How Did They Decide?

How Did They Decide?

 

Christianity stands on the words of a few men. If the disciples of Jesus would have ignored him as did most of the Jews of his day, no one would have ever heard of him. It is only because these men believed he was the Messiah that the world knows of the existence of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

How did these people come to their conclusion? How did these followers of Jesus decide that he was the Messiah prophesied by the Jewish Bible? What was the motivation behind their decision? Was it a deep loyalty to the words of the prophets or was it some other factor that induced them to come to this conclusion?

 

It is not easy to determine if someone arrived at their conclusion on the basis of intellectual searching or if the conclusions were generated by some external factor and it is not always ethical to attempt to make these judgments. But when the group in question readily switches their beliefs from end to end simply in order to maintain their conclusion in the face of changing facts, it is naive and even irresponsible to take them seriously. Allow the followers of Jesus to illustrate.

 

According to the Christian Scriptures the followers of Jesus identified Jesus as the Messiah. In the best case scenario, this would mean that the followers of Jesus had carefully and thoroughly built in their minds a comprehensive portrait of the Messiah as predicted by the Jewish prophets. These men felt that their portrait of the Messiah was so solidly grounded in Scripture that they were willing to take upon themselves the weighty responsibility of positively identifying the Messiah with all of its cosmic ramifications. But after all of their Scriptural research they still did not expect Jesus to die (Luke 24:21) and they actually saw his death as a contradiction and a refutation to his Messianic claims. The portrait that they had developed did not include suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection. They had read Isaiah 53, Daniel 7 Psalm 22 and all of the missionary proof-texts without it occurring to them that the Messiah is supposed to suffer and die.

 

But after Jesus died and after they believed that he was resurrected, their portrait of the Messiah underwent a radical change – now the Messiah MUST suffer, he MUST die and if you deny these Biblical “truths” than you MUST be spiritually blinded.

 

If the Biblical interpretation could turn around on a dime just so that it can keep up with the devotion, there is no reason to grant it any credibility. It is not a matter of being judgmental; it is a matter of being responsible and faithful to the truths with which we were entrusted.

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86 Responses to How Did They Decide?

  1. naaria says:

    We might wonder if their “spiritual blindness” really occured before his “death” (when his selected students were in his presence) or if it came after his death?

    Should not there have been a few more witnesses (including those of the Romans or with select Jewish leaders) throughout all parts of Judea and the Galilee to his miracles after his death, if that was when the real “ah-ha” experience happened? Some witnessed a “wind” at ‘Pentecost’, but Peter had to explain it to others. Since his “real message” and their revelation of who he was didn’t come directly from “the living Jesus”, then a “teaching Jesus” wasn’t really necessary before his death?

  2. Larry says:

    Some might try and make a point that many of them were martyred, so there must have been some truth to what they believed. It wasn’t the first time someone died for their beliefs no will it be the last. Belief does not equal truth. We know this because some people spend their whole lives chasing their beliefs only to admit on their death bed, in someones ear, that they wasted their whole life and were wrong. I wasted over 50 years chasing catholic beliefs only to realize that to my astonishment most of my beliefs that I had and never told anyone, were more inline with Judaism than christianity. I easily could have been in a car wreck and died anytime. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to get to know G-d and his teachings, they inspire and give me strength.

  3. David says:

    Here is something that perhaps we can agree on, or maybe not, read it and see what you think. I know you won’t agree with the part about “Jesus” reigning on Earth but if you replace Jesus with a “Messiah” to come at a future date then I think this entire concept spoken of here in the REV (Revised English Version) commentary would be acceptable to you and other Jews.

    From the REV commentary:
    In Matthew 5:12 and some other verses, the reward is said to be “in heaven.” The Millennial Kingdom, Christ’s future kingdom on earth, had not come yet, so the reward was spoken of as being “in heaven,” that is, in God’s keeping. The reward will be given after the Day of Judgment when Jesus is reigning as king on earth.
    It is understandable that Matthew 5:12 and other verses like it, which speak of rewards, treasures, or even a home in heaven, can be confusing and may lead one to believe that righteous people go to heaven when they die. These include verses such as Matthew 5:12 (“Great is your reward in heaven”), Matthew 6:20 (“store up for yourselves treasures in heaven”), Colossians 1:5 (“The hope that is stored up for you in heaven”) and 1 Peter 1:4 (“Kept in heaven for you”). However, Jesus was talking to Jews who knew (or should have known from the Old Testament scriptures) that they would inherit the earth when the Messiah set up his kingdom on earth (see commentary on Matt. 5:5: “the meek will inherit the earth”). Therefore, the Jews understanding of these concepts would Matthew 32 not be based on a literal use of the word heaven in the sense that these physical things, namely, rewards, treasures, and homes, were actually in heaven, but rather, that God, who is in heaven, is “storing” them or keeping record of them. The actual receipt of these things will occur in the future on earth.
    The Old Testament made it clear that people would get what they deserved and that this would happen when the Kingdom was established. The idea of God keeping track of man’s behavior is clearly recorded in the Old Testament.
    • Malachi 3:16: Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.
    • Ecclesiastes 12:14: For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
    The Book of Revelation notes that at the Judgment, “The books were opened” and “The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books” (Rev. 20:12). That God was keeping a reward or treasure for them in heaven, and that they could add to that treasure by their good deeds, was a common concept in Judaism.
    “The notion of a heavenly treasure, beyond the reach of corruption, was a common eschatological concept in Judaism. The righteous on earth do not yet possess it, for it belongs to the future; nevertheless they can now add to it” (J. Emerton, C. Cranfield, and G. Stanton, The International Critical Commentary: Matthew).
    “An important concept in Jewish and Christian theology is the belief that sins and virtues accumulate and are “stored” the way money might be stored in a treasury. The Lord was believed to keep records of every sin and virtue and require the books be balanced from time to time” (George Wesley Buchanan, The Anchor Bible: To the Hebrews; p. xxv).
    The Jews in Christ’s audience knew that God was keeping track of their deeds with the intention of rewarding them. They will receive what is rightfully theirs when the Messiah returns and establishes his Kingdom on earth.

    • The Kingdom of God was well understood to be right here on earth, as is evidenced by the well-know “Our Father” prayer – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven.” So there already was a “heavenly kingdom” evidenced by “as it is in heaven,” and what we really needed (and still need) is a Kingdom on earth. Jesus not only made it clear that he wasn’t speaking of a heavenly kingdom, but all of his apostles believed it would be imminent, in their lifetime. Mark 9:1 reads, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the Kingdom of God has come with power.” Obviously something was supposed to radically change and be VISIBLE. They will see this Kingdom. It will not be in heaven. But Jesus’ hopes did not materialize. In Acts 1:6, they were still looking for an earthly Kingdom, because this is what the Jewish prophets taught about the Kingdom we hope for. They said to him, “…will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?” This demonstrates an excellent understanding of what was supposed to happen, that Rome was supposed to be conquered, and that we would enter into an era of peace and rule in accordance with the commandments of God, where the Torah goes forth from Zion. In 1 John 3:18 John writes, “Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming; so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour.” But that was over 1900 years ago, as was the Revelation of John who wrote, “Surely I am coming soon” (Rev. 22:20). There’s no getting around it. These were hopes and dreams that did not come to pass. The messianic movement of Jesus, with its Torah-observant born Jews and “ingrafted branch” of righteous gentiles, completely disappeared after the destruction of the Temple. What rose up in its name has no relationship to that original structure.

      • Paul summers says:

        Hello

        When Jesus is speaking to His disciples, He is making the point to the disciples who, contextually are about to go up the mount with Christ. As you can see from the text, Peter, James and John go with Jesus up the mount, but not all. These three are the some, who will see the power of the kingdom before they actually die.

