Horace’s Tree by Jim

Horace has a tree in his backyard that he worships.  But he doesn’t worship it as an entity separate from God. He says that this is the incarnation of the Spirit.

He even brings proof texts.  He argues that the Tree of Life was the first incarnation of the Spirit.  And that Adam and Eve chose the knowledge after the flesh (or some such phrase) rather than filling themselves with the Spirit of God.  Moreover, anyone who doesn’t accept the doctrine of the Tree of Life does likewise, removing themselves from the presence of God, relying on their own wisdom.  They’ll quote the NT that the wisdom of this world is foolishness.

He has other proofs.  After all, why does God talk about the woman’s seed? He finds this unusual.  He will seize on the word “seed” as applying to plants.  He will notice that plants were created before people, giving them preeminence.  When someone points out to him that the Spirit is likened unto wind or breath, he will say that proves the point all the more, because trees produce oxygen.

He will point out that the Messiah is a “branch” or “shoot”, language suitable to trees.  He will say that the prophet says that he will be a sapling before us.  People will argue with him, pointing out that he neglected that it says “like” a sapling before us.  He will argue that seizing on the pre-fix “like” is hyper-literalism, or that the rabbis and Christians altered the text to suit their theology, or that his translation doesn’t say “like”.

Some will point out the terribly obvious that one isn’t to worship a tree. But he will say that one shouldn’t worship just any tree obviously.  One should only worship the Tree of Life.  There is only one such tree (and right now it’s in his backyard.)  Of course one should shun other trees. One should not join an asheirah cult.  That would be wrong.  This tree, however, is the same as the God that appeared at Mt. Sinai.  (I hate typing such words, even to make a point.)  He will say that it appeared at various times at scripture, including as a burning bush.  He will say that one needs to be “grafted in to the tree”, quoting from the NT.  (No need to point out to him that the tree to be grafted into was Israel.  That’s a hyper-literal interpretation.)

Among the strongest proofs in his arsenal will be that the Tree of Life—the one in his backyard—has performed miracles.  His wife ate a apple from it and her cancer disappeared.  Many other occurrences like this have taken place.  Also, when he himself ate of the tree, he found that he was overcome by the most incredible love of God and Man.  He became truly filled with the Spirit.  (So did a couple pies.)  He will realize that this fits in with Acts, when tongues of fire came upon the apostles.  After all, fire is kindled on wood.  (At this point, he likely to shout “Praise the Tree” or some such thing.)

When someone says that Jesus did the atoning work already, he will say that it wasn’t enough.  Jesus did the part, and a very important part.  But because the first sin was committed with the fruit of a tree, so must the redemption be fulfilled by the fruit of the Tree.  And all the time, you will be saying that, “You cannot worship a tree!”  And he will agree with you, patiently, smiling.  “But this isn’t any tree (just as Jesus isn’t any man.)  This tree is part of the triune godhead.  The scriptures have been pointing to it all the time, but we didn’t understand until we tasted the sweet apple that opened our eyes.  Now that the prophecies have been fulfilled, we know what they mean.  We also know why Jesus is taking so long to come back.  He couldn’t return until the Tree finished the work of redemption.  It all makes sense now.”

He will even introduce a third set of scriptures.  He will say that one was needed for the revelation of each member of the godhead.  Three persons means three testaments—the final being a tree testament.

It won’t take long until you will find yourself exasperated with such a person.  And yet, worshipping a man is no different.  He too is created.  No man is to be worshipped.  Claiming that he is one with God is no less ludicrous.  It is no more true than worshipping the tree in Horace’s backyard.

It is no different being a Christian than a Horatian.

https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/the-charolite-trilogy/

If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=FEAQ55Y7MR3E6

Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.

Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

Advertisements
This entry was posted in The Charolite Faith. Bookmark the permalink.

352 Responses to Horace’s Tree by Jim

  1. Annelise says:

    This is an ugly image but a deeply helpful parallel. Thanks Jim for writing it.

  2. LarryB says:

    This is very good. One question, what would that make the offspring of the tree? Someone is bound to plant the seeds.

  3. LarryB says:

    Clearly Horace lived in Israel right?

  4. Yehuda says:

    Jim,

    If you don’t mind I’d like to add some important elements and defenses of Horacian theology that you may have overlooked.

    1) To those who would claim that Horace’s worship of his tree is self-evident violation against the prohibitions against idolatry as expressed in the ten commandments and elsewhere I would point out that those prohibitions are very specific to not worship our own man-made images. They never anywhere say that the God who created heaven and earth could not choose to manifest in a part of his creation such as a tree and be worthy of worship as such.

    2) Ah but some will point to Deuteronomy 16:21 which says: Thou shalt not plant thee an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee. And there are several other verses in Tanach that speak of the evils of the Asheira cult. Doesn’t that make clear that we should not worship a tree. Of course it does NOT. The verse in Deut says We should not PLANT a tree for worship beside God’s altar. Horace’s tree is fundamentally different. He did not plant it. Nobody planted it. Rather it sprang up one day on its own clearly a reflection of God’s desire to have His tree flower from His seed is this particular place and time. Secondly, it is no where near Gods altar. It’s in Horace’s back-yard. This distinction of course applies equally to the other verses that speak of destroying the Asheira trees of the pagans since those trees were clearly also of this prohibited type which were deliberately planted for worship without authorization it a cultic setting. Of course no man can designate a tree as a God tree. But that says nothing about Gods ability to manifest as such when he chooses. The God-tree of course was planted by God as forshadowed and as had previously appeared in scripture

    3) Then there are those who argue that Horace’s tree could not possibly be one and the same as the God of Sinai where God taught nothing about a tree. These small minded people of course are trying to put God into their little box constraining what He could or couldn’t do if he so chose. I again urge them to look at all of your evidence of prior appearances of the the god-tree in Tanach beginning with the Garden of eden and progressing through the burning bush. Did Moses himself not describe God as the one who dwelt in the bush in Deut: 33:16. Do all these eventsyeach us nothing about God and the mystery of His arboreal aspect – a wonderful part of his complex unity.

    4) And lastly there are those who ask in astonishment how Horace could worship the tree when the tree was so obviously just another finite element of God’s natural world that sprouted, grew, behaved like other trees, and then in a final demonstration of its mere “treedom” was chopped down by some bitter tree-haters who were annoyed by the way its roots were spreading into their property. How, they ask, could the Horacians continue to worship this mere stump.

    Ah but don’t they see? Have they never read Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. That prescient prophetic work that forshadowed Horace’s tree by many decades and speaks of a tree that gave everything of itself out of its selfless love for the boy – even unto it’s own death whereby now a mere stump it still provides rest and refuge for the weary. So it is with Horace’s god-tree

    I remain with my challenge to anyone to prove to me form the Tanach that Horace’s worship is idolatrous.

    May the blind eventually open their eyes and come to the tree (stump).

    • Jim says:

      Yehuda,

      Thank you for your amendments. I also realized certain omissions. The NT speaks of the “fruits of the spirit” clearly a reference to Horace’s Tree. Also, how could I not have called it the “Joshua Tree”.

      Jim

      • Dina says:

        LOL, you guys are brilliant and hilarious!

        This is the point I keep making over and over to Trinitarians; if God can manifest physically, any idol worship can be use this this argument as justification. Furthermore, the way Christians use proof texts from Tanach can be used to justify practically any belief.

        Let them find simple, clear, open teachings that tell us exactly whom to worship. They can’t do this one simple thing, and that’s why they have failed to convert the Jewish people.

        The God in the Bible is not mysterious. He tells it like it is. All we have to do is listen and obey.

  5. B.J.Stone says:

    Dear Friendly Pharisee: Any ‘threads’ obviously from Isaiah 66:17 prophesy you could also refer us to at this time? Especially since we need NOT waiting beyond this sudden/soon ending of 2013 (clearly where both Gregorian Calendar AND fullness of the Jewish Calendar come together ‘first time’ announcing 6000 years since first Adam also ate of THIS ‘TREE’ ?

  6. CenturyLink Customer says:

    We need to, are encouraged by, this [New post]  study obviously from  Isaiah 66 ( especially 16,17,18, Etc.,  et al, all the more TODAY as we see that ‘ day of YHWH’ fast approaching our tiny little ‘milky way’  planetary footstool of YHWH). [of which we are still in our ‘initial only’  introduction to eternal existence somewhere in YHWH’s ever expanding NEVER ENDING material Universe as ‘children’ of ‘mother Eve’  of all natural living soul hidden inner-man ‘BODIES’ and also as first Adam within our also further hidden  ‘within’ and completely ALWAYS  hidden here,  ‘spiritual BODIES’ eternal, as well]. b.j.Stone,esq.,dmin.,ret.,re-fired,lookingUP

  7. Hey I have had a revelation that Jim is absolutely right. I want to know what the initiation is to
    the Horacian religion. I hope it isn’t circumcision as I have already had that one. If you haven’t decided on one I would suggest you give out Tootsie Pops made with natural fruit from the tree. I would I further suggest Wednesday as the day of worship as Friday Saturday and Sunday are all bunched too close together. By the way if you need a minister I am free as next week is my final sermon at my present religion. Call me so we can discuss pay.
    Sincerely
    Tsvi

    • B.J.Stone says:

      initiation (as in ‘reconciliation’ BEGINNINGS again, or as initially unto YHWH) has never changed, is STILL ‘public baptism in water’ first, ‘washing of water’ of the ‘inspired word’ beginning with moses, FOLLOWING, finally then a coming to understand this tiny planetary ‘footstool’ only, of YHWH, does not survive beyond full 6,000 years from adam/eve in it’s finale ‘baptism’ (real mountain melting fire, even unto initial, yet to be introduced) eternal ‘lake of fire’ preparations to welcome ha satan and his rebellious angels tossed from heaven at conclusion of next thousand years ‘resurrection’ of all souls from adam/eve, different ‘dust’ temporal ‘outer tent’ flesh/blood, yet still in sinful flesh, same ‘dna’, from adam [in which the ‘rest of the dead’ from here ‘live not again UNTIL conclusion on ‘pattern’ above of their assigned ‘earthy globe’ (or, last 70 years of ‘first’ resurrection’s ‘thousand’, or completion of 7th ‘day’ from adam) thereby regardless of participation in ‘initiation’ down here ? ALL from adam/eve are assigned ‘own individual order’ in resurrection This is the message beginning with the nation of israel assignment to all nations (aka: called ‘gospel’, good news) for ALL offspring from adan/eve, no exceptions] both lives when finally lived MAKE UP THE ETERNALLY RECORDED BOOKS of heaven of ‘each, every individual’ from first man/woman from YHWH’s ‘copy’ of ‘pattern earthS above’ still to be discovered]. 8.8 billion ‘potential’ MEGA earths already estimated just recently, only now being ‘discovered’ AT THIS END OF 6,000 yrs. since adam, IN JUST OUR ONE GALAXY (‘milky way’) alone ! keep looking UP !

      • Yedidiah says:

        Confusion is from the “devil”, so what does not make much sense here on earth would make less sense on those other planets “up there”. Many of your symbols are not from the book of our God; they come from pagan beliefs or your own imagination. There is no “good news” from a man-made god who has one of most trusted angels become a devil, a rival who makes the high god appear to be impotent. No god who has “rebellious angels” tossed out of heaven, can offer humans any hope and can provide no “salvation”. Especially a god that somehow needs sinful flesh to carry out his insane plan.

        • Paul summers says:

          Hello Yedidiah

          When you say as in your last sentsnce God doesnt need a man of sinfull flesh to carry out His plan, are you referring to Jesus Himself, Messiah when He comes from your view, or man in a general sense?

          • Yedidiah says:

            All 3. There is an old saying “that there is no Messiah and you are it”. There is also the idea of a Messianic era. There is the messianic idea that a messiah can come in 2 general or basic ways, depending on our merit and degree and faithfulness to God’s Word & Law. “The” Messiah as viewed by you and many people is not explicitly spelled out in the Tanach. God needs no man or woman to be able to do the matter, plan, or things of God or else God fails & he is the not Almighty God. So, all 3 are “unnecessary” for God. There is definely no reason for an imagined “sinless man” (especially “one” who was clearly sinful despite the belief of fallible humans)

            But earth is for people. And people need people. And people can do what God would desire without God giving direct & explicit orders – as if we were robots instead of ones who were created in the image of God and ones who God believes can be righteous and holy. Doesn’t mean one can’t be a “tool” used; neither does it mean that God can not “act in history” without a man (or even an angel of the Lord) “doing it” as God has intervened before in history, according to Tanach.

            Many Christians believe that Jews have “come back to their land” & an Israel has been established, which they see as a sign of the “end times” or the messianic age. But without Jesus and without a messiah seen doing it. For over 65 years, no sign of a messiah to bring about this messianic sign.

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello
            Thankyou for your reply. That I suppose brings alot of light into my understanding of Jews and your thoughts of Yeshua, the prophets, Gods will and the Law etc.

            x

          • Yedidiah says:

            Paul S. I am not a Jew, so I don’t believe I can offer much light at all about “Jew’s understanding” of those subject matters. If Jesus was a Jew, I believe he would have to agree with other Jews in rejecting the Greek-Roman, Babylonian concept of their messiah Yeshua and their other beliefs that contradict Tanach & Torah. But he could be one of those Israelites who was influenced by Baal & the prophets of Asherah, which would explain much about his straying from YHWH’s words. After some of the Christian writings, say he was born in the Galil, the “land of the Gentiles”, Northern Kingdom of Israel where much of the rejection of YHWH by its kings and by it’s people were the strongest. And there are a few words in the gospels, that are hostile to Jews (I.e, from Judea or the Southern Kingdom) and that he “came for the lost sheep of Israel” (I.e., lost tribes of Israel or the Northern Kingdom?). That may also explain those words that are kinder to Samaritan’s (whose ancestor’s were once part of the northern kingdom).

            I have been a member of Christian Churches for decades, I took a few courses in a ministerial program, and I still am a tither going to a Christian church (fundamentalist, “holy ghost”, “tongue speaking” church). So my training is as a Christian. Being a member of a “Hebraic Roots” church for over 10 years (one connected with Christians United for Israel) was what introduced me to Jews & Judaism, but I still see many things from a Christian viewpoint. I just happen to see big problems in Christianity which I can’t “sweep under the rug” and it is impossible to ignore big problems with the NT’s presentation of Jesus with the many clearly contradictory verses and several theological absurdities.

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello Yedidiah
            Im absolutley fasinated about your last comments here. Would love to talk and ask more.

            You mention titheing. As you are not Jewish, why would the Mosiac Law rule your giving. As a Christian the Law was seen to be finished through Christ. It was given to the Jews through Moses for Jews not the church. So being a gentile and member of the body you are free from the Law. Giving should come from the heart not the letter.

            You state that you go to a Tongue speaking church. Can I ask what language these tongues are spoken in? The reason I ask is that tongues that are apparaently spoken in today are not the NT tongues. From the NT tongues were “Glossa” Tongues, other known languages of the world but unknown untaught languages. Not a repetative noise of babbling. In acts they spoke in; Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Arameric and Galilian. Know languages. The apolstolic period ended. Signs and wonders do not authenticate scripture.

            You mention that Jesus came for lost tribes not lost sheep. The tribes of Israel were not lost, The NT does not teach so. He did however come for His Flock of sheep Israel, which were spiritually lost. All 12 tribes. Israel might have been split geographically, but they were/are still on the whole His.

            You mention error in the Church. Yes there is. Titheing and tongues are just a few. The NT is not in error. Just people who are led by the flesh not the Spirit of truth. People do not walk in the newness of the Holy Spirit and do not comprehend the completed works of Christ. The Joy of ones Salvation through Jesus is lost to the so called church!
            They follow the doctrine of men, and not the written Word of God.

