Assessment and Rebuttal

Assessment of the Debate between Rabbi Blumenthal and Dr. Brown on the Real Jewish Messiah

This essay is not a rebuttal to Dr. Brown’s third video. I will be doing that in a separate article which is posted below. At this time I just want to share two observations with you. I would like to articulate and bring to light certain themes that emerged from this debate.

Allow me to remind you of the context and the history of this debate.

Between the years 2000 and 2010 Dr. Brown published a 5 volume series entitled “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus.” In this series Dr. Brown presented many arguments against Judaism and in support of Christianity. I responded to Dr. Brown’s series with a string of my own writings. Contra Brown, 2007, The Elephant and the Suit, 2010, and Supplement to Contra Brown in 2011. In these articles I expose the flaws inherent in Dr. Brown’s Answering Jewish Objections.

Dr. Brown has publicly declared that he would respond to the first 2 articles in writing, but he has not lived up to his word. Instead when I and others challenged him to respond to my refutation he responded by challenging me to a live debate. I refused to engage Dr. Brown in a live debate simply because I felt that the forum was is not conducive to education. I explained my position in an article entitled “Persuasion vs. Education.”

As time went by and Dr. Brown still hadn’t responded to the arguments that I had raised against his writings, I launched a video series entitled “Unanswered” in which I began to bring some of my arguments to the attention of a wider audience. Dr. Brown responded with some videos of his own, but again, his primary argument was that we engage in a live debate.

This “response” made no sense to me. If Dr. Brown truly had concise and cogent answers to my arguments why then would he need the forum of a live debate in which to present them? Why not just share them with the public in writing? Why not share them with the public in video lectures?

But in order to meet Dr. Brown and engage him on his own terms I offered a compromise. This 6 part virtual debate has some of the elements of a live debate in that each of us has an opening presentation, a rebuttal and closing statements each of which we presented without previously knowing what our opponent would say. It also has the advantage, in that each of us had time to consider our words before putting them out to the public. Dr. Brown accepted my proposal and you now have the 6 segments of the debate before you.

What did Dr. Brown teach us in the 3 segments that were allotted to him? Dr. Brown spoke for an hour, what arguments did he bring to the table? How did he respond to the arguments that I have raised?

Although he crammed many Scriptural citations in his first 2 presentations, he still didn’t present anything new. Almost every argument that Dr. Brown presented in parts 1 and 2 of this debate were already presented in his 5 volume book and were already addressed in my critique of his work.

It is in the third and final segment that Dr. Brown presents arguments that aren’t present in his book. These arguments consist of a critique of my handling of this debate. He accuses me of devoting less than 2 minutes to an argument that he believes I should have spent more time addressing, he points out that I didn’t address every one of his points in the time allotted to me, he argues that by introducing the issue of Israel’s trust in God I have thereby violated the rules of the debate and he accuses me of engaging in debating tactics.

These are the long awaited “answers” that Dr. Brown has been waiting to share with the public. And now we know why Dr. Brown needs the forum of a live debate. His “answers” don’t work in any other forum. It is clear that Dr. Brown has no response to my critique of his writings. His challenge to engage in a live debate is simply a smokescreen to hide the emptiness of his position.

This was the first accomplishment of this debate.

However, I think the second accomplishment is far more significant. It actually brought out into the open just how far Dr. Brown’s position is from Scriptural reality.

In the course of this debate Dr. Brown did his best to present the Christian viewpoint on the Messiah and I tried to present the Jewish perspective. As I watched Dr. Brown’s third presentation I realized that he simply doesn’t understand the Jewish position on Messiah. In his mind, the Jewish understanding of Messiah is nothing but the inverse of the Christian understanding of Messiah. In other words, Dr. Brown’s perception is that the Jewish view of the Messiah consists of all of the Jewish refutations to the Christian narrative. But Dr. Brown fails to understand that there is a positive Jewish understanding of the Messiah that is completely unrelated to Christianity.

Consequently, Dr. Brown expected my presentation to consist of the Jewish interpretation of all of the Scriptures that he had quoted in his effort to support his position. And when my presentation did not conform to his preconceived notions he feels that I have abused the setting of the debate. He seems to sincerely believe that I only introduced the question of the adequacy of Israel’s trust in God as a “debating tactic,” to deflect the conversation to a subject unrelated to the Messiah, which was the agreed upon topic of debate.

This is astounding. In presenting this argument Dr. Brown has demonstrated that his understanding of the Messiah is light years away from Scriptural reality.

Dr. Brown acknowledges that King David is representative of the Messiah. It is for this reason that Dr. Brown finds the need to associate the concept of vicarious atonement with David, and he does so by misrepresenting a handful of Scriptural passages. Yet at the same time Dr. Brown would have us disassociate the concept of trusting in God from the subject of Messiah. There is no concept more deeply associated with David than is the concept of trust in God. In Psalm 69 verse 7 we find that David turns to God praying that he live up to the task of vindicating Israel’s trust in God. David saw his mission of vindicating trust in God as something larger than himself. This is aside from the dozens of scriptural references which testify how vindication of trust in God is so deeply connected with the advent of the Messianic era (Isaiah 12:1,2; 25:3,4,9; 34:8; 40:9,31; 41:13,14; 45:14; 49:23; 50:7-9; 60:14; 62:1,2,11; 66:14; Micah 7:16; Psalm 22:25; 44; 46:12; 69:34; 83:19; 97:8; 102:18; 148:14).

If Dr. Brown finds the concept of vindicating trust in God foreign to the mission of his Messiah then he has told us in so many words that his Messiah has nothing to do with the Messiah of the Jewish Scriptures.

I will repeat this simply because it is so foundational. Just imagine if you were to walk into a bookstore looking for a biography of King David. You scan the bookshelf and two titles catch your eye; “vicarious atonement” and “trust in God.” Which of these two would you assume is the biography of King David? Who is the King David of the Jewish Scriptures? What is his primary mission? Is it vicarious atonement? Or is it perhaps vindicating Israel’s trust in God?

It is clear that vindicating Israel’s trust in God is what King David is all about. And if Dr. Brown can’t see what Israel’s trust in God has to do with a discussion about the Messiah then he did not begin to hear what the Bible has to say about the Messiah.

I will make one more point for the sake of definition, this is a dictionary point. Throughout my presentation I stated that every cause for trust and worship resides with God and with God alone. If you are a Jew it is clear to you that God and Jesus are two different entities. But for Christians these two entities may be intertwined in your mind as if they are one. So I will take a few minutes of your time just to help you see things in a different light.

Let me illustrate by way of a story. Late one night, I found myself working in my study, everyone in my family was already sleeping. I heard a knock on the door. Wondering who it might be so late at night I opened the door to find a kind looking old man. The fellow wanted a few words with me so we sat down on the couches in the living room and we struck up a conversation. At some point, without warning, the man stood up, positioned himself right in front of me and announced that he is an incarnation of the Creator of heaven and earth and if I do not offer a prayer to him then I am in essence rejecting the God of my fathers. I told the man that I would be very uncomfortable offering a prayer to him but I would be more than happy to go into my study, close the door behind me and offer up a prayer to the One Creator of heaven and earth. If this will satisfy him, then fantastic. And if it won’t satisfy him, then he has told me in so many words that he is not the Creator of heaven and earth.

If you are a Christian and you believe that Jesus is an incarnation of the One Creator of heaven and earth, then why do you see a need to convert Jews who pray to the One Creator of heaven and earth? And if you recognize that Jews are not praying to Jesus then you should also recognize that God and Jesus are two separate entities, they are not “one and the same.”

Allow me to provide another illustration. The Christian Scriptures tell us that Jesus prayed, that he worshiped God. Who was Jesus praying to? Was he praying to himself? I do not believe that any Christian would hold such a position. Christians would agree that Jesus prayed to what they call “God the Father,” the first person in the “godhead.”

My question is simply this. If “God the Father” is an adequate and complete God for Jesus then why is He not enough for you?

Let me illustrate this from a different angle. I am sure that you have heard of Unitarian Christians. These are people who believe that Jesus was a great teacher, a great prophet, the promised Messiah, a vicarious atonement but these people believe that he was not divine. There are two separate attractions pulling at the heart of the Unitarian Christian. On the one hand there is God, Creator and sustainer of all existence. And on the other hand there is Jesus who pulls at the Unitarian’s heart as a human hero.

Now imagine if this Unitarian were to become a Trinitarian. What would happen to this Unitarian’s love for Jesus? Will it simply disappear? No, not at all. He will simply elevate that love to the level of complete surrender that is appropriate toward God and tell himself that Jesus and God are in some mysterious way “one and the same.”

Or imagine if a Trinitarian would want to become a Unitarian. Would this Trinitarian need to develop a new love in his heart toward Jesus? Would he have to find a new attraction to connect his heart to Jesus? Of course not! All he will have to do is take that same love that he already has toward Jesus and downgrade it from total surrender to a level that is appropriate toward a human hero but he won’t have to invent a new love.

This clearly illustrates that the attraction that God has for the human heart and the attraction that Jesus has for the human heart are two different attractions.

And if you open the book of Psalms, the book in which David opened his heart you will find David’s love for God. You will hear the joy that David found in God. And you will find how David saw it as the mission of his life to articulate and to bring to life the truth that the God that he loved is the only God that your heart needs.

Additional Notes and Rebuttal to Part 3

1. Prayer for enlightenment

Dr. Brown begins his presentation by encouraging his listeners to pray to God for enlightenment. I second the motion. It is always necessary to pray for guidance. However, I would offer a word of caution. If God is in middle of speaking to you and you close your ears to His words and you begin praying for guidance, you can be sure that your prayer will not be answered. King Solomon taught us that one who turns his ears from hearing Torah (guidance), his prayer will be considered an abomination (Proverbs 28:8).

God is talking to us through His Scriptures. If we sincerely pray for God’s guidance we will not close our ears to His holy word.

2. List of “crimes”

Dr. Brown provides us with a list of “crimes” that he claims I committed in the course of this debate.

a) He tells us that I failed to address “key issues.”

My response to this accusation is simply, says who? The whole question of this debate is what are the key issues that the Scripture associates with the Messiah? He did not address many of the issues that I raised. Not only did he not address them in these 3 twenty minute segments. But he did not address them in the 1500 pages of his 5 volume series.

If I would have spent time responding to every one of his arguments, arguments that I had taken the time to refute in writing, I would have not had time to talk about the real Jewish Messiah.

b) He tells the audience that I admitted that he was “right” about something.

He is referring to my statement that Isaiah 53 is not referring to the fullness of the nation, but rather to those who trust in God. Dr. Brown chooses to read my words as if I accept that the text can in no way refer to the nation and he is assuming that I say so because of the arguments that he presented against this reading of Isaiah 53 (the reading which has it referring to the nation as a whole).

This is simply false. I never said that it cannot be referring to the nation. I simply said that the explanation that I favor is the one that sees the servant as the righteous of Israel. I believe that there is nothing in the text which absolutely precludes the nation as a whole from being the servant and that it is a viable interpretation. It is just that I feel that the interpretation which is closest to the simple reading of the text points to the righteous as opposed to the whole nation. Furthermore, the reason that I believe that the righteous are the ones the prophet is referring to as opposed to the nation has nothing to do with the reasons that Dr. Brown uses to argue against the national interpretation. I said that the word “servant” would denote someone who is in a special position of servitude to God. This would better apply to the righteous of Israel than to Israel as a whole. (The word “servant” also better applies to someone who sees himself as subservient to God as opposed to someone who sees himself as equal with God.) But it could still apply to Israel in the sense that they have generally avoided idolatry as a nation for the past 2000 years.

Dr. Brown has simply misrepresented my position showing no regard for the truth and no respect for the audience.

c) Dr. Brown claims that I deflected the discussion to a subject other than the agreed upon topic of debate.

I will address this accusation below (point # 4).

d) Dr. Brown claims that I ignored a “mountain of evidence.”

I find this claim amazing. Dr. Brown knows full well that I have not “ignored” his “evidence.” I articulated clearly and explicitly why his “evidence” is meaningless. I did not choose to fill my time refuting his arguments because they have been refuted already. Instead I chose to focus the time that was allotted to me in this debate to speak about the real Jewish Messiah. It is Dr. Brown’s “evidence” that is the distraction from the agreed upon topic of debate.
In point of fact, it is Dr. Brown who is ignoring a mountain of evidence. My critique of his 5 volume series contains much evidence that exposes his theology as false. Dr. Brown has simply ignored all of this evidence. Even in the context of this debate he has ignored the arguments that I have raised against his interpretation of Isaiah 53. (I cited 4 textual indicators that help us see that the servant is Israel (or the righteous of Israel). Dr. Brown simply ignored them.) Instead of responding with substance, Dr. Brown accuses me of “ignoring” the “evidence.”

e) Dr. Brown complains that I devoted not a syllable to his argument that the Messiah must appear before the destruction of the Second Temple.

I devoted pages of writing to refute this empty argument. I refused to be lured off topic in a debate that is focused on the real Jewish Messiah.

f) Dr. Brown argues that I fail to tell the audience that the arguments that work against the interpretation of Isaiah 53 which sees the servant as Israel also work against the interpretation that sees the servant as the righteous of Israel.

This accusation is a flimsy smoke-screen. Dr. Brown himself gives separate reasons why the servant cannot be Israel as a whole (because they are sinful) and why he cannot be the righteous of Israel (because their suffering did not bring blessing to the nations).

g) Dr. Brown claims that I quoted Scripture out of context.

Dr. Brown does not substantiate this accusation in the time allotted to him. I imagine that it is my reference to Isaiah 26:2 where the prophet calls Israel righteous that he is referring to. I quoted that verse to prove that the word “tzadik,” “righteous,” does not mean perfect sinlessness. Dr. Brown responds by arguing that it is referring to Israel in the Messianic era and not to Israel in exile.

My response to this “counter-argument” is that it makes no difference for the point I was trying to make. When the prophet entitles Israel with the word “tzadik” it cannot refer to sinless perfection no matter which point in Israel’s history the prophet was thinking about. So Dr. Brown’s accusation is baseless.

In any case, the prophet is telling us that when the nations see Israel in the Messianic age they will praise them for the loyalty to God that Israel maintained in exile.

h) Dr. Brown claims that I falsely accuse him of “filling in gaps” when he provided a systematic Scriptural basis for his theology.

For the purpose of definition, let me explain. “Filling in gaps” means teaching “trust in the Messiah” when the Scriptures never said a word about this. “Filling in gaps” means claiming that there is no forgiveness for sin without a blood offering when the Scriptures breathed not a word about this. “Filling in gaps” means claiming that a new election is established based on loyalty to the Messiah when Scripture said nothing about this. “Filling in gaps” means preaching worship of a man as part of a trinity when the Scriptures clearly prohibit such behavior in the plainest terms.

i) Finally, Dr. Brown accuses me of failing to “realize” what the priests do.

I did not fail to realize what the priests do. What I did say is that when the Scripture entitles someone with the title “priest” there is no logical way to jump from there and end up with “vicarious atonement.” And if the only connotation of priest is “vicarious atonement” then the nation of Israel would have to serve as a vicarious atonement as well.

3. Did Dr. Brown claim that Israel’s trust is misplaced?

Dr. Brown complains to the audience that I accused him falsely. I said that his theology would have us believe that Israel’s trust in God is inadequate and incomplete. He claims that he never said that. He tells us that he judges no one’s love for God.

Dr. Brown did not use the words “Israel’s trust in God is misplaced” but that is his whole point. In his first presentation he described Israel’s rejection of his Messiah as a rejection of God, the “greatest sin.” In his second presentation he asked the audience to “put their trust in the Messiah.” And he spent time describing how his vision of the Messianic era has him looking forward to a time when Israel shamefully “repents” for rejecting Jesus.

It is clear that Dr. Brown wants us to put our trust in his Messiah. Not the type of trust that we have for human beings, such as teachers and prophets but the type of trust that we have for God. But Israel believes that they know where that trust belongs and it is not Jesus. Not only do we believe that we know where our trust belongs but we see that knowledge as the center of our covenant with God. The Jewish vision of the Messianic era sees Israel’s testimony on this matter confirmed to the eyes of all who disagree with her. Dr. Brown’s vision of the Messianic era is the precise opposite.

4. Is the subject of Israel’s trust in God peripheral to the debate about the Messiah?

Dr. Brown argues that I only introduced the subject of Israel’s trust in God as a “debating tactic.” According to Dr. Brown this concept does not belong in a debate about the Jewish Messiah.

With this accusation Dr. Brown has in so many words conceded that his position is the polar opposite of what the Messiah of Scripture stands for. King David is all about vindicating Israel’s trust in God. And the Scriptures spell out that this vindication is a central goal of the Messianic age (Isaiah 49:23; Micah 7:16; Psalm 22:25; 69:34; 83:19; 102:18).

5. Did I introduce a “false dichotomy” when I separated faith in Jesus from faith in God?

Dr. Brown tells us that he puts his faith in one God and that when I point out that he trusts in Jesus aside from God I have introduced a “false dichotomy” because Jesus and God are one and the same, or so says Dr. Brown.

Jesus and God are clearly not one and the same. One is the Creator of heaven and earth and the other is but one of God’s subjects. It is Dr. Brown and the Church-men who have introduced a false trinity in their desire to justify their devotion to Jesus.

6. Do I apply a “double standard” when I discourage trust in Jesus but promote trust in the sages?

Dr. Brown accuses me of applying a double standard. On the one hand I argue against trust in Jesus but in my own life I trust in the sages, the teachers of Israel.

This analogy is invalid. No traditional Jew would attribute divinity to the teachers of Israel. We recognize that they are human beings and the trust that we have in them is simply the trust that is appropriate for human beings. But the trust that Dr. Brown is demanding for Jesus is the type of trust that is only appropriate toward the divine.

7. Which trust of Israel will be vindicated at the end of the age?

Dr. Brown acknowledges that Israel’s trust in God will be vindicated in the Messianic age. However he claims that it is only the trust that Israel comes to after they recognize their “mistake” in rejecting Jesus.

With this argument Dr. Brown has admitted that he believes that Israel’s trust in the One Creator of heaven and earth is inadequate and incomplete. All of his protestations notwithstanding, this is his position. According to Dr. Brown it is only trust in God together with Jesus that is deserving of vindication. Trust in God alone is not good for Dr. Brown.

But it is clear from the prophets that Israel’s trust in God that was maintained during the dark years of exile is the trust that will be vindicated. Micah 7 clearly describes Israel suffering in exile, yet trusting in God and that very trust is vindicated to the consternation of her enemies (Micah 7:9,10). Isaiah describes Israel’s joy at the time of her redemption and he tells us that Israel will exult with the words: “this is the God we had been hoping to” (Isaiah 25:9). Clearly it is the God that Israel hoped for in their time of trouble who will be exalted on that day and no one else. Psalm 102 describes the Messianic era as a response to Israel’s prayer in exile (verses 14-21). The entire book of Psalms is all about trust in God and in God alone and David’s message is that this trust is complete and adequate.

Dr. Brown’s claim which requires Israel to trust in Jesus before their faith can be vindicated flies in the face of the entire Messianic portrait painted by the prophets of the Jewish Scriptures.

8. Did Isaiah say anything about “believing in” the servant?

Dr. Brown claims that the words in Isaiah 53:1: “who has believed our report,” teach us that we need to “believe in” the servant described in Isaiah 53.

This argument has no basis in reality. The prophet is telling us that the servant’s exaltation will come as such a shock to the onlookers that they will exclaim, this is so surprising, who would have believed it had they not seen it. This is about shock and consternation. This has nothing to do with “believing in” anyone or anything.

9. Can vicarious atonement be compared to the Sabbath candles?

Dr. Brown makes the argument that the same hierarchy of authority that tells the Jew to light the Sabbath candles also teaches the Christian the principles of vicarious atonement. In other words, it is the leaders of Israel who are authorized by the system authority set in place by God teach us about the Sabbath candles. So it is with the Christian says Dr. Brown, it is the authority of prophecy that is invested in Jesus that tells the Christian all the details of vicarious atonement.

Here Dr. Brown has admitted that his theology on vicarious atonement is not to be found in the Jewish Scriptures. It can only be accepted once one believes that Jesus was a valid prophet. But the same system of leadership that gave us the Jewish Scriptures (as well as the Sabbath candles) tells us that Jesus was not an authentic prophet.

10. Why do I “need” to “mislead” the listening audience?

Dr. Brown charges me with “misleading” the audience. After informing the viewers that I have “mislead” them, Dr. Brown then asks why it is that I “need” to mislead them? He is implying that I have no substantive arguments that are rooted in truth hence the “need” to “mislead.”

Dr. Brown condemns himself again. Let us recap this segment of the debate and we will see exactly who is misleading the audience.

In his first presentation Dr. Brown contrasts chapters 40 thru 48 in the book of Isaiah over and against chapters 49 thru 53. In 40 thru 48 the greater focus is on the people and in 49 thru 53 the focus is on the servant, or so says Dr. Brown. To quote Dr. Brown: “So, by the time Isaiah 52;13 is reached, the spotlight is on a person, not a people.”

I responded by pointing out that this is simply false. The prophet speaks of Israel over 150 times in the 4 chapters leading up to Isaiah 53 (chapters 49 thru 52).

Dr. Brown responds by taking one word of mine out of context and pretending that this word was my entire point. In paraphrasing Dr. Brown’s argument I said that he claimed that the prophet shifted his focus away from Israel and directed our attention “elsewhere.” Dr. Brown responds with righteous indignation that he never said that the prophet directed our attention “elsewhere.” He claims that Jesus is the heart and soul of Israel so my argument is “misleading.”

It is clear to anyone who followed this exchange that my point has nothing to do with the word “elsewhere.” I had demonstrated that Dr. Brown had misrepresented Scripture and Dr. Brown has no way to hide his error. So he invents an error and attributes it to me so he can accuse me of “misleading” the audience.

11. Did I argue against myself concerning Isaiah 53?

Dr. Brown again nitpicks on my words when I speak of the “national” interpretation. Dr. Brown argues that I had just supported the interpretation which sees the servant as the righteous of Israel and not the nation as a whole. So when I argue in favor of the “national” interpretation, Dr. Brown accuses me of arguing with myself.