        When Christ was transfigured, what was seen by the three was Gods/Christ Glory. Christs veiled glory was seen. This is what all believers will some day witness for themselves after death.
        This is what Jesus meant about seeing the Kingdom.

        You are correct about Acts ch 1. But again Acts ch 1 is before Acts ch 4.

        When John is explaining about the last hour has come, he isnt talking about a literal 60 minute hour. The term is a reference to this present age, the church age. That age has no time limit as we know it. However it will end with the establishment of the Messianic Earth Kingdom after Christs return.

        • I get that you, as a Christian, need to believe that the Jesus movement did not fail. However, he was a Jew talking to Jews who were oppressed by Rome. In the Jewish context, there is no “kingdom restored to Israel” without a reigning King of Israel. The role of a King of Israel is described in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. As you will see, he must rule in accordance with the Torah – not turning aside from the commandment either to the right or to the left. If, as you say, Christ will return and be this king, how is it that the church has taught the Torah of Moses has been replaced? In Isaiah 2, we learn that, in the end of days, the Torah will come forth from Zion and the word of God from Jerusalem. This is the shape of the messianic kingdom, and there’s reason to believe that when John spoke of the last hour, he thought he was in that “end of days” time period with the imminent arrival of the messianic king. In John’s time, Jewish followers of Jesus were still observing the Torah and, as stated in Acts 21:20, “zealous for the Torah.” Beyond that time, after the beginning of the second century CE, based on the writings of the “church fathers,” it was clear that they had no anticipation of, or desire for, a King of Israel ruling in accordance with the Torah of Moses. The exclusively gentile church quickly adopted “replacement theology,” and since they wanted nothing to do with Jews or Torah laws, they revised the concept of the “Kingdom of God” to an entirely spiritual realm where, instead of a Jewish King, they would assert their own authority and their own rules, claiming to be the “vicar [replacement] of Christ.”

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello

            Working first with your last statement, about vicars of Christ etc. I agree the church did move away and replace scripture. Thats not a scripture error though, its a misaligned rendering of Scripture. A church error. Of course we are talking about the RC Church. The RC Church are not Christs Church.
            Ive already addressed Johns statement about the last hour. Bearing in mind John was later on in his life exiled. Here he wrote revelation. The complete outworking of future events were revealed here.
            The Church age.
            The run up to the tribulation.
            The beginning, middle and last part of the trib.
            The rise and fall of the anti christ.
            Israels repentance.
            The 2nd coming of Christ.
            Isrsels national salvation.
            The Messianic Kingdom.
            Post Messianic Kingdom.
            The final judgement and the eternal order.

            My point is John had a very clear understanding of the Messianic kingdom.

            The point of Torah law is thus,
            It was given to Israel to show the righteousness of Gods statutes. It was never given to man to keep eternally, it was temporary. God promised to give a new covenant.
            Jesus didnt replace the Law, He came to fulfill its righteousness proper, not phariseic interpretation, which was unregulated and unrecognisable by Christs lifetime.

            Deut ch 17 v14 states “When you come to the land which your Lord God is giving you”

            Israel are yet to rule from Israel. This will happen at Christs return. The king that reigns is King David, resurrected. However King David is prince to King Jesus.

            Pauls letters on the Law, and Hebrews makes this point on the Law. The Law is Holy because God gave it and it replicates His nature.
            Pauls frustration with Law keepers, was not the Law proper itself, it was the believers view that the Law, not Christ was the redemptive aspect. The fulness of Christ was the Law in His death and resurrection not the letter which was temporary and impossible to keep.

            Major aspects of the Temple service are observed though in the Messianic Kingdom in Israel. By this time salvation for Jews is permanent, because all Jews then will follow and believe in there Messiah, none will be lost.

      • mrsonic says:

        “When Jesus is speaking to His disciples, He is making the point to the disciples who, contextually are about to go up the mount with Christ. As you can see from the text, Peter, James and John go with Jesus up the mount, but not all. These three are the some, who will see the power of the kingdom before they actually die.”

        1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with[a] power.”

        6 days later they went up the mountain.

        2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves.

        you said , “not all”
        did “not all” die? according to your interpretation they must’ve died, right?
        so some would be 3 disciples and the rest , including the other listeners died?

        i think jesus really thought that when the abomination was put in the temple that would cause “son of man” to return and rescue the refuges who fled. jesus failed and christianity still need to save jesus from error.

        9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen,

        this could not have been the “kingdom of god”

        • Fred says:

          Exactly right, Mr Sonic. And “the last hour” was probably not meant as a reference to nearly 2000 years….if language means anything at all.

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello
            The language, as you put it, is yes very important. The context being vital also.

            Johns letters are being addressed to the Church, thats Jew and gentiles in Christ. The theme and underlying thrust is about the urgency of proclaiming the truth until Christ returns for His bride, the Church at the rapture. As the NT teaches that there are no prerequisites for the rapture, so the essence is of speed. “No one knows the hour”. So this is the last hour. The Church age. The age of grace. This can come to an end at any moment in time.
            Johns letter here about false teachers in his day and false teachers future. As stated, the rapture can at any time, so keeping away from false teaching has always been imperative.

            The second coming of Christ is NOT for the Church but Isrsel. The prerequisite for that coming is for Israel to ask, repent for His return.

          • mrsonic says:

            “As the NT teaches that there are no prerequisites for the rapture, so the essence is of speed. “No one knows the hour”.

            this simply means “no one knows the hour within THAT generation which jesus failed to return in”

        • Paul summers says:

          Hello

          Of course they all died at some point.

          Jesus is saying some (3), will not have to taste, or wait until death to see His power (Glory).
          Basically the three got a preview of The Glorified Christ in His kingdom, which is future.

          Jesus admonishes the three on what they have seen because very simply the three were chosen to see Christ Glorified, and to see Moses and Elijah. If Jesus wanted all the discipleship to see Him glorified then all would have gone up. By simple application only three were chosen, and only three were to see. This seeing is a promise of life after death, in the Messianic Kingdom. Peter knows that tabernacles is the Fulfilling of the feast in the Kingdom, so he wishes to build a tabernacle (3) there and then. Unfortunately Peter doesnt understand that passover must come first before tabernacles. Christs death was still future, so was the fulfilling of Passover. So again Peter knows that Jesus is the Messiah, he had just previously stated that Jesus was the living Son of the Living God. Peter at this point still doesnt understand the complete picture though.

          Jesus ministry was a step by step process. Brick by brick. Unveiling the truth day by day. No person can read the entire scriptures in a day and comprehend its truth. The same application is here in Christs life.

          God never forces faith, faith and belief is just that, faith in Him.

          • Paul Summers Please read my post entitled “Arrogance and Humility” – the faith that God demands in the Jewish Bible is one that is predicated on honesty – the faith demanded by the Christian Scriptures is one that is predicated on gullibility and ignorance

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • mrsonic says:

            “Of course they all died at some point.

            Jesus is saying some (3), will not have to taste, or wait until death to see His power (Glory).
            Basically the three got a preview of The Glorified Christ in His kingdom, which is future.”

            ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

            And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

            4 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.

            14 “But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;

            ….you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

            notice how clearly the language seems to be connected?

            like you limit trinity to 3, you are assuming “some” is limited to 3.
            there were obviously more than some who were hearing his claims
            i interpret mark to mean that before the some taste death they will see “kingdom of god” and that means they will not taste death. one of the “some” = high priest.

            in the transfiguration the disciples want to tent 3 persons. maybe they saw elijah and moses “coming in glory” ? maybe elijah and moses became part of the trinity?

            after one heard jesus say, “truly there are some standing HERE…”
            i would ask, what about the others out of the whole who were standing there? what did they take away with them? that they would die, right?

