The Real Jewish Messiah – Debate

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

The Real Jewish Messiah: Rabbi Blumenthal Debates Dr. Brown

Over the last year, Dr. Michael Brown and Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal have engaged in a series of back and forth video presentations on YouTube.
These discussions have led to Dr. Brown and Rabbi Blumenthal to agree to a simultaneous online 3-Part “Virtual Debate.”

Dr. Brown and Rabbi Blumenthal will each release their own first 20-minute YouTube video on “The Real Jewish Messiah” at noon on May 15 2017.

At noon on June 19 2017  they will release a simultaneous “Rebuttal” of each other’s “Real Jewish Messiah” and at noon on July 24 2017, they will similarly post their 20-minute response to each other’s rebuttals.

If the viewing audience enjoys this unique debate approach, Dr. Brown and Rabbi Blumenthal may consider doing other Virtual Debates on the issues that stand between them.

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25 Responses to The Real Jewish Messiah – Debate

  1. CP says:

    Yisroel C Blumenthal ;
    Used only those Tanach passages supporting a narrow definition of Messiah as a conquering Davidic King bringing world peace. Yisroel Blumenthal is absolutely correct in his definition of Messiah. However his defination is as one standing close to a panorama view of Messiah painted by Tanach and looking through a cardboard paper towel roll.

    Michael Brown;
    Used a broad range of Tanach passages, passages assumed by many to be contradictory, yet was able to harmoniously piece them together showing the big picture of Messiah and how these passages do not contradict but are all parts of of the same Messianic panoramic view through time.

    Personal Note;
    Not sure of Michael Browns view on when Yeshua became Messiah, however from my personal understanding of Scripture; Yeshua was born as a man, becoming the future Messiah through the Holy Spirit and obedience to Hashem unto death. For this Hashem raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand to come as the Davidic King when the time is right.

    This view is compatible with Judaism yet is still rejected. Why? Perhaps because if it is admitted Yeshua was even at the very least a righteous Pharisaic Rabbi then the current generation would have to repent from supporting the decision made by the Sanhedrin and every generation for the last 2000 years? For the last 70 years Christians have been apologizing for the antisemitism of their forefathers, seeking forgiveness, making re-compensation and holding out the olive branch. There has been small successes of peace and unity, but as a whole, modern Orthodox Judaism appears fearful of even saying the name of Yeshua let alone do a serious unbiased study of their most well known son.

    One thing is for certain for both Jews and Christians; we ALL have to wait and see together. Therefore the million dollar question becomes; Since we all have to wait and see together, why is Orthodox Judaism so fearful to even admit the possibility Yeshua has been made Messiah making a future appearance? – this answer, I think, would reveal much.

    • Eleazar says:

      Michael Brown is a full trinitarian who believes Jesus was God and that Pauline doctrine is sound. Michael Brown is essentially a Baptist with a tallit who puts on his “Jewishness” as a front, but his views are completely orthodox Evangelical Christianity.
      The problem with those who debate him is that they allow Brown to set the agenda and respond to that which plays into Brown’s hand. The argument should not be ” can we interpret the Tanakh in such a way as to fit Jesus in as the messiah?”. This is almost always the topic of debate between Jewish rabbis and Christian ministers.

      The real question is “What is Christianity, how did it evolve over time and does it deliver on its promises?”. To which the factual answers are:

      1- Christianity, as it currently exists and as Dr. Brown teaches it, is a religion that was established mostly by the apostle Paul of Rome, based loosely on some of the teachings of Jesus.
      2- The story of Jesus (and his biblical evolution from man, to prophet, to messiah, to God in the flesh over a period of about 200 years) evolved by religious and theological necessity, as plainly seen in the chronology of the gospels and epistles.
      3- Christianity was promised to be a “superior covenant” based on “better promises”, the main promise being that rather than sacrifice an animal every year ( because animal sacrifices cannot make you perfect or make you stop sinning), Jesus’ blood and indwelling spirit made it so no other sacrifice will ever be needed, due to the new covenant perfectly sanctifying the converted believers who stop purposely sinning entirely. According to Hebrews, Christianity was supposed to be the fulfillment, literally, of Ezekiel and Jeremiah’s prophesied New Covenant. History and plain reality has proven this to be false. People still say “Know the Lord” and there is no universal knowledge of Hashem. This prophecy cannot be moved to the 2nd Coming because Jesus claimed he was inaugurating it at the last supper. Peter claimed it was fulfilled completely at Pentecost. Yet, Christians still choose to sin, people still say “know the Lord” and there is no universal knowledge of Hashem. Case closed.

      Dr. Brown will always win ( at least in the eyes of his fan base) if he is allowed to set the agenda, the topic and the questions.

      I do not have the wisdom of a man like Rav B, but I feel strongly that Jewish debaters Christians to slant the field in their own favor at these debates.

    • CP You’ve been asked not to comment – not because we “fear” you but because you have demonstrated that you do not believe in a two way conversation. You have demonstrated your lack of belief in a two way conversation yet again. Every point that Dr. Brown raised has been refuted in writing – on this blog – several times over. If you were interested in hearing the testimony of God’s witness – it is here for you to read. But since you have no interest in interacting – only one way preaching – I ask you again – keep out. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

      • CP says:

        “CP You’ve been asked not to comment”
        = R’B, I was asked to apologize for difficult truths even you agreed with, yet upset the less educated reader, or not comment further. I’ve apologized and promised to be more discreet. Yet if words were stones; your fellow Orthodox surely stoned me as others stoned Steven to death in the NT. Would you have me post all the hateful mean spirited words I never responded to in like fashion? (really no need to, its all still there as a witness for anyone to read).

        “not because we “fear” you”
        = What does fearing me or not have to do with anything? Most Jews I know run away from Yeshua and the NT as grammar school children being chased by dog poo on a stick. Admittedly there are exceptions, I always thought you were one of the exceptions. Perhaps I thought wrong?

        “but because you have demonstrated that you do not believe in a two way conversation. You have demonstrated your lack of belief in a two way conversation yet again.”
        = R’B, I have thoroughly interacted, engaging in “two way conversation” for 9 months – (even amidst hate speech, which btw some guests have praised me for overlooking such in order to stay with the conversation) .

        “Every point that Dr. Brown raised has been refuted in writing – on this blog – several times over.”
        = I wasn’t commenting on the Blog, only on this one Debate. I assumed you would value constructive criticism more than shallow pats on the back – especially when you are up against the the number one guy in his field. As for everything being refuted in writing on this Blog; admittedly you have refuted many common Fundy Christian positions. However when it comes to deeper things, you’ve only offered valid alternative interpretations to the Text, this can hardly be considered refutation.

        “If you were interested in hearing the testimony of God’s witness – it is here for you to read. But since you have no interest in interacting – only one way preaching”
        = I’m very interested in hearing and discussing, however when things don’t go as some here would like they whip out the antisemitism card even against a fellow (non-halakhic) shul attending Jew who just so happens to believe Hashem made Yeshua Messiah. As I said; “I came here to learn”, but everyone assumed it meant only one thing, in reality I came here to learn four things.

        “I ask you again – keep out.”
        = R’B, I used to post approximately 10 to 20 times a day six days a week for nine months discussing many topics. I’ve posted maybe 4 times in the last two weeks including this post. Basically I’ve been keeping out of discussions and only commenting once on the Original Blog, Id love to engage Eleazar’s and Jim’s comments here towards me, but I’m trying to stay out of discussions who some here find offensive. Frankly I think not discussing the realities with Jews,Christians and the real Yeshua is odd protocol for a “Anti-missionary” Blog site.

        I’ll be happy to email you privately if you like, or not.
        Be blessed either way.

        • CP Feel free to e-mail me privately to yourphariseefriend@gmail.com – and by the way – I repeat – every point that Dr. Brown brought up has been thoroughly refuted in writing – most of them several times over. But if you want to here my specific response – wait till June 19 when the two of us will be posting our respective rebuttals 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

        • bible819 says:

          CP,

          I very much appreciate your neutrality in the conversation.
          With that said, I don’t agree with everything you say.

          However, you should post along in these blogs.

          I like scripture relevance instead of hyperlinked arguments when a new article is published, in which a majority are hits pieces on Christianity.

          How can you argue with like minds?
          What do you gain from that…

          Majority of the rebuttals are opinionated such you don’t understand, or that can’t be because of my feelings…. But we agree that (Scripture is the only truth)

          Christians believe that Judaism is a dead faith, but I have state anything other than Scripture to prove the Yeshua is the Messiah.

          Rather than statements like that end: you are wrong, you are completely off-base, ect.

          You are not bias to say, As you have proved all signs point to Yeshua by the scripture.

          My view, is that Yeshua Is Lord.

          I am poured out like water,
          And all my bones are out of joint;
          My heart is like wax;
          It is melted within me.

          15My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
          And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
          And You lay me in the dust of death.

          16For dogs have surrounded me;
          A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
          They pierced my hands and my feet.