For the record, when I say “national” interpretation I mean either the nation as a whole or the righteous from among the nation. I use the word “national” to denote a group as opposed to an individual.

12. Did I contradict myself when I point out that the prophet says that the theology of Isaiah 53 will not be fully understood until the servant’s exaltation?

I pointed out that the prophet says that the theology of the suffering servant will not be understood until the servant is exalted to the eyes of the nations. I then argued that it is unwise for one to base an entire theological construct (or an entire religion) on the theology of this passage.

Dr. Brown then turns around and asks how I can claim to understand this passage if I believe that it is not readily understood.

Dr. Brown does not dispute my contention that the prophet teaches that the theology of the passage is not readily understood. He does not explain how he could be confident that his interpretation is correct if the prophet tells us that this passage will not be fully understood until the exaltation of the servant. Instead, Dr. Brown wants me to explain how I know that my interpretation is correct.

I never insisted that my interpretation is correct. I just present the interpretation that I see as fitting with the text and the theology of the Bible. I do not need to insist that my interpretation is the only viable one. My theology does not stand or fall on the interpretation of Isaiah 53. Dr. Brown’s theology does. Dr. Brown does not tell us how he is so confident that his interpretation works. He does not tell us how he explains the textual indicators which tell us that the passage is referring to the nation (as a whole or the righteous). Instead he demands that I explain my confidence in the interpretation that I presented.

It seems that Dr. Brown is left with no arguments of substance, only raw audacity.

13. Why did I not “explain” the priestly role of the Messiah?

Dr. Brown complains to his audience that I spent less than 2 minutes speaking about the priestly role of the Messiah.

Dr. Brown fails to tell the audience that if I would have devoted 2 minutes to every point he raised in his first presentation, I’d still be talking. Dr. Brown is well aware of the time constraints of a timed debate and he packs in dozens of errors in the time allotted to him and then he demands that I spend at least 2 minutes refuting every one of his misrepresentations and all this in 20 minutes.

Dr. Brown fails to answer a question I asked him over 10 years ago. If the word “priest” in association with the Messiah “must mean “vicarious atonement” then what does the word “priest” tell us about Israel? He had 10 years to answer this question and all we get is a “challenge” to a debate.

It is obvious to one and all that Dr. Brown’s “challenge” to debate is simply a distraction. In the context of a live debate Dr. Brown can play the dishonest games that he attempted to play in our video debate. But he has no answer of substance.

The arguments that you have just read only deal with a fraction of the errors that Dr. Brown crammed into his 20 minute presentation. Dr. Brown’s misrepresentation of Deuteronomy 18, Isaiah 42, Isaiah 49, Isaiah 53, and Zechariah 12 have already been exposed in various articles on my blog. All in all I would say that the winner of this debate is the real Jewish Messiah. It is clear beyond doubt that the only arguments that Dr. Brown can mount against the Messiah of the Jewish Scriptures are arguments of smoke and mirrors, rhetoric and word-games, dishonesty and deception. Study this debate and I trust that you will find the real Jewish Messiah.

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Thank You
Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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225 Responses to Assessment and Rebuttal

  1. Dina says:

    Breathtaking rebuttal!

  2. Nikola says:

    We can only respect and admire R’ Blumenthal’s efforts. But I have to say that engaging in any kind of debates with guys like Brown is probably unnecessary.
    I remember seeing Brown’s lecture where he claimed in the Q&A that the Messiah is not supposed to come through the line of King Solomon (thus defending bogus genealogy of Jesus presented in the gospels). Now, one might think that he was ignorant of the verses in the Tanakh that state that the everlasting kingdom of David is established through Solomon. But I am almost certain that he was actually deceiving the crowd – it’s hard to believe that anyone who studies Tanakh would miss such a big point. And that’s just one of many examples.
    Regarding this particular debate I found it somewhat surprising that Brown focused on Isaiah 53 so much. I guess, in the end that’s the best excuse Christians have, with all the glaring holes in their interpretation.

    • Nikola says:

      Thanks for the link. I haven’t seen this debate before. I guess Brown is sticking to the same old shtick to this day, maybe it’s efficient enough that he’s satisfied with it. But to me it’s mind-boggling that he keeps regurgitating same, patently false statements.
      Fortunately, although he can’t be ignored at least he is not gaining momentum over all these years.
      I completely agree that there should be a counter-missionary effort, but also feel like secularism is even graver threat in today’s world.

  3. Alan says:

    Thank you so much Rabbi B.! This was all extremely worthwhile! Thank you so much for your hard work and effort on this! I am sure it will help many people find their way back to Hashem.

    I know there is at least one place in the NT where Paul admits that he lies for the sake of Jesus; he says that bringing people to Jesus justifies lying. Is lying considered a mitzvah in Christianity? And what exactly did Paul admit lying about?

    Dr. Brown doesn’t have a blog like this one does he?

    • Alan says:

      I wasn’t specifically asking Rabbi B. these questions. Whoever wants to respond, please do.

    • holger says:

      hi alan,
      i am curious, could you point out where paul admits that he lies?

      • Alan says:

        Hi Holger,

        I don’t know where it is. I just remember that Eleazar posted it a few months ago. But I don’t remember where he posted it.

      • Alan says:

        I googled it –

        “For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?” (Rom. 3.7)

        “I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, that I might gain them that are without law. … I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake” (1 Cor. 9.19-23).

        • RT says:

          2: Cor 12: 16

          But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with δόλος.

          I.craft, deceit, guile

          • Alan says:

            So if Paul says that advancing the church justifies lying, then I bet that many missionaries believe that lying in church and in debates with Jews is a mitzvah. Many of them probably don’t even feel guilty about doing it.

          • RT says:

            To be fair, I doubt that it’s the case. This is the kind of deceit that they would do without feeling guilty. Printing a Hebrew-English Bible, but the English would be a King James and the Hebrew would be there to encourage the Jewish person to accept it. Messianic putting a Kippah and putting their phone number in the synagogue section of the phone book. Messianic not putting Pork on their shabbath pot luck.

            I doubt most Christians know those Bible verses anyway and if they do, they probably find excuses for Paul rather then them lying on purpose to convert people.

            In the case of Dr Brown, I do believe that he is himself deceived. He might not be as much of a scholar as he said, and probably studied under the influence of Christian theology and always studied the “old” testament under the light of the “new” testament. He is another Kavi, who refuses to see the truth even if it is in his eye. If you read “answering Jewsih objection to Jesus” his argument is so shallow, that it’s hard to believe he is a scholar. If it’s the best a Christian can come up with, then it only convince me more that Christianity is not the truth. It’s the same in my congregation, they use over and over again the same passages to “prove” Jesus. And I bet they believe themselves. My “rabbi” is one of the top chosen people ministry and his arguments are as shallow as Dr Brown… They are not deceiver, but deceived…

          • Dina says:

            I agree, they are misled.

          • Alan says:

            Paul wrote that lying for Jesus is kosher. This teaching is simply ignored? For example, if it means lying about verses in Tanakh during a debate in order to make Jesus look better, they wouldn’t allow themselves to do this?

          • RT says:

            Probably not, not in this age at least. They have the 10 commandments and Rev 21:8 (amongst other) to show them they should not lie:

            But the cowardly, … and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

            You can argue the character of Paul through those verses, but most Christians won’t follow Paul’s line of thinking and won’t lie on purpose for someone to accept Jesus.

          • Dina says:

            I don’t know, RT, most Christians seem very comfortable with misrepresenting verses in Tanach. Paul defended the practice of cherry picking when it came to Jesus (picking one verse from a Psalm and applying it to him, and ignoring the rest of the Psalm which didn’t fit him). But he wouldn’t tolerate what he perceived as our out-of-context quotes.

            They’re not even fazed when you show them that a verse has been mistranslated.

          • Alan says:


            “but most Christians won’t follow Paul’s line of thinking”

            But what about the missionaries and preachers? Why wouldn’t they? Judging from the debates I’ve watched so far (especially The Great Debate), I am sure that at least sometimes they realized their tongues slipped, and because they won’t correct themselves EVER, they have actually lied.

          • RT says:

            This is always possible on a case-by-case basis and they could have the excuse from their own sacred text to do so. My comment is only to be faire and at least acknowledge that the majority of Christians are genuine on their belief and won’t lie on purpose. Someone like Dr Brown might know better and could lie, especially that he knows the scriptures a lot and has enough understanding to deny the lies he believes in. It’s hard to even understand why he would keep up with those lies if you have look as deep as he did. He must be seriously dishonest or stubborn on his ways to keep on doing those debates when there is actually nothing in his favor. I do believe any honest person would see the truth if he wants to, and Dr Brown might be someone who wants to misguide people for an unknown motive…

          • RT says:

            Few thought… The Septuagint and the NT was written with many lies and re-writing of Bible verse. You may easily argue that not only Paul did it, but all writers of the New Testament did it too… It’s an art that was lost with the apostles I guess 🙂

          • RT says:

            Dina, it would crumble their whole theology system to acknowledge that they could be wrong. Take for example Jesus coming out of the clouds of Heaven. If you tell them that the Bible verse was clearly Israel, then it would render Jesus a liar. If you show them that a ruler was supposed to come from Bethlehem, then that would render “Matthew” a liar, because Jesus never was a ruler or KING! If any prophecy is false, then the whole New Testament is a LIE. You don’t need to have 95% accuracy, it’s 100% Jesus or nothing. So, they cannot give up anything without destroying the whole of their belief system. So, they prefer to deny it… If they are tempted to acknowledge that a verse is not about Jesus, then Jesus is automatically not the messiah, and they have nobody (based on their worldview) to forgive their sins and they are doomed to hell… Remember that they have been thought all their lives that the JEWS are wrong. There are many barriers for them to break before they can acknowledge that one prophecy is not about Jesus, even if it’s clear as water!

        • Brother Alan! Let your bro help you interpret Romans 3:7. The word “Lie” is “pseusmati” in Greek, which literally means “fabrication or falsehood.” The same word was used in verse 4 which says ” let God be true and every man liar!” The point of the Pharisee Paul is impossibility of replacement theology! In other words, Paul is vindicating Israel in front of those enemy (maybe gentiles) who accuse Israel.

          Although Jews (in part) falsified before the Law or lied before God or fell short of God’s election (like every man do) in the eyes of the world of history, God’ s faithfulness and covenant love- Hesed toward His own people cannot be cancelled or nullified!(v.3)

          • Alan says:

            I don’t follow what you’re saying.

            The last conversation we had was a few weeks ago. You said that before we continue our discussions you would like me to give you verses that speak about “serving (la’avod)” God and man. I did the research for you and provided you with several verses but you disappeared and did not acknowledge that I fulfilled your request. Did you not see my reply with the verses you asked for?

          • Sorry for missing the response.
            I wanted to see your textual exposition rather than just pasted verses. Personally i am doubtful if there is real difference between working for God and working according to the word of God. And David praised the word of God (Psalm 56:4, 10). If Laavod should mean bowing down, didn’t many Godly men in Tanakh bow down to fellow godly men, too?

          • Alan says:

            Am I to understand that your proof for why you should worship God’s word is because David says in psalms “I will praise Your word”?

            He also says in psalm 145-
            4 One generation shall laud/praise (yishabah) Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts.

            So you can learn from this that you can worship any of God’s works such as the sun, moon, stars, oceans, mosquitos.

            La’avod doesn’t mean “to bow”; hishtahaveh means to bow.

          • Brother Alan, it seems that we need to distinguish works- meaning handiworks such as sun, moon, and stars, from works- meaning working or acting of God. Psalm 145 praises God’s Maaseh- doing?

          • Alan says:

            “Brother Alan, it seems that we need to distinguish works- meaning handiworks such as sun, moon, and stars, from works- meaning working or acting of God. Psalm 145 praises God’s Maaseh- doing?”

            Ma’asekha in this verse is in the plural – it means “works”. How do you translate this word?

          • Dina says:

            Gene, la’avod does not mean to bow down. Furthermore, there is no prohibition of bowing to a human as a mark of respect.

  4. Concerned Reader says:

    I would say to the translation question, and “do Christians lie maliciously on purpose,” that most Christians do not believe they are lying, nor intentionally deceiving.

    I know you guys don’t like to hear this, but rewriting scripture to suite a given theology (especially concerning end times speculation) was a practice among various groups in the second temple period among groups that believed prophecy had not actually ended yet, contrary to the rabbinic perspective that it had ended.

    Ask yourself a very simple question. How could the writer of Mathew who clearly wrote in decent Greek not know that Parthenos does not mean virgin any more than Almah does? Could it be he knew this, but is writing to a Christian audience who already believes in the story, and he’s purposefully using type and shadow for evangelism and preaching?

    We may think of this as deception today, but in ancient times conveying a universal type or truths through diverse stories was common, especially in hellenic cultures.

    For example, Philo employed notions common to Greek as well as Jewish thought, (so his readers could comprehend,) but he did not always employ the concepts in the way a Greek or a Jew would employ them, instead teaching what he sought to convey using those counterparts from Greek and Jewish thought.

    Its likely that the New Testament gospels as a form of biography are writing uniquely Christian stories about uniquely Christian experiences, for Christians and neophyte Christians.

    Types and shadows are used by the gospel authors because as the scripture says, “there is nothing new under the sun.” IE every event that was contemporary to the gospel author is interpreted as a prophetic message/hint for his generation, and future ones.

    For example, the antichrist figure in Revelation 13 (an end times figure in Christianity,) has been identified as the historical Roman emperor Nero. That doesn’t stop later Christian authors from seeing the same figure in Julian or the Emperor Hadrian, or seeing the original figure as being the Prince of Tyre, or allegorically a reference to Satan.

    Prince of Tyre, Nero, and Hadrian are Archetypal lawless enemies of G-d, so the scriptures you apply to them can be applied to someone of like attributes.

    Emmanuel, David, Solomon, Hezekiah (archetypal kings/savior figures) so passages about them can be applied to messianic figures because again, “there is nothing new under the sun.”

    • Concerned Reader says:

      Think of how the Tanakh itself talks about Esau and Jacob wrestling in the womb, and this scriptural archetype has been applied prophetically to the relationship between Jews and various empires they have been oppressed by. Esau is an archetype of Romans, Philistines, and Greeks.

      Ham is like an archetype of his descendants IE Mitzrayim

      It says in Rambam that the messiah will fight the wars of G-d. Who will Messiah fight against? According to Tanakh, its Gog and Magog, which according to rabbinic literature is ruled by a figure called Armilus who is at its head. This Armilus figure is the jewish analogue to the Christian “anti Christ” figures. Type and Shadow is not unique to Christians, nor are Christians the only ones who apply such type to prophecy.

      • Dina says:

        Con, I have a problem with Christians like Paul who accuse us of misquoting, picking verses out of context, etc.–but then defend the practice, in Paul’s example, in the use of one verse (they gave him vinegar to drink) to apply to Jesus, when the rest of the Psalm clearly does not apply to Jesus.

        Maybe they aren’t being intentionally deceptive, but in such cases it becomes difficult if not impossible to give them the benefit of the doubt.

        Furthermore, rabbinic groups did not grant legitimacy to these other groups partly because of their dishonest use of Scripture–and we are the ones bearing that legacy. The other guys didn’t make it to argue their case.

        • RT says:

          You may correct me if I am wrong, but subsequent interpretation (at spiritual level) and addition from the Talmud and sages, which do not follow direct reading from the text, are never to render the original reading invalid. No text from the Talmud is supposed to contradict what the original meaning was. In the case of the new testament, the reading of some text (Hebrews 8:9) are in total contradiction from the original text. This is clearly deceptive, and today, some Christians think that the Masoretic text was purposely change by the Jews. If you bring that up to any Christians, they will often use that argument and rather use the Septuagint text rather than the Masoretic…

          • Alan says:

            Did any of you watch The Great Debate?

            The topic of the debate was “can it be proven from the Jewish scriptures alone that Jesus is the messiah”.

            Dr. Brown got to speak for the last 12 minutes and what he said was that he could continue the debate for another 6 months but ultimately the only proof is that only Jesus can heal the sick. He also said that god spoke to him before the debate and told him that Jesus would heal sick people in the audience and they should tell him about it after the debate. He also challenged orthodox Jews to go with him to a hospital and the Jews will pray to God alone and he will pray to God in the name of Jesus and the patients will be only be healed after he prays. And this was his last point.

            Remember the topic of the debate was can it be proven from the text of Tanakh ALONE that Jesus is the messiah. If you want to see Dr. Brown say these things as his closing statements, watch for 1 hour 38 minutes.

          • RT says:

            I am watching it right now. Dr Brown is a serious case of “taking scriptures out of context to prove Jesus”. Anyone who knows the Bible could answer him. So far, the Jewish side answered well any of Dr Brown arguments, which would look strong if anybody in the audience does not know his bible…

          • Dina says:

            RT, that is exactly right.

          • Concerned Reader says:

            RT, its very true that in rabbinic exegesis the pshat is not supposef to be overturned by commentary. However, grpups did exist who used dofferent methods. (Not saying their method was right,) just noting that those other groups existed, and in second temple times, the lines between midrashic and plain meaning were more blurred. Probably because people knew less, and were more supersticous.

            For example, its evident that books like the book of Enoch were taken seriously/more literally in antiquity, as something real, not just midrash.

            Even though scripture only talks about Enoch once, that entire book existed (and was taken seriously) that talked about Enoch ascending to heaven, being transformed into an angel, having prophetic insight, etc.

          • RT says:

            Yes, I learned that too, I am not saying it was not “Jewish” to do that. But we have today to consider what the text really meant…

  5. Alan says:

    Watch FROM the 1 hour 38 minutes point.

  6. Concerned Reader says:

    Alan, I watched the great debate, and I noticed that Dr. Brown couldn’t advance his position with scripture alone, but neither can Torah judaism.

    Torah Judaism acknowledges that the written Torah is supplimental to the national experience and covenant authority structure recognized by the Jewish people.

    It makes it very difficult to read arguments about “this is the true context,” or “that is the pshat” when Jewish history has had messianic trends in its own history that were very close in content to Christian notions.

    In truth, neither Christianity mor Judaism historocally ever existed within a sola scriptura context. If brown were eastern orthodox or Catholic, the prompt of that debate would seem absurd, precisely because traditional Catholics, eastern Orthodox Christians, and traditional Jews all place value in a traditional understanding alongside the text.

    • Alan says:

      “I watched the great debate, and I noticed that Dr. Brown couldn’t advance his position with scripture alone, but neither can Torah judaism.”

      CR, they all agreed to the topic of the debate – can Jesus be PROVEN to be the messiah (not God) from Tanakh alone. This was the one and only agreed upon point of the debate. Did Bayar and Miller stick to the topic? Did Brown and Juster stick to the topic? Who played by the rules and who didn’t?

      • Alan says:


        Who played by the rules and who didn’t?

        • Jim says:


          This flippant claim to prophecy bothers me a lot. The way it is fired off as a parting shot not only breaks the rules of the debate but is a claim to prophecy that would demand substantiation. If none could be found, Dr. Brown would be verified as one that speaks presumptuously in the name of God. Of course, with the lack of specificity involved in the claim, it would not be hard to find a believer who believed he or she had been healed. (“My toothache disappeared the moment you said that, Dr. Brown.”) But that lack of specificity is itself bothersome. It makes validating the claim nigh unto impossible, because anything will count as a fulfillment of prophecy. Charismatic Christians take too lightly the responsibility that comes with claiming to have heard from God.


          • Alan says:


            My guess is that he was aware he was breaking the rules of the debate but that the Holy Spirit (the yetzer hara) moved him to break the rules. He made 3 non-textual claims to prove Jesus is the messiah AND God too (even though the debate was not supposed to be about the divinity of Jesus) –

            1. That he, Dr. Brown, is a prophet.
            2. That sick people in the audience were healed during the debate.
            3. If Jews and Dr. Brown pray for the sick at the same time, the Jews to God alone and Dr. Brown to God together with Jesus – only Dr. Brown’s prayers will be answered.

            We can see that this is a man whose Holy Spirit (yetzer hara) leads him to consider himself as not bound by basic rules. His yetzer hara will lead him to do anything to make Jesus look good. His yetzer hara is too strong at this point in his life for him to be able to have any kind of honest dialogue about religion.

          • Dina says:

            Best line of the day:

            “My guess is that he was aware he was breaking the rules of the debate but that the Holy Spirit (the yetzer hara) moved him to break the rules” (from Alan, my emphasis).

            Love it!

          • Jim says:


            The yetzer hara is a powerful thing; that is for sure.


          • RT says:

            That’s were Dr Brown can be a deceiver for the pleasure of pleasing G-d. He can quote the Talmud and a bunch of other text, because he really does not have a case with the Hebrew Bible! Also, he took many verses out of Context (Genesis 3, Isaiah 9, etc.) for the whole purpose of being more convincing. He also claimed that circumcision was a “Sacrifice” and that the goat of Yom Kippur was killed for the sins of the people. How could he not know that to be false? My best guess is that he is not trying to prove Jesus to be the messiah for anybody that really wants to look at the evidence, he is only trying to show off. Jesus’ follower won’t go and look at the scriptures to prove himself wrong, he wants something to comfort him that he is not wrong. (a conscience numbing pill of the sort!) If Brown can show up in a debate, that gives that person just enough reassurance for him not to look at the claims. Dr Brown knows that, he only wants to find “answers to the Jewish objections”, regardless if they make sense or not, that’s just enough for people not to doubt Jesus. Dr Brown’s debates are there to ease the conscience of those who want to believe, not to be taken seriously for anyone who seeks the truth. He knows that BLOOD was not needed, he knows that he has no chance of proving that blood is needed, he just need enough Bible verse for people to say “look at all the evidences that he shows, I don’t need to look at them, even if one or two are wrong, that’s still enough!” The Quantity is the key, now quality. Dr Brown has his followers who will look for him to answer the Jewish objection, and regardless if it makes sense or not, that’s what he wants to show, that an answer is provided for the believers…

        • Concerned Reader says:

          I actually have a small problem with this debate from both sides Alan, and its a criticism that’s not meant to be mean or dismissive.

          When we are talking about the messiah, we are obviously and manifestly talking about the strict word Moshiach as defined in the scriptural sense, IE a priest, a prophet, or a monarch. All of these offices have Moshiach as a title applied in some instances.

          -Hezekiah was a Moshiach
          -There is a moshiach annointed for war
          – Cyrus is called a Moshiach

          So when you say “can we prove Jesus is “THE Messiah” using just the Hebrew Bible,” we are already dealing with an extra biblical idea of “THE MESSIAH” from the outset, in the sense that the notion of THE Moshiach is not just a plain simple concept in the Tanakh, as it has evolved as an idea throughout Jewish history.

          The idea of “The Messiah” is technically an amalgam of essentially disparate offices/roles described only basically in Torah that much later ultimately coalesced in the person the likes of David in the monarchic period, and got embellished in the periods of exile .

          Remember, Originally,when Israel asked for a king (to be like the other nations,) the Prophet said, “why do you need a King? Hashem is your king!”

          After that, you got Saul, then David, then Solomon, and then a whole bunch of kings of Judah and Israel varying from quality righteous kings, to wicked kings.

          Now, one might say “G-d said in the Pentateuch itself that Israel would ultimately have a king, even early in the Bible,” yes true.

          However, a Moshiach was not a well defined sort of kingship yet.

          If you really wanted to say that Kingship was established early in the Pentateuch, you are initially talking about a Bicameral system in Israel with Priests and judges, with one judge at the head of the people, and the tribe of said individual is not necessarily defined yet.

          The head of the generation is treated as the “anointed” of the generation.

          so for instance, Moses would be the first Moshiach, even though he doesn’t strictly fit the later biblical (as in Davidic) messianic description, but was a Levite. Joshua ben Nun was the second “Moshiach” though he was Ephraimite, and not of Judah, yet he became head of the next generation.

          We also see that initially in the Pentateuch, (as per Deuteronomy 4) when the Torah was 1st given, certain later apocalyptic Messianic/prophetic ideas were not yet part of Israel’s consciousness.

          What do I mean by that? I mean that Deuteronomy 4 expects that there will be a few different groups that make up the status quo of the world.

          1. Pagan idolaters will exist “those to whom the host of heaven has been aportioned” (Deuteronomy 4)

          2. barely defined G-d fearing people who may still have idolatrous influences in their life (like Naamaan the Syrian, or Jethro, Moses’ father in law.)

          and then there are converts who join the Covenant and become full Jews. (Tzipporah, some (but not all) among the Egyptians who left Egypt.

          It isn’t until much later in Jewish history that the prophets (Like Isaiah) even entertain the notion that one day all the gentiles in the whole world will destroy their idols, where idolatry ceases to exist, and the nations carry Jews back into the land.

          That was a later biblical development.

          So, from the outset, when we are asking “is Jesus the Messiah using just Tanakh” we have an issue, because Tanakh alone doesn’t entirely define those parameters. Both rabbis and Christians have agreed with this assesment on tape by the way.)

          Why cant a Christian avoid invoking extra biblical literature, even when he promises not to? Its simple really. Its because the messianic notions his book relies on are primarily extra biblical in nature.

          Is “The Messiah” simply a regular king like David? Or is he the king at the end of history who will usher in an ultimate age of peace with an end to idolatry for all humanity?

          One definition of Moshiach (the 1st one,) can be found in the Petateuch alone. The other notion requires books of the prophets and other extra biblical commentary to flesh out.

          This is why (in every debate) when Dr. Brown is pressed, he has to admit that “some extra biblical traditions existed and were good.” His messianism is D.O.A. if he says traditions don’t matter, and he’s a protestant.

          He doesn’t stick to the rules, simply because he cannot without the messianism of Jesus imploding.

          Jesus’ earliest students were not Sadducees for a reason.

          They had traditions. Their own chronicle bears out that they had traditions which they regarded as authoritative.

          Its like rabbi Singer once said (to paraphrase): “The Christian Bible IS FORCED to admit that from the standpoint of knowledge, the Pharisees are the “holders of the keys of knowledge, and they sit on Moses’ seat.”

          The arguments between the two communities are about the scope of authority granted, and who possesses the authority, not primarily about the existence of such.

          That’s one reason that I find Christian arguments against rabbinic traditions downright idiotic. jesus’ students were Pharisaic, the gospel says so.

          • Alan says:


            You don’t think Rabbi B or Rabbi Skobak could prove – using only the Tanakh – that according to the Tanakh there will be a future and final era of universal spiritual and physical redemption (messianic age) presided over by a Davidic/Solomonic annointed king (messiah)?

          • Dina says:

            Con, Tanach includes the works of the later prophets; they are not extra biblical. Therefore, invoking Isaiah and Ezekiel to defend our case is 100% legitimate according to the rules agreed upon in the debate.

            For example, Ezekiel 37:21-28 provides a fairly complete picture of the figure we got into the habit of calling the Messiah, as well as the promises that will be fulfilled during his reign. It’s straightforward, clear, and explicit.

            Therefore, Jews are perfectly comfortable sticking to a rule that requires using only Tanach to make the case against Jesus.

            Christians can’t stick to this rule because their conception of messiah is nowhere to be found in the Hebrew Bible.

  7. Rabbi~ Shalom!
    If i were to find the biography of King David, i will choose title “vindicating Israel’s trust in God.” I do see that the core message of Psalm 69 is “vindicating Israel’s (or David’s?) trust in God.” Here is why.

    Matthew and John recorded that Yeshua fulfilled Psalm 69:21 on the cross and “THEY who gave wine vinegar” were Roman soldiers. And this “They” are same people in Psalm 69:22~23 right? “They” are the gentiles who mock Yeshua who trusted in God of Israel.

    So when Pharisee Paul quoted Psalm 69:22 and 23 in his epistle to Rome 11:9 and 10, Definately Paul was vindicating Israel while cursing Israel’ s enemy. Unfortunately most Christian commentators apply “They” in Romans 11:9-10 to the Jews! Alas!!! Even though it is not hard to see that the context of Romans 11 is all about vindicating Israel!

    • Jim says:

      Gean Guk Jeon,

      I am afraid that you have misunderstood Romans, if you believe that the book vindicates Israel’s trust in God. It is rather the opposite. Paul has denied that keeping the law imparts blessing, making the law out to be only a curse. Instead, he writes, one is justified in the sight of God by belief in Jesus’ lordship and resurrection (9:9). It is in contrast to Paul’s writings, in fact, that the Jewish people will one day be vindicated.

      With respect, you are quite incorrect to write that Paul was not applying Ps. 69:22-23 to the Jewish people. Indeed, he is applying it to them, to all the Jewish people that do not believe in Jesus. This is clear from the context of Romans 11. He begins the chapter by asking if God has rejected Israel. Paul answers that God has not, using himself as proof. That is, God has not rejected the Jewish people that believe in Jesus. Then Paul likens those Jews that believe in Jesus to the seven thousand faithful that had not served Baal in the time of Elijah. In so doing, he has likened the Jew that does not believe in Jesus to those that served Baal. So, the remnant, in Paul’s opinion, are those that “are chosen by grace” (as opposed to those under the Law, i.e. the Torah). He writes of those Jews that do not follow Jesus that they were “hardened,” and, misrepresenting Isaiah, that “God gave them a sluggish spirit, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear” (Rom. 11:7-8). In verse 9, he has not altered the subject. He still writes of the Jewish people, misrepresenting Psalm 69: “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be dark so that they cannot see, and keep their backs forever bent.” And then he continues to write about the Jewish people that their stumbling was to make the non-Jewish world jealous, etc.

      Therefore, it is clear that Paul is not vindicating the trust of the Jewish people in God. On the contrary, he is denying that they can have trust in God without having trust in Jesus. In essence, Paul is vindicating the believer in Jesus, whether he is Jew or non-Jew. But the Torah observant Jew that does not believe in Jesus, he calls blind, hard-hearted, and condemned to a condition of slavery.

      Chapter 11, in a sense, is a counterpart to the early part of the book. In chapter 11, he is telling the non-Jewish Christian not to see himself as superior to the Jew. Beginning in chapter 1, Paul is telling the Jewish Christian not to see himself as superior to the non-Jew. He warns the Jew not to see himself as superior for having been given the law. He tells the Jew that receiving the law does not bring justification to anyone, only keeping it. And then he goes on to argue that no one does keep the law, that no one can keep the law, so that a Jew has no reason to consider himself superior to the non-Jew.

      It is important to realize that Paul does not believe that keeping the law justifies one before God. An often-misunderstood verse reads: “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Rom. 2:13). Sometimes this is taken to mean that Paul affirms that one is justified by keeping the commandments of God. However, in context, this is only a theoretical justification. It cannot happen. Paul is actually only writing that being given the law is not enough to receive justification. His argument continues through the book that one is not justified through the law, but through faith. He writes in 3:19: “For ‘no human being will be justified in his sight’ by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” Therefore, one is not righteous through Torah observance, through obedience to the expressed will of God, according to Paul. Instead, they are justified through faith in Jesus.

      This argument relies upon abuse of scripture and denies Tanach. By arguing that the Law brings only a knowledge of sinfulness and condemnation, Paul has greatly misled his audience and denied the promise of God. He makes the blessing of God for keeping the law to be a chimera. He makes it a joke. By writing that God demands perfection, he annuls the blessing altogether. Because no condition exists, according to Paul, under which one can receive the blessing promised for keeping the Law, in reality, the Law is only a curse. So, Paul preaches a grace through faith, rather than through the Law.

      But this is not the teaching of Tanach. Ezekiel writes that HaShem takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Instead, he wishes them to turn from their ways and live (Ez. 33:10-16). He wishes them to make restitution for the wrong done. And they are to return to observing the Torah. This means that, according to Tanach, the transgressor is restored to God through Torah, through the Law. And when the wicked turns from his ways: “None of the sins that they have committed shall be remembered against them; they have done what is lawful and right, they shall surely live (Ez. 33:16). This teaching is in stark contrast to Paul’s teaching that one cannot be justified by the Law.

      Consider also Isaiah 1. As Isaiah castigates the Jewish people for their injustice, he tells them how to become close to God again. And the answer is to return to Torah, to do justice: “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (vv. 16-17). As they are being condemned by their breaking of the law, they can be saved by keeping it. Paul’s argument that no one can be justified through the deeds of the law, but only through faith in Jesus, contradicts Tanach.

      In fact, Paul outright lies to make the case. In Deut. 30, Moses teaches the people that they can keep the law. He tells them that the Torah is near to them, on their lips and in their heart, so that they can perform it (Deut. 30:14). Paul cuts off the end of the verse and makes the verse to be about believing in Jesus. The lips of Deut. 30 he makes to be about confessing Jesus to be lord and the heart, believing in the resurrection. Paul has altered the meaning of the passage altogether. The passage contradicts Paul’s teaching that one cannot keep the Torah. And it has nothing to do with belief in Jesus, or even the Messiah generally.

      Considering these facts, one cannot say that Paul is vindicating Israel’s trust in God. On the contrary, he denies the principles upon which that trust is built. He has likened the disbelieving Jew to a priest of Baal and denied that God will bless them for keeping Torah. He has replaced trust in God with trust in Jesus. And to do this, he has misrepresented HaShem’s holy Torah. Paul’s purpose of quoting Ps. 95 was not to indict Israel’s enemies, but those of Israel that did not confess Jesus as lord or believe in his resurrection. His goal was to vindicate, not Israel, but believers in Jesus, some of which just happened to be Jewish. To achieve this goal, he lied. He maligned those that trust in God, and worse, he maligned HaShem’s holy Torah.


      • I am a forgetful man, please forgive me asking this again. Jim is Rabbi Blumenthal who is the author of this blog- Pharisee friend, right?

        I appreciate your overviewing on the message of Romans. You explanation did not miss the point at face value ; However, i find the book very intricated Greek literature which has been written by a Pharisee in “Talmudic language and style” (Joseph Shulam insisted). First of all, my brother, we have to translate the book literally from the Greek grammar, otherwise, we could start interpreting whole messages in light of theological presuppositions. Please take time to read my interpretations which i received in Jerusalem.

        1. In Romans, there are 3 kinds of Faith. Faith (-fulness) OF God, faith (-fulness) OF Jesus Christ, and faith (-fulness) IN Jesus Christ. The tragedy began when the church began to interpret all faith into Faith IN Jesus Christ. Of course, our faith in Jesus Christ is required for salvation but only to Gentiles who are excluded from the divine covenant! (Galatians 3:8) The book of Romans want to highlight God’s righteousness, who keeps His covenant with the Jews who fail before the standard of the Torah. How did God make it possible? By imparting the faith and righteousness of Jesus Christ into the Jews, His covenant people. And this is FINISHED work! Congrantulations! Isaiah 40:2 has been fulfilled!

        JEws don’t have to Put faith in Jesus Christ to have eternal life; rather, they already HAVE eternal life which is the WORD of God (Yeshua), already reside in their hearts and lips (Paul calls this “word of faith” in Rom.10:8 – in this case, the faith is not our faith but faith of Yeshua). But, they do not know the fact that the Torah, the word of God in them is Yeshua (Rom.10:17-19)

        When paul mentions “faith,” we must be careful the preposition following. Our faith IN Jesus Christ or the Faith OF Jesus Christ, which is the demonstration of God’s faithfulness and righteousness toward His covenant people.

        For example, you said, “Paul’s argument that no one can be justified through the deeds of the law, but only through faith in Jesus, contradicts Tanach.”
        1. Paul’s point is not “man cannot be justified through the deeds of the law,” his point is “there was no man who was justified through the perfect deeds of the law.” Actually, Paul encourage belivers to keep the Torah; “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Rom.3:31 or Rom. 8:4)
        Paul was a devout Torah observant himself, and many more belivers who keep the Torah! (Acts 21:20, 22:12, 24:14, 25:8)

        2. “Not by works but by grace” means God is salvation, God’s covenant justifies us. Although we fail, God keeps His promise. HOW? through faithfulness OF Jesus Christ who obeyed Hashem even unto the cross. When God saw one righteous man Yeshua in the nation of Israel, He saved the whole nation. Because of one righteous man Noah, his whole family has been saved. becasue of Abraham, Lot has been saved. Who saved the miserable widow and daughter- in- law who were like dead men? Actually, there must appear one Kinsman redeemer in the family! Actually, there was a kinsman redeemer but when he realized that he should take the Moabite woman, he gave up. Instead, Boaz appeared to take the job. Spiritually, i guess the first kinsman redeemer is like the Orthodox Jews today who acts as redeemer of only Jewish people and Boaz is like Yeshua who redeems both Jews and gentiles. When God saw Yeshua the kidsman redeemer in Israel, He restored the fate of the Jews- Naomi, and at the same time saved the gentile Christians- Ruth.

        Gean Guk Jeon your little kinsman.

        • Dina says:

          Gean, Rabbi Blumenthal is the author of this blog, and his screen name is yourphariseefriend.

          I hope you will both forgive me for jumping in. I would just like to point out that the concept of anyone needing God to save him from his sins–be he Jew or gentile–is anti-Biblical. Please see Genesis 4:7, which is addressed to a non-Jew, and the story of Nineveh, a story about non-Jews.

          If you search the entire Hebrew Bible from beginning to end, you will not find a single instance of the words redeem and save (goel, moshiah, matzil) in the sense of spiritual salvation from sin. This concept simply does not exist in the Hebrew Bible–and that should deeply trouble you.

          • Sister Dina, thank you for jumping in. I guess you brought up the same question you threw before and i was in the process of studying it, and now i am answering. I have found that Genesis 4:7 has the word “sin” in Tanach for the first time, and i believe it really teaches us truth about sin. Sin is something like a beast. and God commanded us to “subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the sky and over all the beasts that tread upon the earth.” WE humans are supposed to subdue and rule over the fish, birds, and beasts including SIN, NOT fellow humans! Since Humans were created by God’s image, we must treat them like we do to God. When we subdue and rule over fellow humans according to our own desire and ambition like Cain did, that is sin!
            That is why God said ” If you do not improve, however, at the entrance, sin is lying, and to you is its longing, but you can rule over it.” The desire to control over fellow human as to my own longing is the Sin “loaded.” or “beast lying or crouching.”

            So salvation from sin could mean “liberating and setting us free from the condition of being cotrolled or ruled by human oppression,” right? As far as i studied, The first word “Yasha” appear in Exodus 2:17 when Moses YASHA the daughters of Medianite priest from being controlled and ruled over by the band of shepherds. “Chataha- Sin” appears about 5times in the Torah, and all has to do with human relationship; men try to control fellow God’s image bearer! They should have turned their energy to control from humans to the beasts and birds and fish, however that tragedy is still happening even in this world and the community of the covenant people both Jews and Christians is not exception.

            After i found this, i repent again and again because i tried to make my wife and kids and church members do and say as i wanted them to do and say. I was controlling them out of my lust. James 1:15 says, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

            What does the Christian term “breaking or overcoming the power of sin” mean, then? It is to give up or yield my own desire or lust to rule over and subdue fellow humans. Yeshua did it on the cross? When the beast called sin crouching next to us and ready to jump into our hearts, we have to choice; to kill the beast or to kill our own desire and ambition. Thanks.

          • Also you might want to check out Leviticus 25:43, 46, and 53 where God warns the saved people not to rule over fellow Israelites with rigour or cruelty.
            Yeshua also repetitively emphasized “serve” rather than “to be served” to distinguish covenant people from gentile kings who lord it over people (Luke 22:24-30).

            Salvation from sin is to rescue from human desire to control or rule over fellow humans with rigour. And the solution to this has to start from human heart. Maybe that is why Yeshua dealt with “heart” as the starting point of sinning in the Sermon on the Mount while teaching of the Torah, I guess.

        • Jim says:

          Gean Guk Jeon,

          R’ Blumenthal is the author of this blog. (He is our Pharisee Friend.) On occasion, he turns a comment from one of the commenters here into a post. You will find blog posts on this site by Tsvi Jacobson, Annelise, Concerned Reader, Thomas, Fred, and others, including me. The title of the post will include the author’s name, if it is not by R’ Blumenthal. He wrote the post under which these comments appear.

          By the way, a recent post by me was a response to you, regarding a comment you wrote some time back. That post is here: . Your comment, to which this is a response, is here: .

          If I have time, I shall respond to your comment later today. If not, it might be a few days.


          • Jim says:

            Gean Guk Jeon,

            I am quite surprised by your response to me. It is quite clear in Romans that one must believe in Jesus to be justified, according to Paul. This applies to both the Jews and to non-Jews. The fourth chapter is about Abraham’s belief in the promise of God, and how that is accorded as righteousness to him, regardless of what you learned in Jerusalem. And he says that all who believe are of Abraham. Moreover, Romans 9-10 make quite clear that only the Jewish believer in Jesus is ‘saved.’ He writes “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek…” (Rom. 10:9,12). Joseph Shulam may insist otherwise, but he is clearly misrepresenting the text.

            It is also absurd to say that those that deny that Jesus is the Messiah are saved by having “the WORD of God (Yeshua)” on their lips and in their hearts. This is mere sophistry, relying on two meanings of the word “Word,” one of which is imposed unilaterally by the Christian. Even if both meanings applied to “the Word of God,” they obviously do not apply at the same time. This free interchange of homonyms causes nothing but confusion and obscures the truth. Moreover, though I find little offensive, this I do find highly offensive, that one should patronize another by telling him that, though he denies a particular truth-claim, really he is affirming it and just does not know it.

            Your paragraph on Paul’s argument regarding the Torah is confused. You switch topics from whether or not one is justified through the law to whether or not one should keep the law. Those are two different topics, and I did not address Paul’s view on the latter. However, your response to me takes up that topic, arguing against something I did not write and neglecting what I did.

            I shall take up the supposed righteousness of Jesus in a second comment.


          • Brother Jim, Romans is a confusing book, i admit. But the message is simple and straightforward once you grasped the theme of the whole pages.

            Paul has declared that Doers of the Law are justified before God! We should keep the Law! But the fact is there was none to be justified by their works- perfect observance of the law.

            Here comes the problem. Then what happens to the covenant God has made with Jews? The covenant is nullified or cancelled? God forbid! Then God lied ? Torah promised curse to the disobedient and blessing to the obedient; to be faithful to what He said, God should curse so many Jews.

            Paul the Pharisee saw the faithfulness of God who sent His son as a mediator, and as a kinsman redeemer and saw righteousness of God who judged the sins of His people on Yeshua on the cross.

            Faith of Yeshua establish the Law and faith of Yeshua makes believers fulfill and carry out the Law. Why?

            Here is my illustration.
            There are two kinds of sinners. Who is less likely to sin? A. Sinner who know he will be hanged as death penalty in 2 days and set free to the street in the city. B. Sinner who know his death sentence has been nullified and set free?

            People of God keep the Torah because they have faith in God’ s amazing Grace and everlasting love, not because they fear of judgement when they fail to observe it. You know that and experience that.

          • Jim says:

            Gean Guk Jeon,

            Recently, I wrote about the invisible signs that are supposed to lead one to belief in Jesus. A few days ago, you wrote that the nation of Israel was saved by the righteousness of Jesus. If you do not mind, I would like to relate these two comments of ours to each other. Your claim that Jesus was a righteous man, and your claim that Israel was saved in some way through his faithfulness, are two more claims with no visible proof. They are not established facts, but mere claims by the Church.

            I do not want to exaggerate your claims, so I am not going to demonstrate that Jesus was not sinless. You did not claim this. You only claimed that Jesus was righteous. Jesus does not need to have been sinless to be righteous. However, it cannot be known whether Jesus was righteous or not. Very little is known about Jesus’ life. And even if more were known, neither you nor I could be certain that he was righteous. No one knows what goes on in the heart of another. No one knows what he does in secret.

            Of course, you might say that the NT tells you that Jesus was righteous. However, the NT is not a reliable source of information. It is full of misrepresentation.

            On the other hand, the NT does also give hints that Jesus was not spectacularly righteous. When he returns home, the people do not believe on him, and he is able to perform few miracles. And they only relate to him through his family. They do not identify him as the most holy person they ever met. I wrote an article on this about a year ago. You can search for it in the bar above. It is called “Invisible Perfect”.