            JESUS was Jewish. Salvation comes from the Jews. Jesus is King of The Jews. It was Jewish blood that atoned mans sin. The Gospel should go too the Jews first.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Giving to a church, your storehouse (commonly called tithing) is not the same as Tithing laws in the Tanach (Btw it is not “Mosaic Law”, but God’s Eternal Law and which has not “been done away with by men, even according to the Paul – in his personal revelation or opinion- at his least heretical moments). And according to the gospels and Acts, if you want to “follow Jesus”, you must give ALL. BTW, my personal opinion is that tithing is not required nor is it a good thing. Giving to a church, your storehouse (commonly called tithing) is not the same as Tithing laws in the Tanach (Btw it is not “Mosaic Law”, but God’s Eternal Law and which has not “been done away with by men, even according to the Paul – in his personal revelation or opinion- at his least heretical moments). And according to the gospels and Acts, if you want to “follow Jesus”, you must give ALL. BTW, my personal opinion is that tithing is not required nor is it a good thing. And it is not a “Mosaic thing”. It is fund raising or it is payment for services rendered to the offeror. And then I guess it is error to receive services, speech, or “entertainment” and not pay for what you take (steal). That is if, you go to a church or listen to free radio or TV or go to a religious website.

            Tongues – I agree that it is “babbling” & I think it is nonsense. In the NT, some of the “tongue talking” was babbling. So there are both pro- and con-tongue verses in the NT, that are selectively chosen by one “camp” that believe that it is “spiritual from the Holy Spirit”, while the other camp think it is nonsense and error. Since those verses pro- and con- are in the NT, then both camps are in error or both are correct, because it doesn’t matter (maybe it is like different people like different music, while others believe music or singing in church is error. You personally decide that you aren’t in error and they decide that you are, or vice versa.

            The Bible does say that the tribes were lost, as well as exiled and northern Israel was dispersed among the nations and became one with them (in Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, etc). Hyrcanus brought some of those people’s or their descendants & most of the land lost, back into Israel (about 150? years before Jesus). Some of them resented “the Jews” for “conquering” them and bringing them back into a “renewed Israel. There was a “bit of contention” between the Samaritans and the Jews (the Samaritan bible does not include much of the Jewish holy writings, except for mainly, a revised Torah).

            Saying “Jesus was Jewish” (or an Israelite) means nothing. It is like saying a crook, an idolator, a murderer, or a brave & a holy man is a Jew. The death of someone, just because they happen to be Jewish, does not bring about salvation or else there were countless millions of saviors (as well as “sacrifices”). Jesus never was made a king (except in some people’s mind, but not in history, not in reality). The blood of a human “sacrifice” is an abomination, according to the bible. It can not “atone for sins”, because it is a sin. Besides, a sacrifice is something that is owned by people and they are the ones who willingly are making the sacrifice and offering it as a gift to God out of obedience and love. If you aren’t the one giving the offering, the gift, why should you get any credit for the gift? God’s grace is given and can be received without someone else first giving a gift, just so that lazily you don’t have to lift a finger and do what is right in the eyes of God.

          • Yedidiah says:

            “It” will come from God, from Heaven, through a Messiah, to Zion first. So you, outside of Zion, don’t “jump the gun” & try to carry out the plan in reverse. Don’t think that you are “The Messiah” (one of many) that have to bring the message from overseas and overland to Zion (because Christians are tired of waiting on God to do it according to how Christians think God should carry out the “plan”). In the “end of days”, it will come from Zion out to the world; according to the Jewish Bible and not the other way around (but if that is part of the “Mosaic law” that has been done away with. By man).

          • Yedidiah says:

            Sorry about the duplication of some lines in the first paragraph. Despite the software update yesterday of WordPress, there are still problems with editing and with unexpected crashes and loss of data.

            Back to my response to Paul S responding to my earlier postings. I noticed that you wrote that the apostolic period had ended and that signs and wonders do not authenticate scripture. According to Jews, BEFORE Jesus (and still today), the prophetic period had ended before Jesus lived and signs and wonders do not authenticate scripture. Deut 13 and the “Mosaic Laws” were supposedly in effect before Jesus and during his supposed lifetime. So you made an very strong argument that would nullify Jesus as a prophet and would dismiss much of the NT that relies on signs and wonders to authenticate and validate itself.

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello Yedidiah

            I think the book of Malachi and ch 3 would be a strong arguement against your last post.
            Technically John the Baptist was a OT prophet. He lived before the Church age. Malachi also speaks of Elijha, who is still yet to come. Its not a case of what people say its what scripture says that is important.
            Titheing to a storehouse is just that, a storehouse. The church cannot be a storehouse because its a church not a storehouse. One is not symbolic of another.
            Stealing is taking something without the owners permission. Thats why people go to prison. If you offer something to someone and they dont offer any recompense fee in exchange then thats not stealing. Its just rude not to offer. Who would you offer 25$ to for a free newspaper that the press company leave at train stations? Would you shout “stop thief”
            Tongues being a pro and con. The cons do not justify the action. Any cons or babblings were a rebuke of abuse and error. The issue THEN was not to mis use the gift. Today the gift has 99.9 % ceased. Tongues were a sign at the time of the out pouring of the Holy Spirit to the new Jewish church. Once it had been rooted the gift ended.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Technically John the Baptist was not an “OT prophet”. Lots of people lived before “the church age”. Elijah has not come again, so yes it is not a case of what people want to believe because they read something in the NT. Why can’t a church be a storehouse if they store things there? And I did not use Malachi for any justification nor did I say giving that an offering was mandatory, but many services are not given away free without expectations, especially when one joins as a member (free radio was a bad example). And recognize that I am only giving some of what many, if not most others believe about tithing or tongues, so I can’t make a good case for them nor do I speak for them. I am mainly trying to point out the wide degree of disagreement between Christians and denominations. And I ask WHY would a Jesus or God allow such great errors to persist and grow and why would Jesus allow the deliberate (?) deception of so many millions of BELIEVERS who act in his name and represent him to so many non-believers over hundreds and almost 2000 years and how is that considered to be part of some salvation plan??? And how can one be called a “savior’ if his very words that they & you read and that are going to condemn them to hell along with evil-doers? Is there some written test that can determine that you are not in error and they are in error? And if they are in error, what is your part in ignoring condemnation of your brother and sister that are in Christ?

            The pro- side (and I am not one of them) Where is it stated in the NT, that “the gift ended” and that only 99.9% has not or is that another tradition of the later church or man? Has the “out pouring of the spirit” also ended and if it has not, who are you to say who the “holy spirit” can speak to or move and what it said and what is given? Did the “outpouring” also include Paul who came 20-30 years after the “new Jewish” church and who were the witnesses, especially since most scholars agree that perhaps only 7 of “Paul’s letters” are “authentic”

          • Yedidiah says:

            And the book of acts, which was once much larger, was believed by some early church fathers and many modern Christian scholars, to be written over 100 years after the events supposedly happened. These scholars believe Acts was written by some early church leaders in order to reconcile the many differences between the “Jerusalem church” and the Paul and the Paulinists. That reconciliation succeeded according to most believers, but some scholars and skeptics point to the many contradictions between the Paul in the authentic and pseudo-Pauline letters and with the Paul as Acts portrays him. BTW, you might be interested on reading one view of Paul in a book by Hyam MacCoby called “The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Chrstianity”. We can read this in the description of the book “The Authentic Letters of Paul” by Arthur J Dewey: “There were four different portraits of Paul in the early church: the non-authoritarian Paul of the great Letters, the authoritarian, misogynist Paul of the Pastoral Epistles, the frenetic missionary who single-handedly introduced Christianity to the Mediterranean world, and the proto- Gnostic Paul of Marcion and the Gnostic commentaries on Paul s letters. Which is the real Paul? The Christian church opted for the Pastoral Epistles…”.

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello Yedidiah
            All of the books written by these people
            as you say are sceptics. I mean if you believe in a collection of writings as God written, then any writings of men that try to argue against it should be ignored. Of course you can say the writings are not God written. Then of course that person would not be a believer.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Skeptic just means one that seeks truth and one who questions things without fool-heartedly believing what someone else says or writes just because it “sounds nice” (slick talk or writing is a common tool used by con-artists or satan) especially when there are contradictions and discrepancies, something sounds fishy and unbelievable, and when the evidence is slim to none. Some of these “skeptics” are reporting what others, who were some of the first believers & followers of Jesus, and who were leaders who passed on what they believed 1800 years ago and what you accepted without any questions apparently. These were men who said these were “God written” words (which have been edited, added to, and subtracted from since then. Trying to remain ignorant is not the same as trying to see the light. Seek and you shall find truth; do not be afraid to seek, for it is not “accepting on blind faith what men say” that will save you.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Some believer skeptics read what is in the footnotes of their bibles. They read maybe an intro or foreword on how their bible or bibles (or a particular bible translation to see if they would want to buy it) and they might even buy a study bible because they want to know more about the Word. Even if you haven’t or don’t set out to come out with a new version of the bible and so don’t study more about the details of its history, the footnotes in a good bible will show you that it is the product of men and women. If it was “God written” (and what humans witnessed that?), there would only be one Hebrew Tanach and one Greek NT. But the reality is that, that none of the chapters in your bible came from the original text. And, I believe that for each chapter in the NT, there are several different ancient texts and each differs in some way from others (and those differences are sometimes theologically significant). If they were “God written”, preserved, and re-translated by God, than it doesn’t matter which bible you buy; they would all be word for word the same and the a English versions, the NWT and the Douay-Rheims, NIV, NRSV, and the Holman CB are al the same word for word (?) and they are all based directly on the original and not any copies or copies of copies, etc.

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello Yedidiah

            According to the Consise Oxford English Dictionary; A sceptic..A person who doubts the truth. An athiest or someone who denies knowledge by the means of philosophy.

            There is nothing positive about being a sceptic.

            In the USA the word sceptic is spelled Skeptic. Like colour and color. My second point is the spelling of words when. talking about the same point are indifferent. The colour yellow and the yellow color mean the excact same.
            Yeshua~ Jesus is just a transmigration of a name from Hebrew~Greek~Latin~English.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Don’t believe 1 definition of several in one dictionary. Skeptics means to be one who is a truth seeker and if they were no longer truth seekers than they would have found the “ultimate Truth” and would no longer be sceptics or skeptics, and no skeptic “doubts the truth”, but only what other individuals might assume to be “truth”. If someone said they were abducted by “little green men from outer space”, taught them that their cannibal god XXX was the true god, and then these aliens returned to them to earth to be missionaries of their religion, would you be a sceptic of what they said without them providing any you with any sort of evidence and start believing in god XXX, or would you be a non-sceptic and say “that is a little hard to believe” and deny this new “knowledge” until you were provided with more proof of these aliens and even much greater proof for their god??? Would you consider it negative to be a sceptic in this case and the positive belief would covert to the religion of the “supreme god, XXX”? Skeptics definitely would not be a “denier of knowledge”, but the most ardent upholder of knowledge. Doesn’t the word philosophy, mean love of wisdom. Jesus taught a philosophy and Christianity is a philosophy, so did Jesus deny knowledge?

            Back to Acts chap 4 & 5 (and with similar teachings shown in a non-canonical book of the teachings of the Apostles, called “Didache”), the early Christians who had property would sell it & give ALL to their “church” as their communal storehouse, where everyone of the community of believers who had need could draw from. Is their any verse in the NT which condemned that practice or any verse from the NT that later generations of believers should no longer carry out the practices of the earliest believers? Is their any thing in the early church fathers writings that disallowed that practice? Why & when was this communalism, that we also see in some of Paul’s letters, abandoned? I am asking, I don’t know, so it is not a “trick question”. I seek to find, so that I have knowledge and not to deny knowledge about proper offerings, etc.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Sorry again about the order of my phrases or sentences, but the 3rd sentence should not have included the words “or would you be a non-sceptic” and the 3rd & 4th sentence should have read, “If someone said they were abducted by “little green men from outer space “, taught them that their cannibal god XXX was the true god, and then these aliens returned them to earth to be missionaries of their religion, would you be a skeptic of what they said without them providing you with any sort of evidence and say “that is a little hard to believe” and then deny this new “knowledge” until you were provided with more proof of these aliens and much greater proof for their god??? Or would you be a non-sceptic and start believing in god XXX and then become a missionary of the “true religion”?

            From what you have written before it appears that you are indeed a sceptic in the case of Horace. And you also are skeptical of what other Christians believe and are therefore, because of your personal philosophy. a “denier of the knowledge” held by millions of Christians. If you have proof of their error, shouldn’t you bring your “brothers & sisters in Christ” out of their error first, before going on some sort of quixotic mission to Jews?

          • Yedidiah says:

            Since my recall is fuzzy on Acts chapter 5, what is your take on Ananias and Sapphira?

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello Yedidiaha

            Chapter 5 should as all scripture be read in context. Chap 4 gives the setting of ch 5.
            Ch 5 Starts with the word BUT. If you then read ch 5. So Ananias and his wife are clearly not the same honest givers they claim to be. Probally not even believers. Just outwardly religious. They were dealt with accordingly. Especially a warning and clear message to the fledgling church.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Yes, it is in chapter 4 that we read ALL were of ONE heart and soul and they were all filled with the holy spirit. So how is it that “satan” could “lie to the holy spirit”? Is the holy spirit less aware of what is in the heart, especially “the holy spirit filled heart”, then “satan” was? Was the holy spirit unable to “push a desire to test out”? Was there no other way to make an example of someone “testing” God than killing them without giving a chance for repentance? Especially the woman who pretty much had (in those times) to go along with whatever her husband wanted. If this was a clear message to all the others, do you believe that these other “holy spirit filled followers” were now following mainly because of fear, rather than out of any of their earlier motives? Were these holy spirit-filled followers now afraid that any one of them now could also have “satan lie to to the holy spirit” in their heart? And die through no real desire on there part, they just fell victim to satan? Could there have been an “exorcism” done; could the demon not be brought out/defeated by prayer and fasting?

          • Yedidiah says:

            Paul S on 19 Nov @1259. Paul S. I am not a Jew, so I don’t believe I can offer much light at all about “Jew’s understanding” of those subject matters. If Jesus was a Jew, I believe he would have to agree with other Jews in rejecting the Greek-Roman, Babylonian concept of their messiah Yeshua and their other beliefs that contradict Tanach & Torah. But he could be one of those Israelites who was influenced by Baal & the prophets of Asherah, which would explain much about his straying from YHWH’s words. After some of the Christian writings, say he was born in the Galil, the “land of the Gentiles”, Northern Kingdom of Israel where much of the rejection of YHWH by its kings and by it’s people were the strongest. And there are a few words in the gospels, that are hostile to Jews (I.e, from Judea or the Southern Kingdom) and that he “came for the lost sheep of Israel” (I.e., lost tribes of Israel or the Northern Kingdom?). That may also explain those words that are kinder to Samaritan’s (whose ancestor’s were once part of the northern kingdom).

            I have been a member of Christian Churches for decades, I took a few courses in a ministerial program, and I still am a tither going to a Christian church (fundamentalist, “holy ghost”, “tongue speaking” church). So my training is as a Christian and I see things from that perspective. But I can tell you about Jesus as told in the earliest writings about him and perhaps about writings by Jews and non-Jews that preceded the 1st century c.e. that contributed to or influenced stories about Jesus or Iesous or that may show how different concepts of God arose that are related or not related to the God concepts that are shown in the Hebrew Torah and Tanach.