          17I can count all my bones.
          They look, they stare at me;

          • RT says:

            dead faith? I don’t believe in an imaginary king when scripture talk about a real one. I am not talking about a dead messiah, when the real one will build a real temple where sacrifice will be real sacrifice, not just symbolic of a dead-man on a cross… As for CP, as the… he was asked to stay away from this blog, which he has not done.

            And by the way, KARI, is Like a lion, not they pierced… It was David speaking, this is plainly not a prophecy… This kind of “proof” is what holds your faith… This is pure non-sense…

          • bible819 says:

            RT,
            I believe in God raising the dead in which you could never produce a body.
            You believe in a invisible God in Mount Sinai. In as much as I believe in Jesus being Raised from the Dead.

            Both instances of faith. Mountain Sinai and Jesus: Only Faith proves it. Nice Try.

            I’m sure David was speaking in the Spirit, but did described torture Jesus plainly.

            Christian will always believe its a dead Faith.

            Admonishment by the prophets ended over 2000 years ago.

            Did all of sudden Israel became right with God in which they didn’t need correction by a prophet?

            As you would say, in which I agree is pure nonsense to believe God would wait that long to correct Israel

            Yeshua the Messiah has already come.

          • RT says:

            Just plain useless talking with you…. I wonder why you are here if you are not willing to have a constructive conversation…

  2. Jim says:

    The idea that Jews define the Messiah too narrowly is without foundation. The language may have a certain flair, an emotional appeal, but it is empty of content.

    Imagine this scenario. An untutored child sees a picture of a square. He proudly announces to his father: “Look! A circle!” The father says: “No, son. That is a square. A circle has no straight edges. Every point on the circle is equidistant from a point in the center.” The child responds: “That’s not right. You are using the narrow geometrician’s definition of a circle.”

    Jim

  3. Dina says:

    Following.

  4. Concerned Reader says:

    “Jesus’ blood and indwelling spirit made it so no other sacrifice will ever be needed, due to the new covenant perfectly sanctifying the converted believers who stop purposely sinning entirely.” 

    Eleazer, ordinarily I see this as a profound blow to Christianity, but I noticed something about both religions while digging a bit deeper.

    There are texts in both Nach, and the texts in the NT that claim that sin will end once and for all eventually, but NEITHER religion (even among the most pious followers) has produced that result in actuality, and if you look closely, both religions actually admit that sin doesnt fully end. Let me explain that

    When it comes to claims that human nature (or the struggle with sin) will end when messiah comes, the rabbis themselves, (and even some Christians) say that it wont actually end right away, and that these passages are more metaphorical, meant to inspire. Practical halacha actually teaches that nature wont change at all when the moshiach comes. All the swords to plowshare, milk and honey talk just means peace and prisperity generally.

    Maimonides for instance, (and other rabbis) believe that yetzer ha ra and ha tov are just a natural part of humanity’s existence from the start.

    I have heard rabbis say that if sin did not exist, you would lack basic drive to do anything, as well as free will.

    The Church meanwhile teaches that there is a milenial reign where there is 1000 years of peace, after which THEY SAY IN THEIR BOOK PLAINLY THAT SATAN IS RELEASED FROM HIS PRISON TO TEMPT PEOPLE AGAIN. IE THE NT ADMITS INTERNALLY THAT IF YOU DONT FOLLOW J’s ethic, it does no good. HECK, THE Christian text even speaks of a 3rd temple.

    Its my opinion therefore that when Jews and Christians argue about who sins more, or ask did sin end? Its not a simple checkmate issue on either side, because when you dig deeper into both religious worldviews neither faith actually holds the eutopian vision of the Bible 100% literally.

    The laypeople might believe what texts say liliterally in both religions, but the clergy in both Judaism and Christianity admit in their treatises that its not so simple. You know this if you were a pastor and went to Seminary. I did not go to Seminary, but I got to take the same courses, and read the same texts with Seminary students.

    So, did Jesus make a “better” covenant? No. He inspired a movenent with flaws, just as Judaisn is a movement with flaws, and Islam is too.

    When I was a Christian, what gave Christianity its meaning for me wasnt the claimed miracles, it was the knowledge that nations who previously thought nothing about the Bible believed because of that movenent.

    If I hadnt been raised Christian, (or if Christuanity had not existed at all,) its highly unlikely that the Bible would have had the global influence that it has today.

    You and I understand the slow development of Christology, laymen do not.