            Regardless, so little is known about Jesus, it is virtually impossible to say that he was righteous. Certainly, one would have little way of measuring his righteousness against other Jews of his day. If one believes that Israel was saved somehow, perhaps it was saved through one of them. Perhaps through Rabbi Gamliel.

            Though I must say that the idea that Israel was saved through Jesus’ righteousness is also entirely without proof. Indeed, evidence seems against it. Only 40 years (give or take) after Jesus’ death, the temple was destroyed. About 50 years after that, Israel was dispersed. The righteousness of Jesus did not save Israel from these events.

            Of course, you likely mean that Jesus’ righteousness saved Israel in the afterlife. Once again, this is a claim with no evidence. It is easy to claim that this has happened, because no way is known to investigate the claim. No one can traverse heaven and hell to determine who is in each and why. One would just have to take the Church’s word on the matter.

            It is easy to make these claims about Jesus. He rose from the dead. He was born of a virgin. He was a righteous man. He saved Jew and non-Jew alike. It is not so easy to substantiate these claims. The books that made these claims were terribly unreliable, full of misrepresentations of Tanach. They are not to be trusted.


          • Brother Jim, you brought up very important evidence. After Yeshua’ death, the temple was destroyed and later Israel was dispersed. Then how come Yeshua’s righteousness saved Israel from Rome?

            I found this very interesting that the Roman emperor in the lifetime of Yeshua was Tiberius. And he seems to be the most “less oppressive or demanding” ruler among the Roman emperors! In other words, he thought himself as one to serve, not as one to be served or worshipped like other Emperors did! During the time of Yeshua, Israel was saved from Roman oppression and rigourous control (which i want to call “sin”). Accidents? Or God’s working?

        • Dina says:

          Gean, you wrote that “they [the Jews] do not know the fact that the Torah, the word of God in them is Yeshua (Rom.10:17-19).”

          How is it that you know the truth about the Jews and they don’t? Where in Tanach do you see that the Jews will learn the truth about themselves and God from the gentiles, when the Torah clearly states the opposite (see Isaiah 59:21, Zechariah 8:23, Isaiah 2:3, Micah 4:2, Psalm 147:19-20)?

          How is it that in light of the above citations as well as God’s appointment of the Jewish nation as His witnesses (Isaiah 43 and 44), you are comfortable ignoring the testimony of the Jewish people?

          • Alan says:

            What did you eat for breakfast or lunch today? Did you take a new kind of supplement? I want to know about it so I can think more clearly too!

          • Alan says:

            I really meant to say thank you for your great thinking and writing. I especially appreciate your two last posts today.

          • Dina says:

            Thank you, Alan!

          • Sister Dina, i am like one of those gentiles who climbed up the mount of Zion and learned the Torah and heard the word of the Lord in Jerusalem. I am not trying to teach the truth; i am just sharing how i understand the epistles of your ancestors, Pharisee Paul.

          • Alan says:

            “Sister Dina, i am like one of those gentiles who climbed up the mount of Zion and learned the Torah and heard the word of the Lord in Jerusalem.”

            You’re like one who learned it from a Christian in Jerusalem.

            “I am not trying to teach the truth; i am just sharing how i understand the epistles of your ancestors, Pharisee Paul.”

            Pharisee Paul turned into a heretic so he was no longer a Pharisee. So please stop calling him a Pharisee.

            Gene, we are not interested in you sharing your understanding of the epistles of anti-Pharisee Paul with us. If you have sincere questions and want to discuss them here, we welcome that. But we don’t want to learn Christianity here.

          • Alan, i did not learn this from a Christian. I actually had to debate with fellow Christians regarding interpretations of the Romans. They were stuck in the theological presuppositions in interpreting Romans, while i was arguing based on the literal, grammatical and historical interpretations.

          • Dina says:

            Gean, you wrote that you are sharing what you learned from the letters of my ancestor Paul.

            As you know, Paul never married and had children. Therefore, he is not my ancestor. He is not anybody’s ancestor.

            My ancestors the Pharisees categorically and emphatically rejected the teachings of Paul. Their descendants continued to reject the teachings of Paul over the ensuing 2000 years at great personal cost. The body count is in the millions.

            You also wrote that the Bible teaches us that we need to be saved from the sin of dominating others.

            The Bible teaches nothing of the sort. Please find me one instance where the word “save” is used to mean spiritual salvation from sin, any kind of sin. You can search the Hebrew Bible from end to end and you will not find it. I gave you the sources that show that the Bible teaches the very opposite.

            Gean, it’s hard to have an honest conversation with someone who makes stuff up. Please stop making stuff up. Paul is not my ancestor. The word salvation in the Hebrew Bible is never used to mean spiritual salvation from sin. Thank you.

          • Dina, the sin of dominating and oppressing others is described Isaiah 49:25-26 where the word “ישע” appears.
            Check also Psalm 119:134 “Redeem me from the oppression of man, and I shall keep Your precepts.”

          • Dina says:

            Gean, you just made my point, don’t you see? The word “save” in both these instances is used to mean being saved from political and/or physical oppression. That is the most common usage for it in the Hebrew Bible. It says nothing about saving individuals from their own sins.

            It says nothing about freeing people from their own sin of dominating others inappropriately. Please admit that you made that up.

            I’m waiting for you to concede that Paul is not my ancestor and that the word “save” in the Hebrew Bible is never used to denote spiritual salvation from sin. This Christian concept is completely foreign to Hashem’s teachings.

          • RT says:

            It’s unlikely that Paul would have been a Pharisee in the first place Alan. Pharisees did not have dealings with the Sadducees in the first place. Paul asked the High Priests letters against Jesus follower to the High Priest, this a Pharisee would not have done. I think he only said he was a Pharisee under Gamaliel as a white lie he used to gain credibility… For the Pharisees, he became a Pharisee to win a few…

          • Alan says:

            I really wish Gean would EITHER stop “sharing” his understanding of the NT with us or leave the blog.

          • RT says:

            Yes, but if Rabbi B. kicks out every Christian, then we won’t have anymore comment section 🙂

          • Alan says:

            I don’t want to kick out Christians! Gean and Kavi are only here to “share” with us, as Gean has just admitted today.

          • RT says:

            As a general rule of thumb, all Christians are here only to “share” with us. I have never seen any who wanted to learn from Judaism. That’s because the non testament teaches that the Jews are blind and follower of Satan. Fortunately, some will eventually listen. In the case of Kavi, I have seen him arguing on other blogs and since 2014, he has been unwilling to listen. For Gean, I am not sure of how much he is willing to listen, but he is definitively less evasive than Kavi and CP.

          • Alan says:

            “I have never seen any who wanted to learn from Judaism.”

            SharonS is doing it.

  8. Dina says:

    Dr. Brown said another thing that is very telling. He said that if you’re a traditional Jew, pray with all your heart to God to learn the truth about the messiah.

    Traditional Jews would never pray to God about this because they already know the truth about the messiah. Tanach teaches us all we need to know, but the most important lesson for the Christian is that who the messiah is is simply irrelevant. That is why Tanach barely touches on the topic of the personhood of the messiah (just to let us know that he will be a Davidic king who will reign in the messianic era, and a couple of attributes that he will possess). Who the messiah is specifically is a uniquely Christian obsession, but it is not a Torah obsession.

    Jews don’t pray for the truth about the messiah. We pray for guidance and clarity to do the right thing in our daily lives according to God’s commandments. We study the Torah to learn how God wants us to live our lives in the here and now, not to discover the identity of the messiah.

    If Dr. Brown could find verses in the Torah that teach us the importance of learning the identity of the messiah, worshiping the messiah as God, the importance of “the truth” about the messiah–then he would have presented those verses by now.

    • RT says:

      For any Christian, the importance of the “old” testament is only to show and prove Jesus. Jesus follower don’t want clarity and guidance to follow Torah do right, they are obsess with Jesus. 99% of sermons are about your need of Jesus, how to live after is only secondary for the preachers. In a way I am fed up of all those discussions, I just want to read my Bible without thinking about Jesus, and get myself totally separated from that idolatrous way of looking at the Bible.

  9. Pingback: The Real Jewish Messiah – Full Debate | 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources

  10. Concerned Reader says:

    Dina and Alan. My point was only that Tanakh itself shows a clear evolution on the moshiach idea. Yes, the prophets are biblical, but extra in the sense that as you Dina, have said before, prophets cannot establish new laws, but can only back up what is in Torah proper already, ie the 5 books.

    You do not find the Eutopian messianic idea of the son of David who brings universal redemption in the 5 books, but only in the later prophets, and later prophets themselves within the same text have wildly different ideas.

    Judaism all by itself has even illustrated that completely divergent ideas of a messiah figure can be developed from these same texts of later prophets. Roles so distinct that pictures of two messiahs were able to emerge within Judaism, to say nothing of Elijah’s role which sometimes crosses into a messiah like territory.

    A priestly figure (though he is described as Ephraimite?) who dies in battle, whose death stimulates Teshuvah, and a son of David who rules and reigns, but also fights the wars of G-d too.

    Also, the same prophetic texts that describe nationalistic resurgence, that also have this suffering figure, have Eutopian promises the world has literally never seen before, not even in Moses’ day. End of disease, war, idolatry, etc. And my point was, this is a clear sign of the development over time of the messiah concept in Judaism.

    Both sides agreed to the debate, but both movements Judaism and Christianity have had messianic ideas emerge that have closely paralelled each other, even when both communities work to prevent that kind of overlap.

    What Im essentially saying is that you can get many pictures of A moshiach, but if you mean THE MOSHIACH both communities are drifting into an area of more diversity and interpretation than in grounded text. If you win the debate by saying “the moshiach just means the monarch,” you are referencing A messiah, true, but by no means have you narrowed to The Messiah.

    • RT says:

      CR, I think it is clear for both views the The Messiah will be a ruler from the line of David. He will rule on a time where there is peace on earth as well. This is believed by both Jews and Christians and the text used to show that does not need interpretations. This is not an interpretation that is outside of the text, nor needs to evolve outside of it. With those two perimeters, I think we can know if yes or no, Jesus fits that messiah.

    • Alan says:

      But there is a basic job description for Messiah son of David that is clear in Tanakh, even if there are details that seem to contradict each other. You don’t think that such a basic job description can be shown to be consistent throughout the Tanakh even if many details are not included in the Pentateuch?

      “A priestly figure (though he is described as Ephraimite?) who dies in battle, whose death stimulates Teshuvah,”

      I’m not sure what messianic passage you’re referring to here?

    • Nikola says:

      Concerned Reader, there’s probably a simple explanation why the concept of The Messiah is almost not present in Torah. Not only is it not a central topic, but it’s almost not present at all. That’s because Torah is a complete set of teachings and rules needed for one’s proper life and salvation. There is nothing more one need to do to achieve righteousness. The Messiah appears in the rest of Tanakh as a promise of better days sometime in the future. Nobody who understands Torah will devote their life to waiting for Messiah, while neglecting the way God wants them to live and behave.
      And that’s where Christians got it all wrong. They can’t see forest for the threes – they can’t accept and follow Torah for the invented concept of the Messiah who abolishes everything else. Not only invented but in many cases perverse.
      I guess the irony is that the ones who devote life to Messiah will not be raised to see the real Messiah. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about the most important concepts, but like to bicker about useless interpretations.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        I’ve said many times that I agree that the Messiah is not mentioned in the Tanakh beyond what I mentioned above, but as I said also, Jesus’ movement was not made up of Sadduccees for a reason. If J had been born a zadokite, Christianity simply wouldn’t exist.

        That’s why sometimes I feel the debate from both sides is at times disingenuous.

        The Christian movement existed within a diverse matrix of oral traditions and speculations that existed in the second temple era. I always call out Christianity as hypocritical when it bashes Pharisaism and rabbinic thought, because quite literally, without this, it couldn’t get off the ground.

        When you look at early Jewish converts to Christianity (like Donin or Christiani) they were all products of a type of education that emphasized a mystical bent, that emphasized midrashim, etc.

        I’m not a member of the camp that believes Jesus’ messianism just sprang out of thin air as pure innovation. Something had to be present in the time period to cement Christian thinking as at least “possible” to some people.

        • Dina says:

          “That’s why sometimes I feel the debate from both sides is at times disingenuous.”

          Some people on our side may at times be disingenuous (we are human, after all). But the disingenuousness is not equal. You cannot fairly make a case for moral equivalence here.

    • Dina says:

      Con, nothing you said supports your original contention that neither side can make their case solely from Tanach, since Tanach includes the prophets. I find your argument about the evolution of the messianic concept therefore irrelevant. You have not shown that Jews cannot defend their case about Jesus based purely on Tanach. They can, they have, and you’ve seen us do it.

      You wrote, “Yes, the prophets are biblical, but extra in the sense that as you Dina, have said before, prophets cannot establish new laws, but can only back up what is in Torah proper already, ie the 5 books.” Surely you know there is a difference between establishing laws and providing prophecy. A prophecy about the messiah is not a law. The prophets were therefore not extra biblical in any sense.

      The prophets could not say anything that contradicts the Torah. The concept of a messianic era is already present in the Torah: the promise of an eternal line of kings from the tribe of Judah, the promise of ingathering of exiles, national resurgence of Torah observance, return to the Land, punishment of our enemies (Genesis 49:10, Deuteronomy 30:1-10). Absolutely none of the messianic prophecies in the books of the prophets contradicts these concepts but rather supports them.

  11. Concerned Reader says:

    But there is a basic job description for Messiah son of David that is clear in Tanakh, even if there are details that seem to contradict each other.

    Yes, but that basic outline can fit literally any Jewish leader in the line of David, IE even sons of Nathan, or evil kings in Israel’s history, etc. Its as I’ve said, both communities also agree that THE MESSIAH has criteria attached that extend beyond the role of the monarch in David’s line. That is to say, Israel has had several davidic monarchs who were called Moshiach, but none of these were the one our traditions called THE MESSIAH.

    Remember, even Hillel was initially of the opinion that “there is no messiah for Israel, because we used him up in the times of Hezekiah,” IE the strict halachic definition of a messiah as someone in the line of David, who heals breaches in Observance, fights wars, rededicates the sacrificial service, brings back the assimilated, and spreads knowledge of Torah was fulfilled very clearly in Hezekiah.

    Even though that’s all true, everyone would say that Hezekiah was a messiah, but not The Messiah that everyone worldwide waits for. As you know, there are reasons why some people have questioned Maimonides’ picture of Messiah as the only picture. Its because (even in Judaism’s appraisal of the messiah,) more is expected of him.

    • Alan says:

      I think you are making good points. I don’t think though it was the famous Hillel who said that Hezekiah was the one, but a much less famous Rabbi Hillel, but someone else would have to confirm this for me. But yes, the Talmud did not hide this opinion. I don’t know enough to properly respond to your very valid points so I will begin doing research on this right away. Thank you CR! I learn a lot from you and you inspire me to learn more on my own.

    • Alan says:

      Wait a second, CR. I just read this again. Please tell me how the descriptions of the final Davidic King in Tanakh can fit all the people you say they can fit-

      “Yes, but that basic outline can fit literally any Jewish leader in the line of David, IE even sons of Nathan, or evil kings in Israel’s history, etc. “

    • Dina says:

      Con wrote, “Yes, but that basic outline can fit literally any Jewish leader in the line of David, IE even sons of Nathan, or evil kings in Israel’s history, etc.”

      The basic outline includes God’s promise to David that his legitimate line would descend through Solomon, that’s number one. Number two, none of the Jewish leaders in the line of David brought any of the messianic promises to fruition. Number three, the messiah is described as a righteous, God-fearing individual, so evil kings are out. Con, you’re not up to your usual snuff today!

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Dina, you say that evolution of the messianic idea is itrelevant. Its not irrelevant at all.

        I pointed out that if you have a figure like Hezekiah (who would fit your description of an ideal scriptural messiah,) it doesnt mean he is “the messiah,” because the scope of the messiahs mission is much broader (and the prophetic descriptions of what messiah will do,) more diverse than what you have outlined.

        Claiming something is itrelevant doesn’t make it so.

        “The evil kings are out.” Granted. But sometimes a wicked king doesnt start out as wicked, but starts out on the right path, and then goes off the path.

        We cant say therefore that the catagories of ingathering, healing breaches, fighting wars, etc. Makes the messiah into the messiah.

    • Dina says:

      Con wrote, “Remember, even Hillel was initially of the opinion that “there is no messiah for Israel, because we used him up in the times of Hezekiah.” Without even looking this up, I can tell that this isn’t meant to be taken literally but is a hyperbolic statement typical of the rabbis of the Gemara. Guzma (exaggeration) was often employed by the rabbis to make a point. This seems an obvious case to me simply because of my understanding of how the Talmud works.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Dina, im aware its hyperbole but it still makes my point.

        The point is that Hezekiah was the ideal Jewish king, the ideal candidate who fits your description of what Moshiach should be, and yet Hezrkiah wasnt the messiah decribed by by the prophets (as in the prophets, there are wider more diverse notions of messiah expressed.)

        I never claimed that prophets were not allowed to make prophecies, but im saying that in their orophecies, the messiahs are more and do more than the barebones outline.

  12. Concerned Reader says:

    Nobody who understands Torah will devote their life to waiting for Messiah, while neglecting the way God wants them to live and behave.
    And that’s where Christians got it all wrong.

    I wouldn’t say “nobody,” because we KNOW that people do this, that’s why its still a problem.

    • Nikola says:

      I wouldn’t say that those people truly understand Torah. That’s why I said “understands”, not “reads” or “interprets”.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Ordinarily I would agree, but thats a copout answer.

        Nobody who embraced a failed messiah candidate ever understood Torah?

        • Alan says:

          Bayar and Miller did nothing disingenuous by debating Brown and Juster on that topic. I think you are saying that it is impossible for Bayar and Miller (or anyone) to prove from Tanakh that Jesus CAN’T BE the one written about in the Jewish Prophets. Is this what you’re saying?

          We can prove to you, CR, from Tanakh alone that there will be a utopian era presided over by a special tzadik king from the line of Solomon. I don’t know yet if I can prove to you from the text alone that this tzadik will personally gather the exiles, fight battles and build the Temple, but I am in the process of trying to figure this out.

          Yes, orthodox Jews are capable of believing in false and failed messiahs. But most do not, and if they do, most eventually realize their error and abandon their false belief.

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Im saying Alan that YES You CAN prove the idea of a generic mortal monarch who gathers, fights wars, and rededicates the sacrificial system, but its because that portrait describes several diffetent Jewish kings.

            At the same time though, a given individual fitting that basic picture hasn’t made any of those monarchs like Hezekiah or Josiah fit the descriptions of the capital M Messiah that all humanity waits for, only a little m moshiach.

            So, for example, king Josiah found the book of the Torah and he rededicated Israel to proper observance and to the sacrifices, and he wiped out avodah Zerah in his days, etc. (1 of Your traditional berometers for recognizing the messiah)

            But, the huge ticket items associated with THE MESSIAH like spreading the knowledge of G-d to all the nations, universal peace and knowledge of G-d, or ending war and disease, were all left unfulfilled.

            What Im saying is that the prophecies you use to determine who the messiah is, just teach that “there will be a basic monarch.” The criteria you are using dont touch on all of the other things the messiah is supposed to do.

          • Alan says:

            “What Im saying is that the prophecies you use to determine who the messiah is, just teach that “there will be a basic monarch.” The criteria you are using dont touch on all of the other things the messiah is supposed to do.”

            The criteria that I’m using for the sake of this discussion are from the text only. And the text describes someone who is much more than a basic monarch. The truth is that I have to do more research and get back to you.

            What are the other things the messiah is supposed to do that are not in the text?

        • Nikola says:

          Concerned Reader, I don’t think we are talking about exactly the same thing. You are talking about theologians and how they interpret one very specific topic (the Messiah). I’m looking at a bigger picture – how important that Messiah is for the overall understanding of God’s words and will. Christians say that Messiah is crucial, and everything else is unimportant.
          If there are others (rabbis, or whoever) that agree with that, then yes – I’m saying that such a person did not understand Torah. I don’t really care about position of authority when it comes to basic understanding of the Torah’s message. On specific topics, certainly I would yield to more knowledgeable scholar. God gave Torah to everyone, not to “translators” and “interpreters”, so deep diving and understanding is not necessary. If it’s nonetheless productive or counterproductive is up for debate in my opinion.

  13. Concerned Reader says:

    I think you are saying that it is impossible for Bayar and Miller (or anyone) to prove from Tanakh that Jesus CAN’T BE the one written about in the Jewish Prophets. Is this what you’re saying?

    Alan, nobody can prove a negative, so thats not exactly what im saying, but close. What im saying is that when we are talking THE MESSIAH (even in just the rabbinic sources,) we are not merely talking about this skeletal description of a monarch who rules, gathers, and fights wars.

    There is a reason why mystical superman messiahs like Jesus, Shabbatai Tzvi, or the Rebbe, or even Rebbe Nachman’s messianism have emerged and why some flourished for a time. There was a reason why Maiminides (in his epistle to Yemen) had to work so hard to reign in ideas of the mesiah as a wonder worker, or righteous sufferer.

    Its because those ideas are in the text (or at least alluded to) as much as the picture of a great monarch that Judaism focusses on.

    So I dont fault Christians for believing in a supernatural messiah who suffers when there are descriptions which can be read that way.

    • Alan says:

      “Alan, nobody can prove a negative, so thats not exactly what im saying, but close.”

      We can prove from the text alone that Jesus can not be the messiah promised in the Tanakh. But Christians will not buy our proofs.

      “There is a reason why mystical superman messiahs like Jesus, Shabbatai Tzvi, or the Rebbe, or even Rebbe Nachman’s messianism have emerged and why some flourished for a time.”

      I know a lot about Rebbe Nachman and Breslov and I have never seen even 1 Breslover who believes Rebbe Nachman was, is or will be the Messiah. And the reason is simple – Rebbe Nachman said himself, as documented in the writings of his main student Rebbe Nosson, that “the messiah will be one of my descendants”.

      “Its because those ideas are in the text (or at least alluded to) as much as the picture of a great monarch that Judaism focusses on.”

      Yes, even orthodox Jews can twist and distort the text to believe in almost anything they want to believe.