        • C.S says:

          Yedidah, its interesting what you said about Jesus perhaps being influenced by the cults of the Northern Kingdom, to worship Baal, or Asherah… I don’t subscribe to this view, but I have heard Christians argue that there were many different Jewish sects, and that Jesus perhaps came from a different sect from that of the Pharisees… And this comes in an attempt to authenticate beliefs which are central to Christianity but heretical to Judaism, but tries to give these ideas a Jewish origin as opposed to a Pagan one. But to explain how such ideas became held by Jews using arguments such as helenization of some Jews, or heretical influences such as idolatrous cults… does not give Christianity any authenticity, it is in fact the opposite, it claims to be authentically Jewish by pointing out that their faith originated amongst Jewish heretics. I find the assumptions that Christians make of the teachings of Jesus, his beliefs and those of his followers to be understood how they believe them today to be just very implausible. If his followers ran around telling people that Jesus was God or had come to die to atone for our sins during his lifetime, or even after he died they would have all been tried for heresy, these ideas would not have been tolerated. Had that been the case, when the apostles were put in jail following the crucifixion, would Gamliel had been so lenient? And said that they have not done anything wrong, and lets see what happens.

          The conventional view is that Jesus was like some sort of reformer, who had issues with the Pharisees, and like a rebel, who started his own movement. I find this view to be too incomprehensible. Particularly in light of the fact that Jesus claims that the Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses, and to do what they say. People ask him what do I have to do to gain eternal life, he tells them to keep the commandments… He makes a point that he has not come to do away with the law, and speaks badly of anyone who would attempt to do such a thing…. and there are more examples, that suggest that Jesus is a devout Jew, not just a devout Jew, but one who recognises the authority of the Pharisees, if he were starting a new movement, then I find these verses unintelligible, why would he tell his followers to follow the teachings of a group he sees as his rival? Its like saying that a Protestant would tell his congregation to do whatever the Pope says, rather than what he says. So what do we make of these anti-pharisee verses in the New Testament? As I am not a Christian, I have no reason to believe that the Gospels tell an accurate story, how do we know that Jesus actually said these things? We don’t, a Christian takes it on faith that the writers of the Gospels who tell them what they claim Jesus said is the truth. So, I find that the New Testament did not come down to us in the form that it exists today direct from Jesus, they weren’t even written until years after his death, and each Gospel written also decades apart from one another. There are lots of political reasons why, but I believe that the compilers or editors of these gospels, had an anti-Jewish, pro Roman agenda. I believe that the truth is that if Jesus were a devout Jew, he would not be against the Pharisees, and passages in the New Testament give us reason to believe that he wasn’t, and that a Messianic claimant would not have a pro Roman agenda. What many Christians don’t realise is that amongst the Pharisees/Rabbinic Judaism, there are differing opinions on many matters. Unlike in their faith where there may be one accepted way of interpreting something, in Judaism there are many and can reside side by side, even though in matters of Jewish law, the law will be decided in accordance with the majority held view which will be in favour of one persons ruling over others, but that doesn’t mean in Judaism that we don’t study the other opinions, or view them as correct, we simply live according to the law which cannot be followed as a matter of personal interpretation, otherwise you would have thousands of different Judaism’s. So the main example of this is two main schools of thought before Jesus lived between Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shammai, Hillel is described as more open, more liberal of the two, in his approach and Shammai as more reserved, stricter, more conservative. We follow the teachings of Hillel, but that doesnt mean we regard Shammai as a heretic. Its a bit more complicated to explain here, this doesn’t mean that every view is acceptable, there are issues which are not up for discussion or just a different interpretation, which don’t cause division or are not debated about. Such as the absolute unity of God, you will not find in the Mishnah, discussion on whether God is a unity or a triunity or takes on human or any finite form… Judaism has room for difference within it in various matters, but it also has boundaries. Most Christian beliefs fall outside of those boundaries.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Some of my reference was to the fate of Israelites ruled by or forceably taken to Assyria and Babylon. A lot you read about that “lost tribes” is pure speculation and imagination. Assyria/Asia Minor and in particular Syria was one of the major centers of early Christianity (beside Rome and Egypt). The Pre-1st century c.e. & even Pre-Islam religious history of northern Arab (present Day Iraq, Syria, Turkey, etc) is sketchy outside of Zorasterianism and later Mithraism. But, we see eastern Turkey (and Tarsus of the Christian Paul) was a “crossroads” of economic & religious activity and this area was a “hotbed” of the “mystery religions”. There were the magi (of NT fame). And for instance, the Mandaens, probably migrated from the southern levant to the Mesopotamia in the 1st centuries c.e. or before. Mandaeism or Mandaeanism which was/is a gnostic religion that had a very strong dualistic worldview., although they were considred anti-Torah, they did revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, and especially John the Baptist, but then they reject Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. They may be associated with the Nabateans of southern Iraq. The Sabeans are another group that is highly diverse (and scholars disagree often about them, their origin, & beliefs) and had a very syncretic religion, They believed in water baptism and the “washing away of sins” (and some revere NT’s John “the baptist” and “Mary Magdalen” or Mary), but they also followed Noah as a prophet. Some were proselytes, Judaisers (followed some Jewish rituals), and some also converts to Christianity. Some belie they influenced were God-believers and God-fearers Al-Biruni (a 11 th century scholar ) believed that that the ‘”real Sabians'” were “the remnants of the Jewish tribes who remained in Babylonia when the other tribes left it for Jerusalem”. We are told many Israelites did not return. Shlomo Pines (of the Arabic/Syriac copy of work by Josesphus) was a Scholar of Jewish and Islamic philosophy, gives us a little insight into the history of that region. But much of what happened to the Israelites taken to Assyria or to Babylon is a mystery (death and assimilation) and often very speculative.

          • Yedidiah says:

            There is a lot of speculation concerning the origins of Christianity, which is usually “theologically” driven by beliefs and by wishful thinking. There are books promoting all sorts of theories about Jesus lost tribes’ to Qumran and Jesus was an essene, or he was a cynic or a Pharisee or a zealot leader or a roman collaborator like Josephus, etc. All that speculation tell us one thing. There are some who believe that is a good thing that Jesus is whatever we want to make out of him. I prefer a religion of reason where the focus is on God and you and your community. What one does is what matters and it comes first. Emphasis is on doing what is right and trying to be holy as God believes we can, since we are in “the image of God”. We are here for some reason, other than to believe so that we “get saved” from our “evil, fallen self”.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Studying different opinions, outside of the “boundaries” of Judaism, does not mean one has to accept Yeshua, more commonly known in English as Jesus, because some small part of him appears to resemble a non-heretical Jew or seems compatible with Judaism. The larger portion of the image of Jesus/Yeshu/Iesous is more compatible with the “Babylonian-Roman-Egyptian Church” or with Zorasterianism or with the mystery religions (as we seen in the city of Tarsus, the so-called capital of mystery religions and home of Saul-Paul (I wonder if Paul is supposed to be representative of King Saul, enemy of David, but this time Saul comes after “David”, but he is still trying to “kill” David, this “new lite version”). I agree with most of what you appear to be saying, except I see no reason to accept any small bit of the NT, no matter how Jewish and un-Christian you think Jesus is mainly because you prefer the name Yeshua over Jesus or Christ. Of course, there is no evidence that either Yeshua or Jesus was an actual person and he most likely was only a fiction, like Horus or Mithra or Zeus then or like Superman or Batman today.

          • C.S says:

            Yedidah, I accept no parts of the NT as holy scripture, what I am saying about the NT and what the historical Jesus actually taught is speculation, informed by knowledge from unbiased sources of the situation at the time, what we know of the Roman empire, Josephus and other historians, things mentioned in the Talmud or other Jewish sources about Judaism at the time and its political situation… early Church writings on the Jewish followers of Jesus… and seeing what seems more plausible. Either way I do not accept its theology or teachings to be the fulfilment of prophecies found in the Hebrew Bible, or that its teachings overall as compatible with it no matter what Christians tell me.

            We do study opinions that are outside of what we believe, whether that is Greek philosophy or more modern secular philosophy, or Christian or Muslim or other ideas, we all went to school and university and encounter different ideas and world views all the time. The question for us with regards to Christian teachings which they claim come from our Hebrew bible, we find are not so, and outside of our boundaries, the reason they are so is that they are filtered through a lens of the NT, but they only see these verses and interpret narratives the way they do in order to fit it in with their own theology of pointing to Jesus, rather than reading the Bible on its own terms first.

  8. Paul summers says:

    Hello Jim

    When you use the expression the tree of life was the first incarnation of the sprit?? What do you mean?? I take it you are using an expression or an arguement that you’ve heard from a Christian point of view?? Thats a new one that I have never heard before. Would like to hear what texts have been quoted in such a teaching.

    Many thanks

    • Jim says:

      Paul,

      This is a made up story to show, by way of analogy, the flaws in Christian argument. All of the techniques employed by the fictional Horace to promulgate his faith are used by Christians to promulgate theirs. They will appeal to proof texts that clearly have nothing to do with the topic they address. They misquote and misrepresent. They will argue by employing questions like, “Are you saying that God is not omnipotent, that He cannot become a man if he so chooses?” Horace would ask, “Are you saying it is impossible for God to become a tree?” Horace argues, as the missionary argues, from miracles, emotional responses, etc.

      Regarding the “Tree of Life”, Horace is merely arguing that there have been prior manifestations of the “Spirit”, just as Christians argue for prior incarnations of Jesus. Just as (some) Christians will say that Jesus was Melchizedek or the Angel of the Lord, Horace will make an argument that his tree appeared to people in the Torah, first as the Tree of Life, later as the burning bush, and whatever other tree he can shoehorn into his theology.

      But no one to my knowledge has ever put forward this argument regarding the Tree of Life. I made it up while making breakfast for my daughters and myself the other day. While whipping up some french toast, I was musing over Roman’s responses to R’ Blumenthal’s “Trinity, Idolatry, and Worship”. Roman, like other Christians, insists that in worshipping Jesus, they are worshipping God. This terrible error relies on arguments like those I’ve put in Horace’s mouth. The fact is that anybody can claim anything. Just because one says that a particular man is God doesn’t make it so, any more than saying a particular tree is God.

      Jim

      • B.J.Stone says:

        jim- (without father, mother) ‘melchizedek’ can more accurately be compared to a person called holy (heavenly ‘priest/king’ spirit being) even one who first seen ‘brooding (like a hen over her chicks’) over the waters then completely covering over this tiny planetary ‘footstool’ of YHWH. ‘abraham paid tithes’ to what he believed came from heavenly ‘salem’ to earth. ‘he’ could not have been a ‘man’ as is messiah of israel. ‘tree of life’ is ‘symbolic’ of finding messiah of israel within the ‘center’ island of ‘second garden’ who can never be found without this ‘holy one’s assistance’. intertwined as a ‘vine’ tree, along with a branch called ‘tree of knowledge’ of ‘good/evil’ which thru water baptism only, could adam/eve attend unto this island surrounded by water seen by the ‘serpent’ attending, bringing his ‘beast of the field’ earthly ‘wisdom’ beyond adam. they had been carefully instructed (angelically to only adam) not to partake ‘freely’ (independently) without the ‘trio’ of ‘eve’ AND this ‘spirit being of holiness’ from heaven ? the ongoing complaint against israel (since the ‘middle’ of 6,000 yrs. from adam, and the death of king david, 987 b.c.) ‘you do always resist this spirit of holiness in your individual lives’ ? even as adam/eve ‘partook’ freely in this ceremonial ‘garden baptism’ together, but not as a three/fold ‘cord’.
        all this has ‘nothing’ to do with ‘believing’ whether or not messiah of israel ‘is god’ ? or man? for genuine salvation !

        • Yedidiah says:

          Genesis 14:18
          And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine:and he was the priest of the most high God.

        • Yedidiah says:

          Why would one think Melchizedek had no mother or father just because there is no mention of either made (as is also true of many other persons in Tanach) in the very, very few words mentioned about him? Why would one make up some story that he did not die just because there is no mention of him dying (which is also true of many other persons in Tanach)? Where does one get the idea Abraham believed Melchizedek “came from heavenly salem to earth” (or that he was some sort of “divine being”)? Quite the opposite. Abraham saved Melchizidek’s “neck” & his kingdom, which is good reason for a priest to bless another. But Abraham refused Mel’s offer in Genesis 14:22-23, where we see “But Abram said to the king of Sodom,”I swear to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth: I will not take so much as a thread or a sandal strap of what is yours; you shall not say, ‘It is I who made Abram rich.'”. Which is more of a “slap in the face of Mel” than a belief that he was in the presence of an awesome power, a supposed “heavenly being come to earth”. Tanach barely mentions Melchizedek because he is “so important” (even almost all of the NT ignores him & does not see him as any person of worth).

          • Yedidiah says:

            Abram brought back ALL the possessions to return to the original owners, so the king of sodom comes out to meet Abram, and then the king of Salem brings out the wine. Then the king of Sodom continues his conversation & offer to Abram (“take all the possessions”). So why is the king of Salem “interrupting” to give a blessing to Abram for being a “blessing to the king of sodom and his allies”? And if Abram didn’t profit (since he only got what his men used), what did he have to tithe to Mel? So there is a real problem with only 1 Roman author in the NT trying to make some big deal of some king-priest “type” easily overlooked in Tanach.

      • Paul summers says:

        Thanks for clearing that up for me. I have heard a few of those examples that you spoke off.
        Hebrews speak of Jesus as the order of Melchizedek not a pre incanate. Its a typology, Priest~ King teaching.
        Of course the burning bush was The Lord God speaking direcly to Moses.

        Thanks

  9. Dina says:

    Applause!

  10. Annelise says:

    Here’s another similar piece of writing. “There were many more messianic prophecies that I could have added that applied to my messianic rooster. Many more he will fulfill when he comes back in glory.”
    http://judaismsanswer.com/A%20Chassidic%20Rabbi%20Makes%20a%20Startling%20Discovery.htm

  11. Yedidiah says:

    Perhaps it was not the wood that the 450 prophets of Baal & the 450 prophets used in their unsuccessful attempt. They used “dead wood”, but Elijah had water poured on his wood “3 times” and so his wood was resurrected from the dead. No, because Elijah soon seen or came to know that God was not in the altar nor in the wood as the prophets of asherah believed. Nor was there “power in the water”. God was not and is not in the wind or in the earth (or persons), nor even in the fire as the idolators believe. There is a reason the Tanach (not the “Israelites” who stray) condemns the manifestation of spirit in created objects or beings in the prohibition of idolatry. So despite his smooth (slick) words, Horace is not (nor those with similar beliefs are not) the light, not the Way of worship in truth or spirit.

  12. Yedidiah says:

    That is the 450 prophets of asherah who used “dead” wood.

  13. Hi Jim,
    This is a very creative piece of writing on your part.
    Here below is a parable I wrote, which is probably a little “dense” for most people, but you may enjoy it.
    Sincerely,
    Matthew

    Luke wrote the Book of Acts. (Paul did not write it.) Acts is not a Gospel, centered on the perfect actions and words of Jesus. But Acts is a narrative, like other narratives in the Bible, revealing the sinful actions and false words of the imperfect people in its pages, like David’s adultery and murder, Peter denying 3 times he knew Jesus, and Paul… by the way, what about Paul?

    Parable of the Wacky New Religion

    “SNAKE WORSHIPPER” and “PAULIST” make plans to start their own wacky new religion, “based on the Bible”.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: I think people make too big a deal about Jesus. Who do they think he is- God? Do they think Jesus is the only way to be saved? The Bible says, “So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. ”[Numbers 21:9] People are saved by looking at a snake. What do we need Jesus for? We should just keep it simple.

    PAULIST: Right on! Who needs a “Jesus Movement?” I say what we really need is a “Paul Movement!” But as to your comment, I think Christians would say that the salvation referred to there was only temporary salvation from snake poison, for the Israelites at a particular time. And it pointed to the future, to Jesus dying on the cross to save us from our sins.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Don’t confuse the issue with facts! That verse is my favorite verse in Scripture. It says it right there in black and white. So my personal interpretation of this one verse is the trump card that negates all other verses of Scripture about salvation. Are you questioning the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures?

    PAULIST: Of course, you must be right! If you quote one verse out of context, insist that it means something that contradicts other verses of Scripture, and then accuse me of questioning the inerrancy of Scripture if I disagree with your personal interpretation, than you must be correct. How foolish of me. Please continue.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: So that’s it. Just look to the serpent and be saved. Never mind about Jesus.