    • Eleazar says:

      Not even sure why you bothered with any of that, CR. The book of Hebrews is the definitive apologetic in the NT regarding Christianity VS Judaism. The ability to stop sinning entirely through the blood and spirit of Jesus is what the Christian religion had to offer a Jew that he did not already have. And it has been empirically tested! Hebrews was making the claim that Christianity was the fulfillment of the messianic promise of universal knowledge of God. It is the one and only actual, provable, messianic prophecy it claims to fulfill. That is not a just “flaw”, it was its entire reason for existing. Without the promise of Hebrews, that of “solving the sin problem”, Christianity offers little or nothing.

      That was the entire point of the book. Looking for an equivalency in Judaism or Islam does not change anything. Christianity is a proselytizing religion of promises and selling points. Its own relevancy and gaining followers are its goals. If it cannot deliver on its best, and only provable, promise….

      • LarryB says:

        Following

      • Concerned Reader says:

        If you rest on Hebrews you are resting on a text that was controversial, even when Christians 1st read it. (Not that I blame you.)

        Read any early Christian discipline manual (and the length of penances for infractions,) and it becomes apparent that the Church didnt read Hebrews’ claim in a literal way, (at least not in the era of the Church militant.)

  5. Concerned Reader says:

    Take as an example the p’shat of Daniel. If you just read the book, Daniel lays out a timeline for eternal righteousness to be brought in too, but the rabbis warn against understanding it literally by saying “cursed be his bones who calculates the times.”

    If you say the NT claimed an end to sin empirically, so does the nach. Where does that leave you?

  6. Jim says:

    819,

    Having returned from my trip, I hope to answer your question: “What exactly will the Messiah be like?” If things go well, I will be able to answer you today. If not, then hopefully in the next couple. But before I define what the Messiah is, I would like to point out a couple of things that the Messiah is not.

    First, the Messiah is not the focus of Tanach, what you call the “Old Testament.” Indeed, he is mentioned in only a few places. Because the Church has made Jesus the focus of their faith, they have made him the focus of Tanach. This leads to incredible confusion and the misplacing of faith in a man rather than HaShem, God. It has caused them to recontextualize Tanach, greatly altering the meaning.

    As a brief example, Hosea 11:1 calls Israel God’s son, and speaks of how he led them out of Egypt. Because the NT wishes to locate the object of its affection and faith within Tanach, Matthew tells his readers that this verse was fulfilled in Jesus. He accomplishes this absurdity by quoting a fraction of the sentence and ignoring the context of the passage. It is clear that the passage could not be about the Messiah. The absurdity is only heightened by the fact that Hosea 11:1 is not predictive; on the contrary, it references an event long in the past. Many passages that refer to Israel are co-opted by the Church, made to refer to Jesus in just this manner, quite frequently as clumsily done as Matthew’s misappropriation of Hosea 11:1. Many passages that are not predictive are made out to be predictive by the Church to make Jesus appear to have fulfilled prophecy. Much confusion has been wrought by injecting Jesus into a text of which he is not the focus, of which not even the real Messiah is the focus.

    Second, the Messiah is not divine. He is not God. Deuteronomy 4 emphasizes twice, in vv. 35 and 39, that HaShem is alone. V. 39 reads: “So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 6:4 reëmphasizes this point: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is One.”

    Likewise, Deuteronomy 4 makes clear that no creature is to be worshipped as God. Whatever qualities a particular man might have to make him stand out from other men, he is still but a man and not God. Jesus was a man, and he is not to be worshipped as God, whether or not he rose from the dead or he did not. The real Messiah will be a man as well; he will not be God.

    The Church has become greatly confused in its adoration of Jesus. It has made Jesus the focus of Tanach, imposing meanings obviously not intended and making itself unable to understand Tanach. And it has made a man into God, a clear violation of Torah. It has misplaced its faith, taking it from HaShem, upon Whom one may rely, and putting it in vanity, a man. That the Messiah is neither of these two things is important to notice, because without this knowledge, too many scriptures will be applied to the Messiah, rendering a confused definition.

    Jim

    • Alan says:

      Jim,

      Yashar koach. I would like to add the following to your clear words just in case some people are tempted to use the following two verses to demonstrate that it is permissible to believe in a human being:

      Exodus 14:31 –
      And Israel saw the great work which Hashem did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared Hashem; and they believed in Hashem, and in His servant Moses.

      Exodus 19:9 –
      And Hashem said to Moses: ‘Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe in you forever.’ And Moses told the words of the people to Hashem.


      However, we also have these two verses:
      Jeremiah 17:5 –
      Thus said Hashem: Cursed is the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from Hashem.

      Psalms 146:3 –
      Put not your trust in the generous, in a son of man (human being) because he has no salvation.

