses I gave use the word “soul” Jim and Dina… I would be most interested how your version of the Scriptures present those verses above. I would like to purchase a copy if you would be kind enough to let me have some details.
Dina, you said: “Christians look forward to the time when Jesus will descend from the clouds, sweep up all his believers”
Luke 17:20 ASV “And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation”
Though I admit many professed Christians think as you described.
You also said: “Jews on the other hand look forward to a glorious future of universal peace when all of God’s children will unite in His worship.”
Is that from Psalm 37:11? Jesus quoted that at Matthew 5:5
I would like you to enlarge on that if you find the time…and give me some Scripture to support it. For instance will all these people ever grow old and die as we do now or will they live forever under God’s rule.
Keep in mind that God destroyed the earth with a flood in Noah’s day and Sodom and Gomorrah. Regarding such catastrophic events Paul wrote: “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come . 1Corinthians 10: 11
Your following comment impressed my and matched my own thoughts:
“We are still beset by enemies on all sides (think of the tiny state of Israel surrounded by bloodthirsty Arab nations and constantly facing international condemnation.”
The same international hypocrisy angers me. Consequently I have signed up to: http://honestreporting.com/ which exposes the anti-Semitic bias in certain outlets of Western Media bias….particularly the BBC.
Dina and Jim, that is all I have time for ( I have an early start tomorrow) and I thank you both for your time.
PS. Don’t forget to give some advise and information on purchasing a Judaic version of the Holy Scriptures.
I should have said: a Judaic version in English. 😉
Ludensian, I recommend The Artscroll English Tanach: Stone Edition. Thanks for asking!
“I must admit that I naively believed that at least both Christendom and Judaism acceptance and understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures were reasonably similar…I now know that I was mistaken.”
It’s not a surprise since you don’t have the benefit of the Oral Tradition. Without it, a person has to imagine the details. There’s a vast amount of resources that would be unavailable to you. As it stands, the Torah is just an outline. The details are elsewhere.
Yes, Jim and I gave you a lot to chew over. Take your time! The search for truth is the work of a lifetime.
I too am constrained for time. I would like to address what you say more deeply, but for now I’ll just touch on it. The verses you cite to show that the soul dies: my understanding of those verses (and this is the traditional Jewish understanding–Rabbi Blumenthal, correct me if I am wrong) is that in death we can no longer carry out God’s commandments. Once we die it is too late for us to live in obedience to God and right wrongs–so we had better seize the day while we yet live.
As for your speculation on the chapter in Samuel, it is just that: speculation. I’m going by the story recorded in Samuel.
One more point: while Scripture hints at an afterlife, it mentions nothing else about it. Clearly, God intended for us to live according to His words and not worry about it. Heaven and hell are Christian obsessions. Judaism is a this-worldly religion.
The more you delve into Christian-Jewish polemics, Ludensian, the more you will find how unbridgeable is the chasm that divides the two religions.
May God Who is the Father of us all lead us in the light of His truth.
Peace and blessings,
I will leave it to Dina to recommend a good Judaic Tanach. I am not Jewish, nor do I know enough Jewish to make such a recommendation. I am just a baby.
I do think that even without a perfect translation (as if there could be such a thing) that one can come very far by reading carefully. Reading in context is–as you pointed out–such an important practice. And it can solve many of the questions before us. Do not rush to answers, but give yourself time.
Enough “Jewish”? I meant “enough Hebrew”. Very sorry.
The English word “soul” is often used when the Hebrew is speaking of the “life force” (the nefesh — the blood circulating in your body that keeps you alive. See Leviticus 17:11). This is not the same as the immortal soul.
נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, means “a life force”). Both humans and animals are alive animals (versus plants) and thus have a נֶפֶשׁ. (for humans, see B’reshit / Genesis 46:15-27; for animals see B’reshit / Genesis 1:20-21,24,30). Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 tells us that blood is what keeps the נֶפֶשׁ alive.
רוּחַ (ru’ah, means “a wind”). רֽוּח is often translated by Christians as “spirit”, but it is rarely used to mean “spirit” in Hebrew. The most common definition is “wind” (as in “north wind”, “east wind” etc). רוּחַ (ru’ah) can also be used to describe a psychological feeling (such as a mood swing or “fit”). For an example of the use to describe a mood see B’midbar / Numbers 5:14 and 5:30 for the prhase רֽוּחַ קִנְאָה ruaḥ kin’ah — which translates to “a FIT of jealousy.”
נְשָׁמָה (n’shamah — the immortal soul) — this is what most people would think of when they refer to a soul. The נְשָׁמָה (n’shamah) is the immortal soul. Animals do not have a נְשָׁמָה (n’shamah). Man is given this immortal soul in B’reshit / Genesis 2:7 which uses נִשְׁמַת nishmat — which is the s’michut (genitive or “contructive”) case of נְשָׁמָה n’shamah, a “soul”.
Jim, this is great, and is written with your trademark compassion and sensitivity. I’d like to point out something else to Ludensian. Since you mentioned the slaughter of the innocents, I have to ask how it is that an event of such magnitude escaped the notice of all the historians of the time period. The only record of this massacre is in Christian scripture…but it happened to Jews. We have a long memory when it comes to our wrongs, so it’s astonishing that an event of such tragic (and historic) proportions would go unmentioned by Jews. I had never heard of it until I started engaging in Christian Jewish polemics. I would wager that most Jews never heard of it, either.
Just another thing to think about, Ludensian.
I would like to thank all those who have replied to me, especially Jim who kindly invested much of his time in his interesting replies.
And a special thanks to Dina for her friendly advise in choosing and English translation of the Tanach which will be most useful in my studies. May YHWH look on you all kindly and bless you and may Israel and its people see peace and prosperity.
You’re welcome, Ludensian, and Amen!
Judging by the Palestinians behavior, why would there be interest in a small, and foreign nation.
I meant Philistines. Sorry about the error.
Actually — it isn’t an error. The Roman Emperor Hadrian cursed the Jewish People and decreed that Judah (Israel — not to be confused with the northern kingdom) should be named “Palestine” after the Philistines, an ancient enemy of Israel that had disappeared from the world’s stage more than 600 years earlier.
Reblogged this on 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources.