Circumcise Your Heart

Circumcise Your Heart

We are commanded by God to circumcise our hearts (Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 4:4). How does one go about fulfilling this injunction? What is the meaning of this metaphor?

In the language of Scripture, the heart is the seat of understanding. Just as the eye sees and the ears hear so does the heart understand and know (Isaiah 6:10). Scripture employs the metaphor of uncircumcision for the ear (Jeremiah 6:10). The uncircumcised ear cannot listen or hear. It would then follow that the uncircumcised heart cannot know or understand.

This interpretation is reinforced when we consider the context of the two passages in which our metaphor appears (Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 4:4). In both instances Scripture employs a different metaphor as a parallel to the metaphor under discussion. In Deuteronomy the Scripture speaks of ceasing to stiffen our necks. Throughout Scripture a stiff neck is a reference to stubbornness and a refusal to obey and submit. This would be parallel to a heart that refuses to acquire understanding that would necessitate a change in attitude.

In Jeremiah the prophet encourages us to plow our fallow ground and not sow among the thorns (Jeremiah 4:3). The context implies that the prophet is encouraging us to break the hardness of our heart, which would be compared to the unbroken thorny ground, before we plant with prayer, study of God’s word and practice of good deeds.

Leviticus 26:41 speaks of our uncircumcised hearts being humbled through the suffering of exile. This passage further reinforces our interpretation. The arrogant heart is set in its ways and its world view is not open for negotiation. The messages that God sends through His prophets and through the events that He is orchestrating do not move the uncircumcised heart because the uncircumcised heart is closed to the truth.

The call to circumcise our heart is a call to humility, a call to open ourselves up to new understanding. When God commands us to circumcise our heart He is encouraging us to let go of our preconceived notions which prevent us from comprehending His truth.

This activity is not an “all or nothing” proposition. There are many different levels of openness and acceptance of God’s truth. On the one hand you find people who cling so tightly to their world-view and completely close their hearts to the words of God that might overturn the beliefs that they cherish. These people will rehash their own doctrines, endlessly quoting the same few passages that they see as supportive of their creed, and refuse to interact in a meaningful way with the passages of Scripture that would force them to see the world in a new light.

On the other extreme you find people who made life-changing decisions because they opened their hearts to God’s truth. These people are willing to consider the fact that they are human and could make mistakes and their hearts remain open and accepting.

Most of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes. We may hesitate to consider inconvenient truths but we also  do not completely shut up our ears and hearts. Circumcision of the heart is a path of growth. We can all grow in our willingness to accept God’s truth and the injunction of Deuteronomy 10:16 is commanding us to move ever-forward on the path of humility and acceptance.

As human beings our activities are always limited and the scope of our understanding will always be nothing more than a dot against the background of God’s eternal truth. We can never fully open ourselves up to God’s truth on our own because our hearts are human and our abilities are inadequate. Indeed, God promises that He will intervene and circumcise our hearts to the degree that God’s truth becomes an integral part of our beings (Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26). But God also tells us who it is that He will circumcise. God will circumcise the hearts of people who have already opened their hearts to Him (Deuteronomy 30:2). He will write His Law on the hearts of a people who are already carrying His Law in their heart (Isaiah 51:7).

If you want to circumcise your heart then you need to walk in the path of David, Israel’s King. He spelled out this path in Psalm 119. Begin with prayer and supplication to God, because our capacity for self-delusion is so deep. And do not just begin with prayer, but pray from beginning to end. But don’t just pray with your lips, pray with your heart and with your actions. Read God’s word, not to confirm the worldview that you already possess, but rather, allow God’s word to refine your worldview and even to shatter it. Open your heart to God’s truth and listen to His word. With God at your side you have nothing to fear.

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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44 Responses to Circumcise Your Heart

  1. bography says:

    Thank you, Yisroel. Food for thought.

  2. Dina says:

    This is so inspiring!

  3. Dave says:

    Thank you Yisroel: It isn’t easy but it surely is necessary Doovid

  4. Concerned Reader says:

    Something many people don’t realize is that in the ancient world, in many cultures, the heart was believed to function in the same way as we see the brain functioning today. We see this fact in Plato, Aristotle, Galen, etc. As rabbi B showed, the heart was, “the seat of understanding.”

    Scripture is meant to engage both mind and body, and you cannot disassociate the two, because they are built to work together in harmony. An intellect not grounded in the practical practices, inhabits the clouds, but can’t apply the knowledge for good effect.

    You often hear evangelicals say “I believe the bible is a “heart issue,” but clearly they mean that in an emotional sense, not in the practical lived action sense that scripture and the ancients meant it.

    Excellent, excellent, rabbi. 🙂

  5. Arin says:

    It is not your responsibility to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it. Pirkei Avos 2:16

  6. Some to commend here, especially about the central place of the Law as a test of validity and the proof of reality. However there is also a serious error.
    ‘Our capacity for self-delusion is so deep’. Real circumcision is certainly not a slow, incremental transition, just as the transformation from a stony heart to a fleshy one is not either, or the resurrection of dry, dead bones to life.
    This is why Nicodemus knew all about the ‘new birth’, when Messiah warned him, that without it he would neither see nor enter the King’s realm.

    • charles soper There are two circumcisions – the natural one that God demands of us and the supernatural one that God will grant us. You cannot compare one to the other. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

    • Bible819 says:

      Well said Charles.

      Spiritual Death to All men:

      “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”

      Spiritual Life:

      As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all the signs came to pass that day.

      Rebellion = Death

      Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil[a] spirit from the Lord tormented him.

      Question: I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would place His Spirit on them!

      As the Spirit Said:

      But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit gives you life because of righteousness.

      If you don’t have the Spirit of God = You are dead!

    • charles soper, did your faith gradually grow as God revealed His love, power, and will for your life progressively as the years went by? or did you become a brand new man of God in a minute? It took 3 years in Arabian desert for Saul to become Paul; the dead bones in Ezekiel’s vision went through process of moving, shattering, and being covered with flesh and skin to become a great army; even human birth takes 10 months to be born!

      The conversation between Yeshua and Nicodemus is not about “NEW birth.”
      Don’t add the typical Christian terminology onto the text. It is about “Birth from ABOVE.”

      Further, You said Yeshua “WARNED” NIcodemus. I don’t think so. He ” COMMENDED” Nicodemus! He praised and confirmed Nicodemus’ correct observation which is impossible unless he is born again ( in Greek “again’ means also “above”).

      Look, Charles, Nicodemus said, “Rabbi, we KNOW that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” Nicodemus KNEW (‘ediow’ in Greek) the origin of Yeshua (from GOD! from ABOVE) and the powerful reign of God in Yeshua’s miracles.

      So when Yeshua said “except a man be born again, he cannot SEE (‘eidow’ in Greek) the kingdom of God,” He did not rebuke nor refute Nicodemus as if Nicodemus was flattering.
      What Yeshua has meant was this; “Nicodemus! you are a man who is born ABOVE (again)! That is why you can KNOW (‘eidow’) and SEE (‘eidow’) my origin (i am from God ABOVE!) and know (‘eidow’) and see (‘eidow’) that my miracles are all possible because of God’s reign (king’s dominating= the kingdom of God).

      I pray that God will circumcise the hearts of Christians to understand the Gospels.

      • Bible819 says:

        Gean,

        Your First Paragraph is rebuffed:

        1 Samuel 10:9

        As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all the signs came to pass that day.

        How long did it take for God to change Saul’s Heart?

        Born Again=New Birth

        The Brand Christians as uncircumcised is to take away from Gods Conversion.

        You don’t know how long it takes for God to change someones heart.

        Yeshua the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is my Lord!

        • Thanks for comment, Bible819. Then, do you believe that only if someone gets a new heart (or another heart), then he or she instantly becomes a new man (or another man)? God changed Saul’s heart, yes, he’s got another heart, heart ONLY. Yet according to Samuel the prophet, for Saul to be “another man” (1 Sam.10:6), or to be “Born Again or New Birth” by your term, he needed to receive NEW LEG as he depart from Samuel, NEW EAR as he heard the two men’s saying, NEW FEET to go forward to the plain of Tabor, NEW EYE to see three men going to Bethel, NEW HANDS to receive two loaves of bread, and NEW TONGUE to prophesy! Mere intellectual assent or mental believing in right New Testament doctrine cannot make you born again. We Christians must learn from Judaism how God transforms a person.

          • Bible819 says:

            Yeshua the Spirit never said

            “we must learn from Judaism how God transforms a person”

            As it is Written:

            But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.

            Yeshua Reiterates by Saying:

            3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

            And again:

            But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”

            Clean is the Spiritual Rebirth.

          • “Yeshua the Spirit never said…”
            — “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31

            Have you ever noticed why Paul repeated the same message of verse 14 at verse 15? He didn’t have to! It is redundant! I believe Paul is talking about Christian’s ‘unwillingness of their HEARTS’ to understand the Law of Moses in verse 15.
            WE know this from the beginning of the same chapter where Paul was asserting the Christians had the Law written on their HEARTS!

            In verse 14, Paul is talking about ‘inability of their MINDS’ to understand the truth. Paul was ascribing this to God not to them. The Christians willingly ignore the eternal covenant of God with the Jews, the Jews providentially ignore the Good News of their Messiah. God had a plan for this in His sovereign wisdom until the Messiah comes.

            “you are already clean because of the word i have spoken to you”
            — Yes, Bible 819! Yeshua’s words were all from his Father according to John’s gospel, and the Jews all had God’s words much, much more than Christians had. Therefore, the Jews are already clean and already possess God’s rebirth in their mouth and heart.

          • Bible819 says:

            Gean,

            The Father speaking through Yeshua Said:

            If you had believed Moses, you would believe Me, because he wrote about Me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?

          • Bible819, i am sorry i can get it. What is your point? what are you trying to say through quoting this verse?

          • Bible819 says:

            Gean,

            The Jews are Gods chosen people.

            However, Israel has been judged by God whenever they turned to be like the other nations.

            The other nations were unclean because they didn’t have the Truth.

            That said, they rejected Messiah and have paid dearly.

            All of us have become like one who is unclean,
            and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
            we all shrivel up like a leaf,
            and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
            No one calls on your name
            or strives to lay hold of you;
            for you have hidden your face from us
            and have given us over to a our sins.

            Now, Gean as scriptures foretells, what will happen next:

            These witnesses are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.

            Praise Yeshua, Amen!

          • Sharon S says:

            Bible819,

            The bible verse that you quoted comes from Isaiah 64:6-7 . If you read further down then you will come to the following verses (Isaiah 64:8-12):

            Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
            We are the clay, you are the potter;
            we are all the work of your hand.
            Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;
            do not remember our sins forever.
            Oh, look on us, we pray,
            for we are all your people.
            Your sacred cities have become a wasteland;
            even Zion is a wasteland, Jerusalem a desolation.
            Our holy and glorious temple, where our ancestors praised you,
            has been burned with fire,
            and all that we treasured lies in ruins.
            After all this, Lord, will you hold yourself back?
            Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?

            You don’t disclose the chapter and verse of the scripture that you quoted . I think that it is important for the reader who may not be so well versed in the scriptures that you state the sources clearly. I do find out the verses eventually and read not only the verse you quoted but the verses after it up to the end of the chapter. I then realized that you cherry pick the verses to justify your position .The meaning of these verses are different from what you are advocating when they are read in context .

            Please stop cherry picking verses to justify your position . We have had this conversation before , with almost the same dialogue from your part. I have explained with proofs that the Jewish people don’t need Jesus to get right with G-d . The Jewish scriptures testify to this . It is your devotion to Jesus that is blinding you to this reality.

          • Bible819 says:

            Sharon,

            All you have (ever) stated was your point. You proved nothing.

            You listed the rest of verse that acknowledges the need forgiveness. For What?

            My key point: For blindness, unrighteousness, and becoming like the other nations.

            I believe that Gean is a Christian, so this Dialogue was in reference to the spiritual truth of Yeshua and the future.

            Do you know what I was talking about regarding the scriptures in Revelations?

            Lastly,

            I have no idea what you believe.

            You consider the 2nd the temple was destroyed for what?

            Key point: blindness, unrighteousness, and becoming like the other nations.

            Prophecy Fulfilled:

            Then after the sixty-two weeks, the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations have been decreed.

            Praise Yeshua who Was, and Is, and Is to come. Amen

          • Sharon S says:

            Bible819,

            It is true that the Jewish people were under G-d’s judgement . However , the verses I listed shows the prophet as expressing remorse for the sins of Israel and is asking for forgiveness from G-d, their Father and the Father of all mankind as well. The dialogue is between the Prophet , who represents the remnant of Israel and G-d.

            There is no mention of your “Messiah” aka Jesus as an important factor in these verses. I need to point this out since you listed a section of these verses to show that the Jewish people/ Israel “rejected Messiah and have paid dearly”.

            This is nothing new . You have always stated your points by cherry picking verses to prove your key points about the Jewish people/Israel -their so-called “blindness, unrighteousness, and becoming like the other nations”. You frequently bring up the destruction of the 2nd Temple and link it to Daniel’s prophecy in order to show that the destruction of the temple is due to the Jewish people rejecting Jesus.These are the messages you have (ever) stated here.

            In my opinion Gean , as a believer of Jesus do acknowledge that the Jewish people possess spiritual truths , even more than Christians. Most Christians , including yourself do not share this view. This is the message I get from your conversation.

            I am just a truth seeker . I am sorry for interfering in your conversation with Gean . However I find your listing a section of the verses in Isaiah 64 and ignoring others in order to show that Israel “rejected Messiah and have paid dearly” is very misleading to those reading , and in my opinion vicious as well. That is why I pointed it out.

            I do agree with Arin. It is thought patterns like these which is the root cause of the persecution that the Jewish people went through and culminated in the Holocaust.

          • Bible819 says:

            Sharon,

            Without scripture disproving the 2nd Temple destruction wasn’t due to Gods Judgment;

            Exile and the destruction of the 1st temple = 100% Gods Judgement!

            You have a baseless emotional argument.

          • Bible819 says:

            Gean,

            The opposite of this Verse = Born Again or Rebirth

            “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”

          • Sharon S says:

            Bible819,

            I don’t quite get your argument. Do you mean that the destruction of the 2nd temple is not due to
            G-d’s judgement , similar to the first?

            I would like to respond to your argument on Daniel 9: 24-27 since you frequently brought it up.

            You are trying to link the destruction of the 2nd temple with the Jewish rejection of Jesus , based on Daniel 9:24-27 . I see that as a weak argument due to the following:
            a. These are the only set of verses in the Jewish scriptures which links the Messiah and the destruction of the temple
            b. The focus of Daniel’s prayer was on G-d’s promise to bring back the Jewish people to Israel based on Jeremiah’s prophecy (refer Jeremiah 25 and 29)- not on the Messiah. Gabriel appeared to give Daniel “insight and understanding” (Daniel 9:22) on this prophecy
            c. The term “ Messiah “ in the verse you quoted means “anointed”. This term can be applied to a ruler or the high priest. There are two separate description for anointed in the NIV version of the Christian Bible-the “Anointed one, the ruler” (verse 25) and the “Anointed one” (verse 26). Could this refer to two anointed individuals instead of one?
            d. Your focus is on the period of 62 weeks when the prophecy clearly states seventy sevens (verse 24) which is 490 years . In fact , the Christian interpretation lumps the period of 7 weeks and 62 weeks into one successive period .What if these are actually two separate periods in Israel’s history? We should base our interpretation based on what is clearly stated in Scripture.
            e. Christian interpretation focus on 69 weeks (7 + 62 weeks or 483 years) and calculate this period from the year 444 BCE ( which corresponds to King Artaxerxes granting Nehemiah’s request in Nehemiah chapter 2) to the crucifixion of Jesus . There are earlier decrees by Cyrus (Ezra 1:1) and of King Artatexes to Ezra (Ezra 7). Why focus on Nehemiah chapter 2 , the latest of the decrees as the starting point and not consider others?
            f. Even if we follow the Christian calculation , the calculation does not point to the supposed year of Jesus’s crucifixion. This requires some adjustment by multiplying 483 years with 360 days and then divide by 365.4 days. Why go to such lengths to prove that this prophecy is all about Jesus?

            I find the following video link as very helpful to understand these prophecies

          • Bible819 says:

            Sharon,

            The 2nd temple was destroyed due to Gods Judgement.

          • Arin says:

            God exiled Israel in egypt, and God recompensed the egyptians for their antisemitic conduct. Same with babylon, Zech 1:15 I am very angry with the nations that are at ease, for I was wroth a little, and they helped to do harm.’ and same in today’s exile. We take responsibility for our faults, and acknowledge God corrects as a loving father, but the nations antisemitism is not excused because they think they do God’s work by antisemitism.
            Psalm 44 All this has befallen us and we have not forgotten You, neither have we betrayed Your covenant. Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps turned away from Your path -even when You crushed us in a place of serpents, and You covered us with darkness. If we forgot the name of our God and spread out our palms to a strange god, Will God not search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. For it is for Your sake that we are killed all the time, [that] we are considered as sheep for the slaughter.

          • Dina says:

            Sharon,

            It’s rare that I agree with Aaron (aka Bible819), but I do agree with him that the Temple was destroyed due to God’s judgment. Where we disagree is upon what God was judging Israel. Aaron claims it was for rejection of Jesus, a belief that is based on circular reasoning.

          • Bible819 says:

            Dina,

            I appreciate that we can agree about the biblical definition of God’s Judgement.

          • Arin says:

            “christianity is an antisemitic hoax that dupes the ignorant” Rejection of jESAUs is a good thing. God did not curse Israel for rejecting a false messiah. The 2nd temple was destroyed in part due to lack of brotherly love. But also it had already been fortold it would only last for 62 weeks, Dan 9:25. Plus Psalm 44 shows God has a plan and there is a reason for things all working out in His plan. Like the Israelites when they crossed the sea. They saw God’s presence in His sovereignty over history

          • Bible819 says:

            Arin,

            Read your Bible

            The 2nd temple was destroyed in part due to lack of brotherly love??

            The 2nd temple was destroyed due to lack of –>Obedience

            God said:

            They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, since you did not obey the LORD your God and keep the commandments and statutes He gave you. 46These curses will be a sign and a wonder upon you and your descendants forever.

            Why?

            Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations have been decreed.

            Praise the Jew -> Yeshua Gods Annoited!

          • Arin says:

            bible819 greek testament fake news is major cause of antisemitism as you are evidence of by saying people are serving God by being antisemitic because God cursed the Jews.

            We know God would not allow destruction for rejecting a false messiah. Rejecting false messiah jESAUs is good. Not that I think this to be so, but one could more easily claim the destruction was due to the fact that masses of wayward Jews had followed a false messiah, jESAUs. Rather than attributing the reason for exile to the rejection of Jesus, it can be more readily asserted that the reason this destruction occurred was due to the fact that many Jewish people had tragically embraced christianity. Thereby disobeying God’s torah.

            If in fact, the reason was “because Jesus was the final atonement,” and there was thus no longer any need for animal sacrifices, why then are the same animal sacrifices coming back in the End of Days? Christians have very little room to maneuver on this matter because the Bible is quite clear that the animal sacrificial system will be restored in the messianic age.

            Deut 28:46 keep reading thru chap 30, the story is not over at 28:46, the nations will say “May God bless us as God bless the children of Abraham, even their curses are out of loving kindness as a father disciplines a son, and their curses end in blessing! The Jews will be a sign to the nations forever of God’s righteous loving kindness.

            We see there is an end to the curses, and thereafter is only blessing in Deut 30. Therefore we know Deut 28:46 is not saying they are cursed forever and annihilated.

            His relationship with His people remains unaffected regardless of their behavior.
            Lev 16:16 God “dwells amongst them in the midst of their impurities,’’

            We see that in the sinai covenant, if we sin we are guaranteed to be disciplined as a father loves a son. We see the curses end in blessing, not annihilation, Deut 30, Isa 40:2

            Isa 60:21 And your people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever. They are the shoot of My planting, the work of My hands, in which I take pride.

            Dan 9:24-27 has nothing to do with jESAUs. We see that not any of the stipulations set in verse 24 have happened yet. The messianic age must be happening during the messiah’s life, not after death and resurrection, Isa 42:4.

            When Israel is exalted as God’s servant, the nations will be surprised because they had misunderstood the suffering of this community as an indication that the true message of the Messiah, which was carried by Israel, cannot be true.

            Psalm 78:5,6 make it clear that the last generation will find in the testimony of their parents a repository of God’s truth. You could throw out both the Bible and our testimony – but you can’t throw out one without throwing out the other

            “What does the Bible say?” The only way you can come to the conclusion that Jesus is the Messiah – is by first accepting him as the Messiah and then accepting his Biblical interpretations.

          • Bible819, Rejection of Jesus is lack of brotherly love because Jesus was a brother of the Jews.
            According to John’s Gospel, the body of Yeshua was symbolically the temple.
            After he rose again and appeared to his disciples, why he had to say with this words, “Shalom… Shalom… Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained?” The destruction of his body (the temple) was due to lack of shalom and forgiveness among brothers?

  7. I wished i could inscribe all the sentences of this article on the side notes space on my Bible. I have read prayerfully from the beginning to end and ended up shouting, “God, I will carry the Law in my heart and move ever forward on the path of humility and acceptance. Please intervene and circumcise my heart that i may understand your Law and walk in it.” Thank you so much my friend and Rabbi, I just love this classroom!

  8. Arin says:

    christianity is an antisemitic hoax that dupes the ignorant

    • Bible819 says:

      Yeshua called a nazarene did not put out antisemitic information. But he did expose evil and we hated him for it.

      • Arin says:

        jESAUs’ words in john 8 show he is antisemitic. His words are the cause of church antisemitism and the holocaust. jESAUs is a sinner who tries to get others to disobey God, Matt 19:12

        • Bible819 says:

          Was the 1st destruction and exile a result of antisemitism or Gods Judgement?

          Daniel said it best:

          we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

          Why was the 2nd temple destroyed?

          • Arin says:

            Thanks for continuing to prove my point. Instead of acknowledging the antisemitism caused by jESAUs’ rhetoric, you say they had it coming. Zech 1:15 I am very angry with the nations that are at ease, for I was wroth a little, and they helped to do harm.’

          • Bible819 says:

            You are just like Adam:

            “The woman whom You gave me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

            You blame God
            You the Woman
            and
            You blame the Snake.

            not like

            Daniel who repented.

            Praise Yeshua who knows God wants repentance for the forgiveness of Sin!

      • Arin says:

        bible819 greek testament fake news is major cause of antisemitism as you are evidence of by saying people are serving God by being antisemitic because God cursed the Jews.

        Not that I think this to be so, but one could easily claim the destruction was due to the fact that masses of wayward Jews had followed a false messiah, jESAUs. Rather than attributing the reason for exile to the rejection of Jesus, it can be more readily asserted that the reason this destruction occurred was due to the fact that many Jewish people had tragically embraced christianity. Thereby disobeying God’s torah

        If in fact, the reason was “because Jesus was the final atonement,” and there was thus no longer any need for animal sacrifices, why then are the same animal sacrifices coming back in the End of Days? Christians have very little room to maneuver on this matter because the Bible is quite clear that the animal sacrificial system will be restored in the messianic age.

        Deut 28:46 keep reading, the story is not over at 28:46, the nations will say “May God bless us as God bless the children of Abraham, even their curses are out of loving kindness as a father disciplines a son, and their curses ends in blessing! The Jews will be a sign to the nations forever of God’s righteous loving kindness.

        We see there is an end to the curses, and thereafter is only blessing in Deut 30. Therefore we know Deut 28:46 is not saying they are cursed forever and annihilated.

        His relationship with His people remains unaffected regardless of their behavior.
        Lev 16:16 God “dwells amongst them in the midst of their impurities,’’

        We see that in the sinai covenant, if we sin we are guaranteed to be disciplined as a father loves a son. We see the curses end in blessing, not annihilation, Deut 30, Isa 40:2

        Isa 60:21 And your people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever. They are the shoot of My planting, the work of My hands, in which I take pride.

        Dan 9:24-27 has nothing to do with jESAUs. We see that not any of the stipulations set in verse 24 have happened yet. The messianic age must be happening during the messiah’s life, not after death and resurrection, Isa 42:4.

        When Israel is exalted as God’s servant, the nations will be surprised because they had misunderstood the suffering of this community as an indication that the true message of the Messiah, which was carried by Israel, cannot be true.

        Psalm 78:5,6 make it clear that the last generation will find in the testimony of their parents a repository of God’s truth. You could throw out both the Bible and our testimony – but you can’t throw out one without throwing out the other

        “What does the Bible say?” The only way you can come to the conclusion that Jesus is the Messiah – is by first accepting him as the Messiah and then accepting his Biblical interpretations.

        • Sharon S says:

          Hi Arin,

          “Dan 9:24-27 has nothing to do with jESAUs. We see that not any of the stipulations set in verse 24 have happened yet. The messianic age must be happening during the messiah’s life, not after death and resurrection, Isa 42:4.”

          You are addressing Bible819 but the above comment provides an answer from the Jewish perspective to my recent query on Daniel 9:24 (refer to my comment at the bottom of this thread). If you don’t mind I would like to respond to your comment.

          Let’s set aside Jesus ( or the nickname jESAUs that you have given him ) and focus on the stipulations in verse 24. I have a few questions :

          a.Are the stipulations in verse 24 a prerequisite /condition that must be achieved before the coming of the Messiah or can only be accomplished after the coming of the Messiah ?
          In other words, are the achievement of the 6 stipulations necessary to usher in the Messianic age or it can only be achieved during the Messianic age?

          b.You stated that not any of the stipulations in verse 24 have happened yet. Does this mean that from AD 586 (the destruction of the first temple according to secular sources) till today , the remnant of Israel still fail to make any progress on any of the six stipulations as stated in verse 24?

          c. What is the purpose for the Author of Scripture to set targets( the 6 stipulations) ,a set period (70 weeks) and the situation surrounding the 70 weeks or 490 years? Daniel was only praying for a confirmation on the remnant of Israel returning to Israel after the 70 year exile .

          d. I do not intend to belittle the period of exile that your people been through.However I can’t help but to ask the question-what is the purpose of the long exile if there are no achievement with regards to the 6 stipulations? If the exile is a period of spiritual refinement then there must be some progress at this time.

          I think it is important to clarify this even if Jesus (or jESAUs) has not come to the scene. If the remnant of Israel did not achieve any of the 6 stipulations the natural question to be asked -is repentance and obedience to the Torah enough in achieving the 6 stipulations or is there something extra required for the remnant of Israel to have progress in achieving the 6 stipulations?

          In my opinion there has been some progress on the 6 stipulations during the 2nd temple period. There was a very strong intolerance towards idolatry during the 2nd temple period as compared to the 1st.I see this demonstrated in the Maccabean revolt and the strong opposition by the Jewish community when the Roman ruler Caligula attempted to desecrate the Temple. In my opinion the crucifixion of Jesus and the martyrdom of Stephen is due to efforts to punish those who violate the command of idolatry and teaches others to do so.The canon of Jewish scriptures were finalised and the effort to codify the Oral law started at this time. Perhaps despite these efforts the remnant of Israel still fell short of achieving the Divine Intent hence the prophecies in verse 25-26 .

          • Arin says:

            In the Tenach we see described in detail a specific age and in that age is a king of the Davidic line. When those events occur and that person appears he is the Messiah. Many times we have oscillated closer and further to that age being actualized. We help the progression toward the messianic age thru all generations’ of mitzvos observance, repentance, and through suffering, Isa 40:2.

            For some christians, ALL 6 things are to be done by an individual, but the Jewish view is that they apply to the whole nation. For some christians, ALL of the 6 things need to be accomplished before 70 CE, but according to the Jewish view they need not be, but can/will be accomplished at a later date. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.” This is something regarding the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem exclusively. So we must conclude that these 6 things need to be accomplished by the people of Israel and not something one individual does.

            Daniel 9:24 is about the whole nation of Israel doing something and not an individual.
            Daniel 9:24 did not have to occur before the destruction of the temple in 70CE
            Daniel 9:24 lists things that we can verify if they were done or not and they have as yet not been fulfilled, by either Jesus, or the nation of Israel.

            There are concrete reasons to doubt the veracity of claims in the NT. The story of Steven does not pass the ‘smell test’, fishy. Sanhedrin did not condone persecution. Someone who would disrupt in the synagogue or Temple, would certainly be escorted out. We don’t see Sadducees being persecuted, why should we believe Christians were different? It is clear that the first Christians did follow the Torah. Also remember the story of Gamliel who protected Christians. Schiffman in his ‘Who was a Jew’ contends the Jewish christians who kept the torah were considered jews until the time of Bar Kochbah (130s CE)

            Check JewsforJudaism Contra-Brown.pdf pg 19, or Rabbi Shulman at JudaismsAnswer Articles on Dan 9 Dan 9:24 4.19, or Check JewsforJudaism knowledge articles daniel-9-verse-by-verse
            And use an Orthodox Jewish commentary of tanach such as Artscroll, Feildheim, or Judaica Press

          • Sharon S says:

            Hi Arin,

            Thank you for your feedback and for sharing articles on this topic.

            A correction to my previous comment at point (b) . The destruction of the first temple occurred in 586 BC , according to secular sources.

            I have read the documents you recommended below:
            a.Contra Brown , which is actually written by Rabbi Blumenthal and link clearly available at this blog (the portion of the article addressing Daniel 19)
            b.Article on Daniel 9:24 4.19 written by Rabbi Moshe Shulman at Judaism’s Answer here
            https://judaismsanswer.com/DrBrown-Dan%209-4.19.htm
            c.Series of articles in the Jews for Judaism’s website on Daniel 9:24-27 here https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/daniel-9-verse-by-verse/

            From the above articles :
            1.There are two views on the 490 years:
            a.The 490 years as a preparation period for the refining process which represents G-d’s program for the ultimate expiation of sin and for the salvation of mankind.
            b.The 490 years as a test , either Israel will accomplish the 6 points or the temple is destroyed . This is similar to the first entrance to the land of Israel. G-d told the Jewish people to keep His laws, if not they will go into exile.

            2.Israel need not achieve the 6 stipulations/points within the 490 year period . These stipulations can only be achieved during the Messianic age.However , according to the article “Why Exploring The Seventy Weeks of Daniel Verse By Verse Is Crucial” in the Jews for Judaism website ,there were some accomplishment to the 6 points during the 490 year period , but full compliance was not realized .