    PAULIST: But the Bible tells us: “He (King Hezekiah) broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it.” [2 Kings 18:4] So Christians would say that this snake had become an idol, which the godly King Hezekiah destroyed.
    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Bah! Hezekiah was like Judas, who betrayed the true salvation! We snake worshippers know better. We must restore true worship.

    PAULIST: OK. If that is your personal interpretation of one verse of Scripture, then you must be correct. But my favorite verses of Scripture are from Paul writing to the church in Corinth: “In Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” [1 Corinthians 4:15-16]

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: But Christians would remind us what the Bible says: “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach… They love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi’. But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi’, for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father”, for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher’, for you have one Teacher, the Christ (or Messiah).’” [Matthew 23:1-3, 7-10]

    PAULIST: Don’t confuse the issue with facts! Those 2 verses from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians are my favorite verses in Scripture. It says it right there in black and white. So my personal interpretation of these two verses is the trump card that negates all other verses of Scripture. Are you questioning the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures?

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Of course, you must be right! If you quote two verses out of context, insist that they mean something that contradicts many other verses of Scripture, and then accuse me of questioning the inerrancy of Scripture if I disagree with your personal interpretation, than you must be correct. How foolish of me. Please continue.

    PAULIST: So that’s it. Paul is our father, and we should “be like Paul”. Paul also testified about himself without any other witnesses: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” [1 Corinthians 11:1] So that has to mean that to “be like Paul” is the same thing as to “be like Christ”, and Paul lived a perfect life as a Christian, everything Paul did was 100% correct and everyone around him was wrong, and Paul is our perfect model for life and ministry. Unless all men speak well of Paul and everything Paul ever did, said, or wrote about himself, they are heretics who are denying the inerrancy of Scripture. What other possible interpretation could there be?

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Yes of course! That is the only possible choice. Well since we’re starting our own wacky new religion, we need some of the trappings of religion. How about a slogan and a rallying cry?

    PAULIST: I’ve got it! “There is no god but the serpent, and Paul is his prophet”! Our rallying cry can be “Paul is great!”

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: That has a familiar ring to it somehow…

    PAULIST: We’ll make people take a religious pilgrimage once in their lives- we’ll call the pilgrimage the “Journey of Paul”. It will go from Galatia (present day Turkey) to Antioch (present day Syria) and to Jerusalem, so we can “be like Paul” and do the things Paul did.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Tell me more.

    PAULIST: In Galatia, the pilgrims will go and circumcise some young men, [Acts 16:3] and then yell at them “You foolish Galatians” [Galatians 3:1] because they got circumcised.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: But in the Bible, Paul taught passionately, over and over, that Christians should never be circumcised under any circumstances, and Jesus said “Anyone who says ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” [Matthew 5:22]

    PAULIST: What are you, a liberal? Only liberals criticize Paul. Conservatives have an instant, airtight justification for everything Paul ever did or said. If you criticize Paul that means you’re a liberal who is attacking Jesus.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Of course- carry on.

    PAULIST: At Antioch, the pilgrims must have a sharp disagreement and part company with whomever they are with. [Acts 15:39] If they are married, they must get divorced. If they have children, they must disown them. If they are with friends, they must separate.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: But in the Bible, Paul wrote to Timothy “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger or disputing.” [1 Timothy 2:8]

    PAULIST: Paul meant for that to apply to everyone else except him. Paul is an exception. Paul is always the exception to the rule. If Paul disputed, he must have been right. Remember in the inerrant Scripture, Paul testified about himself “follow my example”.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Yes of course.

    PAULIST: Luke records Paul as saying “compelled the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.” [Acts 20:22] So since Paul said this about himself, that has to mean it was true, and we should “be like Paul.”

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: But Luke, who was personally traveling with Paul to Jerusalem at that time, also wrote “Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.” [Acts 21:4]
    PAULIST: What are you, a left-wing liberal heretic who is attacking Jesus and the Bible?

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: OK. Lets just keep true to our foundations as a religion. Just look to the serpent and be saved. Paul is our father, and we should “be like Paul”.

    • Dina says:

      Matthew,

      What do Horace, the snake worshiper, and the Paulist have in common?

      They are doing exactly what the gospel writers have done in your scripture. Jim and I have given you ample evidence of this, although, sadly, there is a whole lot more.

      Peace,
      Dina

    • Jim says:

      Matthew,

      Thank you for taking the time to write this, but I’m not sure that you understood the point of Horace’s Tree. Dina has summed it up nicely. If one comes to the Tanach with an agenda, one can find support for it. The imaginary Horace was able to do just that. But the authors of the Gospels are equally guilty, and the Church has only deepened the guilt in its apologetic writings. They have consistently violated the clear teachings of scripture, and instead used the scriptures to support their own doctrines. Over and over, they remove a verse or passage from its context to impose their own doctrine over the top of it. It’s not just Paul; it is the Gospel writers. And it is even Jesus. None of them is any different than the man who worships a tree in his backyard.

      Jim

      • paul says:

        Hi Jim
        What about a golden calf in the wilderness, does that count?

        • Jim says:

          Paul,

          I don’t see the relevance of the golden calf in regards to the topic of proving one’s theology by forcing it upon scripture rather than deriving it from scripture. If you want to say that Jesus is akin to the golden calf, I certainly see your point. But I don’t know of anyone who points to scripture to derive a theology that one should worship a golden calf. They do misappropriate scripture to direct their worship to a man.

          I suppose if you wanted to you could say that Jesus is like the calf more specifically in that those who worshipped the calf announced that this was the god who led them out of Egypt. Christians likewise direct attention to a man, even saying that he is the god who led them out of Egypt. But in my opinion, while this is true, it is outside the scope of this work. I know of no calf proof-texting, particularly since the written Torah hadn’t been given yet. I’m sure I could invent some, as I did for Horace and as the Christian does for Jesus. But I don’t see what profit that would be.

          Jim

          • paul says:

            Hi Jim
            Ok I think my point I was making has been lost on you. Your answer though does sum up your attitudes quite clearly.

      • Jim,
        I think I understand your basic point. In common “Bible-believing Evangelical” language, you are saying we should do “inductive Bible study, not deductive Bible study.” I agree with you. We should not start with our own conclusion or agenda, and then go hunt for “proof texts” out of context to back up what we already decided beforehand in ignorance.

        I have been demonstrating that most “Evangelicals” start out with the false assumption that “All Scripture is God-breathed” because Paul said so, and they reason that Paul’s letters are “Scripture”, therefore Paul can’t be questioned, because the words of Paul are really the words of God, in their brainwashed minds.

        Ezra chapter 7 is also Scripture. It contains the text of a letter written by the pagan King Artaxerxes. This is part of the “Tanach”, yes. But this is absolutely not The Word of God just because it happens to be in the Writings of the Tanach. It’s the words of a man – and a pagan at that.

        Like many “Christians” you use the words to describe your “holy writings” loosely, moving in and out with different terms without specific clarity about what is truly “The Word of God” and what is the word of man.

        Tanach, Scripture, Torah, Law, Oral Law, Orthodox, Rabbinic Traditions, Hebrew Bible to you. To a Christian, Bible, Scripture, Gospel, New Testament, Historic Christianity, Orthodox, Inerrant Word of God. We have been trained to play “fast and loose” with the true Word of God, without being able to articulate clearly and specifically what we mean.
        I guess that is why a website like this is so valuable, so we can reason together.
        Sincerely
        Matthew

        • Dina says:

          Matthew, I want to hear what Jim has to say, but I can’t stop myself from jumping in, yet again.

          You wrote: “Ezra chapter 7 is also Scripture. It contains the text of a letter written by the pagan King Artaxerxes. This is part of the “Tanach”, yes. But this is absolutely not The Word of God just because it happens to be in the Writings of the Tanach. It’s the words of a man – and a pagan at that.”

          Without looking up your reference in Ezra, because it’s ridiculously late, let me just say this. People are intelligent enough to know when Scripture is quoting someone, that it isn’t God speaking. So in Exodus when Moses and Pharaoh have a conversation, we know that Pharaoh’s words are his own words (because it says “Pharaoh said”). “It’s the words of a man–and a pagan at that”–right there in the pages of the Torah, which even you revere (I think).

          So I think your focus on what you call “playing fast and loose with scripture” is not only misplaced but also is not logical.

          • Dina,
            If people take the time to open up Scripture and read it, yes, they would know when someone is being quoted. But sometimes, they don’t or can’t, and there is confusion. As I’ve been saying, Evangelicals quote Paul’s letters all the time and say “it’s the word of God” when it’s not.

            Regarding Ezra,
            Someone once said:
            “The scripture itself makes the distinction between the two segments of the population ‑ “those who know the laws of your God” and ‑ “those who do not know them” (Ezra 7:25). These people who knew the Law, and certainly Ezra himself and the leadership around him, did not need to read a verse to discover something they never knew. Ezra himself is described as a “scribe of the law of God” (Ezra 7:12). Having copied the Torah we can safely assume that he knew what he had written.”

          • Dina says:

            Great! Now that we’ve resolved that issue, we can move on…

            🙂

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            I hear your frustration with those who adhere to the writings of Paul. This site is not devoted to Paul though. R’ Blumenthal is not defending the works of Paul. Nor are any of the commenters who support the mission of R’ Blumenthal, those like Annelise and Dina.

            In fact, the vast majority of objections we have raised to the NT, including the Gospels, come from the Torah and Prophets. Dina even agreed to avoid using Chronicles, since you don’t find it authoritative. We haven’t relied on the Oral Torah. We haven’t relied on Rabbinic traditions. By and large, we have only argued from works you have agreed upon. Therefore, I’m not sure how much more we can get by returning to the topic over and over.

            It is my assertion that the Gospels (as well as other NT writings) violate the clear meaning of the Torah and Prophets to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, and that Christians in general perpetuate this practice to prove that Jesus is divine. This means that we cannot rely upon their testimony, because they either do not understand the Torah and the Prophets, or they intentionally misrepresent them. While it’s true that I hold the Ketuvim to be authoritative, and you don’t, nevertheless, it impacts the conversation either not at all or in the most minimal way imaginable.

            Is there any way we can address the issue, rather than revisiting your pet peeve?

            Jim

          • “This is a copy of a letter King Artaxerxes had given to Ezra the priest and teacher…”
            [Ezra 7:11]

  14. Jim,
    I realize we already agree that Paul was not an Apostle. So this parable is sort of like “preaching to the choir.” But I thought you might enjoy it.

    Parable of the 12 heavenly chalkboards

    What is a common analogy for a permanent decision?
    “Written in stone.”
    What could be more permanent than that?
    How about written in stone in heaven (in other words, for eternity.)
    And what kind of a stone is the most solid, permanent, and unchangeable?
    Perhaps a foundation stone?
    The Book of Revelation written by the Apostle John, chapter 21 verse 14 says… “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostle of the Lamb.”
    Nothing about a “13th Apostle” or an “Apostle of the Gentiles”…. Hmmmm…..

    Parable of the 12 heavenly chalkboards

    Imagine “Wackyjesus” in “Wackyheaven”, built on the foundations of 12 chalkboards:

    “Matthias, you should have developed your skills in writing and public speaking. Your name never appears in the Bible after your appointment as the 12th Apostle in Acts 1. [erase erase erase]

    Actually, the same is true for you Thaddaeus, after you were appointed. You should have hired a PR firm to promote your name and make if famous. [erase erase erase]

    Of course, you both are specifically mentioned in Acts 6:2. “So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together.” And this is before Saul/Paul is even mentioned. But let us not confuse the issue with facts. Paul did a much better job of marketing himself, and he wrote about himself hundreds of times. Share of voice equals share of mind. And most Evangelical pastors who read the Bible spend most of their time listening to the voice of Paul, so they become “like Paul.” But I digress…

    James, we had a good run. I didn’t think King Herod would knock you off so quickly. [erase erase erase]

    Oh well. Wow, they’re dropping like flies. Now I’ve got 3 slots open. I’d better buy a case of chalk and some more erasers. I’ll have to change the names on these 12 chalkboards hundreds of times in the next couple of millennia.

    I guess I had better plan ahead, and save a slot for the last Pope, Francis. And the head Mormon Apostle. And I need to save a throne for my mom, or she’ll be mad. And one for Muhammad too. Who needs truth in relationship, when I can quickly get market share, and totally dominate the market, through mergers and acquisitions?

    And one throne for that other guy named Peter. When he was younger, he used to have the great theological insight about territorial spirits and wrestling with dark angels. What was his last name? Begins with a consonant. Sounds almost like he was in the personal transportation industry back in “sword and sandal epic” days… “Peter Charioteer?” Maybe not. This isn’t the “fullest” description of him, but it’s full enough. Anyway, I should save a throne for him too.”

    So what is the application of this parable?
    Beware of the NAR whale – it’s really a killer whale with a man-made horn strapped on top. The only place in the New Testament that mentions anything like “Seven Mountains” is Revelation 17, “seven hills on which the woman sits.” (The Great Prostitute, that is.) Rome is the city that sits on seven hills, the perfect place for Peter the Roman, the New World Pope for the New World Order, to replace the original Apostle Peter in the apostate church of the Antichrist.

    • Dina says:

      Matthew, either you completely missed the point of Jim’s analogy or your mind is in cognitive dissonance.

      I don’t meant to be unkind, and I’m sorry for being so blunt, but I can’t think of another explanation.

      Perhaps you can explain to me why what the authors of the gospels have written is okay and above mockery but not what Paul wrote, or what Jim wrote in “Horace’s Tree.”

      Respectfully,
      Dina

  15. Jim,
    I appreciate your reasonable approach.
    It would be great to address the central issue that you have raised. Maybe this “Horace’s Tree” thread is the best place to do it.

    You wrote, QUOTE:
    “It is my assertion that the Gospels (as well as other NT writings) violate the clear meaning of the Torah and Prophets to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, and that Christians in general perpetuate this practice to prove that Jesus is divine.”

    I would like to propose that to avoid distractions, we discuss the 4 Gospels, the 5 Books of Moses, and the Prohets (and the Psalms, some of which I would consider parts of Prophecy). Perhaps we could just leave aside, at least for now, the rest of the Writings, (Ketuvim) and the rest of the “New Testament.”
    What do you think?
    Sincerley,
    Matthew

    • Jim says:

      Matthew,

      You will notice that I have already done so on the other thread, “A New Set of Feelings”. I have not spent time arguing against Paul, because you already reject his teachings, and that would be a waste of time. I have focused on the Gospels, particularly Matthew. Moreover, everything I have discussed has been about it’s abuse of Torah, Prophets, and the Psalms. I have already limited my discussion to those areas.

      Jim

      • Dina says:

        So have I, Matthew, after you made it clear that you wanted this to be our common ground. I hope you will now answer my challenges.

        For your convenience, here’s a list I compiled from earlier comments. I don’t expect you to handle them all at once, so if you like, pick one. Then, when we finish that one, we can move on to the next. (Just a suggestion.)

        1. Evidence of Scriptural tampering in the gospels.
        2. Evidence in our agreed-upon sources that one must place his faith in the Messiah, that prayer and repentance are not enough to atone for our sins, and that the Jews will turn to the gentiles to learn the truth about God.
        3. Why Jews never have to defend the Pharisees from evil acts, whereas Christians are forced to the defense that those aren’t “real” Christians or that it’s “Satan’s” doing.
        4. Why calling Jews children of the devil, blaming them for all murders, and other negative comments are not anti-Jewish statements.

        I’m looking forward to a stimulating discussion of these issues.

        With respect,
        Dina

  16. Jim,
    Great. You have focused on the Gospel of Matthew, specifically the quotes or general references to the Torah, Prophets, & Psalms, which Matthew uses to “prove that Jesus is the Messiah.” I agree this is a good place to begin discussion.