      The first two verses speak of “believing in Moses”. The last two verses do not use the Hebrew word for “believe” but rather the Hebrew word for “trust”, two different words with similar but different meanings. The most the Tanakh can say even about Moses is that the people believed in him and will believe in him forever. This has to be clarified – Hashem made it clear to the people that Moses was a true prophet and that the words he transmitted to the people in Hashem’s name (both the written and oral law) were 100% accurate and believable. The translation would more accurately be “they believed Moses” and “they will believe Moses forever”. In English, the expression “to believe IN” usually refers to belief in a deity. But when it comes to trust, that is something we can only have for the Master of the Universe. Even Moses is merely a servant of Hashem (“and they believed in Hashem, and in His servant Moses”). Yes, we can trust the words of Moses that he transmitted in Hashem’s name, but we can’t put our trust in Moses for anything else. The only one we can put our trust in is Hashem.

      • RT says:

        I think that the Tanach teaches as well that the messiah will actually be a real king, and a real ruler not an heavenly improvable one. Also, he will be a real descendant of David from the father side, his origin (David’s line) comes from Bethlehem. I don’t think he needs to be born in Bethlehem, but he will definitively be a ruler. He will actually come victorious from a real battle (Zecheriah 9:19) and rule will be over the whole earth (Zech 9:10). This does not speak of spiritual realms, but he will again be a real ruler reigning over all the earth.

        It is clear that the messiah will be a normal human being who will be alive during Ezekiel Temple. Now there are some issue on how to build the Ezekiel Temple, and that is why the third temple is not planned to be build according to Ezekiel’s instruction. It is believed that the messiah will give special instruction on how to build that temple… http://www.templemount.org/ezektmp.html

        In any case, the messiah will be alive during Ezkeiel Temple and will provide sin offering for his own sins and for his people… Ezekiel 34:24 & Ezekiel 45:22

        In that time, and after WWIII (Zechariah 14:2-10), all nations will realize their that they made a huge mistake and will repent and worship the true G-d of Israel. At that time, the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.(Jeremiah 16:19).

        It does not say that the Jews will repent and believe in their messiah, but that the nations will realize that what they believed was a false…

  7. Jim says:

    819,

    You ask what the Messiah will be like with an eye to what the scriptures say about him. It is, of course, good to consult the scriptures. My intention when sitting down to the computer today was to begin describing the Messiah from the scripture. However, there is a certain difficulty in that you and I begin from different assumptions. It occurs to me that I must discuss methodology before drawing upon scripture.

    How shall you and I decide what scriptures are about the Messiah? Some scriptures I assume we will readily agree do not have any bearing on the person of the Messiah, whatsoever. Turning to a random page in the Torah, I read: “You may eat any clean birds” (Deut. 14:11). Because this verse is the granting of a permission, I believe we will agree that this is not a reference to the Messiah, even though as a member of Israel he is granted that same permission. Similarly, prohibitions are not references to the Messiah, though being obedient to God, he will not violate those prohibitions. “Do not murder,” therefore, is not a description of the Messiah. It is a description of a prohibition. And many narrative portions have nothing to do with the Messiah as well.

    But then what scriptures do directly pertain to the Messiah? Dr. Brown often points out that Messianic passages are not labelled with the word “Messiah”. The word “Messiah” is not the scriptural term for the figure described by that title. Isaiah 11, for example, is universally agreed to be referring to the Messiah, though the word never appears in the chapter. Because this is the case, Dr. Brown takes this as a permission to label any passage as Messianic. This is not sound.

    It is clear that when one is defining an object or kind, one sets forth specific parameters. When an object fits those specific parameters, it can be identified as that object or kind. If it contains something foreign to that object or kind, or it is missing something that belongs to that object or kind, then it is something else.

    Let us take, for example, the square. Let us define a square as a closed four-sided figure, the sides of which are all straight and all equal in length and whose interior angles are each of them right angles. If I describe a shape to you, even if you cannot see it, given enough description, you will know if the shape is or is not a square. So, if I describe a shape with a curved edge, you will know immediately that it is not a square, even if you do not know what the shape is. The same will be the case if I describe a shape with only three sides: it is not a square. A four-sided figure whose angles are not measured at 90 degrees is also immediately known not to be a square. But, if I describe a closed figure with four equal sides, then it is unknown whether or not the shape is a square, because it may be a non-square rhombus (i.e. it’s interior angles may not be right angles.) The same is true if I describe a closed four-sided shape with four right angles; it might be a non-square rectangle, rather than a square. In these last two instances, not enough information is given to know if the shape is a square or not.

    This presents a problem for Jesus. According to the definition of Messiah agreed upon by Christians and Jews, Jesus does not fit the definition. (Jesus does not reign and has not reigned as king, for example.) Dr. Brown recognizes this problem, and so he argues that some parts of the definition of the Messiah are unrecognized as such by the Jewish people. He argues further that those parts not recognized by Jews as defining the Messiah are essential qualities that can only be fulfilled by the Messiah. Since Jesus fulfilled those parts, he is the only one able to fulfill the other parts as well.

    This argument should meet a little resistance from the Christian. Jews and Christians agree that the Messiah will be a Davidic King that rules in a time when the Jewish people have been gathered back to Israel, in a time when there is world peace, and in a time of universal knowledge of God. (I have not established this, yet, I know, but I do not expect disagreement. Certainly Dr. Brown would not disagree.) Let us say that such a king does arise and it is not Jesus. Dr. Brown’s definition puts him in a strange place where he will have to say that this person is not the Messiah. Even as there is a purification of the world, Dr. Brown’s definition would exclude this person. At this point, even the Christian should hesitate. Something seems to have gone askew logically.

    The Jew has no such logical dilemma. He considers those kingly elements to be essential to the definition of the Messiah. The questionable elements, those not agreed upon by Jews and Christians, will cause them no problem. If a king rises without the Christian definition, the Jew is in no bind. His definition will be satisfied with no conflict.

    But the question remains how Dr. Brown knows those to be part of the definition of the Messiah. As I wrote earlier, he gives himself permission based upon the fact that the Messiah is not identified as such in Tanach. However, this does not begin to answer how one knows a prophecy is Messianic or not.

    To link one passage to another, they must have in common certain features. To be sure that one passage refers to the same object as another, where they are called by different names, or where one or both are unnamed, they must share some essential qualities to be certain that they are the same. One does not wish to prematurely assert that two things are the same, even when they share some qualities, as a rhombus does with a square.

    Therefore, we must be careful of making certain mistakes. The first is taking an essential property of the Messiah and making it sufficient to identify the Messiah. Not every son of David is the Messiah or even a king. The Messiah must be a son of David. This means anyone who is not a son of David is disqualified (as Jesus is on these grounds). However, being a son of David is not a sufficient quality for identifying one as a Messiah. The second mistake one might make is making an assertion about the Messiah that is not obviously linked to the definition of the Messiah. Let us temporarily adopt the Christian notion that a certain figure in Tanach is prophecied to die for the sins of humanity. If no link exists in passages about this figure and the Davidic king who rules in a time of peace and universal knowledge of God, then they might be two different and unrelated figures. They can only be tied together by a trait or traits that can and must be shared only by them, traits that must appear together in a passage to make clear that they are one and the same. Mere assertion cannot be taken as proof that both figures are really one, the Messiah.

    Allow me now to return to a point made earlier. The word “Messiah” is not used in Messianic passages. So, the question is how does one know who the Messiah is? The word is an agreed upon term to refer to a particular person of whom the prophets of Israel wrote. It is a word of rabbinic origin, I believe. It is obvious that the word was in use before the NT. And if so, it is obvious that a definition was understood before the time of Jesus. The only way, then, to know if a particular person was the Messiah was to see if he comported to the definition of the Messiah, just as when I describe a plane figure to you, you must know the definition of a square to determine if the figure is or is not a square.

    It is not a sound methodology to assume that a particular figure is the Messiah and then find a new definition by going back to Tanach to find this new definition. This is, of course, how Dr. Brown and the Church in general finds their definition of the Messiah. The Church admits to this day that Jesus did not fit the definition of the Messiah as understood before Jesus. One will hear Christians say that the Jews were expecting a king not a suffering sacrifice. This is an implicit admission that Jesus did not fit the definition of the Messiah. Only later a new definition was supplied when Jesus’ followers insisted upon his being the Messiah regardless of his failure to meet the definition. The Church has offered its own definition, a redefinition of the Messiah, by first assuming that a particular figure was the Messiah and then taking their beliefs about his qualities and making them the new definition. This, of course, makes it impossible to identify Jesus as the Messiah, because it relies upon circular reasoning. One could not know Jesus was the Messiah, because one could not know what the Messiah was until he knew what qualities Jesus had or is supposed to have had. (I write “supposed to,” because many of his qualities are assumed but were unobserved and unknowable.)