          • mrsonic says:

            the gospel writer of mark is very anti disciples.

            he is clearly attacking the intelligence of the disciples. the 3 get to see the alleged resurrection of jairus’ daughter and ask whether they should tent 3 persons, yet they still like dumb fools ask :

            ” So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.”

            clueless disciples who are supposed to be your religions “eyewitnesses”
            truly i tell you, i don’t think mark thought that the “some” would be the 3 you have selected.

          • mrsonic says:

            ——————————————————————————————————————-
            “Matthew 16
            27
            For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his
            angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
            28
            Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not
            taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”

            ———————————————————————————————————————

            the language is too clear. even the later writers seem to have understood it as judgement “coming in kingdom”

        • Paul summers says:

          “As the NT teaches that there are no prerequisites for the rapture, so the essence is of speed. “No one knows the hour”.

          this simply means “no one knows the hour within THAT generation which jesus failed to return in”

          The hour of which Christ could have come too that generation was possible if God chose to do so. But because He didnt, doesn’t make it a failure.
          If you read the book of revelation along with the prophets, and especially the olivet discourse you will see many things must happen before the 2nd coming.

          The rapture, not the 2nd coming is pre tribulation. The scriptures teach no prerequisite for rapture except its pre trib.
          Israel have not occupied the promised land (fully) as yet. But because it hasn’t happened of today, doesnt mean Gods plans are a failure. They will occupy it, it due time.

          • mrsonic says:

            you are a christian , right? are you living under a goverment which protects you? can you dial 911 or any other police service? do christians go around the world and persecute others?

            you wrote:

            The rapture, not the 2nd coming is pre tribulation. The scriptures teach no prerequisite for rapture except its pre trib.
            Israel have not occupied the promised land (fully) as yet

            you are reading 21 century reinterpretation in to the texts of matthew and mark which promise persecuted refuges that they would immediately see “son of man” bring redemption?

            can you tell me why john has no need for ” the son of man” and why he changes kingdom to the present “now my kingdom…”

            so “you will see…” has become “now…”

            ?

          • mrsonic says:

            “Not sure what you mean about John though?”

            forget it man, doesn’t matter.

        • Paul summers says:

          Hello

          The hour of which Christ could have come too that generation was possible if God chose to do so. But because He didnt, doesn’t make it a failure.
          If you read the book of revelation along with the prophets, and especially the olivet discourse you will see many things must happen before the 2nd coming.

          The rapture, not the 2nd coming is pre tribulation. The scriptures teach no prerequisite for rapture except its pre trib.
          Israel have not occupied the promised land (fully) as yet. But because it hasn’t happened of today, doesnt mean Gods plans are a failure. They will occupy it, it due time.

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello

            Im assuming you are talking about Math ch 24 vs 15 onwards
            And Mark ch 13 vs 14 onwards ??

            These chapters are about the rapture and the 2nd coming. These texts are written with the events of course still future.
            The events which I think you are talking about are the Jews in the tribulation running from the onslaught of the antichrist and his armies, just prior to the 2nd coming. Rev ch 12 repeats this about Israel, the woman being persecuted.

            Not sure what you mean about John though?

  4. Angela Gershenwald says:

    Jesus was not the messiah, maybe a Kabbalahist. Islam says he was a prophet of Islam, so if you look at history after the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians, then when the Jewish People returned to it. it was then engulfed by the Romans and Babylonians, so if you look at Josephus – he was loved by the Romans and part roman, so if he was the father of Jesus, then you are looking at your first Roman and Islam mix aren’t you. But definitely not the messiah. Because it states in the Tanach – that when Our creator’s Sprout is Born – and he will be Jewish – 1/3 of the planet is left. look at this World’s Programming – you can see why our Creator says what he has said in the Tanach – It is condemned people. This World has condemned itself, by the past ruler’s of the roman Empire and the Persian Empire.

  5. Fred says:

    I take it a step further and say that without Paul, and Paul alone, Christianity never gets off the ground and dies within one generation. The message of Christianity is not the one that came from Jesus, but the “abolition of God’s commandments and law”, which flies in the face of what Jesus reportedly taught. Paul and Christianity directly contradict Jesus’ words concerning the Oral Torah. Why? Because Jesus’ messianic claims cannot stand up to the Oral Torah.

  6. Paul summers says:

    Hello PF

    There are no hidden agendas or conspiracies within the NT texts about the disciples lack in regard to there scriptual knowledge and understanding of Messiah.
    Infact the NT makes it very clear that there full understanding was lacking.

    The Messiah’s authenticity wasnt based and balanced on what people believed. It was based on faith in The God of Israel and the Hebrew texts. Its was never and still isnt based on intelligence of Theology.
    Mans intelligence doesnt make Christ Jesus The Messiah.

    The Christ God makes Him the Messiah basesd on all that He is. Not on what man thinks.

    You are correct that the disciples were totally unaware of the crucifixion as a forthcoming means of Jesus death. The texts show this. Jesus many times struggled with there lack of understanding.

    However the full revelation of The Christ, His death and resurrection were not seen by them prior to His death . They did see Him as the Messiah though. Its recorded many times, and not just by His disciples. Ultimately there were never meant to. Why? Becsuse God foreordained thus. Its a simple working out of Gods plan for humanity.

    The full revelation was clearly given by the resurrection and by the in powering of the Holy Spirit at the birth of the Church at pentecoste. There was absolutely no way of knowing the fulness of Gods Christ. Not until all things had happened, just as Christ said they would.

    Paul talks of the mysteries of God.
    Unreavaled now in the Church age, NT, but hidden in times past Tanch age. Revealed through Christ.
    Math ch 13
    Rom ch 16 v25-26
    1 Cor ch 2 v7
    Eph ch 3 v 4-5. 9
    Col 1 v26.

    Gods plan for Jesus was not thwarted at His disciples lack of scriptual excellence, nor did Gods plan for Israels so called Messiah fail at His rejection and death.

    Its Gods preordained plan for His Kingdom to come. To those who believe, and to those who choose not to.

  7. Concerned Reader says:

    “I take it a step further and say that without Paul, and Paul alone, Christianity never gets off the ground and dies within one generation.”

    That’s mostly true Fred. However, Jewish Christians (Torah observant Christians) were around as late as the 4th century. some opposed Paul, some did not. They were wiped out because of the Orthodox for their rejection of high Christology. Jesus’ earliest movement is probably not unlike the myriad Messianic factions to arise within later Judaism, that have likewise made their messiah claimants into supermen, Jesus is not unique in that regard. Later factions call their messiah “divine” in an allegorical way. Jesus is not unique there either.

    Jesus’ Jewish students proselytized gentiles before Paul even came along if you read the sources. Most messianic factions go to the non Jews when they fail among Jews anyway, because that is what scripture paints as pangs of messiahs coming, so they think it proves their guy. I don’t think Paul was as thoroughly evil as everyone implies for a few reasons.

    1. As you said, it is through Paul that we know about Jesus at all, specifically that we know of an observant Jesus. All NT documents are Pauline documents. That means We (and Scholars) can only even talk about a Jewish Torah observant Jesus as a Jewish teacher because the Pauline scribes who wrote about Jesus wrote that stuff down. (why did they write all that down including such controversies if they weren’t trying to be faithful to their beliefs?)

    Think about it this way. The authors of the gospels (students of Paul whoever they were) knew enough Judaism to make Jesus into a normal Jewish guy who yes, played fast and loose with Torah, but taught nothing unique vis its observance, and advocated observance. In other words, these Pauline people knew a halacha of Jesus. Why if they wanted to destroy Torah observance?