    Rather than me throwing up some of these quotes and having you shoot them down, I first want to ask a foundational question.
    Do you believe in a coming Jewish Messiah? And if so, do you hold to a rabbinic understanding of “Messiah ben Joseph” and “Messiah ben David”? (I have just heard these names; I don’t really know what the rabbis mean by these terms.)
    Matthew

    • Jim says:

      Matthew,

      I’m not sure at all why we need to reset the whole discussion. It seems to me that you are dodging the issues already raised.

      But, yes I believe in the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Regarding the “Messiah ben Joseph” and “Messiah ben David”, I’m not familiar enough to discuss the matter in any intelligent manner.

      Jim

    • Jim,
      Perhaps you can share which passages of Torah, Prophets and Psalms are your Scriptural basis for believing in a coming Jewish Messiah? Maybe we can start with those, (which I am assuming you believe The Apostle Matthew either misquotes or ignores,) rather than starting with Matthew’s quotes which you say do not apply to the Jewish Messiah.
      Matthew

      • Jim says:

        Matthew,

        You are moving the topic again. You claimed that the Gospels are authoritative. I have shown why they are not to be trusted. You have not given any good reason to trust them. You have only asserted that they should be trusted.

        If you do not know what the qualifications of the Messiah are according to the Torah, Prophets and Psalms, then I will list them for you. But if you have a point to make about them, and you already know what they are, then please just make your point.

        Jim

      • Jim,
        The common ground we have is that we consider the Torah, Prophets and Psalms as authoritative. So I am proposing that we start with that, to discern what they say about the Messiah. Then, using that as a lens, we can examine the Gospel of Matthew, (and maybe other Gospels later,) which you do not consider authoritative.

        Currently, I believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, based on my understanding of the Torah, Prophets and Psalms, and the Gospels. The Book of Matthew is known for being written for Jews, with considerably more Old Testament references than the other Gospels.

        My reason to consider the Gospels authoritative is that I believe they are in harmony with the Torah, Prophets and Psalms. But since you don’t agree, rather than beginning with what we don’t agree on, I would like to discover what we do agree on regarding the coming Jewish Messiah.

        Matthew

        • Jim says:

          Matthew,

          I am very busy today, and I will not have time to bring references. I hope to have time tomorrow.

          Jim

          • Dina says:

            Jim, if you don’t mind, this might be a good place for Matthew to start:

            I posted that online for Charles, but it has a bunch of references that you can examine, Matthew.

            Best wishes,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, the link that I posted contains some references to the Ketuvim, the Writings (actually, I think there’s only one), which is not on our common ground. I had written this a while back for my friend Charles, so please just disregard those references. There’s plenty from the Torah and the Prophets for you to review.

            Respectfully,
            Dina

          • Jim says:

            Thank you, Dina!

            Jim

  17. Response from Matthew Perri to
    “A Challenge for Charles By Dinah Bucholz”

    QUOTE #1:
    “Scripture describes a utopian era during which a Jewish king who will be a direct descendent of King David through his son Solomon (2 Samuel 7:12-14; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10)”

    RESPONSE #1:
    The genealogy in the Book of Matthew says in part, QUOTE:
    “and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon…and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of MARY, OF WHOM WAS BORN JESUS, who is called Christ.” [Matthew 1:6 & 1:16]
    So Matthew wrote the genealogy of Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus. Matthew tells us here that Jesus was born of Mary, not that Joseph was the father of Jesus.

    The genealogy in Luke is different because it is for Mary, mother of Jesus. It’s a subtle point, easy to miss, but it begins, ‘He was the son, SO IT WAS THOUGHT, of Joseph,…the son of David, the son of Jesse… [Luke 3:23, 3:31] not “He WAS the son of Joseph.” So the 2 genealogies don’t conflict at all, rather they reinforce the point that Jesus is the Son of David, on both sides.

    QUOTE #2:
    “will rule in Israel (Isaiah 11:1-10; Jeremiah: 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-17; Ezekiel 34:23-30, 37:24-28). Since he will be an anointed king, we got into the habit of calling him the Messiah. “

    RESPONSE #2:
    Yes, Jesus will rule in Israel when He returns at the end of the age.

    QUOTE #3:
    “Furthermore, the Messiah will be a sinful, not sinless, human being who will therefore be required to bring a sin offering at the Temple (Ezekiel 44:27-29; Ezekiel 45:22-23).”

    RESPONSE #3:
    These 2 short references in Ezekiel have nothing to do with the Messiah, as far as I can see. Even if they did, it’s only one source, which is not sufficient. As the Torah reminds us, “Let every matter be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

    QUOTE #4:
    According to your belief, Jesus cannot be a direct descendant of King David, since tribal lineage can only be passed through patrilineal descent (see for example Numbers Chapter 1).

    RESPONSE #4:
    Quoting from the Prophets:
    “Now Zelophehad… had no sons but only daughters…. They went to Eleazer the priest, Joshua son on Nun, and the leaders and said, “Yahweh commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers.” So Joshua gave them an inheritance along with the brothers of their father, according to Yahweh’s command.” [Joshua 17:3-4]

    Jesus was a descendant of King David through both his step-father Joseph and his natural mother Mary.

    QUOTE #5:
    According to you, Jesus was sinless, contradicting the Scriptural verses I cited above. He was not anointed as king; furthermore, he did not reign over all of Israel as King of the Jews (although he claimed that title for himself). He could not do this even if he had all the personal credentials to be the Davidic king because Israel was under the thumb of the Roman Empire.

    RESPONSE #5:
    The Messiah does not need to be sinful. Jesus is not YET reigning as the annointed King of the Jews over all Israel. Jesus DOES have the personal credentials of the Davidic King. He just did not choose to inaugurate his reign 2000 years ago.

    Although I’m in way over my head in terms of understanding the Rabbinic teachings, I think I’ll just go for it. Messiah ben Joseph seems to refer to Jesus when He came 2000 years ago. Messiah ben David refers to Jesus when He will return with His people at the end of the age. With this particular point, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but I’m hoping some Rabbinic Scholars will step in to enlighten me. 😉

    QUOTE #6:
    The Jewish prophets painted a picture of the Messianic era in language so clear, unmistakable, and unequivocal as to be irrefutable. Following is a list of the elements of the Messianic era that they prophesied:

    RESPONSE #6:
    We have not seen the complete fulfillment of the Messianic era – but if you look at these links, I think you can see that we are getting very close to that.

    INGATHERING OF THE JEWISH EXILES
    http://www.israel.org/mfa/abouttheministry/publications/pages/vibrant%20israel%20-%20aliya-%20ingathering%20of%20exiles.aspx

    REBUILDING OF THE THIRD TEMPLE
    http://www.templeinstitute.org/
    http://www.templemount.org/tempprep.html

    NATIONAL RESURGENCE OF TORAH OBSERVANCE
    http://crownheights.info/general/7404/born-again-jews-come-later-in-life-to-torah-observance/

    UNIVERSAL PEACE, UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, PUNISHMENT OF PERSECUTORS OF THE JEWS/VINDICATION OF THE JEWS IN THE EYES OF THE NATIONS

    In conclusion, Jesus DID fulfill all elements of this picture that we can see so far, and He will fulfill the rest at the end of the age.

    Following Jesus the Jewish Messiah, Son of Yahweh the Most High God of Israel,
    Matthew Perri

    • Dina says:

      Matthew, back at you:

      1. Genealogy: to save time and space, here’s a comprehensive study of the issue:

      http://thejewishhome.org/counter/Genealogies.pdf

      2. The idea of a second coming is found nowhere in the Torah and the Prophets.

      3. The testimony of two or three witnesses: you are quoting out of context to suit your purpose. This applies to a matter brought before a court of law. But even if you were right–which you aren’t–then answer this. How many times does the Torah say that belief in the Messiah is required for eternal salvation, or that there is such a thing as a virgin birth? Two or three times, eh, Matthew?

      4. The case of Zelophehad’s daughters has nothing to do with tribal lineage but with inheritance rights. The fact that they had to marry within their tribe in order to keep their inheritance proves that they could not by themselves, as women, pass on their tribal affiliation. See Numbers 27 and 36.

      5. Where is the source in the Torah that the Messiah must be sinless? Can you be a human and not sin? As for Messiah ben Joseph and ben David: first, ben means son of, so this has to be two people. Second, you don’t believe the rabbis, so why quote them? Third, it’s dishonest to quote the rabbis as if they believed in Jesus when you well know they did nothing of the kind.

      5. I disagree that we have seen the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies. I haven’t looked at your sources yet; will take a look and get back to you about that, God willing.

      6. In conclusion, Jesus fulfilled non of the elements of this picture.

      Now it’s your turn to answer Jim’s and my charges of Scripture twisting in the gospel of Matthew.

      May God Who is the Father of us all lead us in the light of His truth.

      Peace and blessings,
      Dina

    • Jim says:

      Matthew,

      Dina’s reply hardly needs me to add anything. I hope that you pay special attention to it. But I cannot help but to emphasize a couple of points.

      First, as Dina pointed out, you keep taking out of context the “two or three witnesses”, to an incredible degree. But, if we were to accept that standard, then you cannot claim that Jesus will do any of these things in the future. If he hasn’t done them, then you cannot claim him as the Messiah. If he does do them, then you’ll have a case, but otherwise, you have none at all.

      Moreover, it was your standard that we accepted for this conversation. Your standard accepted the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms. Now, when a prophet doesn’t fit your theology, you don’t conform yourself to him. You dismiss him, with a misapplication of scripture. And this is even more strange, because you have no prophecy that the Messiah will be sinless. You do not have your “two or three witnesses”.

      And atop that, the standard you apply works against you. You don’t have two or three witnesses to Jesus. As I pointed out, even Gospels that purport to be from eyewitnesses report events they were not witness to. For example, you have no witness to the birth of Jesus, neither his birthplace, nor the circumstances of it. You also have no witness to the temptation of Jesus. Regarding Jesus’ crucifixion, you only can claim one witness. To the resurrection, two contradictory witnesses.

      At every turn you violate the standards you set for the discussion. You have now dismissed one of the prophets and one of the psalms. Will this be the standard whenever something disagrees with your faith? Do you not confuse the matter? Should you not develop your faith according to the Prophets, and not your acceptance of the Prophets according to your faith? You argue that one needs “two or three witnesses”, but you only come to that by taking the verse out of context. Dina has told you it is about court, and I believe she’s told you before, but still you misapply it. And then you don’t apply that standard to your own arguments. You have no witnesses to future events and no reliable witnesses to the past events to which you hold. You are caught in terrible inconsistencies.

      Jim

    • Response to Dina’s response.
      https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/horaces-tree-by-jim/#comment-10331

      #1 Genealogy:
      In the beginning of this long article you provided a link for, is says, QUOTE:
      “The other genealogy is found in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 3:23-38), but there is no consensus among Christians on whether it represents the lineage of Jesus through Mary, or another lineage through Joseph.”

      ANSWER #1.
      This is wrong. Luke’s genealogy is clearly that of Mary’s side, as I have proved from the text of Luke.
      What I laid out conforms to the requirements you outlined for the genealogy of the Messiah, and you have not refuted it. You simply gave me a link to another article that is wrong from the beginning.

      #2 “The idea of a second coming is found nowhere in the Torah and the Prophets.”

      ANSWER #2
      This is an argument from silence. I don’t have a ready canned answer for you here, I have not searched the Scriptures. But I don’t think you could prove there is NOT a “second coming” from the Torah and Prophets either. It also doesn’t really define what a “second coming” means, and how it might be different from a “first coming.”

      The traditions of Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David may teach that they are two different men. But that is just tradition. What you wrote indicates that you believe there is only ONE Messiah, and I agree with you! Maybe the reason they thought they were two different men is because their descriptions are so different – maybe because they were two different appearances of the same man J Just maybe….

      #3 “The testimony of two or three witnesses: you are quoting out of context to suit your purpose.”

      ANSWER #3
      I was wrong, you are right here. And Jim is right, saying that “you keep taking out of context the “two or three witnesses.” Sorry. I am guilty as charged.
      But the main point is, these two verses (Ezekiel 44:27-29; Ezekiel 45:22-23) have nothing at all to do with the Messiah !! You didn’t respond to this at all.

      #4 “The case of Zelophehad’s daughters has nothing to do with tribal lineage but with inheritance rights.”

      ANSWER #4
      Are you saying there is no relationship between tribal lineage and inheritance rights?

      #5
      .a) “Where is the source in the Torah that the Messiah must be sinless?
      .b) Can you be a human and not sin?
      .c) As for Messiah ben Joseph and ben David: first, ben means son of, so this has to be two people.
      .d) Second, you don’t believe the rabbis, so why quote them?
      .e) Third, it’s dishonest to quote the rabbis as if they believed in Jesus when you well know they did nothing of the kind.”

      ANSWER #5
      .a) Isaiah 53
      .b) Only if you’re fully God and fully man, like Jesus was.
      .c) But you wrote about “the Messiah” not two messiahs, right?
      .d) I never said I “don’t believe the rabbis”. Jesus was a rabbi. And I do believe many of the things that many rabbis have said.
      .e) I don’t know the personal belief system of every single rabbi who ever lived – and neither to do you. In any event, even prophets, who may be “all telling” are not “all knowing.” A rabbi may speak the truth without understanding it, just as I might.

      APPENDIX TO JIM
      You wrote, QUOTE:
      “…you cannot claim that Jesus will do any of these things in the future. If he hasn’t done them, then you cannot claim him as the Messiah. If he does do them, then you’ll have a case, but otherwise, you have none at all.”

      ANSWER:
      Yes, but regarding the future events that the Messiah will do, if no one else has done them yet either, you cannot claim that Jesus is NOT the Messiah based on this lack of fulfillment yet.

      My standard accepted the
      .1) Torah,
      .2) Prophets, and
      .3) Psalms
      in that order of witnessing authority, priority, and importance. This has not changed. I don’t “dismiss” Exekiel, but (Ezekiel 44:27-29; Ezekiel 45:22-23) have nothing at all to do with the Messiah. I admit I “overplayed my hand” in terms of talking about 2 or 3 witnesses. But can you admit that this is true about these Ezekiel passages?

      Sincerely,
      Matthew

      • Jim says:

        Matthew,

        Regarding Ezekiel 44:27-29, start at verse 1.

        Jim

        • paul says:

          Hello all,
          Sorry to butt in on the conversation. The verses quoted here are, yes the Millianial kingdom, but the context of the verses are clearly in regard to priests.

          Yeshua= Prophet past.
          Priest now.
          King Future.

          • Jim says:

            Paul,

            Good, that’s right. So, the sacrificial system goes on in the Messianic age, and continue on into chapter 45, and note that the Prince brings a sin offering for himself and for the people.

            Now neither of these should be happening if: 1. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, eradicating the need for all further sacrifices; and 2. Jesus is a sinless Messiah, since then he should only bring a sin sacrifice for the people.

            Jim

          • Jim says:

            Paul,

            Just to correct myself. When I say “that’s right” I’m not agreeing with Millenialism, but that sacrifices are happening in the Messianic age.

            Jim

        • Jim,
          I read this. Are you saying that “the prince” referred to in Ezekiel 44:3 is The Messiah?
          If so, could you explain why you believe that? I don’t see it.
          Matthew

          • paul says:

            Hello Jim

            The questions that you ask are good one and are usually overlooked by many.
            Firstly you have see that, as Ive stated before, the sacrificial system for forgiveness of sins was, 1. Temporary, 2. The sacrifices OT, were Atoning only, they did not forgive sins but only covered them. 3. The blood alone did not forgive, you had to beleive by faith also. In other words, Mosaic, or Messiah’s blood. By Gods grace through faith in Him.

            In ezeikel 45 as you quoted is future, yes. But if you compare Mosaic law and kingdom law in regard to the temple there are some stark differences.