            3. The stipulations are to be achieved by the nation , not by the individual . Hence Jesus
            did not achieve nor is he qualified to achieve these stipulations. However in Contra Brown , the Messiah of the Jewish scriptures ( an individual ) will complete G-d’s program (expiation of sin , ushering in of everlasting righteousness and the culmination of all prophecy)

            Perhaps these differences are not so crucial , because the goal of all these articles is to prove why Jesus is not the Messiah as described in verses 25 to 27 and why Jesus did not achieve the 6 stipulations. I think these articles have done a good job in debunking the Christian claim.

            However I have a few questions :
            1.If it weren’t for Jesus , would the Jew come out with lengthy articles like this in order to present the Jewish position on Daniel 9 ?
            2.From the Jewish perspective , is it necessary or relevant for the non Jew to learn the true picture of Israel’s relationship with G-d and the purpose of her exile?
            3.If the answer in 2 is a yes ,what lessons can a non Jew learn from this (apart from Jesus having nothing to do with this prophecy)?

            Thank you.

  9. Sharon S says:

    A follow up to my comment here https://judaismresources.net/2015/05/07/circumcise-your-heart/#comment-61599

    I have overlooked a crucial message from Daniel 9 , particularly in verse 24 as follows:
    “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place”

    From plain reading , it seems that Israel/remnant of Israel that survived the first temple destruction and exile have to achieve six tasks/milestones in the 490 period as follows:
    1.To finish transgression
    2.To put an end to sin
    3.To atone for wickedness
    4.To bring in everlasting righteousness
    5.To seal up vision and prophecy
    6.To anoint the Most Holy Place

    I have done some study of the prophecies in Daniel 9:24-27 and read articles /watched quite a bit of videos from Jewish and Christian perspectives . Most of the material are devoted to justify why Jesus is or is not the Messiah foretold in these prophecies . I too directed my attention on these areas . However , a presentation by Michael Brown in which he focused on Daniel 9:24 made me realize the importance of this verse .

    I have searched for response from Jewish sources online and on this blog .I find that not much effort is directed to address Daniel 9:24 alone . Rabbi Michael Skobac of Jews for Judaism , whose video I posted here did touch on this verse only towards the end of his presentation. I did a search on “Daniel 9” in this blog and come across two articles by Rabbi Blumenthal in which he did address verse 24. These are the responses I find so far :
    1.According to Rabbi Michael Skobac ( refer video in my previous comment-around the last 5 minutes of his presentation) ,the 490 years is a period of cleansing . If the period of suffering is used properly then the Messiah will come after the 490 years . The Messiah could not have come before the destruction of the temple
    2.According to Rabbi Blumenthal in his article “Daniel 9:24-27” , the “nation has to undergo a purging process of seventy weeks , and only then can the sin be expiated as well as the process of ushering in eternal righteousness. Firstly the nation and the land must make expiation for the particular sin of neglecting the Sabbath of the land” which is pointed out in Leviticus 25. Once this purging is complete then can only the national purging process begin which will refine the nation and achieve those six tasks/milestones.
    3.According to Rabbi Blumenthal in his article “Daniel 9-an open letter to Bru Ram” , the “ending of sin” is a process of exile . There are two ramifications –one is a process of exile that begins with the destruction of the 2nd temple , the other is that the word to restore Jerusalem is the beginning of the exile process which is the destruction of the first temple.

    I have searched for Rabbinical commentaries , Talmud , etc online. Unfortunately, these are only available in Hebrew.

    My question:
    1.I noticed that there are two different Jewish opinions on verse 24. On one hand the 490 years is regarded as a period of cleansing after which the messianic promises should come to pass .On the other hand the 490 years , or earlier is the starting point of the process of exile or the national purging process . Which is correct?
    2.Based on Rabbi Michael Skobac’s perspective (490 years as a period of suffering/cleansing), why did the Jewish nation endure suffering and persecution even after the 490 year period? Could it be that an opportunity to realize the 6 tasks/milestones had been available during the 490 year period and the Jewish nation at that time fail to realize?
    3.Based on Rabbi Blumenthal’s perspective , is the national purging process still ongoing to the present day? If so , is the Jewish nation still paying for the sins committed which cause the destruction of the 1st temple till this day? When will this national purging process end?

    Appreciate feedback from the Jewish perspective . Any articles/videos in this blog or online which could help in understanding Daniel 9:24 better would be most welcome. Apologies if the questions on Daniel 9 deviate from the main topic.

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