    2. Justin Martyr in the 100s (long after Jesus and Paul were gone) wrote that he held communion with the Jewish Christians and that he was fine with their adherence of the law, as long as they didn’t convert Gentiles to Judaism. (that view I believe originated with Paul, because that was the bone of contention he had with other early Christians.)

    3. Paul’s stated ethics don’t make sense at all if he intended to fully dissolve the law for Jews as many propose. “De Judaizing” took a long time, long after Paul had died.

    4. The belief that full observance of Torah is not for the gentiles is not unique to Paul in his time period. There were groups of observant Jews in the second temple period who doubted the Jewish status of other Jews vis the Torah, (much less had the time to worry about the status of gentiles.)

    Christianity is the product of messianic fervor, some “experiences,” and honest mistakes, just like all others. The more I’ve studied failed Jewish messianism, the less I can vilify the Christians. This stuff keeps on happening, even without them, even if with different flavors.

    • mrsonic says:

      if you read acts you will see that peter tells the jews that they are responsible for killing the messiah. burton mack thinks that act is telling fiction and not history. he also says that peter is making arguments based on greek translations of the torah, the arguments are not makable based on the hebrew text

      what are your thoughts on this?

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Its not possible to make unilateral statements either way in regards to Christianity’s origins because we simply don’t know all the details. There is no question however that later editors made the gospels conform to their historical contexts and prejudices (specifically in regards to anti Judaism ideology and apologetic) during compilation and transmission. The anti Judaism of the Christian Bible should be responsibly understood in the historical 50s-135-200 CE context that texts were written, compiled, and later transmitted in.

        The gospels reflect a rough history of transmission. They have inter-sectarian disputes, reflect rhetoric against other would be messiah claimants, and were redacted even in the post Bar Kochba revolt context, etc.

        Christianity as a movement had to differentiate itself from Judaism, paganism, and other would be messianic claimants within Judaism, and even clarify arguments from within the Church and its sub groups. All that is a toxic cocktail under any circumstance for any movement.

        When I read the NT (and early Christian literature more generally,) I try to start by looking at agreed upon ethical practices and standards, and not at ideology. If I look at the ethics in Christian literature, it is clear to me that Jewish ethics, specifically those for G-d Fearing non Jews, form the root ethic, and that these ethics later get read through the messianic ideological lens, and evolve from there into a uniquely Christian ethic.

        If you look at writers from Paul to Tertullian, their advocated practices show consistency and influence from a distant native Jewish context.

        Ideologically however, Christianity and Judaism are very different. Judaism has a codified legal system. There is a halachic contextual framework that Jews operate within. When Christianity spread to non Jews, that framework lost influence. There were still pockets of Jewish Christians, but Christianity as a system within a Torah framework didn’t exist for long.

        I believe that (like any messianic movement that has survived the death of the founder,) Christianity started as Jewish, but had to redefine to survive in a different context.

        To survive Christianity had to

        1. Exonerate the Romans (among whom they sought converts)
        2. Distance themselves from Judaism (due to possible repercussions due to Jewish wars with Rome,)
        3. Had to systematize a monotheism that could be understood by other worldviews outside of a Jewish context.

        Rabbi Boteach once said in a debate (to summarize) Imagine if you went to a Roman’s door and said “hello Sir, we are inviting you and your family to services at Church to teach about Jesus.” “Who was Jesus?” “Oh…well…he was a Jewish teacher who died under Pilate for sedition against the state.” You wont get converts in Rome (or the ancient Roman world) that way.😉

      • First of all, they were ALL Jews, from Jesus himself to his Jewish family, to his Jewish apostles. They were Pharisees, the righteous Jews whose descendants have held fast to the Torah throughout the generations, to our very day. There were other sects, notably the Sadduccees, who had a different interpretation of Torah (regarded as heretical) and who were aligned with Rome to the point of not wanting to “make waves.” These are the ones who wanted to kill both Jesus and Paul in order to stop a perceived military overthrow of the Roman government. You can see the contempt between the Pharisees (of which Paul was and to whom Jesus said to obey in all things) and the heretical Sadduccees in Acts 23. When Paul cried out “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees…. a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadduccees…. a great clamor arose and some of the scribes of the Pharisees party stood up and contended, ‘We find nothing wrong in this man.” Earlier, Rabbi Gamaliel, president of the Pharisee Sanhedrin, prevented Jews from attacking the apostles, saying “Take are what you do with these men….” Backing up to Acts 5:17, you will see that the high priest and those who were with him, that is the party of the Sadduccees, were those who arrested the apostles and put them in prison. It is critical to understand this differentiation when speaking of “the Jews.” They were all Jews; Jews who were aligned with Jesus and his apostles were Pharisees; Saduccees were Jews who were heretics aligned with Rome who wanted to work with them to crush any murmurings about a Jewish king overthrowing Rome. In Luke 13:31, “some Pharisees came and said to [Jesus], ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.'” Another Pharisee, well known to the Jews, Nicodemus, came to Jesus and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs unless God is with him.” Once again, we see minimal acceptance (not necessarily at the “King Messiah” level) from high-ranking Pharisees, and we also see murderous intent from the evil Sadduccees who were in bed with Rome. Fortunately, the Pharaisees, the protectors and transmitters of the Truth of Torah are with us to this day, while the Sadduccees faded out after the destruction of the Temple.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          Off course they were Jews, the question is, did their movement maintain the proper covenant into the modern day? The answer to that question is clearly no. Christianity is a gentile movement. It started out Jewish, but it lost its ties to the Torah and observance, just like every other would be messianic sect that has arisen since Jesus.

          mainstream Christianity teaches that G-d took on human form.

          Acts 14:11-15 “When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, THEY TORE THEIR CLOTHES and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these WORTHLESS THINGS to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.

          ONE TEARS GARMENTS FOR ONLY TWO REASONS
          1. MOURNING THE DEAD
          2. IN CASES OF SEVERE BLASPHEMY

          This text shows that Paul viewed it is blasphemy (generally speaking) to call a human being G-d. Combine this fact with Deuteronomy 4 that tells you explicitly not to worship the whole host of heaven, (ie the entourage of G-d,) and the idolatrous error becomes clear.

          Revelation 13 (as understood by many Christian interpreters) speaks of a false messiah figure who comes and deceives people into worshiping him as a G-d.

          So, should we make 1 exception to the rule and worship Jesus, (to the exclusion of every other human,) or should we instead listen to the overwhelming majority of the texts and follow and pray to the father alone?

  8. milthaman says:

    Not interested in getting into the debate, but the idea of Moshiach dying was NOT out of Jewish context. The suffering of Moshiach is present in the Talmudic and Midrashic writings from Rabbis of that time period. There are also texts, though not mainstream, (Essene) that discuss Moshiach dying. See “The Messiah Before Jesus” by Israel Knohl.

    Seems like the debaters on this issue- both sides,like to conveniently leave things out to support their side. Scholastic dishonesty I call it.

    • Fred says:

      When you make a bold statement it invites debate. Expect to be responded to.

    • Milthaman You will find all the information on these subjects on this blog – close your eyes and complain about the darkness

      1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

    • Concerned Reader says:

      Many claimants have suffered and died in an attempt to fulfill prophecy, but they didn’t make it. If the messiah can be from among the dead, why is he not Solomon, or even David himself? If suffering or a painful death is a prequisite for the messiah, what about Bar Kochba? The Rebbe? Jews are waiting for the era of the messiah, not the individual. The one who will inaugurate the era. If its Jesus, then fine. BUT…until the Job of the redemption is actually done in all details, you can’t demand that Jews abandon what they know in favor of Christianity, especially when the gospels themselves warn against accepting beliefs like an incarnation in every case except Jesus’. Christianity says: ” If anyone else comes and claims to be divine, he is a liar!.” BUT “If its Jesus, that’s ok.” Torah strongly suggests that THAT BELIEF IS NEVER OK.

    • Paul summers says:

      Hello

      I totally agree. Rabbinic teaching closer to 1st century Israel post Christ believed in that Messiah would be a suffering servant and reigning king. Not two Messiah’s, but One.
      They did of course reject the Man Jesus as being the Messiah. Todays Rabbinical view is not traditional but liberal.

  9. No one seemed to be at all disturbed by the idea of a resurrected man coming back from the dead to rule the Kingdom of God. The problem is that he did not rule the Kingdom of God, which is an actual physical job on a physical throne in the restored and secured city of Jerusalem. The Temple and Jerusalem were burned to the ground, and the Jews were murdered and exiled. This is not the glorious redemption spoken of by the Jewish prophets. It’s not the issue of the return; it’s what you perceive will occur when we do have a King of Israel here on earth, ruling in accordance with the entire Torah, where all born Jews will obey the Sabbath, the Jewish Festivals of Passover, Shavuos, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkos, the kosher laws, and, yes, the sacrificial laws in the rebuilt Temple. We seem to be very far afield about not only what Jesus and his apostles did while on earth, but what the messianic kingdom will be like when we do have a Jewish King, son of David and Solomon, here on earth, ruling in accordance with the entire Torah. By the way, Jews do not particularly care who he will be; what is critical is what he will be and what he will do. To date, no one has done what the Messiah must do, and all early speculation as to his potential identity have led to more problems than solutions.

  10. Paul summers says:

    Hello PF

    Yes I read your arguement. Not that your point is valid or contextual to the discussion.

    The points that you raised are not about God proving Himself to anyone. God doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone.
    If your read Exodus, you will see that God foreknew Pharaohs heart, and hardened it accordingly to ultimately show God’s redemptive plan for Israel. The plagues sent were a direct assult against pharaohs pantheists false gods. The last plague was a forerunner of the Messiah to come. Which exodus shows that the 2nd person of the triune Godhead was responsible for.

    The death of the Eygptians in the pursuit was a direct outworking of the Abrahamic covenant.

    So in summary arogance isnt a valid view. Just as God authenticated His sovereign power through Israel, so did His Son Authenticated His Messiaship while present in humanity.

    Unless of course you think God is arrogant, which I know you dont.

  11. Fred says:

    >>>>>The last plague was a forerunner of the Messiah to come. <<<<

    Where does it say that?

  12. Fred says:

    >>>>>>The hour of which Christ could have come too that generation was possible if God chose to do so. But because He didnt, doesn’t make it a failure.
    If you read the book of revelation along with the prophets, and especially the olivet discourse you will see many things must happen before the 2nd coming.

    The rapture, not the 2nd coming is pre tribulation. The scriptures teach no prerequisite for rapture except its pre trib.<<<<

    Right, and all of this is why the NT is completely self-contradicting. You have both Jesus and John saying the second-coming is imminent, but then you have other books that put a bunch of conditions that could not possibly have happened in that "last hour" and " some here will still be alive when I come" frame of time.

    I have known for years that Christians have absolutely no problem contradicting themselves all over the place and denying it at the same time, even though one can point right to the words and show them to them. Meanwhile, the same people who cannot accept the plain black and white print are fully capable of reading Jesus into everything in the Torah, even though he was never mentioned once. Reminds me of Trump supporters. The very definition of cognitive dissonance.

    • Paul summers says:

      Hello

      Thats the rapture could come at any time! Not, the 2nd coming can come at anytime.

      The two are completely two differents events. For two different groups, at two different times, for two different reasons, with two different beginnings, and with two different endings. This was explained earlier.

      Jesus and John are not in contradiction. You just need to understand what is being said.

      I respect you dont believe on what is said, but what is said is not contradictory.

      Adding to that, if one wants to argue about NT text and say it’s contradictory because John said “this is the last hr” and one argues that after 60 minutes nothing happened, the only exercise I can think one should do is research the word IDIOM.

      Many thanks.

    • mrsonic says:

      15 “So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
      16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;
      17 let him who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house;
      18 and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle.
      19 And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days!
      20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath.
      21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.
      22 And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
      23 Then if any one says to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.
      24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
      25 Lo, I have told you beforehand.
      26 So, if they say to you, ‘Lo, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; if they say, ‘Lo, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
      27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man.
      28 Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
      29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken;
      30 then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory;
      31 and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
      32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.
      33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
      34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place.

      “immediately after …” “this generation will not pass away till ALL…”

      notice that if christians admit that these words say what they actually say, then they have proved jesus to be FALSE messiah?

      Matthew 16:27, Jesus tell us he will return in the glory of his father with his angels and “then he shall reward every man according to his works”. When?

      Matthew 16:28
      Verily, I say unto you, There be some of you standing HERE, that shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming into his kingdom”.

      • Paul summers says:

        Hello
        34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place.

        “immediately after …” “this generation will not pass away till ALL…”

        Yes this passage is about the tribulation.

        When Jesus says “This Generation “, He is talking about A generation will be IN the tribulation. He Isn’t talking about THE generation He is addressing there and then. Its a future generation. THIS GENERATION OF THE TRIBULATION, The point also is that all that what will happen, when it does, will be for a duration in THATS GENERATION life time, it will not go on for years and years. Specifically and contextually it will be 3.5 yrs. Which is the half way point of the 7 yr tribulation.
        This is also another reason why the 2nd coming can be gauged once certain events happen.
        As soon as the abomination of desolation occurs (3.5) yrs, flee into the hills.

        The church, at some point prior (no time specified , but before the start of the trib, 1st 3.5 yrs ) will be long gone into heaven.

        Math ch 16,v27, is a 2nd coming text. Once He returns all saints are rewarded accordingly.

        V28 Is what was mentioned the otherday. Peter, James, and John see Jesus in His full Glory. Jesus glory was veiled by human flesh. At the transfiguration, this glory was temporarily unveiled. At this point of time no one had seen what Christ will look like in the Kingdom, however the three were shown The Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.

        Hope this clears up any misunderstanding?

        • mrsonic says:

          “he Isn’t talking about THE generation he is addressing there and then”

          ofcourse he is and you are a false prophet who is changing the false predictions of your god. “this generation” means the generation jesus was born into . nearly all expert opinion is the following :

          Imminence: And when is all this going to happen? Like other apocalypticists, Jesus maintained that it would take place very soon. It is right around the corner. It will happen within his disciples’ lifetimes: “Truly I tell you, some of you standing here will not taste death before they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power” (Mark 9:1); “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place” (Mark 13:30).

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello

            Im afraid you are only putting your opinion first, and not reading what is written.

            If you read and understand the olivet discourse, you will see that Jesus is speaking about future events that must come first.

            In summary He mentions three events, because his disciples ask three questions.

            What will be the sign of the end of the age, is the question that needs looking at here.

            After Jesus gives a general summary of the church age, He also mentions the destruction of the temple,
            He then goes on to mention that there will wars, nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom. Of course this is a long range prophecy, unknown to them then, but now fulfilled in the First and 2nd WW’s.

            Out of the first war arouse the impitious for the growth of Zionism.
            Out of the second arouse Israels return to their homeland and the recognition of the state in 1948.
            Then came the 6 day war of independence. All these events are to do with the restoration of Israel. With more still to come.
            The bible speaks of two regatherings of the Jews. One in unbelief and the other in belief. At this moment intime there are re gathering in unbelief. So God will make them pass under His rod. The Tribulation.

            So technically the 1st Ww triggered the birth pangs.

            Jesus was definitely not talking about His/the present day generation.