            The Mosaic law in regard to sins and sacrifice of animals were, temporal, finite, external and legal.
            In the Messianic kingdom the sacrifices are, infinite, internal and soteriological.
            In the Messianic kingdom and according to ezeikel 45 the vision of the sacrifices are not blood atoning for sins, but for the cleansing of the cerimonial duties of the priests. According to the Mosaic law a great number of ceremonies were for this purpose. Ie the laver, basins etc. So the order of duties here are ceremonial, in preparation for worshippers, which if not adhered to results in punishment from the plagues explained in ezeikel. This does not mean a loss of salvation just a temp punishment of the flesh not the soul.

            The number of animals in Mosaic Law and kingdom law are different.

            The size of the temple is totally bigger in the latter, why because at Christs second coming there a great earth quake and a massive shift in the geographical make up of Jerusalem.
            The kingdom law is now for Jew and Gentile not just Jews.

            The main point I am making is that the sacrificial system is not to forgive sins, or to re establish Mosaic law, but for Israel to remember, to look back cerimonialy, at Christs sacrifice to forgive sins. Its a remberance service. Again the church today do similar with communion. Its not theocratic forgivness law but one is asked to ” do this in remberance of Me”
            So The sacrifices are for the priests and the temple service.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Paul.

            In the old days, the word of an Englishman was sacrosanct. I hope that is the case today. Please let me know when you make that payment of $50 you promised to Judaism Resources, right here:

            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/about/

            Please let me know when you’ve done it so I can thank you for it.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Jim says:

            Paul,

            Rephrasing my objections as questions may suit your purpose but is a rewriting of what I wrote. Beyond that, you ignore the text in question to promote your unsubstantiated theology. Ezekiel does not indicate this is a mere memorial. That is an explanation demanded by a theology that contradicts the words of the Prophets.

            Jim

          • paul says:

            Hello Jim
            Well thats a opinion, which you are entitled to. Reading the books of theLaw and then comparing to EZEIKEL in the kingdom to come are clear. Then adding the teachings of Christ into the mix you get a very clear understanding of what exactly the OT teaches about Christ and HIs advents.

            Context is the issue, not preconceived ideas on any side of the fence.

          • paul says:

            Hello Jim
            Well thats a opinion, which you are entitled to. Reading the books of the Law and then comparing to EZEIKEL in regard to the kingdom are clear. Then adding the teachings of Christ you get a very clear understanding of what exactly the OT teaches about Christ and His advents.

            Yes, Context is the issue, not preconceived ideas on any side of the fence. All one has to do is read deut, numbers and ezeikel to compare and see. The differences can only be explained by Christs return etc. You cannot see that because in your heart you have already dismissed the truth, so all you can do is believe in anything bar the truth.

            One of the oldest and most debated question in history is this, Was Yeshua son of Joseph the Messiah of Israel?

            If there was only one reference or proclaimed prophesy from the Writings or Law which believers quoted, you would say, “Just one, you must be joking, at least give us 2-3 at least, so we can at least talk about it.”
            The believer then says, ok I have 10-20 scriptures to show authentication.

            The reply is, ” Did you say 10-20, sorry I need at least 50!

            Ok how about 100?

            You must have misheard me I need at least 250.

            So you see my point Im trying to make. When you look at these discussions, and somebody shows the fulfilment from Christ in the OT, the truth is always there but never seen.

            Did Yeshua fulfil everything written of Him in the OT? Is everything about Yeshua Messiah written in the OT about the future???? There is enough evidence to see the truth. The human condition will always try and find a fault somewhere, even when a fault does not exist.

            Over 300 plus typologies, qoutes, fulfilments, signs and wonders, even the very fact of his rejection was prohesied and your rejection and hatred is only what the prohets spoke off, and all you are doing very much, even now is written. The irony of it, is that you are fulfilling what is written in your scriptures, which according to you, you seem to know. Only devine blindness given from the Lord can do thus.

            Jim. Either accept Him, and let Him pay the penalty, or reject Him and you pay the Penalty!

          • paul says:

            Hello.
            The person in question here is not Messiah Jeshua, or messiah to come, but the resurrected King David. King David will sit on the throne of David, as per the Davidic covenant.

          • Jim says:

            Paul,

            It is egregious the way you misrepresent the opposing arguments. In one who was ignorant of the Jewish position, who had never encountered it personally but had only a vague notion of it by way of anecdote, this would be forgivable. But you have been engaged in conversation for quite some time here, and it is inconceivable that the mischaracterization of your opponents should be so great.

            It’s bad enough the way you demonize people here, attacking their integrity. And the occasions which you have taken to calling our Jewish brothers and sisters idolaters and the like is quite shocking. But now it seems that you’ve never even listened to them, that you don’t just disagree with what they write but have never even paid attention to it.

            You portray the discussions as if the goal posts are always moving. But, this is not the case. It is not the case that those who object to the Christian claims have only demanded another prophecy. They have not been merely increasing demands: “One is not enough. Ten is not enough. 300 is not enough.” They have objected to the use of each prophecy on very specific grounds. One of the major grounds for objecting to the prophecies is that the Church misappropriates them, applying to the Messiah passages that have nothing to do with the Messiah.

            It is the constant Christian eisegesis that invalidates Christian interpretation of Tanach. At every turn, the Christian apologist misrepresents the words of the Jewish scriptures, and at its worst moments it sneers at the “blind Jews” who cannot understand their own books. This is no mere dismissal of Christian application that the Jewish objector brings out of some knee-jerk response to Jesus. It is a legitimate argument that must be considered.

            And you must consider it yourself, because you have just tried to apply the standard. You have just written that we must look at the context. I can only derive from this that you agree with the principles which are the foundation for the Jewish objections. So it is inconceivable that you should misrepresent them so.

            It is even more inconceivable that you should appeal to the context altogether. The misapplication of the Jewish scriptures is found in the Gospels, a practice to which you turn a blind eye. The Christian abuse of the scriptures never registers with you. So how can you possibly appeal to the context, when the context of the Prophets is the very thing your scriptures violate at every turn.

            You once quoted Hebrews to me. The passage you quoted contained a quote from Jeremiah. In the Hebrews passage, the author of Hebrews changed the words of the prophet from “but I was a husband to them” to “I disregarded them”. At the time, I pointed this out to you, but I do not recall receiving a response except to address my “attitude” which you find inappropriate. How then can you call upon the context to defend your arguments, when you don’t mind if Christian authors change the text altogether?

            And how do you misrepresent the opposing position so greatly, even as you ignore specific objections? The NT changes the meaning of the Tanach, even so far as to changing the actual words. And yet you portray this as spiritual blindness, obstinacy, and moving the goal posts. No, Paul, the objections are specific. It is not a psychological aversion to Jesus. It is an aversion to falseness. It is an aversion to misrepresentation. It is an aversion to lies.

            I must admit, however, that I feel for you. I do understand the difficulty of reading objections to your faith every day. That must be very difficult. And I also recognize to some degree it is natural for you to demonize your opponents. It is the tradition you received from the NT.

            Jim

          • paul says:

            Hi Jim
            Well I think enough has been said here in regard to the said subject. I will just say that there is no need to feel sorry for me. Its an honour and privilege to serve the living God. Im not forced to come here on this blog and proclaim the truth about the Lamb of God, who was sent as the express image of His Father. Sent to die a sacrificial death, to pay the penalty for sin, to redeem man, back to his Father.(According to scripture). The NT teaches that salvation is FROM the Jews and the Gospel must go to the Jews FIRST.
            Salvation is based on Gods grace, through faith in Him plus nothing.

            Have a good day Jim.

      • Jim says:

        Matthew,

        You write that I cannot make the positive claim that Jesus is not the Messiah due to lack of prophetic fulfillment, because no one has done them yet, and it’s still possible that he may do them. That’s true, but that’s not the basis of my argument.

        First, in regards to unfulfilled prophecies, you’ll note that I did not say that you know from this that Jesus isn’t the Messiah. I said you can’t know that he is. I wrote that if he fulfills them, then you’ll have a case, but otherwise there is no reason to hold that he is the Messiah.

        At this point, we can positively say that Jesus does not fulfill the definition of the Messiah. You can claim all you want that he will in the future. But I have no reason to believe you. And honestly, you have no reason to believe it either. You do believe it, but you have insufficient grounds to do so. But either way, at this point he has not fulfilled the definition. If he does in the future, then you’ll have an argument, but not until then.

        What I do say, positively, is that we have no good reason to trust the Gospels. They make extraordinary claims about Jesus that must be investigated. And this would be difficult, normally. How can I know if Jesus did any of these things to which I was not a witness and there were so few witnesses? Fortunately the Gospel authors did us a favor, they linked Jesus’ life to the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms. This gives me a foothold to begin an investigation. It’s really a rather nice blessing that they decided to employ the Jewish scriptures to prove Jesus.

        And when I conduct my investigation, I find that they are either ignorant or liars, for at every turn they alter the texts from which they draw or they remove them out of context. Once I have discovered that, I know that I cannot trust their testimony. Now I cannot trust their highly suspicious testimony that Jesus rose from the dead. (Why suspicious? Jesus said he would raise on the third day. By the testimony of Luke, they didn’t announce that Jesus had risen from the dead until the fiftieth day, and that was ten days after he ascended to heaven, leaving absolutely no proof. See here: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/tyvm-from-a-jew-to-a-christian/#comment-7347 .)

        Now I can say that I have no reason to accept Jesus. He has fulfilled very few of the Messianic criteria. The NT writers tried to give the Messiah new criteria to fulfill that they would likewise assign to Jesus, but have nothing to do with the Messiah. They had to massage prophecy to make it fit their candidate. I cannot trust them.

        I will add one further point. I can state positively that God forbids the worship of any other than him. So, if Jesus accepted worship as a divine being, then he is merely a deluded or evil man. He certainly isn’t, nor can he be God, and therefore, if he claimed to be God, I can know that he isn’t the Messiah.

        Jim

        • Jim,
          So you and Dina and I all agree on Dina’s “list of the elements of the Messianic era” that have been prophesied but have not taken place yet. I have not checked every Scripture verse, but overall, yes, this is what I believe will happen in the future when the Messiah comes. So we all agree. And we all agree that since no one has done these things yet, nothing is proved from them about who is the Messiah, and whether it is Jesus or not.
          Therefore,
          we can focus our attention to the prophecies that MAY HAVE already been fulfilled. I may say they were fulfilled in Jesus, and you may disagree, so we can look at them point by point. Would you agree this is a reasonable approach?
          Matthew

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            Dina and I have already begun to show why the claims that Jesus fulfilled prophecies is untenable. You refused to investigate that with us then. So you already know that we find that approach reasonable. (Dina, please forgive me for speaking for you.) Please stop dodging the issues.

            Jim

      • Dina says:

        Matthew:

        1. You are wrong. There is indeed no consensus that Luke’s genealogy is Mary’s, and I will prove it to you. The relevant verse is this: “He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli” (NIV). Now I may be wrong, but I believe that in the Greek, the word “son” is omitted, so it says just “of Heli,” which is how (I believe) some Christians arrive at the strange explanation that it’s Mary’s genealogy. But the Christian scholars who put together the NIV did not see it that way and inserted the word son. If it had been clear to them that Heli was Mary’s father and not Joseph’s, they would have written “daughter of Heli” (which would have resulted in a bizarre statement).

        You dismissed a serious study because of your mistaken assumption. I suggest you go back and read it. Then tell me about the real flaws you find.

        2. The idea of a second coming was made up by Christians. Just because something ISN’T in the Torah doesn’t mean it’s true. Unicorns aren’t in the Torah, so can you prove they don’t exist? Just because you haven’t seen any? That’s an unserious argument, Matthew.

        3. You are wrong again about the passages in Ezekiel. They are talking about the Messiah (just read them in context), whereas the passage in Isaiah 53 is not talking about the Messiah but about corporate Israel. (Once again, you quote out of context.)

        4. “Are you saying there is no relationship between tribal lineage and inheritance rights?” I’m saying there doesn’t have to be.

        5. Again, Isaiah 53 is talking about corporate Israel. If you read the surrounding context, you will see that the speaker is the kings and nations saying that they persecuted Israel for crimes they had not committed. That’s not the same as saying they are sinless. If someone is wrongfully convicted of murder, we say he is innocent; we don’t say he is sinless. Furthermore, this passage does not say that the Messiah must be sinless. You are not being true to the text (although you throw out that accusation willy-nilly).

        Fully man and fully god? Where did you get that idea from in the Torah? Besides, how can an entity be fully deserving of worship and fully not deserving of worship (God deserves worship, a human does not)?

        You fail to understand that “messiah” does not mean “one who dies for our sins” but “one who is anointed,” which in the Torah and the Prophets is always performed by a prophet using oil. That’s all it means. All Jewish kings were anointed, so our history if full of messiahs. The role of Messiah ben Joseph (simply a leader anointed by a prophet) is not the role of the one we got into the habit of calling Messiah ben David, in whose reign the messianic prophecies will be fulfilled. Anyway, this is outside our common ground, so there’s no point in discussing it.

        By the way, according the real definition of messiah (“mashiach”), Jesus was never anointed by a prophet to be the leader of Israel.

        It is indeed dishonest to try to use the teachings of the rabbis to prove the messiahship of Jesus. To suggest the possibility is to show your ignorance of rabbinic Judaism. Also when I said that you don’t believe the rabbis, I meant that you don’t accept the Talmud as authoritative.

        It is commendable of you to admit that you were wrong regarding the teaching of revenge and the matter of witnesses. What is not commendable is how blithely you move on to the next issue. How many contradictions and misunderstandings will you be caught in before you confront the fact that something is fundamentally wrong with your approach, or does it not matter? (Please forgive my blunt words; I mean no disrespect.)

        Finally, when you will you respond to the charge of Scripture tampering in the gospels?

        Peace and blessings,
        Dina

        • Dina.

          .1) Luke’s genealogy is Mary’s. The relevant verse is Luke 3:23
          NASB “…being SUPPOSEDLY the son of Joseph…”
          Amplified “…being the Son, IT WAS SUPPOSED, of Joseph…”
          KJV “…being (AS WAS SUPPOSED) the son of Joseph…”
          NIV “He was the son, SO IT WAS THOUGHT, of Joseph…”

          .2) We agree that “Just because something ISN’T in the Torah doesn’t mean it’s true.”
          Yes. And just because something isn’t in the Torah doesn’t mean it’s NOT true either.

          .3) a) RE: Ezekiel 44, specifically why do you believe these passages are referring to the Messiah?
          .b) RE: your claim that “Isaiah 53 is not talking about the Messiah but about corporate Israel” specifically why do you believe this? I have heard of this general argument before, and I’m sure you could probably provide a link to someone writing about it.

          .4) I asked, “Are you saying there is no relationship between tribal lineage and inheritance rights?” You responded ‘I’m saying there doesn’t have to be.’
          Well I’m no expert in the Law, but it’s obvious to me that there is frequently at least some relationship. The Levites have no inheritance rights based on lineage. This seems like a minor technical point, which I don’t personally have time to dig into, and if you don’t want to dig into it, maybe we should just deal with other bigger issues.

          .5) You said, “Again, Isaiah 53 is talking about corporate Israel.” And you believe this because…? Isaiah 53 is one of the main texts that I believe prophesies about the coming Jewish Messiah, not “corporate Israel.” The “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is a major issue, and I’m sure that many rabbis have taught plenty on the subject, so I’m not asking you to “reinvent the wheel” with the basic written argument of why you believe what you believe. I’m sure you must know of some links I could look at.

          Thanks, peace and blessings,
          Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew.

            1. All I said, Matthew, was that there is not a consensus that Luke’s genealogy is Mary’s, and I proved that there is not a consensus by showing that the Christian scholars who translated the Greek gospel of Luke for the NIV believed the genealogy was Joseph’s. The link that I posted stated that there is not a consensus among Christians on this point, you said that was false, and you dismissed an in-depth and serious study of the issue based on your own mistake.