    • Dina says:

      “So I dont fault Christians for believing in a supernatural messiah who suffers when there are descriptions which can be read that way.”

      Con, you often change the subject to your favorite one, but we were not discussing whether Christians can be faulted for their beliefs. We were discussing your defense of your indefensible claim that Jews are disingenuous to insist on making the case for or against Jesus from Tanach only.

      Instead of supporting this contention, you make other claims about the definition of the messiah, the evolution of the messiah, who else can fit the description, and even your favorite, that Christians are reasonable to read the Torah the way they do because of problems and ambiguities within the text, and so on and so forth.

      The facts are simple:

      Whatever definition of messiah you want to use based on Tanach, we can easily prove that definition doesn’t match Jesus.

      Whatever definition you personally want to use, and whatever theses you promulgate concerning the messiah, it so happens that Christians do not dispute the traditional Jewish definition based on Tanach. They try to make it fit Jesus, they have added to it, they have created a second-coming concept to take care of some problems–but they do not dispute our definition.

      If you want to say that the messiah is just a basic monarch concept, based on Tanach, that doesn’t fit Jesus. He was not a king. He was not even a Davidic descendant.

      If you want to say that a messiah is any monarch who unifies the Jewish people and strengthens Torah observance, Jesus also did not do these things.

      If you want to say that the messiah concept evolved, we can still make the case from Tanach because it evolved within Tanach.

      Con, it would really clear the air if you admit that you misspoke when you said it’s disingenuous of Jews to insist on defending positions regarding Jesus (for or against) from Tanach.

  14. Jim says:


    You must be the only person I know that would label the Jewish people “disingenuous” for restricting themselves in a debate to the only source that their interlocutors consider legitimate and authoritative. Perhaps you could give the counter-missionary a rulebook listing the sources and arguments that he is allowed to make and those that he must avoid. I eagerly await my copy of said rulebook.

    Thanks in advance!


  15. Concerned Reader says:

    Dina, im not saying that getting a general definition of the Messiah from scripture alone is wrong or disingenuous, I’m saying that the message you get from scripture alone is a generic picture of a monarch that does not even cover the whole gamut of even your own Tradition’s notions of the Messiah either.

    The prophets had Many ideas, conflicting ideas, of what the Messiah could do and be.

    In the pentateuch the term Messiah simply refers to an anointed Prophet priest or King that could even be from other nations.

    Let me try and give an example of a disingenuous use of scripture.

    Both of our traditions believe in the resurrection of the Dead.

    In order to take that idea literally or seriously, (that people will literally live again,) you have to consciously choose as a reader to interpret passages from the Torah in a way that is not hyperbolic or symbolic of more generic realites.

    Any reference to Resurrection you would give a Sadducee for example, would be disregarded by them as being a metaphor for National resurgence, or a poetic description for the end of exile, and not for literal Resurrection, and that would be 1 completely acceptable way to read the text in a literal way from just 1 perspective.

    They could say “the dead neither see nor hear,” or “the dead no longer praise the Lord,” or “They no longer have any reward,” or “the spirit returns to the Lord who gave it,” and could thereby make the strong case that in the Torah framework, ressurection is mostly metaphor. In fact, even maimonides only believed Resurrection was a temporary state, and that man would only truly live eternally as a soul in Olam Haba.

    We would all call the Sadducee reading disingenuous even though it is based on scripture, because it does not take into account the whole breadth of scriptural possibilities.

    I once laid out for you the possibility that somebody could infer from the text that a Messianic figure would be Resurrected from scripture, and you accused me of de contextualizing, and said my reading was ridiculous. ( it was the verse about David being their Prince forever, when David had been dead a long time.)

    Just because we can pull a most simple definition of a messiah from the Hebrew Bible texts doesn’t mean that this is the only one, and that more complex opinions are not also valid expressions of the same text.

    To Rabbinic Jews and Christians, the Pshat of Tanakh is that there is a literal ressurection, while the Pshat to a Sadducee or Karaite would not indicate any such thing. Whose reading is “based only on scripture?”

    • Dina says:

      Con, I don’t know any Orthodox Jew who would disagree with reading the text according to our tradition, taking into account the Oral Torah as well. And none of us would dispute the notion that ambiguous passages that seem open to interpretation are also read in that spirit. We all agree that Jews disagree with a sola scriptura reading of the Hebrew Bible.

      That said, in one very narrow, very specific case, in a debate about Jesus, a rule was established to use only the Biblical text. The reason for this is simple: that text is the only common ground upon which both Christians and Jews can meet, as neither group accepts as authoritative the interpretations of the other. Therefore, the only honest and ingenuous way to hold such a debate is to adhere to this a ground rule.

      In this very narrow and specific area, it is possible to rely only on Tanach to defend our case without being disingenuous. You know this to be true because you’ve seen us do it. Whatever definition of messiah the Christian presents us with, we can prove purely from Tanach that Jesus doesn’t fit this description.

      Whoever the messiah will be and how he will be found to fit the Biblical criteria remains to be seen. Taking proof from misguided Jews about their failed messiahs (as in Chabad) is not terribly convincing.

  16. Concerned Reader says:

    Jim its not disingenuous to use Tanakh alone, but to limit the definition of Mishiach given by Tanakh to a

    “mortal monarch who does x y and z or he’s not moshiach.” And I only call it disingenuous because Judaism internally does not limit the messianic idea to the simplest textbook option.

    • Alan says:

      The reason Judaism doesn’t limit its internal discussion of the final Davidic King to the text is because we also have an Oral tradition about this final Mashiach some of which is traced back to Moses. The other midrashim we have about the final Mashiach is speculative, meaning we don’t know how it will be until it happens. The only thing orthodox Jews can be sure of regarding the final Mashiach are the many clear messianic passages in Tanakh. There are some ambiguous passages in Tanakh that may or may not be referring to the final Mashiach, but most of the messianic passages are clear. These clear messianic passages in Tanakh are the only ones a Jew can use in a debate with Christians. And there is nothing disingenuous about it. Not even an iota of disingenuousness. I am almost finished collecting all of the clear messianic passages in Tanakh in one document, including clear proof that tribe/family lines only go through the biological father, and that the final Mashiach must be a descent of Solomon son-after-son. If anybody wants to use it or edit it please let Rabbi B know and I will send it to you through him.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        What do you make of the fact that all lines of descent and geneology that we have documented today of various people’s descent from David being matralineally based?

        IE all the big families today who trace their lineage to David today can only demonstrate a matealineal link.

        Even Rabbi B in his writing contra brown showed that the conclusion of Daniel 9’s weeks 490 years shows that the messianic process or program was at least expected to begin at 70 CE. Thats why there were so many failed claimants back then 2,000 years ago, they expected him to come.

        IE even if you disagree with the Christian basing Jesus’ ctedentials on a matralineal link to David, through Mary, it has no impact as an objection.

        I say this not to discount your verses but because all modern messianic claimants (that rabbinic Judaism has produced itself) can only actually prove they have a matealineal link with geneology and DNA, just like JC, and yet Jews did not abandon the idea that some of these folks “may have been moshiach in their generation.”

        I’ve looked at some of the major geneologies families have access to online, (many are traced through Rashi, who was a matralineal descendent.)

        The only way rabbinic Judaism will be able to actually verify patralineal descent is via some claim to prophetic spirit (just as notzrim do with JC and “holy spirit”,) because as it stands right now, the only links surviving for us to actually examine are matralineal.

        So, in that sense, there is some unintended disingenuousness when people say a matrilineal claimant cant claim to be the messiah.

        I dont believe for a second that its purposeful, just overlooked details.

        When a Christian tries to build a case based on scriptural verses alone, they are accused of maliciously mistranslating, so inevitably they look for examples of how the texts have been read.

        EVERY WOULD BE CLAIMANT FROM JUDAISM has only been able to say “I have matealineal descent from David,” and this doesnt stop people from hoping messiah will come, or that messiah will be THAT PERSON.

        Add to this the warrior messiah concept (ben Yosef from Judaism) who dies in battle, and can you blame Christians for entertaining the concept of a dead messiah coming before the 2nd temple was destroyed?

        That narrative an be read out of Tanakh.

        • Alan says:

          Tell me if I got this straight:

          1. Jews are disingenuous for claiming that only patrilineal descent from David and Solomon is valid for the final King Messiah.

          2. Jews are disingenuous for claiming that Messiah did not have to arrive before year 70.

          Do I have this right?

          CR, show me that orthodox Jews have ever said that matrilineal descent from David is sufficient. And show me where they admit that messiah had to come before year 70.

          • Concerned Reader says:

            1. If the rabbis say (which they do) that “messiah can come in any generation,” and many people (both educated and not religiously educated) can believe “so and so could be the messiah,” WHEN WE KNOW that all the. Verifiable descendants of David today can only demonstrate matralinial descent, its disingenuous to disqualify on the basis of matralineal descent.

            2. The history of messianism shows us that 2,000 years ago, messianism was more rampant than at other times. But why would it be Rampant? It would be rampant based on Daniel 9.

            FYI none of this would prove Jesus, Im merely saying that the reading that says he had to come 2000 years ago evidently had a basis on the minds of the ancients.

          • Dina says:

            What is your evidence that Davidic descendants today can only verify matrilineal descent?

          • Alan says:

            As far as I know there are Jews today who on paper are descended from David through Solomon son-after-son. There are probably Jews who know they are descended through their mother’s side. And there are so many more who don’t know about either side. Our position has always been – let whoever it may be start doing the job of Messiah as laid out clearly in Tanakh and then we’ll let a true prophet deal with this pedigree. If the pedigree is wrong, he’s not the one and he will not ultimately finish the job. If his pedigree is right and he finishes the job, then he’s the one. The Jewish people have never known the exact date of the end. There have been many potential end times calculated by great scholars throughout history based on verses in Tanakh but these educated guesses have just been tentative dates not definite dates. There is no way to figure out a definite date for the end contrary to what Dr. Brown likes to repeat over and over and over again.

          • Alan says:

            You are wrong not to blame Christians and, lehavdil (to make a separation) and some Chabad people for positively identifying a deceased person as the final Mashiach ben David. They are both wrong, they are both following their powerful emotions and are both ignoring the clear passages in Tanakh.

          • Alan says:


            Again, show me that orthodox Jews ever said that matrilineal descent from David is sufficient for the final Messiah. And show me that orthodox Jews ever said that Mesiah HAD to come before year 70. You cant’, CR, so please admit you were mistaken.

  17. Jamo77 says:

    I was watching a documentary a while back and they said around Jesus’ time the expectations of there being a messiah were fever pitch. I also would like to know what sources they used to come to this conclusion if any.

  18. Concerned Reader says:

    As far as I know there are Jews today who on paper are descended from David through Solomon son-after-son.

    Alan, from my research, only the Dayan family has the documentation to make this claim, (scholars aren’t 100%) but even they run into the same problem as Jesus also does with descent, being descended through the exilearchs, who themselves trace back to Jechoniah and Zerubavel.

    Several rabbis have said on tape that even if JC penny was a descendant of David (through Joseph,) that he would be disqualified because of Jeconiah and Zerubabel IE the last in Solomon’s line.

    And again, we can surmise that texts like Daniel 9 contributed to the fever pitch belief that messiah was expected to come. Thats why there were several hundred claimants in this period.

    I really try very hard not to just make things up, and seek to have good thought out reasons for stating something.

    I am always still researching, so if I’m wrong, I will off course correct my statement. My main point stands as I’ve written it.

    • Jamo77 says:


      You are still searching and researching so things may change and I am in the same boat but after being exposed to the Jewish side of the equation I just cannot see how Christianity is true. Given where you are at is there anything that knocks Jesus out of the equation as being the Messiah using the Hebrew bible alone compared to the NT? For me Gene on his blog had a compilation of verses from the NT that showed Jesus’ second coming didn’t happen as his followers and even he seemed to predict in his own words.

    • Alan says:

      “Alan, from my research, only the Dayan family has the documentation to make this claim, (scholars aren’t 100%) but even they run into the same problem as Jesus also does with descent, being descended through the exilearchs, who themselves trace back to Jechoniah and Zerubavel.”

      Nobody knows for sure if they are from King Solomon in an unbroken son-to-son line. And no torah scholar knows for sure that the final redeemer cannot be a descendent of Jechoniah and Zerubavel. But this doesn’t matter because I think there are many other pathways back to King Solomon other than Jechoniah and Zerubavel. You think the only path would be through Jechoniah and Zerubavel? I don’t think this is true. If Rabbi B could chime in on this point it would be appreciated.

      “Several rabbis have said on tape that even if JC penny was a descendant of David (through Joseph,) that he would be disqualified because of Jeconiah and Zerubabel IE the last in Solomon’s line.”

      On the one hand, the Tanakh is clear that they are disqualified. But then the text seems to leave open the possibility that the disqualification was reversed. I don’t think these rabbis would say that the only genetic line back to King Solomon is through Jechoniah and Zerubavel. But perhaps they feel it’s clear from the text that Messiah cannot come from Jechoniah and Zerubavel because the text never says explicitly that the curse was nullified.

      “And again, we can surmise that texts like Daniel 9 contributed to the fever pitch belief that messiah was expected to come. Thats why there were several hundred claimants in this period.”

      Could very well be. But, CR, is this an excuse for people who profess belief in the Hebrew Scriptures to positively identify someone who has died in an unredeemed world as the final redeemer?

      “I really try very hard not to just make things up, and seek to have good thought out reasons for stating something.
      I am always still researching, so if I’m wrong, I will off course correct my statement. My main point stands as I’ve written it.”

      Your main point stands as you have written it – what is your main point that still stands?

      • RT says:

        Wasn’t Jechoniah forgiven and the curse removed as per the Talmud after he repented? I heard that in one of the debates. Of course that cannot be used by the missionaries, because they do not believe in the validity of the Talmud. Did I hear that right?

        • Concerned Reader says:

          There is a belief that the curse might have been removed, but even though Zerubavel may have been forgiven, he was still not allowed on the throne, but made into an Exilearch type rulership, in line with Jeremiah 22.

        • Alan says:

          I believe that according to one opinion in the Talmud he was completely forgiven and the curse rescinded but not according to all Talmudic opinions. I would need Rabbi B to chime in here.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        That line of descent is the line that scripture gives us, and its the line through which all modern descendants of David trace their lineage.

        “Could very well be. But, CR, is this an excuse for people who profess belief in the Hebrew Scriptures to positively identify someone who has died in an unredeemed world as the final redeemer?”

        It explains why the concept exists in part. Another is Ezekiel 37:25 where it says “David will be their prince forever.” You can read that as just meaning his descendant will be ruling, or that “David” will in a sense be ruling, IE a resurrected person.Then there are the rabbinic sources which some use to say a dead guy can be messiah.

        Do I agree with this notion? No. Is it present, or something one can infer from some texts? yes.

        • Alan says:


          Are you saying that according to Tanakh, the final redeemer MUST be a descendant of Zerubavel?

          Are you saying that unless a person knows himself that he’s descended from Zerubavel son-after-son, he cannot be the final redeemer?

          Are you saying that ambiguous verses in Tanakh give people the right or let them off the hook to change clear teachings in Tanakh? “I can’t blame a person who says there’s more than 1 god because it says ‘Let US make man'”? Something like this?

          • Concerned Reader says:

            1. Are you saying that according to Tanakh, the final redeemer MUST be a descendant of Zerubavel? I’m saying that your view is that the line must come through Solomon, and Zerubavel is the only link anyone today can prove.

            2.Are you saying that ambiguous verses in Tanakh give people the right or let them off the hook to change clear teachings in Tanakh? “I can’t blame a person who says there’s more than 1 god because it says ‘Let US make man’”? Something like this?

            I’m saying that if there is a sustained picture in Tanakh (and even in the tradition) that accommodates certain views, you shouldn’t feel its odd if those notions show up.

          • Alan says:

            “1. Are you saying that according to Tanakh, the final redeemer MUST be a descendant of Zerubavel? I’m saying that your view is that the line must come through Solomon, and Zerubavel is the only link anyone today can prove.”

            If it’s true that Zerubavel is the only path that anyone today can prove (and I’m not sure about this at all) – then this would mean these descendants will LIKELY NOT BE THE FINAL REDEEMER.

            “2.Are you saying that ambiguous verses in Tanakh give people the right or let them off the hook to change clear teachings in Tanakh? “I can’t blame a person who says there’s more than 1 god because it says ‘Let US make man’”? Something like this?

            I’m saying that if there is a sustained picture in Tanakh (and even in the tradition) that accommodates certain views, you shouldn’t feel its odd if those notions show up.”

            CR, so there is a sustained picture in Tanakh of the final redeemer dying in an unredeemed world?

  19. Concerned Reader says:

    Jamo, I have written several articles on the blog here explaining why I dont personally believe Jesus fits, but at the same time, there are certain things that COULD FIT a Christianity like theology, and thats why that type of theology has occured more than once. So, in my arguments and discussions I often point stuff out that neither side likes.

    If you say to Christians “you cant establish x or y idea plausibly” but then missionaries proceed to do just that in the eyes of others, it weakens the Jewish position inadvertently because of the different angles and assumptuons both camps approach the questions from.

    Why? Because a rabbi will just lay out the clear verses from Nach that disprove Christian theology on the p’shat level expecting that because a Christian believes Torah is true, that therefore a gentile Christian MUST accept their position. The rabbis dont often approach the debate asking “why do they believe the book is true.”

    I dont think all rabbis actually realize the degree of skepticism that the average gentile holds the Bible to.

    To Jews, Torah is simply their own ancestor’s experience, a heritage of their nation. One tends to trust their family, and does not see the need to question.

    It is often enough for a Jew that Torah says it, so its true. This is not how a gentile approaches the Bible. A gentile accepts Torah in reverse order.

    Often a gentile asseses Torah’s truth claims as a skeptic, agnostic, outsider accepting and rejecting on the basis of what they personally find most plausible 1st, based on their own knowledge and personal experience.

    For myself. My only exposure to Tanakh as a child was through the lens of Christian culture. My ancestors have been Christian as far back as I can search, (and my family has searched a lot.) Prior to that, we would have been European and middle eastern polytheists.

    We went from polytheistic gentiles to Christian gentiles at some point. So, assesment of Tanakh went like this. “Well, we know Jesus rose from the dead because that is the cultural starting assumption, so I guess G-d could flood the earth, free Israel from bondadge, etc. Even if I cant examine exactly how or when it happened, I take it on faith.”

    My point? Everyone examines questions of life from where they are (within their own cultural bubble.)

    So, for example, I have seen several rabbis claim that Jesus of Nazareth simply didn’t even exist, without batting an eye. To a gentile audience this claim is just baffling, because to many non Jews, their historical cultural knowledge is such that the myth position is absurd. Arguably, the Christian movement had as big of an impact on Europe as pagan Rome had. To say to gentiles “Nah! Bs! is like saying the moon is made of cheese.

    and then the rabbis are surprised when people listen to the missionaries who can plausibly explain why that claim is nonsense. Plausibility based on experience is the gotisge metric for determining truth.

    You personally dont have to see a Christian’s claims as true, but you need to know how such a person can build their argument and be persuasive to their hearers, because thats how they succeed.

    The thing to understand is that missionaries dont need to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt to convince, they just need to establush some plausibility to plant the seed.

    Look at the debate style of the average missionary to see what I mean.

  20. Concerned Reader says:

    CR, so there is a sustained picture in Tanakh of the final redeemer dying in an unredeemed world?

    Why else would you have moshiach ben yosef and Gog u Magog? Even in halachic literature it is taught that the world doesnt change immediately when the messiah comes, but that messiah will have to work to reign the world in, in a sense, and there may be initial failure (for ben Yosef. )

    Its interesting when you think about the national interpretation of Isaiah 53 (where the rabbis believe Israel’s exaltation/end of exile will see the nations turn because of astonishment,) when we know that this turning hasnt happened with national Israel back in the land.

    IE even in the traditional explanation what is the impetus of the turning from sin? Its regret for treating the holy poorly, sorrow for persecution, etc.

    • Alan says:


      Yes or no – there is a sustained picture of the final redeemer Mashiach ben David dying in an unredeemed world?

      • Alan says:

        In Tanakh.

        • Alan says:

          I would like to answer my own question – there is actually no picture AT ALL in Tanakh of the final redeemer mashiach ben david dying in an unredeemed world – NO PICTURE AT ALL – no sustained picture, not even a blurry snapshot.

          Also, there are many possible lineages back to King Solomon other than through Zerubavel. There are many royal sons listed in Tanakh that didn’t sit on the throne but were still royal seed through Solomon but not through Jechoniah.

          CR, what point of yours still stands?

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Dying, no. Suffering yes. In the Talmud where the Son of David is wrapping and unwrapping his bandadges at the gates of Rome.

        Why do the Christians consider it ok to conflate the two messiahs? Because their roles often overlap, and its easy to conflate.

        There are no systematic rules governing who you apply those verses about suffering to.

        In the story about the hall of pains where the son of David’s soul is suffering (because he wants to appear) the midrash calls Messiah son of David “a man aqquainted with pains, from Isaiah 53”

        IE sometimes verses from Isaiah 53 apply to the righteous generally, other times to ben yosef, and other times to ben David, and Isaiah 53 clearly mentions death because of or for others’ sins.

        So, if you have no systematic way of determining when and whomit refers to at a given time, it becomes easy to conflate.

        • Alan says:


          I know you think it’s wrong to play with the ambiguous verses in the Torah to create a new theology. But it seems like you are equating midrashic interpretations of ambiguous verses to what Christianity does with ambiguous verses. Midrashim don’t come to contradict clear Torah principals. They might add details but they don’t add to or subtract from the commandments. Christian interpretation not only adds but subtracts and nullifies. Are you saying that Midrashim are just as guilty as Christian interpretation of ambiguous verses?

    • RT says:

      In the Tanah, Messiah Ben Joseph cannot be Jesus if you look at the context. It also does not say who it is, and it’s adding to the original text to say it’s the messiah who was pierced.

      • Alan says:

        There is no picture of Messiah ben Joseph in Tanakh. Right now, we are only supposed to be talking about the final redeemer messiah son of david, a king who will preside over the ingathering of the exiles, the 3rd Temple and universal peace and knowledge of God. There is not even a glimmer in Tanakh of a descendant of David and Solomon being this king yet dying before these things happen.