    A sound methodology would rely upon the definition of Messiah to test the human candidate. This is the method of investigation I propose we take, that we look to Tanach to see what could be known about the Messiah before the time of Jesus. We will only correspond passages to one another when they have a clear link that excludes other figures from being discussed. We will not use prophecies that would not or could not have been clearly associated with the Messiah before the time of Jesus but were considered the definition of Messiah only after some maintained that he was the Messiah.

    For instance, we will not accept that Isaiah 7:14 is about the Messiah. No one reading that passage before the NT was written would have any reason to associate the passage with the Messiah. The context does not make it to be about the Messiah. It does not even carry a teaching about a virgin birth, certainly not clearly. It is only after Jesus is believed to be born of a virgin that this verse is applied to the concept of the Messiah. In fact, the whole prophecy regarding the child is not taken, but only one part of it. Before Jesus, no one would have recognized this as a Messianic prophecy and therefore it will not fit within our definition of the Messiah that he will be born from a virgin.

    I hope I have laid out the principles clearly. Do you agree, 819, with a methodology that relies upon a pre-Jesus definition? Do you agree that one cannot first assume the Messiahship of Jesus or any figure and then justify acceptance of that candidate with a new definition? If so, I think we are on secure ground and may continue forward. Please let me know.

    Jim

    • KAVI says:

      Bible819,
      In your study of prophetic words regarding the Messiah, Tanakh teaches that the interpretation of prophecy is in G-d’s Sovereign hands and He uses many means to hide and reveal His prophetic Word…here a just a few examples…

      [] G-d teaches us that some prophecy is hidden until the day it is revealed–
      “As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time…” [Daniel 12:8-9]

      [] G-d teaches us that some prophecy is revealed only to the righteous–
      “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand…” [Daniel 12:10]

      [] G-d teaches us that some prophecy is hidden to prevent Israel from glorifying their idols–
      “I declared the former things long ago
      And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them.
      Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.

      “Because I know that you are obstinate,
      And your neck is an iron sinew
      And your forehead bronze,

      Therefore I declared them to you long ago,
      Before they took place I proclaimed them to you,
      So that you would not say, ‘My idol has done them,
      And my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.’ [Isaiah 48:3-5]

      [] G-d teaches us that some prophecy is hidden because Israel would glorify their own knowledge–
      “I proclaim to you new things from this time,
      Even hidden things which you have not known.

      “They are created now and not long ago;
      And before today you have not heard them,
      So that you will not say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’

      “You have not heard, you have not known.
      Even from long ago your ear has not been open,
      Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously;
      And you have been called a rebel from birth. [Isaiah 48:6-7]

      [] G-d teaches that some prophecy is revealed to those who earnestly seek Him–
      “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes…
      Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the L-RD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God,
      while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering.
      He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. ” [Daniel 9:3,20-22]

      ___________________________________

  8. Jim says:

    819,

    In answer to your comments above, here: https://judaismresources.net/2017/05/15/the-real-jewish-messiah-debate/#comment-36494 .

    You write that Christianity and Judaism both rely upon faith, and, if I understand you correctly, this seems to mean to you that the Jew has no room to critique the Christian faith. This reflects a poor understanding of Torah, an understanding that has been built up from the mistakes of the Church. In this comment, I intend to show the difference between the two “faiths” and why they are essentially different. I will do this by comparing the Sinai experience to the corresponding Christian event, Pentecost.

    But first allow me to say that the Torah observant Jew is uniquely qualified to speak to the truth or falsity of Christianity. This is because the Christian scriptures affirm the truth of the Jewish scriptures. This means that Christianity’s teachings must align with Tanach. Any deviation therefrom is a point where Christianity proves itself false. These are not two entirely separate and competing religions, each drawing upon their own prophets. The Church appends its works to Tanach, and therefore one may critique the teachings of the Church by the Jewish scriptures.

    By way of analogy, I invite you to consider the claims of Joseph Smith. According to him, he was a prophet who received certain scriptures that can be said to complete the Christian canon. Because his teachings do not wholly align themselves with any of the traditional branches of Christianity, the Christian is well-equipped to declare the Book of Mormon and The Pearl of Great Price to be false. Their teachings do not match the NT when they claim to do so, making the NT a good standard whereby to test Mormon scripture and doctrine. The Mormon might say to you that just as God can raise a man in secret, so can he reveal a body of scripture to his prophet in private, that you and he must both rely upon faith. But you would be able to respond that anything revealed to a prophet must agree with previous revelation, with the NT that the Mormon also affirms to be true, and therefore you have good grounds for critiquing the teachings of Joseph Smith and subsequent prophets of the Church of Latter Day Saints.