            I am not saying that the genealogy in Luke is one way or the other. It seems to me to make no sense to say it’s Mary’s, but if you want it to be Mary’s, that’s fine. There are still problems with it that need to address, like the fact that a woman cannot pass on her tribal affiliation, or that this genealogy passes through David’s son Nathan and not Solomon.

            2. You wrote: “Yes. And just because something isn’t in the Torah doesn’t mean it’s NOT true either.” This is pretty rich coming from someone who spent several posts lecturing me on why it’s dangerously blurring the line between God’s words and man’s words to refer to Jewish scripture as the Bible or to use the word “canon” just because the Bible doesn’t call itself that (bible means book, by the way).

            3. “This gate shall be closed; it shall not be opened; no man may come through it…it is for the prince, he is the leader…” (Ezekiel 44:2-3). A future prince who will be the leader…and you can’t see why I might think this refers to the messiah.

            I recommend the links that Rabbi Blumenthal posted, and here’s another one:

            It’s a nearly two-hour-long video, so you might want to listen while folding laundry and washing dishes 🙂

            4. Regarding tribal affiliation and inheritance rights, there is usually a relationship but there doesn’t have to be.

            5. Here are more links about Isaiah 53:

            http://thejewishhome.org/counter/Isa53JP.pdf
            http://thejewishhome.org/counter/Isa53CP.pdf

          • Dina,

            .1) I quoted from Luke 3:23 in 4 different well-respected, famous translations. Lets look at what the text says and think for ourselves. Anyone could always dodge the text by discussing opinions about how there is not a consensus among the opinons of Christian scholars. I believe this is the way of the Pharisees – correct me if I’m wrong. Rather than looking at the text itself and thinking for yourself, you discuss what certain teachers (rabbis) said or wrote about the text. So you are discussing the opinions of other people, rather than discussing the text.

            You said, QUOTE:
            “a woman cannot pass on her tribal affiliation”

            ANSWER:
            This quote the Prophets seems to indicate otherwise. If these woman had to marry within their own tribe, then they WERE keeping and passing on their tribal affiliation – right?:
            “Now Zelophehad… had no sons but only daughters…. They went to Eleazer the priest, Joshua son on Nun, and the leaders and said, “Yahweh commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers.” So Joshua gave them an inheritance along with the brothers of their father, according to Yahweh’s command.” [Joshua 17:3-4]

            You said, QUOTE:
            “this genealogy passes through David’s son Nathan and not Solomon.”

            ANSWER:
            Yes, but the geneology of Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, is through Solomon, as recorded in Matthew.

            So actually the 2 geneologies in Matthew & Luke do point to Jesus, if they are accurate- unless we fabricate problems where they don’t exist.

            .2) The Scriptures were not given to us by God as “one book” which is somehow all equally important, authoritative, and all “the word of God.” I think the accurate term for that is “Bibliolatry.” You are dodging the issue quoting me and saying it’s “pretty rich.” Maybe it is. But is what I said TRUE?
            New words like “Bible,” “canon”, “Tanach,” “New Testament” are not in themselves statements of truth, they are just new words that are given a meaning, referring to something.

            .3) You said, QUOTE:
            “This gate shall be closed; it shall not be opened; no man may come through it…it is for the prince, he is the leader…” (Ezekiel 44:2-3). A future prince who will be the leader…and you can’t see why I might think this refers to the messiah.”

            ANSWER:
            No, I see no particular reason why this refers to the messiah. If it were connected to something else, maybe it might be sort of a glimpse, but the context does not provide much help. Why specifically do you think this is talking about the messiah?

            Thanks for the links.
            Sincerely,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew.

            1. Looking at the text in Luke and thinking for myself, I don’t see that the genealogy is Mary’s, neither obviously nor subtly. Mary is not mentioned in the passage, but Joseph is. Now you may disagree, and that’s fine. But to say that it’s clear is not true. Clear is this:

            “He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, husband of Mary, the daughter of Heli.”

            But that is not what the text says.

            I dismiss your ignorant argument about the Pharisee mindset because you are prejudiced against us by your scripture. Your scripture hates Pharisees and has transferred that hatred to you. You know nothing of real-live Pharisees. So I won’t pursue this. (If I sound angry, that’s because I am. The injustice done to the Pharisees over the centuries as a result of your very own scripture should arouse anyone to righteous indignation.)

            The two genealogies do not provide proper messianic credentials. Here’s why:

            If the genealogy in Luke is Mary’s, then Mary can’t pass on her tribal affiliation, as I have shown you–and as Yaakov has further elaborated (thank you, Yaakov). So Mary’s genealogy is irrelevant. However, even if she could pass it on–she can’t, but let’s say for argument’s sake–then it still doesn’t work because of Nathan’s line.

            The genealogy in Matthew is Joseph’s. Joseph was not Jesus’s biological father. One cannot pass his tribal affiliation to an adopted son. Period, end of story. Furthermore, if Joseph was not Jesus’s biological father, then Jesus was Mary’s illegitimate son. “A bastard shall not enter the congregation of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 23:2), much less sit on the throne of David (which, by the way, Jesus never did).

            2. It is intellectually dishonest–or at least talking out of both sides of your mouth–to dismiss the notion that I can give a name to my scripture that is not found therein as “dangerous” while accepting the notion of a second coming, also not found therein, as fact.

            I am not interested in rehashing the Tanach-Bible-canon argument with you. I am just trying to show you that you have a double standard. You accept what suits your theology and discard what doesn’t even if that is inconsistent.

            3. Jim responded to this one by showing you the context. I have nothing more to add. It’s amazing to me that you simply can’t see what I’m talking about here but see Isaiah 53 as clearly talking about the messiah.

            Best wishes,
            Dina

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            Ezekiel 37.24-28: “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”

            The one who shall be “their prince forever” is the Messiah.

            Joseph isn’t Jesus’ father, so Jesus isn’t a son of David through Solomon.

            Jim

          • Dina,
            You have helped to bring to light some of my errors, and I appreciate that. Now I will return the favor, and bring some clarity.

            .1
            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “Now I may be wrong, but I believe that in the Greek, the word “son” is omitted, so it says just “of Heli,” which is how (I believe) some Christians arrive at the strange explanation that it’s Mary’s genealogy. But the Christian scholars who put together the NIV did not see it that way and inserted the word son.”

            You are wrong on this point. I have a Greek Interlinear Bible, and the literal reading of the words in Luke 3:23 is: “being son, as was supposed, of Joseph.” Although I am not a Greek “expert”, I did complete 1 year of Greek while at Dallas Theological Seminary, and I can read it – slowly.

            The 4 Bible translations I quoted all reflect the word “son”, including the King James Version, which was published hundreds of years ago (before the NIV in the 20th Century).

            Mary is not mentioned in the passage, probably because this is not about Mary, it’s about the genealogy of Jesus the Jewish Messiah, whose stepfather Joseph was a direct descendent of David and Solomon. It fairly obvious to us how much of an idol Mary has become to many Roman Catholics, and I believe the Gospel writers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, were trying to avoid this kind of problem.

            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “The genealogy in Matthew is Joseph’s. Joseph was not Jesus’s biological father. One cannot pass his tribal affiliation to an adopted son. Period, end of story.”
            ANSWER:
            Do you have some backup from the Law or the Prophets for this assertion?

            .2
            From the Law, the Prophets & the Psalms, neither of us have at this point been able to prove that there will or will not be a “second coming” of the Messiah. It remains unclear – at least for now.

            Respectfully,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew.

            1. Allow me to clarify which “son” I believe is omitted from the Greek. Again, I may be wrong. I don’t read, speak, or understand Greek, and I don’t want to get into a discussion in a language I don’t know. I will tell you what Charles (who does read Greek) told me, and if it is wrong, so be it. It’s a minor point anyway. (If the word “son” is not omitted then your case is even weaker.)

            Here’s the relevant quote, and I bracketed the word that the NIV (according to Charles) has inserted:

            “He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, [the son] of Heli.”

            If it’s Mary’s genealogy, shouldn’t it say “daughter of Heli”?

            Your speculation about why Mary isn’t in the passage is irrelevant. We’re not dealing with speculation but plain meaning, right? Right. It’s just plain weird to say it’s her genealogy when her name’s not mentioned. But like I said, I don’t care either way. The genealogy works against Jesus in any case.

            BTW, the King James Bible and the NLT are more explicit:

            King James: “the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.”
            NLT: “Jesus was known as the son of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Heli.”

            2. Regarding tribal lineage, see Numbers Chapter 1. Furthermore, the Zelophehad story proves ipso facto that women can’t pass on their tribal affiliation. If that were the case, the daughters would have been able to marry outside of the tribe and still keep their inheritance.

            3. Regarding the second coming, you have no moral standing to lecture anyone about backing up their every single assertion from the Torah if you don’t hold yourself to that standard. That’s all I’m saying. I have no problem with that standard. But I do have a problem with people who keep a double one.

            I await with anticipation your answer to Jim’s question about fulfilled prophecy.

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • Jim,
            Thank you for your scholarship.
            Yes, I agree with you about Ezekiel 37.24-28 that
            “The one who shall be “their prince forever” is the Messiah.”

            (The context immediately preceeding this, Ezekiel 37.15-23, is about the “two sticks” which many Messianic Jews believe refers to Gentiles and Jews coming together in the end times.)

            So you are saying that this “prince” is the same as the one referred to in Ezekiel 44:3? Maybe you are right. At this time, I cannot say you are wrong, even if it is not extremely clear.

            However,
            Ezekiel 44:25-29 reads:
            “A PRIEST… is to offer a sin offering for himself.” (not the prince.)

            Ezekiel 45:8-9
            You do not beieve that the Messiah is one of these “princes” do you?
            “my princes will no longer oppress my people….This is what the Sovereign Yahweh says: ‘You have gone far enough, O princes of Israel! Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right….”
            That doesn’t sound like the Messiah to me – and there are more than one. 🙂

            Ezekiel 45:22-23
            Are you saying this “prince” also is the same as the one referred to in Ezekiel 37.24-28 & 44:3? Again, Maybe you are right. At this time, I cannot say for certain you are wrong, even if it is not extremely clear.

            However, even if this was Jesus as “the prince” providing “a sin offering for himself” this in itself does not mean that Jesus was sinful. You can look at the Mikvah (Baptism) of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 3:13-17 as just one example of how Jesus chose to be “Torah observant” and “fulfill the Law”, even when He really didn’t need to.

            Other than these passages in Ezekiel 44 & 45, are there any other passages in the Torah or Prophets that would indicate that the Messiah must be sinful?

            Respectfully,
            Matthew

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            Yes, I would say the prince in 45 is the same as in 37.

            I would not say that because he sins, he is sinful. I would say that he is righteous in the same way the Noah, Abraham, and David were considered righteous, though none of them was sinless. But I would not say that “not being sinless” was the same thing as “being sinful”.

            Would you like to present your first fulfilled prophecy?

            Jim

  18. Yaakov says:

    Matthew,

    I appreciate your intellectual search.

    Your reading of the passage about Zelophehad might be mistaken. The reason why his daughters were told to marry into their own family was because if they had married anyone else, their tribal affiliation would have been lost and the land which they inherited would have been transferred to another tribe. If women retained their tribal status, they could have married whoever they wanted.

    (ie- The goal of their marriages into their own tribe was to keep the land they inherited in their own tribe. A woman does not pass on her tribal affiliation. This is all clearly spelled out in Numbers 36:7-9).

    yaakov

    • Hi Yaakov,
      Likewise, I appreciate your insight. You have helped me increase my understanding, although I admit it’s still kind of “over my head.”

      Someone said, QUOTE:
      “The genealogy in Matthew is Joseph’s. Joseph was not Jesus’s biological father. One cannot pass his tribal affiliation to an adopted son. Period, end of story.”

      I agree that “The genealogy in Matthew is Joseph’s.”
      But,
      Do you have some backup from the Law or the Prophets for this assertion about an adopted son?

      Peace and blessings,
      Matthew

      • Dina says:

        Hi Matthew.

        1. I gave you Numbers Chapter One. There is no reason to believe that “to the house of their fathers” includes adoptive parents.

        2. Moses was adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh but he remained a Levite.

        3. Using the adoption argument renders meaningless God’s promise to David that the bloodline would flow through his son Solomon. In addition to thousands of descendants who could be claimants to the throne, we now have to contend with adopted children? Since the Torah and the Prophets NEVER say ANYWHERE that an adopted child can inherit the throne, I emphatically reject that argument.

        So should you, if you held yourself to your own standard.

        • Dina says:

          I also should have said: Since the Torah and the Prophets NEVER say ANYWHERE that an adopted child can inherit his non-biological father’s tribal lineage, I even more emphatically reject that argument.

        • Dina,
          If Jesus were not born of Mary, I would agree with you.
          However,
          Jesus was not ONLY the “adoptive son” of Joseph, who was in the line of David and Solomon. Jesus was ALSO in the bloodline of David through his mother Mary.

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, Mary’s bloodline is irrelevant, as I have shown you. And even if it were, the fact that it goes through Nathan is a disqualifier.

            Joseph’s line is irrelevant, being only an adoptive father.

            Jesus, the illegitimate son of Mary, of unknown paternal parentage, can never sit on the throne of David. He may not even enter the Congregation of the Lord.

      • Yaakov says:

        Dear Matthew,
        Check out Esther 2:7. It says there that “Mordechai took her [Esther] as a daughter.” (Her parents had died.) Yet, Mordechai says to Esther (4:14) “…you and your father’s house will perish…” Mordechai, even though he “took her as a daughter” did not consider himself her father. The book of Esther does not call him her father even once, even though it records a lengthy correspondence between the two of them (Esther 4).
        She did not consider him her father, as can be seen by how she issues terse commands to him (4:17). She did not address him with any formal titles, such as “my father.” In the bible, parents are always addressed formally (for example- Genesis 27:18, 27:34 and 31:1).
        Therefore, before we ask whether or not tribal affiliation is passed on through adoption, we must ask whether or not adoption has any legal significance at all in Biblical law. It seems as though it does not because we see that the relationship between Esther and Mordechai had none of the aspects of a parent-child relationship. They certainly did not view their relationship as such. In addition, in all the legal portions of the Torah, there are no directions for how an adoption is performed.
        yaakov

        • Hi Yaakov,
          Thank you for your analysis of Esther, and regarding that particular book I think you have a point. We should note however, that Esther is part of the Kethuvim (Writings). It is not the Torah, Prophets (Or Psalms portion of Kethuvim) which we are using as our standard here for authority.

          I’ll take your word for it that
          “in all the legal portions of the Torah, there are no directions for how an adoption is performed.”
          But
          What do you do with Genesis 15:2-3?
          Matthew

          • Yaakov says:

            Dear Matthew,
            Thanks so much for considering my response and responding to me even though I’m not able to keep up with the fast pace of the conversation.
            I’m sure you know that I was surprised when you said that the Writings are not authoritative for the purpose of this conversation. It is hard to understand why there should be any difference between the Writings and the Torah. Even though the Torah was written by God and the Writings were written by prophets, we only know that the Torah is accurate because it has been passed down to us by the same people who told us that the Writings were true prophecy. If we cannot trust them that the Writings are true, there is no reason to trust them in regard to any text. (These same people also do not feel that the NT is authoritative. If one feels that this calls them into question, than certainly everything in the OT as we have it, which they were charged with preserving, should be considered not necessarily accurate.)
            You’ve already observed that there is a difference between an inheritance which is spiritual (such as tribal status, a claim to the Jewish throne, and being a father or mother to someone) and an inheritance which revolves around property and money. Eliezer (Genesis 15) only stood to inherit the estate. Did Abraham think that Eliezer, an employee who was not adopted or considered a son in any fashion (Genesis 24:34), would inherit Abraham’s spiritual mission on earth to bear the message of monotheism? Probably not. If he did think that Eliezer would carry on the mission, why would he be distressed that he did not have a biological son? When Abraham calls him a “Damascene,” it shows that Abraham was distressed that someone who was OUTSIDE of Abraham’s fledgling religion/nation would inherit the estate. In fact, Genesis 15 may even serve as a proof that a person can be an “inheritor” while at the same time that person has no meaningful spiritual connection to the person from whom he inherits!
            Thank you again for responding to my last post.
            Yaakov

          • Dina says:

            Hi Yaakov,

            Although Jim (forgive me for speaking for you) and I disagree with Matthew that the Ketuvim are not authoritative, for the sake of the discussion we accepted his standard to quote authoritatively only from the Torah, Nevi’im, and Tehilim. (Matthew accepts Tehilim only because it is quoted in the gospels).