        CR, wants to say that the Tanakh is to blame for why Christians and, lehavdil, some Chabad people point to a particular deceased person as being the king messiah son of david in an unredeemed world. You can’t blame the Tanakh for this. You can only blame bad education and strong emotional attachments for this.

        • RT says:

          True, not in the Tanakh, but most Jewish commentaries will have something about ben Joseph in the comment section:

          as one mourns over an only son: As a man mourns over his only son. And our Sages expounded this in tractate Sukkah (52a) as referring to the Messiah, son of Joseph, who was slain.

          It’s hypocrisy from the Christians to use that as proof, even if that person slain could actually be render as a plural in the context “And they shall look to me because of those who have been thrust through [with swords”

          • Alan says:

            Thank you for reminding me about that verse in Zacharia and what the Talmud (Sukkah 52a) says about it. I had totally forgotten about it. I will need to study this tonight. The Talmud only gives two explanations for it – it’s either Messiah son of Joseph or the yetzer hara (evil inclination). But if this is the only picture of Messiah son of Joseph in all of Tanakh it is not really a picture. One ambiguous verse is not a picture of the life and mission of Messiah son of David or Messiah son of Joseph or the life of anyone.

            I don’t think it’s plural RT. I think the translation might be wrong. It seems to be singular to me.

          • RT says:

            The Hebrew is definitively singular, but it might not be wrong to translate it as plural.

            (like Deuteronomy 18:15)
            The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee prophet (נָבִיא) from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;


            Genesis 1:20 (Bird singular)
            And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and brids (יְעֹופֵף) that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven

          • RT says:

            To clarify: Both Prophet and Bird are singular and should be interpreted as plural…

          • Alan says:

            I understand your examples. I looked at another good translation and it is also plural (“those who have been thrust through”). My Hebrew isn’t good enough to judge in this case. Rashi also says it’s “those” and not “him”. I accept that it is “those”.

          • RT says:

            If tractate Sukkah (52a) says it refers to messiah ben Yosef, but Rashi said it refers to a plural, how do you know which one should be followed? Are those possible explanation of the verses only? Is that how we should understand the Talmud, as a dialogue and possible interpretation of laws and Biblical text? I understand we should not read the Talmud alone, and should be more in a group study, but how far can we get on the conclusion that tractate Sukkah (52a) is the proper interpretation? How can I explain possible Talmudic text and how inspired is it?

          • Alan says:

            “If tractate Sukkah (52a) says it refers to messiah ben Yosef, but Rashi said it refers to a plural, how do you know which one should be followed?”

            Rashi says the first part of the verse refers to the Jews killed by their enemies and the last part to Messiah son of Yosef (as it says in the Talmud). I don’t know where Rashi gets his interpretation of the first part of the verse from.

            “how do you know which one should be followed?”

            We can’t follow a non-halachic midrash. Which one is true? Perhaps they are both true. Perhaps only one is true. Perhaps none of them are supposed to be taken literally. This is a midrash.

            “Are those possible explanation of the verses only?”
            You’re asking excellent questions! I don’t know the answer to this question. But the most important thing to take away from this is – this is not a foundation of Judaism. It’s not a principal of faith that we must believe. A person shouldn’t live their lives obsessed with Messiah son of Yosef and obsessed with what this verse might mean.

            “Is that how we should understand the Talmud, as a dialogue and possible interpretation of laws and Biblical text?”

            The Talmud has 2 basic parts – halachic and midrashic. There’s halacha that goes back to Moses and there’s halacha that was enacted by the Sanhedrin of every generation. Midrashim are mostly created by torah scholars to teach ethical, spiritual or mystical lessons. I think there are many midrashim that contain historically true facts. But it’s not the facts that are important with midrashim. The bottom line with most midrashim is that they are non-halachic and non-binding, and we are not supposed to make them the center of our lives.

            “I understand we should not read the Talmud alone, and should be more in a group study,”
            You are right.

            “but how far can we get on the conclusion that tractate Sukkah (52a) is the proper interpretation?”
            See my answer above.

            “How can I explain possible Talmudic text and how inspired is it?”

            It depends if you’re talking about halacha or midrash. We can’t always tell how historically true a midrash is, or who wrote it, or where the author got his info from (from his own mind or from divine inspiration or a combination of both). But this is not the important thing. Most midrashim are non-halachic and non-binding. Their main importance is to teach us how to act and think so that we can be pleasing to God, to our fellow human and to ourselves.

          • RT says:

            Amazing. Thanks Alan…

          • Alan says:

            Found another good translation that is “him” not “those”. It’s a tricky verse so perhaps it’s valid both ways. The point is this is not a clear picture of any specific person who is ever mentioned in Tanakh. As the Talmud says, there is a dispute about who it refers to – Messiah son of Josef or the evil inclination.

          • RT says:

            You just describe the best tool of the Christian Missionary. Everything time a picture is not clear, it must “Fit” Jesus…

  21. Concerned Reader says:

    Alan, read my comment to Jamo above. In it I describe how Christian missionaries seek to establish the plausibility of their position, not necisarily to prove it outright.

    The reason that these groups like Christianity and Chabaf conflate ben David and death is because Isaiah 53 can apply to any member. National Israel, ben yosef, or Ben David.

    • Alan says:

      “Alan, read my comment to Jamo above. In it I describe how Christian missionaries seek to establish the plausibility of their position, not necisarily to prove it outright.”

      I liked what you wrote. It rings true.

      “The reason that these groups like Christianity and Chabaf conflate ben David and death is because Isaiah 53 can apply to any member. National Israel, ben yosef, or Ben David.”

      First of all, I don’t remember seeing any midrash applying Isaiah 53 to messiah ben Yosef. Maybe it does but I don’t recall ever seeing it.

      Secondly, not all Chabad believe their rebbe is/will be messiah ben David unlike Christians who all believe their “rebbe” already is messiah ben David.

      But the main reason these people conflate and play with ambiguous messianic verses (and in the case of Christianity, even non-messianic verses) is not because they have a deep NEED to do so. They are desperate and in pain. They know the clear messages of Tanakh say NOTHING about a man being messiah ben David, then dying in an unredeemed world, then resurrecting to complete the clear messianic prophecies. They are desperate. Their yetzer haras tell them to reinterpret ambiguous words and verses and to take a couple ambiguous midrashim to make their own theology. And they do this NOT BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY ARE ALLOWED TO DO SO but because THEY NEED TO. The pain is too great for them to let go and move on.

      • Alan says:

        Correction – I wrote ” is not because they have a deep NEED to do so.” It should be ” is because they have a deep NEED to do so.

        • Dina says:

          Well, well, well, here we go again. Connie, you’ve moved the topic to the your same old favorite, so interesting how often that seems to happen. I have argued extensively against this and won’t repeat my arguments here, excellent and unassailable as they are ;).

          This whole thing started with your statement that it’s disingenuous in a debate between Christians and Jews to insist on relying only on Tanach to make one’s case, since both Jews and Christians do not rely on sola scriptura.

          This argument itself is disingenuous, ignoring the obvious truism that interpreting the text one way most of the time does not preclude interpreting it another way for one narrow and specific purpose.

          In fact, the only way, as I have previously asserted, to conduct an honest and ingenuous debate is to find the common ground between us, which is the text of the Hebrew Bible, and to use its authority to back up our arguments.

          This is easy for Jews to do. No matter what definition of the messiah a Christian would like to pin on Jesus, we can show from Tanach that it doesn’t fit Jesus. In this particular discussion, whatever extra-biblical ideas either Jews or Christians believe about the messiah are totally and completely irrelevant. Can we show from Tanach that Jesus is not the messiah? Can they show from Tanach that Jesus is?

          That’s the only question on the table, and I think it’s time for you to admit that there is nothing disingenuous about it.

  22. Alan says:

    Correction – I wrote ” is not because they have a deep NEED to do so.” It should be ” is because they have a deep NEED to do so.

    • Concerned Reader says:

      You can claim theologians have a need, but what about all the good natured average Christian gentiles who happen to like Jesus and agree with him for more than theooogical reasons?

      When I 1st came to the blog. I had a pretty developed understanding of my Christianity. I did not follow Jesus because I had to. Jesus even told me as a Christian in the NT “do not believe in me unless i do the work of my father.” He said, “an adulterous generation seeks a sign,” and also that “many would claim to do signs in his name, but that it did not mean they were rughteous folliwers.”

      IE I followed the nazarene because he seemed to say “question your assumptions,” and “miracles dont prove anything, but evidence of the work.” IE producing loaves wasnt the miracle, but the ACT of feeding thise who need it.

      In fact, several folks here were flustered when I didnt argue like a conventional Christian.

      I knew Jesus was a Torah Jew before I came to the blog. I did not need to proseletyze, nor did I feel threatened by a Jew’s mission to observe his or her Torah.

      Christianity is not just a smattering of desperate wingnuts with a smattering of verses desperately needing to plug JC in. Maybe thats how the faith started, but it had 200p years to develop into a whole belief system.

      Christianity is now a 2,000 year old tradition with commentaries and philisophical traditions, a religion with answers to theodicy that many find compelling.

      As i’ve said, Christians actually accept your Torah in reverse in a sense. For them Jesus is the “how” of them being introduced to the Torah at all.

      Their belief in Jesus is what allows them to take things in Torah on faith, that you would otherwise need to be a born Jew to accept.

      • Alan says:

        I really didn’t mean to insult you. The last thing I want to do is insult you. If you were able to use Christianity as a way to get where you are today then that shows that you accepted it from a place of strength and you were able to use it to get spiritually and intellectually (and physically – you’re a weight lifter) stronger. It’s much more admirable than where I started spiritually – with Bob Marley and reggae. Although I was never into heavy metal like you are which might make us about even.

        I am not talking about the Christians or Chabad messianics who were raised with their beliefs since they were children and who are not interested in seriously questioning what they were taught.

        I apologize for insulting you. I really and truly respect you very very much. It’s just this last conversation that has been a little frustrating for me. But in light of all the good you have done on this blog, and all I have learned from you, and what you have done with your life, this frustration is minor and fades into nothingness.

      • Dina says:

        Con, as much as I like and respect you, you can’t use yourself as a yardstick for taking the measure of other Christians, because as you yourself said, you are not a conventional Christian. Have you been paying attention to the arguments of people like Bibs, Kavi, Storm, and others? You are as unlike them as one thing can be from another.

        While Christians may accept our Scripture in reverse, nevertheless, their scripture rests upon our Scripture’s authority. Christian scripture constantly appeals to ours for a reason. If the Torah isn’t God’s words, then neither is Christianity. And if the Torah is God’s words and Christianity contradicts the Torah, then that is a huge problem for Christians.

        When Christians take vague, ambiguous passages from the Torah, use them to insert their theology therein, and override the Torah’s clear teachings, that is a huge problem for them.

        As I’ve argued many times, no new theology ever arose as a result of an objective reading of Tanach. First came exposure to other theologies (such as Acher’s exposure to dualism from pagan influences) or devotion to a charismatic figure (such as Christians’ devotion to Jesus) and THEN came a subjective reading of the text to search for support of these ideas. Your contention that their reading is fair-minded would only have legs to stand on if it had ever happened that people first read the Bible and then searched for a Jesus-like figure. This has never happened.

        Finally, over the 3,500-year span of history, we find three instances of Christain-like movements including Christianity (Christianity, the Sabbatean movement, Chabad). If it were so easy to be confused by the ambiguous texts, people should have been led astray a great many more times that that. The fact that the phenomenon is so rare proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the text is in fact exceptionally clear.

        But again, this is a diversion from your accusation of disingenuousness on the part of Jews who insist on proving only from Scripture the case for or against Jesus in a debate with Christians, this being the only common ground upon which we stand and the only way to conduct an honest debate.

        I have shown why your charge is unfair. I have shown why, although both sides can agree that we generally do not stick to sola scriptura, we can do so for the very specific and narrow purpose of a debate. Do you still stand by your charge?

  23. Nikola says:

    I can see why the topic of messiah and Isaiah 53 would dominate any debate between Christians and Jews. It’s because, at the end of the day, that’s the ONLY thing in common for these two religions. Not the importance of the messiah, but the notion of his existence.
    While there will always be debates if Jesus is a messiah or not, one thing is clear and beyond debate – Christianity is a completely new religion that has practically zero to do with what they call “Old Testament”. Christians completely misread, misunderstood and in the end misinterpreted Torah and Tanakh. It is only because of the people like Brown and some other Christians, who disingenuously cling to the “roots” in the Tanakh that we even have those debates. Most other Christians moved on long time ago and might as well remove “Old Testament” from their Bibles. They already removed it from their hearts and works.
    However crazy, I find it much more honest to take position of Muslims, who claim that Jews corrupted the Torah – they at least don’t try to read what’s clearly written and twist it.
    One thing that always struck me when watching those debates, or reading comments on this blog is that Christians every now and then go into Talmud or other oral traditions that were added after Tanakh. It only shows that their arguments are weak and that there is no support for their claims in the “Old Testament”. if we need to debate what some rabbi wrote 1000 years ago, that means that the text in Tanakh does not say what Christians want us to think it says – otherwise it would be irrelevant what somebody’s opinion or interpretation is.
    Burden of proof is on Christians, and they failed to prove anything so far. The fact that the text of Tanakh is constant over the last 2000 years, while the interpretations and readings of Christians changed tremendously is not a sign of “evolution”, it’s a sign of ignorance or deception.

    • Concerned Reader says:

      I dont find Christian use of various Jewish oral traditions odd at all, in the least Nikola.

      The Jesus movement clearly was not made up of Sadduccees. Jesus NEVER says the Sadducees “held the keys of knowledge.” He fid claim such for Pharisees.

      Those 1st Christians venerated extra biblical oral traditions from the begining, (which proves beyond doubt that today’s Christians bashing Jews for loving the Talmud is hypocricy fully manifested. This is especially true WHEN CHRISTIANS PLACE MORE STOCK IN ORAL TRADITIONS THEN RABBIS DO.

      The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, (the oldest largest Christian denominations) never claimed to be Sola Scriptura, and the canon of the Hebrew Bible they used contains even today books like Ben Sira, Maccabees, and even 1 Enoch (among the etheopian Orthodox who posses their copy of 1 Enoch in Ge’ez the semitic language of groups including the Beta Israel.)

      If those 1st Christians did not consider themselves at home in the rich fabric of vibrant second temple era interpretations, then they had an odd way of showing it. The Christian Bible mentions things like Miriam’s Well, Jannes and Jambres, Hannukah, and arguments on points of Jewish law that only a Pharisee would argue.

      Some gentile Christians did indeed try very hard to remove the Torah from the Christian Bible, IE the Marcionites. THANK G-D THEY FAILED.

      If that man had succeeded, you would have had all the vitriol against the Jews found in the NT, in books like John, but with none of the tempering influence that tying Jesus to the Torah provides.

      Imagine the Christian Bible’s anti Judaism without the tempering reference and refutation of gentile hubris by Paul from Romans 11. Paul tells the non jew, “boast not against the natural branches, for you do not bear the root, but it bears you.”

      Marcion would say “to hell with Jews, to hell with Judaizing influence.”

      I am glad that Christians venerate Torah, even if they dont observe it, because that is infinitely better than the Marcionite Jesus only the world may have had if Marcion had succeeded.

      In Iran they say “drive Israel into the sea ” Christians at least have Torah to temper them, if they listen. And granted, its a huge if.

      When the Sabbatean heresy was on the rise. rabbi Emden encouraged Christians to see that it was not the intent of Jesus to remove the Torah from Israel.

      • Nikola says:

        Concerned Reader, I will not pretend to know as much as you do about the history of Christianity, so feel free to correct me. That being said, I do think that you are presenting only one (not sure how prevalent) romanticized picture of Christianity. If the anti-Jewish interpretations and tendencies in the Christianity ended with Marcion, that would be great. But I know of at least one modern example that refutes such a notion, and it’s a big one – Martin Luther. Now, how much his (numerous) followers know and support his ideas about Jews is another story, maybe not quantifiable.
        That brings me to another thing I want to make clear – although I mostly use term “Christians”, most of the time I’m not referring to Christian believers, but to Christian leadership. I grew up as Eastern Orthodox Christian, and over time witnessed great transformation in people who would read “Old Testament” by themselves. I did not need to study Christian history and tendencies of major Christian denominations, when it was so clear that most of the believers are not encouraged to read Bible by themselves, but to accept it through the filter of Church. I’m not saying that every person who reads Tanakh understands it the same way and rejects Jesus. I’m just saying that most of the Christian believers are intentionally kept in dark and discouraged from reading scriptures by themselves.
        Regarding Iranians wanting to drop Israel into the sea – we can rewind history a bit and see similar tendencies in Christianity. So, yes, in today’s world the roles have changed, but let’s not pretend that when needed Christians couldn’t find a reason and support in their own faith to “punish the murderers of our Lord and Savior”. If they really understood and read the Tanakh, that would be impossible – because they would recognize Jews as God’s chosen people, and would recognize themselves as Nations who go too far in punishing them, hence sentencing themselves to God’s wrath and destruction.
        And before you say that it was just a small portion of Christians who did it, I have to say that such gruesome acts were silently supported by Catholic and Orthodox Churches (most recently in Second World War and Pogroms).
        So, in conclusion – I wish Christian leadership was more like you. But it’s not and it never has been. Unfortunately, I don’t expect it will ever be. But we digressed from the main topic.
        I don’t think that some of the main tenets of today’s Christianity were developed as early as you claim. If we focus on two major topics – abolishment of Shabbat and divinity of Jesus, we will find that it’s impossible to find roots and support for those tenets in Judaism. Sure, during the Second Temple period there was more variety in Jewish thought and expectations, but I’m not aware of any Jewish sect who expected that Shabbat would cease to be a holy day any time in the future. Also, the divinity of the messiah is just not something that can be found as a significant notion in Judaism at that time. It is my understanding that Church picked some notions from Essenes (Dead Sea Scroll sect), and many notions from other religions (Mithraism, various pagan religions). They also found inspiration in such religions for the stories that were presented as historical in New Testament.
        I think that Bart Ehrman has many good and informative lectures regarding early Christianity and transformations through which it went in the first couple of centuries. I encourage anyone interested in these topics to watch the lectures on YouTube.

        In the end, I don’t find it problematic that Christians are basing their religion on Tanakh. That’s fine as long as they are honest about changes and departures they took over time. Those departures make Christianity a completely new religion, conceptually very similar to Islam. I take an issue when a Christian is claiming that he or she can better understand and interpret Tanakh than a Jew. That’s preposterous.

      • Dina says:

        Con, like you I am grateful that Marcion failed. But his attempt to remove the Hebrew Scriptures was at least more intellectually honest.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          It wasnt intellectually honest though.

          Even though you and I both agree that the 1st Christians were wrong about Jesus, the question (in the 1st 2 centuries of Christianity at least) remained largely a question among Jews for Jews about issues pagans wouldnt have cared about.

          Even Paul’s anti Judaism and the congregations he built (while he was alive at least) remained constrained by norms and ethics for G-dfearing noachide like folks.

          While Paul lived, he couldnt completely divorce Christianity from Judaism, even as he tried to tell gentiles not to become Jews.

          Even when he was saying “dont convert” his ethical advice, and organizational structure were patterned after the G-d fearer model.

          Marcion went further than even Paul would have gone. Thats why Marcion is more intelctually dishonest.

          Paul was a heretical Jew, but he never went so far as to utterly divorce himself or Jesus from Jews.

          The idea of Jesus as a second and more important deity meant solely for the gentiles is wholly marcionite.

          Even in Paul, Jesus is subordinate functionally to G-d.

          • Sharon S says:

            “Marcion went further than even Paul would have gone. Thats why Marcion is more intelctually dishonest.”

            “The idea of Jesus as a second and more important deity meant solely for the gentiles is wholly marcionite.

            Even in Paul, Jesus is subordinate functionally to G-d.”

            Concerned Reader,
            Firstly , thank you for your insightful comments and posts . They are insightful and I learn a lot from them, more so since it is written from the perspective of a former Christian and from someone who is not afraid to tackle the truth from all angles.

            We can see Christians reading and alluding to the Jewish Scriptures in the light of Jesus as God and seeking to build up their case in their missionary works , in this blog and even most recently in the recent debate . I detected another pattern as well I.e the attempt to downplay the divinity of Jesus boldly proclaimed by the Christian scriptures to harmonize them with the message of the Jewish scriptures , which , forgive me , is what you are doing here.

            Jesus is the Head and the Church is His “Mystical Body”, His “Bride” , similar to the relationship of the Jewish nation to the G-d of Israel :

            John 15:5-8
            5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory,that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

            If one messes with the Church ,he messes with Jesus:

            Acts 9:1-4

            Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

            The Catholic church is described as “One Holy , Catholic and Apostolic Church” –Apostolic in the sense that all Her teachings are derived from the witness of the Apostles and their successors down the ages . The Church can never be wrong or misrepresent Jesus ,his teachings and his mission ,just as how the Jews can never be wrong on the G-d of Israel. That is the message I get from the Christian Scriptures and from the teachings of the Catholic Church. (You may refer to Bishop Robert Barron’s series on Catholicism in YouTube)

            Paul was a DEVOTEE of Jesus . He sees Jesus as being equal to G-d . There are many verses in the Christian Scriptures that supports this .He re-interprets verses in the Jewish Scriptures in the light of the crucified and risen Jesus, and he places Jesus on the same equal footing as God the Father .
            Let me point out two examples below .
            Phillippians 2:5-11
            “In your relationships with one another, has the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
            Who, being in very nature God,
            did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
            rather, he made himself nothing
            by taking the very nature of a servant,
            being made in human likeness.
            And being found in appearance as a man,
            he humbled himself
            by becoming obedient to death—
            even death on a cross!
            Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
            and gave him the name that is above every name,
            that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
            in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
            and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
            to the glory of God the Father.”

            Compare the verses in Phillipians (2:10-11)with Isaiah 45:23-24
            By myself I have sworn,
            my mouth has uttered in all integrity
            a word that will not be revoked:
            Before me every knee will bow;
            by me every tongue will swear.
            They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone
            are deliverance and strength.’”
            All who have raged against him
            will come to him and be put to shame.