          • mrsonic says:

            “If you read and understand the olivet discourse, you will see that Jesus is speaking about future events that must come first.

            In summary He mentions three events, because his disciples ask three questions.

            What will be the sign of the end of the age, is the question that needs looking at here.

            After Jesus gives a general summary of the church age, He also mentions the destruction of the temple,
            He then goes on to mention that there will wars, nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom. Of course this is a long range prophecy, unknown to them then”

            well if the disiples were not going to be in every place in that past generation where it was prophesied that kingdom against kingdom was suppose to take place, then obviously it would be unknown. but jesus tells them that they would hear of wars and rumours of wars and that would not be unknown to them.

            you do realise that if you admit that this generation means jesus’ time, then you make jesus into a false prophet ?

            “9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you ”

            “then …” ?

            what is “then…” coming after?
            sign of the end of age. he clearly thought his disciples (or followers of matthew who matthew was writing to) thought they were in end times like you christians.

            15 “So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;

            there is the “you ” again.

        • mrsonic says:

          “V28 Is what was mentioned the otherday. Peter, James, and John see Jesus in His full Glory. Jesus glory was veiled by human flesh. At the transfiguration, this glory was temporarily unveiled. At this point of time no one had seen what Christ will look like in the Kingdom, however the three were shown The Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.”

          Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

          Matthew 16:28
          Verily, I say unto you, There be some of you standing HERE, that shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming into his kingdom”.

          so only 3 persons were rewarded with what they did?

        • mrsonic says:

          “V28 Is what was mentioned the otherday. Peter, James, and John see Jesus in His full Glory.”

          Verily, I say unto you, There be some of you standing HERE, that shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming into his kingdom”.

          why didn’t jesus say, “next week you will see me the son of man/me…?”

          • LarryB says:

            Compare this to the ten plagues where God said what he would do and then it happened.

          • mrsonic says:

            “But immediately after the tribulation of those…”
            they want to agree that the temple was destroyed BEFORE “after the tribulation of those…”
            but they don’t want to agree that sun will be darkened, moon will not give its light, stars will fall… “immediately AFTER the tribulation of those…”

            look at how matthew uses the word “immediately”
            when his jesus curses a tree it “immediately wither” on the spot

            here is mark again

            “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power”

          • mrsonic says:

            i find it funny that christians like paul can see 1948 into the words of jesus when in reality jesus seems to be talking about refugees and those who were supposed to be persecuted .

            here are more claims

            “Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place….”

            these are refuges.

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello

            The reason why Jesus didnt say this or that etc, is because He didnt need to. He only said what was relevant.
            You cant speculate and focus are what didnt happen or what wasnt said, just to to prop up a theory.

            There are certain prophecies in scripture which require short or long range fulfilment. The context shows which.
            God promised Abraham, Issac and Jacob the whole entire promised land. These 3 are all dead. 3000 yrs +. Has God failed this promise?????

            Absolutely not. Your arguments are purley based on preconceived notions and not on written grammatical contextual historical Theology.

            This is copied.

            When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise.

    • mrsonic says:

      “Right, and all of this is why the NT is completely self-contradicting. You have both Jesus and John saying the second-coming is imminent, but then you have other books that put a bunch of conditions that could not possibly have happened in that “last hour” and ” some here will still be alive when I come” frame of time.”

      you will find immanency in the gospel of mark + matthew , but you will definitely not find
      mark and matthew like immanency in the gospel of john. this is the reason why scholars think book of revelation was not written by the author called john.
      john has no use of “son of man”
      he has no use for “you will see…”
      the author says “now my kingdom” present, not future.
      john has no use for marks jesus’ eschatology, but then it changes in revelation and once again their is expectation of return .

      so the scholars say:

      When you think about it, it’s not so strange: many Christians today *still* think the End is coming in their lifetimes! And yet others aren’t bothered about it and don’t buy it for a minute.

  13. It is abundantly clear from Israel’s own prophetic Scriptures, that before messiah comes, there is going to be an unequaled time of trouble for the descendants of Jacob, immediately preceding his coming. Un-equaled. In and through this travail and suffering the surviving remnant of the nation will “somehow” be born, in one day, into a new Covenant, and a new kind of righteousness that will enable them to keep the land forever and not have to fear the former Covenant discipline of God for departing from His ways.

    If the words of the prophets regarding the nation are true, and they are true, then we can ask a few questions about this mysterious person we call anointed, messiah, moshiach, etc:

    Is this anointed person whom God has chosen to lead and deliver Jacob going to be immune from this suffering of the anointed nation? Is he going to be unacquainted with the griefs of the community? Is Jacob going to be marred more than any nation, and messiah somehow be slip through the process and be exalted OVER the nation, but have no feeling of their infirmities? How far down will God’s servant go? Is Isaiah 53 about a nation or a person? Or both? How dry will will the bones of the whole house of Israel be? How dry is VERY dry? How will Israel rule the nations in righteousness if it has not been humbled below them all?

    Personally, I find the scenario of a non-suffering messiah unthinkable. Messiah will be a figure like Moses, Joseph, Jeremiah, or Daniel (etc), who suffers WITH, and intercedes FOR the nation gone astray. Messiah MUST suffer. Messiah MUST come under the downcast ones to undergird and lift up. However bad it will be for the messiah nation, the messiah leader MUST be one step ahead, able to relate and able to revive.

    The so-called “righteous” person who does not see this necessity – who considers himself to have no need of God to provide such an intercessor and gentle shepherd for Israel, or to provide a “new” heart, or a “new” covenant, or one to prophesy resurrection life – has an ailment bordering on the incurable. How will God reach such a one?

    And who has not been subject to this kind of blinding righteousness? Show me such a man, and I will show you either a liar, or one who’s father is not Adam. Accusing Jesus’ Jewish disciples of dishonesty because they didn’t see the need for this kind of Messiah until after His death is putrefying, unbridled arrogance. Such was my condition. Such is the condition of all men. At the death of Jesus, this small band of Jews were unwitting trailblazers into the depths of devastated hope that ALL Israel will experience just before the great and terrible Day of the Lord that all the prophets say is coming. And… at His resurrection, they were born into a living hope, a first fruits of the “born in a day” nation that is yet to come. Don’t rule out the possibility that God would reveal this to a small band first and hide it from the larger nation, as a necessary part of the very Covenant discipline that will make Israel fit to be the head and not the tail. Especially since it is entirely foretold.

    • Thomas Quinian Well said! Well said! Is he going to be immune from the suffering of the anointed ? is he going to unacquainted with the grief of the community? Obviously not. The real Messiah will be someone who has the persecution of Israel seared into his soul and no one ever doubted that. Not even the unlettered disciples of Jesus. How would you comfort the mourners if you never felt their pain? The Messiah will certainly not be someone who makes naught of Israel’s suffering.

      1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

    • Jim says:

      Mr. Quinlan,

      I have been thinking over your definition of arrogance for the past couple of days. You write that it is unbridled arrogance to accuse the disciples of Jesus for dishonesty, because they did not see the need for an atoning Messiah until after Jesus’ death. This is a strange use of the word arrogance. It seems to be quite the opposite.

      Consider that for over 1,000 years the Jewish people had no notion of a dying Messiah. They had no notion that the innocent must die for the guilty. Rather the opposite, as Ezekiel 18 and 33 testify. Then, a group of men after suffering a great disappointment began to teach a new doctrine, one hitherto unknown to the people entrusted with Torah.

      Surely, before one accepts an innovation regarding Torah understanding or the understanding of the prophets, one must have a compelling reason. One does not yield to any opinion just for having been stated. The disciples had no such compelling reason to offer anyone. They were not scholars. Christians often argue from the resurrection, but the disciples could not even prove that such an event had happened. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the disciples did not produce a resurrected Jesus. According to the NT, they did not announce the resurrection until 47 days later than Jesus had promised to return, and at that time he was already supposed to have ascended to heaven in the manner of Romulus. Rejecting their innovations is not only natural and reasonable; it is a duty.