    Please forgive me for the following statement, which I fear will be offensive; it is meant in a purely descriptive sense, and is not meant to be inflammatory or insulting. Your comment reveals insufficient reflection regarding the grounds upon which Torah and the claims of the Church are to be accepted. The claims are of a rather different nature. Torah is not accepted upon the kind of faith that is taught in the NT. Torah appeals to the collective experience of the Jewish people at Sinai. This is quite different from the claim of the NT, which praises the faith of those that had no direct experience of the resurrection. Jesus praises those that have blind faith, when he says to Thomas: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those that have not seen and yet have come to believe” (Jn. 20:29).

    In this, the claims of Jesus and Joseph Smith and virtually any other founding prophets of various religions are similar—they are untestable. These men and women have private experiences of a divine nature. Because the experiences are private, it is exceedingly difficult to determine if they happened or not. Anybody is able to say that last night they heard from God or an angel or what-have-you. It is impossible that anyone can be obligated to put their faith in such a prophet, because to give credence to one, he must give credence to all despite their conflicting messages.

    Imagine please, the following scenario. A man has two neighbors, Peter and Joe. Peter comes to the man one morning and says, “I heard from God last night, and he says that you are to follow the commandments he has given to me to give to you. You are to acknowledge me as His prophet, and you are to sell your house and give me the proceeds.” Surely the man must have some doubts that Peter heard from God. He most likely asks why God did not deliver this message to him. But perhaps he believes Peter. Perhaps Peter performs a compelling magic trick, and Peter believes this could only have been done by the hand of God. Then Joe comes to him, claiming to be God’s true prophet, that the man is to follow Joe and not Peter, and that the man should sell his house and deliver the proceeds up to Joe. And he too performs a convincing magic trick. At this point, the man is in a bit of a dilemma. He has no means to differentiate the one prophet from the other. Both make claims to his obedience and his property. This is the scenario that you have imagined when you said that both Judaism and Christianity relied upon faith. But Judaism’s claim in unlike Christianity’s claim.

    It is true that the resurrection is like the unverifiable prophecy of Peter or Joe. Jesus claimed that he would be resurrected after three days. And, of course, the Church claims that this is exactly what happened. But this event was a private event, seen by few individuals. It was not publicized. Jesus did not make himself known. He did not walk the streets of Jerusalem. After forty days, Jesus floated into the sky. In all that time, his resurrection was not made known publicly, nor did Jesus reveal himself publicly.

    Ten days after Jesus disappeared, his disciples announced that in fact Jesus had returned from the dead precisely as he said he would. But, of course, the disciples were unable to produce a live body. That would have been remarkable. One might then have thought that Jesus was a prophet. But no Jesus appeared. The new converts had to “just have faith.” They had to take Peter’s word for it. This happened on Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus died, and it corresponded to Shavuot.

    But Shavuot and Pentecost could not be more different. On Shavuot, at Sinai, nobody had to “just have faith.” They did not have to “take Moses’ word” that he heard from God. Please read Exodus 19 and 20. The entire nation heard God speak. For a moment, they were all prophets. This is how they knew that God spoke to Moses, through their own prophetic experience, a shared prophetic experience. On top of that, the nation agreed that Moses should be a prophet: “When all the people witnessed the thunder and the lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die” (Ex. 20:19).

    So, we have two events, Pentecost and Shavuot. On the one, Jesus fails to prove his prophecy. One is asked to believe the resurrection happened anyway. So desperate has the Church been to convince people of the resurrection, that it has tried to shift the burden of proof onto the shoulders of those that do not believe. They ask why the Jewish leadership never produced a body. Do not let the Church distract you with this empty rhetoric. The responsibility to produce a body was those that claimed it was up and walking around. It was up to Jesus to produce himself as a living, breathing, resurrected person. This did not happen, but the Church teaches one must believe or burn in hell. On the other event, the entire nation verified the prophecy of Moses first hand. Nor did the Jewish people seek to convince those that never heard God speak at Sinai. Those that believed at Pentecost had insufficient reason to do so, while those that believed at Sinai had sure knowledge.

    Please consider that you have badly misunderstood the Sinai event and have not properly differentiated it from the founding events of other religions. Moses is not like Peter and Joe above. His verified claim to prophecy is unlike the unverified resurrection. Torah observance is based upon a public event, the knowledge of which has been preserved by the community for thousands of years. Christianity preaches faith precisely because it has no such public event. The word faith means something entirely different within Christianity than it does in Judaism. It is a gamble, an affirmation of the unknown and unknowable. Judaism, the Torah, does not teach one to gamble for his soul.

    Jim

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