            1 Corinthians 8:4-6
            So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols:We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord,Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

            Compare that with the Deut 6:4 :
            Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one

            These and other verses are pointed out by Richard Bauckham in his book “Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Essays on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity” .

            You may also refer to the following verses:

            Romans 1:5, 14:9, 1 Cor 6:13,7:35; 2 Cor 4:5,8,10-11;5:9-10;8:19;12:7-10;Gal 2:20; Phil 1:20,23,2:9-11;3.8;1 Thess 4:17; 5:10; Philem 6

            Rom 14: 6 –8; 16: 5; 1 Cor 1: 7; 1: 31; 2: 2; 6: 16 –17; 7: 25 –38; 11: 23 –26; 12: 3; 15: 19; 16: 22; 2 Cor 3: 16 –18; 5: 15; 8: 5; 10: 7; 10: 17; 11: 2 –3; Gal 2: 20; 3: 29; Phil 2: 6 –11; 3: 1, 8; 1 Thess 1: 2 –3; 3: 8. 47.

            Rom 12: 11; 1 Cor 1: 7; 2: 2; 7: 32 –35; 15: 58; 2 Cor 11: 2 –3; Phil 1: 20; 3: 8; 4: 4, 10; 1 Thess 3: 11 –13; 5: 17. 48.

            Rom 16: 18; 1 Cor 6: 13; 7: 32 –34; 8: 12; 10: 9; 10: 20 –22; 11: 30 –32; 2 Cor 4: 4; 5: 15; 11: 2 –3; Gal 1: 10; Phil 2: 21. 49.

            Rom 1: 7; 8: 9 –10; 14: 4; 15: 18 –19, 29; 16: 20; 1 Cor 1: 3; 3: 5; 4: 19; 7: 17, 25; 16: 17, 23; 2 Cor 1: 2; 2: 10, 12; 3: 3; 12: 7 –10; 13: 3 –5, 13; Gal 2: 20; 4: 6; 6: 18; Phil 1: 2, 19; 3: 21; 1 Thess 3: 11 –13; 5: 28; Philem 3, 25.

            These verses are taken from “How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature—A response to Bart Ehrman” .

            Marcion is being intellectually honest when he declared that Christianity is incompatible with the Tanakh –the message of these two books are opposed to each other.I would say Paul is the one being intellectually dishonest by twisting verses of the Jewish Scriptures to justify his devotion to Jesus.The fate of Jews in Christian Europe will be a more pleasant one if it adopted Marcion’s stand .The message of the Jewish scriptures will be appreciated for what it is .More importantly ,truth seeking Christians will not have to face the ugly truth that the God of the NT is a different entity from the G-d of Israel as per the Tanakh .

            Thank you.

          • Alan says:

            Thank you so much Sharon! I always look forward to hearing from you because even though we don’t get quantity you make up for 1000 times in quality! It’s worth the wait.

          • Dina says:

            Sharon, your insight that Marcion’s changes would have allowed the Jewish message to remain intact is one I had never considered. Thank you for that! And for the rest of this post–a lot of clarity.

          • RT says:

            Sharon, I doubt that the fate of Jews in Christian Europe would have been any better. Jews would have worshipped a “lower” G-D, while Christians would have worshiped the “higher” spiritual god Jesus. That does not remove all John’s quotes saying that the Jews are from the devil. There is one thing I don’t understand about his belief though. How could Paul (the chief apostle as per Marcion) quote the Tanakh if the Hebrew Bible was rejected? Or how could Jesus mentioned G-d and the Prophets, if the Hebrew Bible and the G-d of Israel was rejected? That did not make much sense in my opinion.

          • Dina says:

            It doesn’t make sense, but neither does relying for its authority on a Scripture that contradicts its very foundation.

          • RT says:

            Well, because owning a Bible or reading it was not encouraged anyway. So the contradiction disappear if you don’t have the text. Furthermore, it would have been really hard to find a Bible that was not in Latin. Finally, pointing out any contradictions from the New Testament would have equal your death penalty…

          • Sharon S says:

            Hi RT,

            What I meant to say should be that the fate
            of Jews in Christian Europe will be a more tolerable one if Marcion’s stand was adopted .
            I come to this conclusion from reading William Nicholls in his book “Christian Antisemitism:A History of Hate ” .He stated that “the Church could have avoided the necessity of a hostile and polemical relationship toward Judaism.” if it followed Marcion’s example and jettisoned the Jewish bible. You may know better .Please correct if I’m in error.

            To your query-It makes more sense to disregard the entire Scripture completely rather than twisting its meaning and making it what it’s not .

            Thank you

  24. Jamo77 says:

    Agreed CR about both sides needing to be intellectually honest. When i smell intellectual dishonesty I get suspicious. I have found most if not all Jews/Righteous Gentiles encountered on these forums very sober in their writings and I can see why they get so upset at times dealing with messianics.

    A bit different and I like much of his stuff but I have found Rabbi Tovia Singer going too far occasionally. I really hope not to open a can of worms but he called Pius XII Hitler’s Pope and given what I have read I thought that was totally wrong. I did send an email to his organization but no response. That made me very suspicious of him for a long time and caused some confusion because so much of his stuff was helping me get out of Jesus/Mary worship. Because something may suit a persons point of view they should consider the facts both sides.

    I find it useful to look at things in 3 ways when categorizing the veracity of an argument:
    1. Certitude/No doubt
    2. Likely
    3. Unknown/ambiguous/indeterminate

    Some Christians can take things that are ambiguous at best and then present it as a totally certain proof of Jesus. When there is a grey area or something not well defined they are only too eager to fill in the blanks and put Jesus in there as someone earlier mentioned. If there is a reasonable level of doubt in a particular argument then it is totally wrong for Christians to say Jews are blind in not seeing Jesus in a particular scenario.

    • Concerned Reader says:

      I agree.

      I find Rabbi Singer has a style that works, but he walks into walls sometimes when he says things like “If Jesus existed at all.”

      Rabbi B and Rabbi Skobac are awesome at sering both sides, and laying both sides on the table.

      I respect how Rabbi B lets us all voice perspectives, even if he may disagree. A truly good man.

      • Jamo77 says:

        Yes Rabbi B and Skobac strike me as trustworthy men. I have seen Rabbi B show tremendous restraint when he has been attacked and just sticks to logic and the facts.

    • Alan says:

      “Agreed CR about both sides needing to be intellectually honest. When i smell intellectual dishonesty I get suspicious.”

      Do you feel as CR does that the Jewish side of a debate on Jesus’ messiahship must necessarily resort to intellectual dishonesty?

      Do you feel it’s intellectually dishonest of Jews to try to prove only from Scripture that:
      1. The final messiah ben David must come from Solomon in a biological son-to-son line?
      2. The final messiah ben David cannot come from the line of Jechoniah or that there is at least a reasonable doubt that he can?
      3. There are other patrilineal paths back to King Solomon other than through Jechoniah and Zerubavel?


      • Jamo77 says:

        Hi Alan,

        Apologies I am tired and battling flu at the moment so will have to read more about those 3 points but I do thank you and RT for doing some of the heavy lifting for me. But I will answer your first question I don’t think Jews have to resort to intellectual dishonesty, I think God has made it clear we are not to worship a man or any form and whilst the missionary may try create smoke and mirrors among many theological areas where they present plausibilities/possibilities as proofs the Jews have a few clear knock out punches.

        Wanting to share this with you and coming from a Catholic background and going off on a tangent here I can see some very interesting developments in Catholic miracles and apparitions over the past 2 centuries that aligns with Deuteronomy 13 including one in France in the 1800s where the message given to the seer is that a man will come and bring worldwide peace but he is a false prophet and the peace false. I think it is about the true messiah and what you will have is Catholics initially resisting the true messiah who will bring the peace that Jesus didn’t – they will call him the Antichrist. I can see how Hashem has created tests for the Jews and others to be deceived.

        • Alan says:

          Hi Jamo,

          “Apologies I am tired and battling flu at the moment”

          May you have a speedy and complete recovery.

          “so will have to read more about those 3 points but I do thank you and RT for doing some of the heavy lifting for me.”

          Ok. You’re welcome.

          “But I will answer your first question I don’t think Jews have to resort to intellectual dishonesty, I think God has made it clear we are not to worship a man or any form and whilst the missionary may try create smoke and mirrors among many theological areas where they present plausibilities/possibilities as proofs the Jews have a few clear knock out punches.”

          I agree.

          “Wanting to share this with you and coming from a Catholic background and going off on a tangent here I can see some very interesting developments in Catholic miracles and apparitions over the past 2 centuries that aligns with Deuteronomy 13 including one in France in the 1800s where the message given to the seer is that a man will come and bring worldwide peace but he is a false prophet and the peace false. I think it is about the true messiah”

          Did this seer say when this worldwide peace will happen? If he just said a man will come and bring worldwide peace, this is not a new prophecy because he leaves it open ended. It is nothing new because it says this many times in the Tanakh.

          “and what you will have is Catholics initially resisting the true messiah who will bring the peace that Jesus didn’t – they will call him the Antichrist.”

          This might happen. I think anybody who thinks they already know who the messiah is will have major cognitive dissonance when the real messiah turns out not to be their man. Hopefully, they will get over it and adjust quickly.

          “I can see how Hashem has created tests for the Jews and others to be deceived.”

          Does Hashem place stumbling blocks in front of people – I’m only talking about decent people –
          because He wants them to trip and fall down permanently? I don’t think so. That would be cruel.

    • Dina says:

      Jamo, I’m afraid you did just open a can of worms. While I agree that Rabbi Singer can be extreme sometimes, his naming Pope Pius XII “Hitler’s Pope” is entirely apt. Have you researched the subject? This idea is not original to Rabbi Singer but comes from the title of the book Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII by John Cornwell.

      For more damning indictments of this anti-Semite, read Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s book, A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair.

      The bottom line is that Pope Pius XII, the leader of the Catholic Church, had a moral duty to speak out and condemn Hitler and his Nazis for their atrocities and he chose to remain silent. His anti-Jewish statements at a time when genocide was being committed against the Jews gave nothing but aid and comfort to our enemies.

      • RT says:

        Here, I like what it says here about Pope Pius:
        The Pope’s reaction to the Holocaust was complex and inconsistent. At times, he tried to help the Jews and was successful. But these successes only highlight the amount of influence he might have had, if he not chosen to remain silent on so many other occasions. No one knows for sure the motives behind Pius XII’s actions, or lack thereof, since the Vatican archives have only been fully opened to select researchers. Historians offer many reasons why Pope Pius XII was not a stronger public advocate for the Jews: A fear of Nazi reprisals, a feeling that public speech would have no effect and might harm the Jews, the idea that private intervention could accomplish more, the anxiety that acting against the German government could provoke a schism among German Catholics, the church’s traditional role of being politically neutral and the fear of the growth of communism were the Nazis to be defeated.(34) Whatever his motivation, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Pope, like so many others in positions of power and influence, could have done more to save the Jews.

        • Dina says:

          People like Goldhagen address the pope’s motivations and explain why they are a poor defense.

          • RT says:

            I never read him, and would not be surprised if the Pope motive were bad. There are plenty of other Pope who were 100% Jew haters. I am not absolving this pope, I just think it might be hard to condemn him. I believe he could have done more to help the Jewish People, but I must admit that the situation where he was could have deter his implication (for his own shame)…

          • Dina says:

            Not buying it.

          • RT says:

            G-d knows and he was judged rightly.

          • Dina says:

            This is not something that can be dismissed so lightly, RT. We are talking about the big honcho, the leader of the Catholic world, and his failure to help Jews. There is a lot of damning evidence against him.

          • RT says:

            Dina, I agree with you 🙂

    • Alan says:

      I believe you can reach him at
      Unfortunately, I am not sure that any of the other ways to contact him really work.

  25. Concerned Reader says:

    Do you feel as CR does that the Jewish side of a debate on Jesus’ messiahship must necessarily resort to intellectual dishonesty?

    Alan, I dont want you to think Im picking on the rabbis and absolving the Christians. I think even Jamo may have gotten the impression that im somehow forgetting Christian anti Judaism, may it never be.

    I think Sola scriptura itself is disingenuous for BOTH SIDES because before the Protestant reformation, neither community (Jewish or Christian) would have even accepted that premise as an option.

    I dont know whether moshiach can come from another son of Solomon, or if he must go through Zerubavel. All I can know is what I am capable of investigating from the history of both traditions.

    I do know that insofar as either community (Jewish or Christian) is actually capable of investigating the question, beyond mere hypotheticals, IS THAT EVERY DESCENDANT TODAY that we CAN TEST comes through Solomon via Coniah and Zerubavel.

    Its not a question of “is it possible,” its a question of what do we know from scripture, and what have we been able to test and back up with evidence by looking at our traditions and historical investigation.

    The reason I dont ask about “other sons of Solomon” is because neither community has historically brought that possibility up, because we dont have records of surviving descendants from these other sons that we can check.

    All the great rabbis, and claimants are descended through the lines I discussed, and when some of these people were considered as possible candidates to be messiah, nobody ever said,

    “hold the phone, your genes are not up to snuff.”

    You even said that a prophet might have to check it out with Ruach Hakodesh.

    Christians claim to vett Jesus via ruach hakodesh, so im saying as far as testable evidence goes, we can only know what we know now.

    • Concerned Reader Sola Scriptura is indeed a Protestant invention which has never been and never will be practiced in the real world. People will always be reading the Scripture as part of their experience or part of their community’s experience. But when a Protestant tells us that according to the theory of Sola Scriptura his hero is Messiah we could honestly tell him that if that is the yardstick you chose for yourself – then if we apply it to the best of our abilities and even if you apply it to the best of your abilities your hero is NOT the Messiah. The primary answer of the Jew is that the Scriptures themselves tell us that it was meant to be read as part of a specific community.

      1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

    • Alan says:

      “Alan, I dont want you to think Im picking on the rabbis and absolving the Christians.”

      I don’t think this.

      “I think Sola scriptura itself is disingenuous for BOTH SIDES because before the Protestant reformation, neither community (Jewish or Christian) would have even accepted that premise as an option.”

      The way a Chabad messianic would try to convince me that their rebbe is or will be messiah ben David is NOT by using Tanakh, but only by misrepresenting one midrashic teaching in the Talmud, by misrepresenting two later rabbinic passages, and by misrepresenting one extremely ambiguous kabbalistic passage and by misrepresenting many statements of their own rebbe. They won’t even try to debate me or anyone else on their claim using the Tanakh alone. By Christians will. So Jews say, let’s go for it. And Jeconiah and Zerubavel are fair game in this debate without being dishonest because even according to the Talmud there is no consensus that the curse was rescinded, and from the verses alone the curse was not explicitly retracted.

      “I dont know whether moshiach can come from another son of Solomon,”

      He can. The Tanakh only says it has to be a direct descendant of Solomon not necessarily the son of a king. If it had to be the son of a king, then there would be no messiah from David anymore. It just has to be the son of a son of a son….back to Solomon.

      “or if he must go through Zerubavel. All I can know is what I am capable of investigating from the history of both traditions.”

      Maybe he will be from the line of Zerubavel.

      “I do know that insofar as either community (Jewish or Christian) is actually capable of investigating the question, beyond mere hypotheticals, IS THAT EVERY DESCENDANT TODAY that we CAN TEST comes through Solomon via Coniah and Zerubavel.”

      If what you’re saying is true, then the most these people are saying is that there is STILL A POSSIBILITY they have the genes to be messiah. They are not saying that they KNOW FOR SURE they have the right genes for the job.

      “Its not a question of “is it possible,” its a question of what do we know from scripture, and what have we been able to test and back up with evidence by looking at our traditions and historical investigation.

      The reason I dont ask about “other sons of Solomon” is because neither community has historically brought that possibility up, because we dont have records of surviving descendants from these other sons that we can check.”

      Again, if it’s true that we only know of people who are descended from Zerubavel, then at best it is not definite that they are kosher. But the main point is that the person himself does not have to currently know his lineage in order to turn out to be messiah son of David.

      “All the great rabbis, and claimants are descended through the lines I discussed, and when some of these people were considered as possible candidates to be messiah, nobody ever said,

      “hold the phone, your genes are not up to snuff.””
      That’s because there is a possibility not a certainly that this line to Solomon is kosher. Only Hashem knows if it’s kosher.

      “You even said that a prophet might have to check it out with Ruach Hakodesh.”
      A prophet doesn’t check it with ruach hakodesh. He will be told through prophecy if the messianic candidate is kosher.

      “Christians claim to vett Jesus via ruach hakodesh, so im saying as far as testable evidence goes, we can only know what we know now.”

      It sounds like you are equating Kavi’s Holy Spirit with true prophecy.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        If you are saying “we will only know through prophecy,” and that the geneologies we know about today are thoroughly ambiguous, then the objection against Jesus made on the basis of his geneologies or birth becomes irrelevant in the eyes of any Christian who will read that.

        When G-d says messiah comes through Solomon son to son, it stands to reason scripture means its known through a discernable royal line, not just some guy connected to Solomon “somehow” son to son who we dont know.

        Is a Christian use of scripture disingenuous if they can demonstrate the presence of their reading?

        • Dina says:

          Con, the point I’m making is this:

          Jews reject a sola scriptura way of interpreting the Hebrew Bible, which has never been a part of our tradition. But we can meet Christians on their turf when they insist on sola scriptura for the very narrow and specific purpose of debating a single issue. We can also insist on proving the case one way or another strictly from Tanach as the only means of conducting an honest debate because that is the common ground between Jews and Christians.

          To put it another way, “sola scriptura” should constrain our ability to present our view of anything Biblical. But in this particular case we can defend our position so constrained. Although interpretation is intrinsic to our tradition, we can prove our case strictly from Tanach with both hands tied behind our back and blindfolded.

          In this sense, there is absolutely nothing disingenuous in both sides agreeing, for this temporary and specific purpose, to argue only from the text. So, do you still stand by your original charge that it’s disingenuous of Jews in this case to establish a text-only ground rule?

        • Alan says:

          “then the objection against Jesus made on the basis of his geneologies or birth becomes irrelevant in the eyes of any Christian who will read that.”

          The one who will be messiah ben David doesn’t need to know his genealogy except that he is a Jew. His completing the messianic mission is what shows he has the right genealogy. He doesn’t have to first show proof of the right genealogy before he finishes his messianic job. It’s the results that prove he had the right genes not vice-versa. A prophet could also verify his lineage before, during or after the mission is completed, but it’s fulfilling the mission that is the only proof we need that he was the one.

          According to Tanakh, messiah ben David needs a biological father descended from Solomon, son after son (not necessarily king after king). If Joseph was Jesus’ biological father then maybe his lineage would be kosher. But it’s the completing of the mission that verifies the lineage. If you don’t complete the mission, a kosher lineage doesn’t help.

          Jews who are descended son-after-son from Zerubavel (if there really are any Jews today who know for sure) have the same questionable messianic lineage. But if one of them finishes the job, then we would know that the curse was completely lifted. So because Jesus didn’t do the job, Christians have no proof that the curse was lifted. So it is fair to bring up the curse in the debate. But I do understand why you are uncomfortable with using this curse to argue against the messiahship of Jesus, because it’s a weaker argument compared to the other arguments I probably wouldn’t use this argument myself in a debate because I have other ones that are iron-clad. We would have to ask someone who uses the Jechoniah curse argument why he uses it if it is not an iron-clad argument. I don’t think it is correct to present the argument as if it were iron-clad if you really believe it is not iron-clad.

          “Is a Christian use of scripture disingenuous if they can demonstrate the presence of their reading?”

          What do you mean by “demonstrate the presence of their reading”?

          • Alan says:

            And yes, according to the Oral Law as well as Tanakh, messiah ben David must have a biological father descended from Solomon son after son. So we’re not being disingenuous when we say in a debate that this is required by Scripture. Same thing with the requirement that he will preside over the messianic promises described in Tanakh – this requirement is both in Tanakh and the Oral Law.

          • Dina says:

            Alan, gut gezukt! (Yiddish for well said.)

  26. Jamo77 says:

    I wasn’t able to reply above to DIna’s comment so will do so here. Rabbi B if you feel this takes too much space and distracts this thread you can remove it – but I do ask if it can stay a day or so in that others can read the other side of the equation regarding Pius XII.


    Historian Rabbi David Dalin wrote “The Myth of Hitlers Pope” to answer the charges of Cornwells book and that the pope was terribly misrepresented.

    Cornwell included superfluous and nasty details such as the decomposition of Pope Pius XII’s corpse. The deception begins from the front cover itself – combined with the title it gives the impression Pius has just met with Hitler. However Pius never met Hitler. The photo is actually from 1927 six years before Hitler came to power and he was then known as Cardinal Pacelli and was leaving a reception for President Hindenburg. Moreover the photo which had been used before in its full clarity — is now cropped and blurred so that one cannot easily see that the two German soldiers surrounding Pacelli are not Nazis but ordinary German soldiers in the pre-Nazi republic.

  27. Jamo77 says:

    Sir Martin Gilberts a leading and revered Holocaust historian and passionate Jew comes to a very different conclusion and in an interview said history will ultimately be very favourable in regards to what Pius XII did to help the Jews and believes he should be nominated to be Righteous Among Nations.

    These are excerpts on Pius XII from Gilberts who was renowned for his objectivity: “I tried to find out what the Catholic Church and churchmen and Pius himself actually did do. So the test for Pius was when the Gestapo came to Rome to round up Jews. And the Catholic Church, on his direct authority, immediately dispersed as many Jews as they could.” 477 were given sanctuary in the Vatican itself. When Germans began deporting Jews from other parts of Northern Italy Pius opened his summer estate at Castel Gandolfo to take them in (Jewish women had their babies in the popes apartment). He authorised monasteries throughout the German occupied areas of Italy to do likewise. As a result while the Germans managed to seize and deport a further 7000 Italian Jews to their deaths, 35000 survived the war – one of the highest ratios of those rescued of any country. Pius XII took a direct part in sending money to support the Jewish refugees of Fiume. Giovanni Palatucci the chief of Fiume police and nephew of an Italian bishop together with his uncle saved 5000 Jews. Palutucci was eventually arrested by the SS and send to Dachau where he was executed.