      Indeed, if one is to consider the question of arrogance, one must consider the great errors of the Church. Their scriptures contain misquotes, as those found in Hebrews and Matthew. They contain misrepresentations, as those in Matthew and Paul. These misquotes and misrepresentations seem to be the mark of arrogance, for surely only the arrogant man feels qualified to rewrite the words of the Almighty. And yet, the Church would have us believe that disbelieving obvious distortions is the mark of arrogance, not the act of putting them to paper in the first place.

      Moreover, it is an act of arrogance to ignore those people appointed by God to be His witnesses. The Church acknowledges Tanach as true. And yet, they have ignored its message and created their own. Deuteronomy 4 establishes the Jewish people as those who will represent the right idea of God to the world. They will teach that God is One, not three, incorporeal and everlasting. The Christian world arrogates to itself the role of witness entrusted by God to the Jewish people. And its testimony is in direct conflict with that of the Torah. What word but “arrogance” suits claiming the role of another and offering as testimony the opposite of that given to the witness?

      I am sure that you wish to know what is true and do what is right. You consider that all humans who deny the message of the Church as arrogant. Yet, I think if you reflect, you will see that the Church’s message relies upon arrogance, not the denial of such doctrines. The Church innovates. The Church rewrites. The Church misrepresents. And the Church takes for itself a title bestowed upon another. If the Church were humble, it would have come to the witness nation to learn, not to instruct.

      Jim

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Jim, the notion of a suffering messiah may have originated with the disciples of Jesus, (or at least in the Roman period,) but we all know it has been incorporated into later Judaism itself in a round about sort of way. (this is why there are several failed messiahs that all fit into a Jesus type mold, or a Jesus like rubric in later periods.) All the details are different, but since Jesus showed up, most failed messiahs have been similar to him in one way or another, indirectly making the Christians ask “what the heck?” Its distracting, and it really doesn’t help anyone to see the real point of the Torah. Christians feel there is an arrogance because they see similarities with their eyes on the one hand that rabbis tell them don’t exist on the other. They feel flustered by that, and its understandable.

        We should explain that Christianity is to Judaism like the foam on a latte. The Latte (Commandments) aren’t as tasty to people as the foam, (the legends, sermons, and mystical concepts) but the commandments are the center point, not the individuals.

        There isn’t much substance to the foam, (it is derived from the Latte, but its not the substance of it.) I’m not out to argue with the Christians about whether the messiah can suffer and die, whether he is human or super-human, “angelic” “godly soul,” “shaliach,” etc. or what “new Covenant” actually means, because when we ask those kinds of questions (based on legends,) out there somewhere in the myriad sources and history, you can martial support for either position.

        The thing we really need to ask is this: what was the original point of the Bible? What is the meat of those earliest of books that serve as the setting for all the other books? If you ask either testament, its the commandments that mean the most to the book, that clear the road of confusion so to speak. If I ask either the Jewish or Christian sources How ought one to act and behave? The answers given are far more complimentary to each other. Thomas Quinlan has a good point, and he has enough history on his side to link Moshiach and suffering. That however is not the heart of the issue. The issue is, what is the root of the bible, a messiah or mitzvot?

        • Dina says:

          Con, Thomas Quinlan charged us with arrogance. Jim responded to the charge by showing him how it is the Christian who is arrogant. You explained why we appear arrogant to the Christian, but don’t you see that Jim explained why it’s the other way around?

          It doesn’t matter why anyway: if a Christian falsely accuses of any vice, we ought to respond forcefully and show him why he is wrong, not explain to him that we understand why he thinks the way he does. Jim obviously gets the Christian point of view, and that is why his response to Thomas is so spot on.

  14. Fred says:

    Paul wrote – “You cant speculate and focus are what didnt happen or what wasnt said, just to to prop up a theory.”

    And then he wrote- “Absolutely not. Your arguments are purley based on preconceived notions and not on written grammatical contextual historical Theology.”

    Right, which is precisely what you do with the Tanakh to propagate Jesus.

    • Paul summers says:

      Hello
      Ok, lets do a grammatical, contextual historical theology test.

      Lets see what reponse we get from this very simple observance command given by the God of Israel.

      “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

      If the above quote was in a school exam, and the paper said,
      ” in regard to the quoted Hebrew text, can you please explain in NO more than 10 words, the basic, doctrinal, and fundimental meaning of the text”.

      Thanks.

      • Jim says:

        Paul,

        How strange that you say “lets do a grammatical, contextual historical theology test,” because they you go on to ignore the context altogether. This is obvious because as you quote the text, it says “For the life…” which means that this thought is connected to something before it, a something which you omitted. You also call this a “simple observance command,” yet you quote no command, again showing that you have denied the quote its context. Before you even offer an interpretation, one can see that your question relies on decontextualizing the quoted clause.

        Moreover, if we are to consider context, we will see that the blood is of specified animals. The Church says that the blood of a man atones. However, we see from the passage in question that human blood is not one of those prescribed for atonement, not even from a sinless man. By selecting this passage, you have only shown the untenability of Christian doctrine.

        I do not know why you should limit the exegete to ten words. I wonder if you would accept such a limitation. For some time now, I have asked you to defend the NT’s abuse of Tanach. You quoted Hebrews, which says that God disregarded Israel. The author of Hebrews has misquoted Jeremiah, who wrote, not that God disregarded Israel but that He was a husband to Israel. By your rules of exegesis: Please tell us in ten words or less, by what right does the author of Hebrews alter the words of the prophet?

        Jim

        • Paul summers says:

          Hello

          I love a challenge, and I wouldnt ask someone to do something if I wasnt willing to do it myself.
          Its a shame the question wasnt answerd though! The limit was 10. My question, my rules.

          Anyway,
          Are you stating, from a Tanach teaching that the blood of animals attone sin?

          To answer your question,

          Septuagint and masoretic changes. Focusing on the theme is paramount.

          • Dina says:

            Neat dodge, as usual. Nice to see you again, Paul:).

          • Jim says:

            Paul,

            It is sad to see you treat Torah as a game. Your question was not directed to me, and I was not answering it. I was pointing out that the question itself is invalid. You incorrectly label the verse a command: it is not. You say you want to consider it contextually, but you remove it from it’s context. The rules for exegesis do not belong to you. ‘ Paul’s questions, Paul’s rules’ is foolishness. Your question was an attempt at a “Gotcha!” It treats Torah as a game.

            Your answer to my question shows just how foolish a game this is. It leaves you only enough room to make unsubstantiated statements. You assert Masoretic changes, but you of course have no room to explain them. It is an unsubstantiated assertion stated in a four-word non-sentence. It is glib. While it may be cute that you can write in non-sentences to make unfounded claims, it leaves you no room to demonstrate their truth.

            Torah study is not a place for word games. It is not a place for cuteness and glib answers. It is not a place for “gotcha!” questions. Torah study is a most serious occupation. It should be treated as such.

            Jim

          • Paul Summers
            When you say that you love a challenge – let me remind you what happened back here – https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/tsvi-jacobson-on-hebrews-922/#comment-7021 – still waiting for you to give an intelligent answer or to be honest and admit that the Christian Scriptures mistreat the Jewish Bible

          • Jim says:

            Paul,

            I mean nothing insulting by “four-word non-sentence”. A friend drew my attention to the fact that it could be taken in an insulting fashion. I only mean that “Septuagint and masoretic changes” is not a sentence, and you could not write one, because more than ten words is required to explain your answer. But I meant nothing insulting or sarcastic.

            Jim

  15. Fred says:

    Paul, Sonic is just reading the text in context. He is absolutely right. I have been to many Christian Bible studies where such texts are discussed and then written off as “too mysterious or hard to understand” because they fly in the face of the theological or eschatological narrative.Its like where Jesus says that anyone who calls another person a fool is in danger of damnation, but then Jesus turns around and calls everyone fools.

    The truth is that anyone with an ounce of common sense and literacy, who is not biased, can read Jesus’ and John’s words and know that they are speaking of an event that was to take place in their lifetime- no ifs, ands or buts. The imminence of this event was the entire point they were making! It doesn’t work for you because the larger NT narrative in other chapters points to a longer time frame. So you have to force the transfiguration into the narrative in order to preserve your infallible NT. But as Sonic pointed out, that simply does not work any more than saying Luke’s genealogy belongs to Mary or that Jesus was crucified twice, once on Passover Eve and again on Passover Day, depending on which account you read. Its a face-saving theory, but contextually it holds no water, so theologians make up new rules so that the exceptions and contradictions somehow harmonize. It is disingenuous to be sure.

  16. Concerned Reader says:

    “How strange that you say “lets do a grammatical, contextual historical theology test,”

    Jim, you know what he means by that, so why say its strange? For a Christian, we know the methodology they use is as follows.

    1. a Conversion experience
    2. preconception due to living in a Christian cultural context already
    3. exposure to the ethics of Jesus
    4. validation of theology through checking of beliefs via a survey of Jewish history and messianic trends.

    Because of their historical/critical method, and because of what they see in Jewish history happening again and again (The Rebbe, Shabbatai Zvi, etc.) they can’t help but think their faith’s ideas are vindicated. You know what they mean when they say “context.” Tell him “the original context of the Bible as it was given is the first five books.” The meat of Torah is the very thing that Pauline theology deems of little value, namely works of the law. If you are predisposed to view the law as a negative, you can’t appreciate the Jewish position.

    • Dina says:

      How do you know that Jim knows what Paul means? In fact, how do you know what Paul means? I read Paul’s post and took it literally, at face value. “A grammatical, contextual historical theology test” is exactly that. It must examine grammar, context, history, and theology.

      A Christian can’t challenge a Jew like that and then turn around and say, “Oh, that’s not what I meant.” You know why? Because it’s dishonest.

      We all speak English here, but we don’t read minds.

  17. Concerned Reader says:

    Jim (as a former Christian) should know what a Christian’s rhetoric means, that’s what I meant.

    • Dina says:

      Christians shouldn’t use misleading rhetoric. They should say what they mean and mean what they say.

      Honestly, I don’t understand how you got from Paul’s challenge to your interpretation of it. It is bizarre to me.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Paul draws links between blood, atonement, and suffering. While not spelled out in Christian terms in Jewish sources, there are links.

        Your historical contextual exegesis of verses is indeed correct Jim and Dina, and you are correct that it is arrogant for Christians to thoroughly discount your perspectives, but from a certain perspective you can see why they ask questions in such uncouth fashion loaded with rhetoric.

        Judaism tells the Christians that their entire religion (and spiritual life) is fully without a basis in the Jewish Bible and tradition, that it is a contextual distortion of everything Judaism represents.
        In effect, Judaism tells Christians, “abandon everything you have been taught for generations, abandon the culture you know, abandon everything you know, because our understanding is the proper one.”

        From a literal perspective, indeed you are right, Judaism has the proper contextual understandings. However, Christians have seen with their own eyes would be messiahs like Shabbatai Zevi and Jacob Frank (two men who held antinomian views more extreme then Paul of Tarsus, but who arose in an orthodox setting,) and they have seen messianism surrounding the rebbe and others (which closely paralell early Christianities.)

        These movements arose in large orthodox Jewish circles in moments throughout history. You are right that those ideologies are aberrant, but to put the lie on the Christians (when the tradition itself produces Jesus like replicas) can be construed as arrogance, even if you are correct strictly speaking. (just playing Devil’s advocate here)

        A customer walks into a bakers shop and asks for a chocolate chip cookie. The baker says, “we sell no chocolate chip cookies here.” Puzzled, the customer asks “what about that one there, and that one, and this one here?” “well, that’s a cookie with Eminems, that’s a cookie with chocolate kisses, and that’s a cookie that does have chocolate chips, but also has nuts in it. So, they are totally not the same thing.”

        • Concerned Reader says:

          I’m not trying to be mean, just pointing out that you are asking a lot of them. To really understand your perspective, they have to first step out of what they know. They have to ignore parallels they have physically seen in history, they have to put on halachic lenses. That is asking a lot. They may have a false belief (as per Torah,) but it is a false belief that has seen several plantings in Judaism. Skepticism and haughtiness is not called for, but you can see where it comes from.

          • Dina says:

            I hear everything you are saying, but why should we not call them out on it? They come here to challenge us; we are perfectly content to leave them alone.

            Look, Christians have not been giving Jews a fair hearing for 2,000. The truly humble thing to do would be to actually listen to what we have to say in a spirit of understanding and compassion rather than contempt and smug self-righteousness.

          • Dina says:

            “I’m not trying to be mean, just pointing out that you are asking a lot of them. To really understand your perspective, they have to first step out of what they know. They have to ignore parallels they have physically seen in history, they have to put on halachic lenses. That is asking a lot.”

            Yet Christians ask–no, demand–that we ignore our context and ignore common sense and just have faith. That is asking a lot more! Christians are not practicing the golden rule and are doing to us what would be hateful to them. They are not treating us as they would want to be treated.

            The whole point of this blog is not to empathize with Christians but to push back against aggressive proselytizing, a disrespectful and obnoxious practice that Jews do not engage in.

          • Dina says:

            Does that make sense, Con?

        • Concerned Reader says:

          The above is in reference to both Paul’s and Thomas’ points.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          I’m basically saying that from the Christian perspective, if the Christian cake recipe isn’t and cant be in the book, why is it so darn easy for that cake to come out of the oven?

          • Dina says:

            If they want to be able to argue that, then two things:

            1. They have to accept that Jesus is not unique. How can they then be sure that those other cakes aren’t just as legitimate as they believe Jesus to be?
            2. We can turn that around and say, if Christian scripture is so not anti-Jewish, then why was it so easy for it to produce Jew hatred (so many more hate cookies than messiah cookies)? It’s just not an argument.

  18. Concerned Reader says:

    Yeah Dina, it totally makes sense. In fact, I would argue that if they sat patiently and listened to the Jewish perspective, they would not need to argue with you at all, even if they still respected Jesus.

  19. Concerned Reader says:

    1. They have to accept that Jesus is not unique. How can they then be sure that those other cakes aren’t just as legitimate as they believe Jesus to be?

    That’s true, but non uniqueness is not necessarily all bad. If you can establish patterns, it makes it more believable. They can’t be 100% sure, but at least they have some faith, experiences, and some well thought reasons for believing what they do. That’s as much as anyone in any faith could ask for really.

    2. We can turn that around and say, if Christian scripture is so not anti-Jewish, then why was it so easy for it to produce Jew hatred (so many more hate cookies than messiah cookies)? It’s just not an argument.

    When you consider that the vast majority of early Christians came directly from polytheism and converted to Christianity (without a Torah framework,) and then you consider the late 1st century (violent period) context of their textual transmission, its a bucket of a mess.

  20. One of the best ways to understand the origins of Christianity is to view Rabbi Michael Skobac’s YouTube presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UZeR3yV_Z8

  21. This might actually be the best argument against Isaiah 53’s servant. They often claim that it was a well known messianic text… But Jesus’ followers never saw that coming:)

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