    Pius also sent considerable sums of money to other rescuers of Jews in Italy and to the Capuchin monk Fr Pierre Marie Benoit from whose monastery in Marseille several thousand French Jews were smuggled across the borders of neutral Spain and Switzerland. Among the leading Roman Catholic clergymen who helped save Jews was Archbishop Giovanni Montini, the future Pope Paul VI. When the government of Israel asked him, in 1955, to accept an award for his rescue work during the Holocaust, Montini replied: “All I did was my duty. And besides I only acted upon orders from the Holy Father.” On April 8, 1943, the day after his final protest to Father Tiso, Pius XII instructed the Vatican’s representative in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, to take “all necessary steps” to support those Bulgarian Jews facing immediate deportation. Cardinal Roncalli on Pius XII’s orders also signed transit visas for Palestine for several thousand Slovak Jewish refugees. On learning of the plight of Jews in concentration camps in Romanian-occupied Transnistria, Angelo Roncalli contacted Pius XII, who interceded at once with the Romanian authorities, and authorized the dispatch of money to those in the camps. When, in 1957, the Israeli government sought to thank Cardinal Roncalli for his help, the Cardinal replied: “In all those painful matters I referred to the Holy See and afterwards I simply carried out the Pope’s orders: first and foremost to save human lives.”

  28. Jamo77 says:

    RT I don’t have perfect information (an Economics concept) and agree only our creator does. But I do believe a very good man has been terribly calumniated since the German playright of 1963 The Deputy. Pius couldn’t speak up as he wanted to the reprisals were too great as he realised with what happened with the Dutch bishops speaking up in 1942. Jews themselves pled with him not to say anything because they knew they were dealing with a complete madman and lunatic the like of which history hadn’t seen before and things would only become worse. There was a reason so many Jews thanked Pius XII after the war including a special blessing. The World Jewish Congress made a large cash gift to the Vatican in 1945; in the same year, Rabbi Herzog of Jerusalem sent a “special blessing” to the Pope “for his lifesaving efforts on behalf of the Jews during the Nazi occupation of Italy.”

    At the time of Pius PP. XII’s death in 1958, Israel’s Golda Meir, who later became prime minister, telegraphed Rome: “…When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the pope was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict.”

    • Dina says:

      Jamo, I didn’t read Cornwell’s book. I only know about it because the title is so famous and Rabbi Singer alluded to it. I have read other material that has been honestly and rigorously researched. It seems to me that you have been reading material disseminated by Pope Pius XII apologists.

      I recommend that you read Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s painstakingly researched book, A Moral Reckoning.

  29. Jamo77 says:


    Reading what Goldhagen says and his critics responses to reminds of something Sir Gilberts a non Catholic and self confessed Zionist himself experienced:

    “AS A HISTORIAN OF THE HOLOCAUST, I frequently receive requests from Jewish educators, seeking support for grant applications for their Holocaust programs. Almost all these applications include a sentence about how the new program will inform students that the Pope, and the Vatican, “did nothing” during the Holocaust to help Jews.

    The most recent such portrayal reached me while I was writing this review. It is part of a proposal to a major Jewish philanthropic organization, and contains the sentence: “Also discusses the role of the Vatican and the rabidly anti-Semitic Pope Pius XII, who were privy to information regarding the heinous crimes being committed against the Jews, and their indifferent response.”

  30. Jamo77 says:

    The following a brief sample of a critique on Goldhagen by Catholic writer Ronald Rychlak on Goldhagen’s 2002 “What Would Jesus Have Done? Pope Pius XII, the Catholic Church, and the Holocaust”

    There is no hidden encyclical that Pius XI had drafted condemning anti-semitism that Pius XII buried. The concordat of 1933 in Pius XI’s reign and the background and context of which is butchered with historical errors to boot. “Like David Kertzer (The Popes Against the Jews), Goldhagen then argues that Pius XI was an anti–Semite even though he condemned anti-Semitism openly and the National Jewish Monthly reported that “the only bright spot in Italy has been the Vatican, where fine humanitarian statements by the Pope [Pius XI] have been issuing regularly.” When he died the following month, the Nazi press denigrated him as “Chief Rabbi of the Western World.”

    Goldhagen has to concede but tries to diminish the importance of Pius XII’s actions in Hungary as too late but is debunked by Jeno Levai a Hungarian Jewish historian who had access to primary archival evidence the following from Papacy: Pius XII Was Not Silent.

    “Almost from the first day following the March 1944 invasion of Hungary, Papal Nuncio Angelo Rotta worked to help improve the treatment of the Jews. He issued baptismal certificates and passports that enabled thousands of Jews and converted Jews to leave Hungary. The Holy See also informed other nations about the conditions in Hungary, and this brought international pressure on the Hungarian government. Rotta made several oral protests regarding anti–Jewish decrees, and on behalf of Pope Pius XII he was the first foreign envoy to submit a formal written protest. Shortly thereafter, Rotta received a letter of encouragement from Pius in which the Pope termed the treatment of Jews as “unworthy of Hungary, the country of the Holy Virgin and of St. Stephen.” From then on, Rotta regularly protested against the treatment of the Jews and the inhuman character of the anti–Jewish legislation.”

    Goldhagen charges that Pius XII never reproached or punished Franciscan friar Miroslav Filopovic–Majstorovic for his evil actions in Croatia, when, actually, the so–called “Brother Satan” was tried, laicized, and expelled from the Franciscan order before the war even ended (in fact, before most of his serious wrongdoing).

    Following is the link to Rychlak’s article

  31. Jamo77 says:

    Ultimately I refer to Gilberts who said his modus operandi was to go straight to primary archival sources which I highlighted yesterday. If Pius was Hitler’s Pope he wouldn’t have hid Jews in his holiday house, had Jewish babies in his apartment or offered to pay 8 kilos of gold to save Jews (reported in Jerusalem Post during the war). Gilberts believed it was accurate to say Pius saved Jews in the hundreds of thousands ( Other non Catholics and Jews have come to the same conclusion. It needs to be remembered Pius’ flock where getting massacred themselves and he had to deal with the Nazi’s who were after planned to kidnap him and also contend with Mussolini. Mark Riebling who went through Vatican archives and other sources wrote a book about how Pius was constantly involved in attempts to undermine Hitler and even overthrow him.

    The following link from a Catholic website contains many Jewish communications from back at that horrid time on what Pius had done for Jews:

    Time and again the same message emerges as a major reason why the churchmen who chose to help the Jews throughout Europe in assisting hide them, issuing false baptismal certificates as well as organising visas and passports – “We were simply acting upon the Holy Father’s orders”.

    • Dina says:

      Jamo, have you read what Goldhagen actually wrote? (If you have already obtained and read his book on my recommendation, you move fast!) Or are you Googling critical reviews of his work by Catholics who have an axe to grind?

      I ask because the intellectually honest way to do this is to read both sides, not Google articles that confirm your bias.

      I do not think the painstaking research of Goldhagen should be so easily dismissed. Nor do I see a problem with the discussion of the Vatican’s role in any type of Holocaust research.

      • Jamo77 says:

        No Dina I haven’t but there seems to be problems with a lot of basic “facts” he presents I think Rychlak will hold up. Also you seem quick to label them with “an axe to grind”. You move even faster. Maybe they are speaking the truth even though they are Catholic. Catholics have also spoken the truth in the past and paid the price for it. By the way do you take Gilberts’ testimony seriously? Or Levai? Or Lapide? All Jews. Had you been previously exposed to this information I have provided? Did you read the comments by Jews themselves on that ewtn website.

        Ok I will personally go through Goldhagen’s essay- and see if what Rychlak says stacks up. It may take time on that and I will have to get back to any other comments next week.

        • Dina says:

          I don’t take the testimony of someone seriously just because he is Jewish. Case in point: Karl Marx.

          • Dina says:

            By the way, it’s a book, not an essay. I always feel a little bad recommending books, because of the investment of time attached to it. But the only way to do this seriously is to read the research.

    • Dina says:

      Did some Googling of my own this morning, there is a lot of bias on both sides.

      Another great book I recommend which is also well researched: Christian Anti-Semitism: A History of Hate by William Nicholls.

  32. Concerned Reader says:

    Sharon S, even for the Catholic Church, Jesus is described as functionally subordinate to the father, (just not ontologically) so I’m not downplaying the deity of Jesus in Paul’s thought. Paul’s theology is different than the athanasian creed that adores christ’s two natures equally.

    There is a reason why many of the early trinitarians are considered heterodox by the modern Chirch, Tertullian for example.

    For Paul, Jesus is the “image of invisible G-d, 1st born of every creature,” ie even though Jesus is G-d of G-d, light of light, logos, etc. Paul taught “all things will be made subject to the son EXCEPT HIM WHO MADE THINGS SUBJECT (ie the father.)

    An orthodox trinitarian (who holds that Christ had two natures) is aware that while Jesus lived and walked on earth, his “G-dhood” was veiled from most people just as G-d’s presence was veiled in the temple, because “he humbled himself.”

    This is why even the orthodox admit that Jesus lacked knowledge while in flesh.

    • RT says:

      Maybe orthodox Christians admit that, but this is not the case for most evangelical, who believe Jesus was both 100% and 100% god. John Macarthur holds that view and so does this website. In my opinion, it’s the exception that believe that Jesus is not all-knowing, and would go against one of the core Trinitarian doctrine.

    • Sharon S says:

      Hi Concerned Reader,
      There is a functional i.e the Son is subordinate to the Father and ontological aspect-all members of the Godhead being of the same nature and thereby equal.

      Why did Paul include Jesus with G-d by his interpretation of Isaiah 45:23-24
      (Phillipians 2:10-11) and Deuteronomy 6:4 ( 1 Corinthians 8:4-6)?
      Isn’t he divorcing himself and Jesus from the Jews by doing this?

      Paul elevates Jesus along with God the Father when he twisted the verses in the Jewish scriptures above to fit his theology. The functional, ontological or two natures of Jesus is irrelevant .

  33. Concerned Reader says:

    All of the verses that are applied by Paul to Jesus were applied by the likes of Philo to the Logos, so I dont see how (in the context of his time period) he was doing something odd.

    We questions of ontological and economic subordination are relevant, because these notions dictate how Christians understand their own texts.

    In this debate 4 trinitarians argue about the question of eternal real subordination among trinitarian persons.

    What is illuminating (and pertinent) is what all four debaters agree on.

    All four agree that while Jesus was incarnate on earth, he was functionally subordinate to the father and obeyed his will.

    All four debaters agree that since Jesus was still in flesh when he rose to life, and because of his role as “high priest,” we can infer that the relationship of economic subordination to the father continues now, and will continue until G-d is all in all.

    The area where these debaters disagree is whether subordination existed in eternity past.

    The Pro real eternal subordination side (Grudem) believes that if you deny a real subordination you become a modalist.

    The Nay side believes that real eternal subordination inevitably leads to ontological subordibationism and real Arianism.

    Neither side believes that Jesus taught to disobey the father, or to upstage the father, and neither side denies that while he is attached to a human nature he is subordinate.

    • Dina says:

      “All of the verses that are applied by Paul to Jesus were applied by the likes of Philo to the Logos, so I dont see how (in the context of his time period) he was doing something odd.”

      In the context of their time period, both Paul and the Hellenist Philo weren’t doing anything odd for Greeks. For traditional Jews who rejected Hellenism it was avodah zarah (foreign worship).

      • Eleazar says:

        Correct, Dina. Many Christians are aware of the Hellenistic pagan influences in the NT and simply don’t care.Just as when you point out that forms of trinitarianism preceded Christianity by centuries and is a concept found in several then-existing pagan religions, they simply say “well, it is a universal truth, and no reason to reject it based on the fact that pagans did it first”. In fact, several famous commentators will admit that John combines the Greek “logos” myth with Genesis 1 in John 1:1.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        In the context of their time period, both Paul and the Hellenist Philo weren’t doing anything odd for Greeks.

        Yeah, they were. Do you think Greeks believed the Logos was a manifestation of some supreme deity, or an angel with many names? Not even close. Implanted reason in the cosmos (the Greek view) can just as easily refer to the natural order as to some deity.

        If by “trinity in Paganism” you mean the Hindu Trimurti, or an Egyptian triad of deities its not the same thing. In Hinduism, Brahman is not eternal. It begins to exist,(brahma) stays existing for a while, (Shiva) and ceases to exist. (Vishnu.) IE members of the trimurti are phases of the cosmos, not a triunity.

        John had antecedants in the Targumic Memra, speculations about the angel of G-d in 1 Enoch, and in Philo.

        If there is Greek influence, its influence that was part of Judaism before Christianity. Thats not to say that John didn’t come up with his own crazy ideas, but it cant be called truly Greek thought.

        • Eleazar says:

          Greek thought/mythology was never a “part of Judaism” and was never used as a basis for Orthodox Jewish theology or Jewish apologetics. Jews who errantly adopted Greek concepts does make those Greek concepts a “part of Judaism”. Christianity literally adopted pagan concepts as part of their theology and apologetics, i.e., John 1:1 and several of Jesus’ NT allegories.

          Otherwise, nice try at Christian apologetics, CR. Perhaps you can apply for a job working for Dr Brown. 😉

        • Dina says:

          Con, as you explain in a subsequent comment, Philo took the Greek idea of the Logos and attempted to harmonize it with Judaism. This attempt isn’t odd for a Hellenized Jew but would have been odd for a traditional Jew who rejected Hellenism. That’s the only point I was trying to make.

          I have no problem with your controversial statements. You make me think and I appreciate it, although sometimes I write more sharply than I should.

    • Alan says:

      Are you saying it was normal and kosher for traditional Jews to play with verses in order to change the halachic system and in order to worship a created object as a god? It sounds like this is what you are trying to say. If it’s not, then why do you want to compare worshiping Jesus with what Jews have traditionally done?

    • robster2016 says:

      can you explain how one thing exists as a subordinated thing to the same thing which is not subordinated to the SAME thing?
      yes, this is the nonsense all the 4 trinitarians are saying.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        For the record, I am not trying to legitimize trinitarianism. I am saying that if you understand the doctrine the way all traditional trinitarians understand it (even admitting their disagreements,) they still get a message that teaches them to focus on the father, they still get a message where Jesus (as far as humans related to him) was subordinate.

        It feels like all of you guys come out of the woodwork when I say something you view as controversial.

      • robster2016 says:

        “hey still get a message that teaches them to focus on the father, they still get a message where Jesus (as far as humans related to him) was subordinate.”

        i think it is all deceptive . it is trintarian trickery and guile. they are admitting that god is EXISTING as a human being. say that god made the flesh bit indestructible or that he fully share with it what he has, what then will be the argument? in trinitarian beliefs god is unknowable unless he become secondary created thing. the trinitatian wants to focus more on this thing which became than the father .

        • Concerned Reader says:

          So do you think all trinitarians are deceptive? Or hold their faith with the intent of guile and deceit?

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Robster2016 What do you expect of them when the whole reason they believe the Bible is true at all is because of the Christian story?

            Christians all accepted the Torah narrative in reverse.

            -They came as skeptics to the Torah narrative
            – Missionaries then told them “see how Jesus fits here and there? and prophecies? etc.”
            -People said “wow what are the chances of all these coincidences being there?”
            – Missionary says “Jesus loved you died for you, etc.”
            – New Christian convert says “wow now I believe G-d exists, loves me, etc. I guess the Torah stories are plausible after all.”

            They accept Torah as true and plausible AFTER they have believed what they believed about Jesus.

            Its the same in Islam with Muhammad except that Muslims believe both Jews and Christians manipulated and changed their revelations, to the point that the only example of a “true Jew or Christian” is the one that Muhammad says is true.

            Neither Christians, nor Muslims approach Torah as true for its own sake at the outset the way a Jew does. They come at the text with their cultural baggage in hand.

    • robster2016 says:

      “Neither side believes that Jesus taught to disobey the father, or to upstage the father, and neither side denies that while he is attached to a human nature he is subordinate.”

      god is existing as a subordinated thing and not a subordinated thing. one thing existing as two different things. does the subordinated thing talk to the same thing which is not subordinated ? jesus prays to one thing
      jesus speaks to one thing

      how is one thing existing as two things ?

    • Sharon S says:

      Hi Concerned Reader,

      “All of the verses that are applied by Paul to Jesus were applied by the likes of Philo to the Logos, so I dont see how (in the context of his time period) he was doing something odd.”

      Paul clearly place Jesus as equal to G-d the Father by including him in verses from Jewish Bible -verses which are meant to refer to G-d alone . This is certainly odd if based on the yardstick of G-d’s revelation as per Tanakh.

      “We questions of ontological and economic subordination are relevant, because these notions dictate how Christians understand their own texts.”

      What difference does terminology makes in this situation ?Yes ,Jesus is subordinate to the Father functionally but he is equal to G-d ontologically .To my understanding ,subordination refers to differences in roles each one plays within the Godhead but that does not mean that his nature is inferior.

      I did not have a chance to watch the debate yet ,however I don’t see the relevance of eternal subordination (or otherwise) to this discussion.

      Jesus is subordinate to the Father .The question is if this subordination is only due to a difference in roles with him having the same nature as the Father ,or is it something else?

      I do agree with you that a traditional Trinitarian views Jesus as being subordinate to the Father -to the point that one automatically sees him as inferior to G-d .However the Church wants its flock to see Jesus as equal to the Father as well -that can be confusing .

      Do correct if I’m in error . Thank you.

  34. Concerned Reader says:

    Are you saying it was normal and kosher for traditional Jews to play with verses in order to change the halachic system and in order to worship a created object as a god?


    Nobody believes that a created being is fit to be worshiped in its own right Alan, not even the Christians, as I have written elsewhere.

    A Christian only believes that Jesus is fit for worship because the Christian identifies him with G-d.

    So, for example, if a Christian believes that Jesus was simply a teacher, but someone were to worship him (even whilst believing he was simply a human rabbi,) the Christian would call it idolatry just like you do.

    I’m pointing out that In second temple times there was a lot of speculation about the Malach of Hashem (from the Torah,) and some sources even identified this Malach with Daniel 7s one like a son of man, and then with the Moshiach. Other sources identified this angel with Elijah the prophet, or even with the Patriarch Jacob.

    Why these men and why this angel?

    The Malach we have seen in the Torah is called G-d, (because its a mouthpiece that has no will of its own, its just a pure reflection of the will of G-d.)

    Because these “men” served as archetypal examples of pure non selfish virtue and devotion, as examples of a genuine reflection of fulfilling G-d’s will to its upmost without personal ambitions. People believed that guys like Enoch and Elijah (who scriptures claimed were “taken up”) were so saintly that they were like the angel of hashem, just a walking vessel for the will of G-d.

    Philo of Alexandria modified the Greek idea of the Logos (the Greek notion is that impersonal reason or wisdom is implanted in the cosmos and that reason serves as the model upon which the physical world is built.)

    Philo took this Greek idea and fundamentally changed it.

    He applied it to the speech of G-d/an angelic archetype. Instead of the logos being an unguided sense of reason, Philo said the Logos was the 1st created thing, IE the speech, or word of G-d which was the same as that angel that bears hashem’s name.

    The 1st Human (before he sinned) was the perfect reflection of G-d’s wisdom, the perfect vessel of godliness.

    Every time Philo saw an example of a truly righteous man in the Torah, like Moses, or Enoch, or Jacob, he saw such people as another lesser image of the Logos.

    I’m not claiming that any of this is kosher. I’m saying we cant ignore something or call it “Pagan” just because it is theologically inconvenient to today’s definitions. These ideas were floating around in Jewish circles when the Christian scriptures were written.

    You yourself (elsewhere) alluded to the fact that we could say “G-d is all” or “Hashem is everywhere,” and so everything is G-dliness in a sense.

    If we can believe Hashem is everywhere, and if you can have a Tzaddik whose will is nullified to Hahsem’s will, then in such a person, you would have a genuine clear reflection of pure godliness in such a person right?

    You would never say that such a person was G-d, but you could metaphorically say that such a person was “one with G-d,” like a mouthpiece, or sock puppet, just like one of the angels.

    I’m pretty sure there is a midrash where the angels will say Kadosh to the righteous? That the Righteous and Jerusalem will be called by Hashem’s name? (its because in the end their level will be higher than angels, and they will serve the will of G-d fully.)

    This is where that speculation comes from.

    • robster2016 says:

      “Nobody believes that a created being is fit to be worshiped in its own right Alan, not even the Christians, as I have written elsewhere.

      A Christian only believes that Jesus is fit for worship because the Christian identifies him with G-d.”

      if god creates indestructible flesh for himself and becomes indestructible human being, then can christian worship him ? the christian also says that god EXISTS as a FULLY human being, they identify the existence of god as one who exist as a human. since it is GOD existing as a human, why isn’t the christian worshiping god as human?

      are they ashamed of god becoming a man?
      was god ashamed of becoming a man? god did idolatry with himself? no? so god is not ashamed, so why not worship god as human?

    • robster2016 says:

      “Malach of Hashem (from the Torah,) and some sources even identified this Malach with Daniel 7s one like a son of man, and then with the Moshiac”

      so we are coming closer to god existing as different things. as indestructible angel and as destructible human. anything else?

      • Concerned Reader says:

        I dont understand what you dont get. I’m not saying that trinity makes sense or is internally consistent.

        read this book

    • Alan says:

      I take back what I said about worshiping a created object. Thank you for correcting me.

      I meant “to play with verses in order to worship a form, even a spiritual form or manifestation of God”.

      I’m not familiar with all of those Midrashim about that malakh. But as soon as something has it’s own physical or spiritual form, or it’s own awareness of a sense of self that is other than God – even the smallest drop of this self awareness – then it is not God and it must not be worshiped as a god or as God Himself. This is traditional Judaism. If you find Jews or non-Jews at any time in history that want to change this for any reason – because of the Tanakh or Midrashim or kabbalistic works – it doesn’t make it kosher.

      CR, you are right that I have said that God is everything. But I also said that God is infinitely beyond everything. Whatever I meant by “God is everything”, I certainly didn’t mean that everything is God and that everything can be worshiped. I believe no-thing can be worshiped because no-thing is God.

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