            The fact is, there is plenty of evidence just from these sources to refute everything Matthew has brought to the table so far.

            I enjoyed reading your articulate and well-reasoned comments. Thank you for that!

            Kol tuv,
            Dina

          • Yaakov,
            I appreciate your response. It is always dangerous to ASSUME.
            Until recently, I was not aware that “Tanach” or “Tanakh” was derived from
            Torah
            Nabi ‘im (Prophets) and
            Kethuvim (Writings.)

            The Hebrew Scriptures are arranged in descending order of witnessing authority and priority.
            Half of the Psalms, always listed first in the “Kethuvim,” were written by King David, and are generally the most “popular” part of the Kethuvim among both Jews & Gentiles. I think it would be accurate to say that some of the Psalms are really Prophecy.

            I think other “Torah observant” Jews on this website could confirm this basic “3 level” understanding. So thinking in terms of simply “Writings and the Torah” would be an incomplete understanding.
            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            No, we can’t confirm your understanding because you think it means that they’re not authoritative. We believe the Ketuvim were also written with Divine inspiration. I don’t know how you decide which parts are prophecy and which don’t count. It seems arbitrary.

  19. Jim & Dina,
    Here is my summary of where we are in our discussion. I used Dina’s “A challenge for Charles” as the framework, and divided it into 6 sections, which we have been interacting on back and forth.

    .1) Dina you wrote, QUOTE:
    “Again, I may be wrong. I don’t read, speak, or understand Greek,….I will tell you what Charles (who does read Greek) told me, and if it is wrong, so be it.”

    ANSWER:
    I DO read, speak, and understand Greek (slowly) and I studied Greek for a year at Dallas Theological Seminary, where I got a Masters Degree.
    Charles is wrong.
    I have a Greek Bible, and I quoted directly from the Interlinear translation, as well as from the New International Version, King James, New American Standard, and Amplified versions.
    Charles is wrong, and if you quote him you are wrong.

    I don’t know Hebrew- you do. So I can learn something from you there. But it is ridiculous for you to quote to me what someone else told you about the Greek, when I have the text myself and I can read it, and I’ve already proved him wrong.

    .2) So we agree, for the moment at least, that we can’t prove or disprove a “second coming” from the Torah, Prophets of Psalms. (Maybe we can revisit this later.)

    .3) We agree that the prince in Ezekiel 37.24-28 is the Messiah, and that the prince in Ezekiel 45:22-23 also COULD be the Messiah. But the prince providing “a sin offering for himself” does now PROVE he is not sinless. It just means he is making this offering, regardless of whether he personally has sin or not.

    .4) We agree that “Regarding tribal affiliation and inheritance rights, there is usually a relationship but there doesn’t have to be.”

    .5) Regarding Isaiah 53, I’ll have to look at the links and video of the teachings of “Our Pharisee Friend” that you all were kind enough to provide. I believe that Jesus fulfilled a number of specific prophecies in Isaiah 53 as the Suffering Servant.

    .6) We agree on on Dina’s “list of the elements of the Messianic era” that have been prophesied but have not taken place yet:
    INGATHERING OF THE JEWISH EXILES
    REBUILDING OF THE THIRD TEMPLE
    NATIONAL RESURGENCE OF TORAH OBSERVANCE
    UNIVERSAL PEACE, UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, PUNISHMENT OF PERSECUTORS OF THE JEWS/VINDICATION OF THE JEWS IN THE EYES OF THE NATIONS

    In other words, my friends, we already agree on a lot!
    Please let me know if I have misunderstood some point of agreement.
    Blessings,
    Matthew

    • Dina says:

      1. I agree with you, Matthew, that it’s ridiculous for me to have a discussion with you about a language that you speak and I don’t, so I’m content to leave it there. Let’s look just at the English then:

      King James: And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed ) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.
      NIV: Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli.
      NLT: Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry. Jesus was known as the son of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Heli.

      Funny, isn’t it, that all these versions agree that Joseph is the son of Heli. Was Mary, being a woman, the son of Heli? You can’t be serious, Matthew.

      2. Okay, let’s leave the issue of the second coming for now. It would be nice, though, if you would admit that you are operating on a double standard here.

      3. The prince offering a sin sacrifice for himself doesn’t prove he sinned? You must be desperate, to say such a thing.

      4. Good.

      5. Yes, please do take a look. Thanks.

      6. Okay, so then which messianic prophecy did Jesus fulfill?

      • Dina,

        .1) Apparently the “NLT”, a new liberal translation which I don’t use, does say that “Joseph is the son of Heli.” I’ll take your word for that. But it is wrong, and reading something into the text which is not there.

        King James: being (as was supposed ) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.
        NIV: He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli.

        Yes, it’s subtle, it is veiled. The “NLT” translators missed it, and if you are looking through the lens of the NLT, then you will probably miss it also. The genealogies in Matthew and Luke are different, but both include King David. It is not unreasonable to think that genealogies would be included for both the Mother and earthly father of Jesus.

        Yes, honest reasonable people may look at the genealogy in Luke and say they “just don’t see” that this is the genealogy of Jesus. But there is enough evidence for you to believe that other rational honest reasonable people DO SEE that this the genealogy of Jesus through Mary.

        I am serious. But I think we’ve covered this enough, the evidence is there, for anyone who wants to think for themselves.

        .2) OK we’re good for now.
        .3) If the prince in Ezekiel 45:22-23 providing “a sin offering for himself” is the ONLY passage in the Torah Prophets & Psalms that you use to prove that the Messiah could not be without sin, then YOU must be desperate.
        .4) Yes, good.
        .5) I will look – thank YOU.
        .6) To start with, Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Micah 5:2,

        • Dina says:

          Hi Matthew.

          I am not desperate because I don’t need the Messiah to be sinless or to be a righteous man who occasionally sins. I expect him to be the latter because the nature of being human is to sin, but I don’t need it. Either one is fine with me. You’re the one who needs the messiah to be sinless; therefore you are having a hard time with this passage and are resorting to strange arguments.

          Also, be very careful of dismissing something because it’s only mentioned once. How many times is it mentioned that:

          1. We must place our faith in the Messiah in order to achieve eternal salvation.
          2. The Messiah will be born of a virgin.
          3. The Messiah will not have a human father.
          4. Prayer and repentance are not enough to atone for sin.
          5. The Jews will turn to the Gentiles to learn the truth about God.

          How many times, Matthew? NOT EVEN ONCE.

          Matthew, why do you hold my to a different standard than you hold yourself? This is the second type of double standard you’ve operated here. Please stop it. It isn’t fair, and it isn’t intellectually honest.

          As for your fulfilled prophecies:

          Genesis 3:15 is not a messianic prophecy.
          Isaiah 53 is a messianic prophecy, but it’s not about the Messiah; it’s about the exaltation of Israel in the eyes of the nations. Israel will be vindicated during the messianic age (not Christian gentiles). Please see the links that I and Rabbi Blumenthal provided, to save time and space.
          Micah 5:2: What did Jesus fulfill here, exactly?

          Jim, if you want to weigh in, I’d love to get your thoughts as well.

          Thanks,
          Dina

          • Dina,
            You are sort of “begging the question” here regarding “prince in Ezekiel 45:22-23”.
            I don’t agree that this is the Messiah. I said it COULD be. At this point, I don’t think I could prove that this is not the Messiah from Scripture. And I’m pointing out that IF it is the Messiah, he could be just fulfilling the Law out of respect, like when Jesus did when He got baptized by John the Baptist although He did not need to be.

            My point was, this passage does not PROVE that the Messiah committed sins that he will need to atone for. My remarks about it being the only passage were simply a response to your banter on a similar wavelength- being the “only passage” is not the main point. I’m not dismissing it. I’m just stating that this passage is not at all conclusive, about either the identity of the Messiah or his sin nature. Since it is only one short inconclusive passage, and you are not providing any other Scripture as backup to show that the Messiah MUST have a sin nature, it seems best to give this rest. I think we could agree that this passage does CLEARLY prove anything either way.

            I think for now at least we’ve covered your points #2, #3, #4, #5.
            I agree that “we didn’t resolve the genealogy issue #1.
            And there is more to be said on #6,
            Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Micah 5:2.
            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, your argument about the prince in Ezekiel is very interesting. I will sum up a few of your points:

            1. Nothing in this passage clearly identifies the prince as the Messiah.
            2. The prince offering a sin sacrifice doesn’t prove that the prince actually sinned.
            3. One inconclusive passage without other Scriptural backup is not enough to prove something.

            Okay. Now take that standard and apply it to the “fulfilled prophesies” you presented. Every single one will fall apart as soon as you apply this standard.

            Thanks for the clarity.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Dina,
            Thank you for the 3 point summary and the clarity. We understand each other. So now we can move on to other points.
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Okay, Matthew, what did you want to discuss next?

        • Dina says:

          Just curious, does the Greek say “son of Heli” as well? If so, why?

        • Dina says:

          Matthew, we didn’t resolve the genealogy issue. I have shown you why according to both genealogies, Jesus is ruled out as a candidate for the Davidic throne. Are you dropping this because you have no way to refute this, or are you agreeing with me?

          • Dina,
            Regarding the Genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew & Luke:
            The kind of “hyper-analysis” of the text of Luke that you are doing reminds me of some liberals or atheists who look at Genesis 1:1-2:3 compared to 2:4-25. They will insist passionately that this shows “two different creation accounts” and therefore the Book of Genesis is not reliable, is myth, etc.

            No. It shows an overview of the creation of the Universe, and then God arranging things in the Garden of Eden. That’s the big picture; these are unique events in world history. To debate endlessly about how the grammar or the exact meanings of a few words in the story don’t say exactly what you think they should say is sort of pointless.

            The 4 Gospels are the narratives about Jesus. His birth was the most unique one in the history of creation, according to people who follow Him as I do. The Apostle Matthew, who knew Jesus very well personally, recorded the genealogy of Jesus’ father. Luke researched and recorded the genealogy of Jesus’ mother. This is reasonable, normal, and natural to expect this, especially for a Jew such as Jesus. So to endlessly question, “Why did Luke say X, why didn’t Luke say Y” Etc. etc. is like doing an exhaustive chemical analysis on a speck of tree bark, while ignoring that there are two different forests.

            As for your assertion that, QUOTE:
            “Jesus is ruled out as a candidate for the Davidic throne;”
            What I think we need to consider is,
            Is it enough for Jesus to be in the bloodline of David physically through Mary, and also the “adopted” descendent of David through Solomon?

            From the Torah Prophets & Psalms, could you give the passages you use to determine the qualifications for the “candidate for the Davidic throne”?

            Respectfully,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            No, Matthew, I am not being hyper-analytical. I am looking at the plain text and asking a very obvious question. It’s bizarre for Luke–who is presumably writing with divine inspiration, no?–to write that Joseph is the son of Heli when he really meant to write that Mary was the daughter of Heli. It stretches credulity to the breaking point to assume this is Mary’s genealogy.

            But you know what? It doesn’t matter either way. If it’s Joseph’s genealogy, you have the problem of conflicting genealogies, one of which goes through Nathan, plus the problem of adoption. If it’s Mary’s genealogy, it’s irrelevant because Mary can’t pass her tribal affiliation to her son, and you still have the Nathan problem.

            You asked, “Is it enough for Jesus to be in the bloodline of David physically through Mary, and also the “adopted” descendent of David through Solomon?” Why not just listen to what God has to say about it? God promised David that his line would pass through Solomon and would last forever. I’ve already shown you that it’s anti-scriptural to talk about tribal lineage through matrilineal descent or adoption.

            The answer is, “No.”

            I already gave you the sources for this. Here they are again:

            Respectfully,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            In fact, the argument you are using to make the genealogies work flies in the face of your standard that I summarized above.

          • Dina,
            RE: Qualifications for the Davidic throne,
            I believe your sources are these 3 passages – correct?
            (Do you have any more Scripture backup besides these?)
            You wrote, QUOTE”
            “…a Jewish king who will be a direct descendent of King David through his son Solomon (2 Samuel 7:12-14; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10) will rule in Israel….
            Jesus cannot be a direct descendant of King David, since tribal lineage can only be passed through patrilineal descent (see for example Numbers Chapter 1).”

            .1) In the first two of these passages – (Prophets & Ketuvim [Writings]),
            there is no mention of “tribal lineage” at all. So it appears this is really about inheritance rights – maybe? J

            .2) I do not see a clear requirement that the Messiah must be “a direct descendent of King David through his son Solomon,” (although Solomon would certainly appear to be the most likely candidate.) A direct descendent of David, yes – through the bloodline of Solomon, not so clear to me.

            .3) In the Torah passage (Numbers chapter 1,) and elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures, certainly tribal lineage is USUALLY passed through patrilineal descent. I don’t see a clear requirement that it always has to be. But more importantly, this does not appear to matter, since 2 Samuel 7:12-14; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10 don’t mention tribal lineage. So if it’s really about “inheritance rights” then the passage about Zelophehad’s daughters in Joshua 17 might have application – right?

            Peace and blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew.

            To sum up your arguments, thus:

            1. Although God says that He will establish David’s throne through Solomon forever, that’s not clear (????). Therefore, it doesn’t have to be so.

            2. Since the words “tribal lineage” do not appear in the passage, then the throne doesn’t really have to pass through Solomon.

            3. Although there is not a single instance in the whole Torah and Prophets of tribal lineage passing through the mother (and there is evidence that it can’t pass through the mother, as in the example of Zelophehad’s daughters), still, it doesn’t mean that tribal lineage can’t pass through the mother.

            4. Three sources (really two, because one is from Chronicles, so it doesn’t count for you) are not enough support to prove a point, so I should please provide more.

            5. On the other hand, you don’t have to provide any Scriptural support whatsoever to back up your assertions that:

            A. Tribal lineage can pass through the mother.
            B. Any descendant of King David through any of his sons can claim the throne.
            C. The claim to the throne can be passed on to an adopted son.

            I don’t know what else to say.

            I wish you well,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            I also await your response on the prophecies.

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • Dina,
            Here are the words from “the Prophets”, in context.

            2 Samuel 7:4-5
            The word of Yahweh came to Nathan, saying:
            “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what Yahweh says:….’”

            2 Samuel 7:12-14
            “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men.”

            But this is not the end !! You need to look at the context, as Jim would remind us !!! The next verses read:

            2 Samuel 7:15-16
            “But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. YOUR house and YOUR kingdom will endure forever before me; YOUR throne will be established forever.”

            Whose house, kingdom & throne will be established forever? Solomons? NO!
            Davids ! Solomon’s kingdom did not endure, due to his disobedience and idolatry. But David’s kingdom will be established forever.

            So your second “proof text” from the Writings, (Ketuvim) is not reliable and should not be trusted, bccause it contradicts the words of Yahweh spoken by Nathan the Prophet in the “Prophets” section of the Hebrew Scriptures.
            1 Chronicles 22:9-10

            There is nothing about “tribal lineage” in the text, so whether or not it can pass through the mother, or through adoption, appears to be irrelevant, as far as I can see. Although I’m no expert in the Law, , it appears the issue is “inheritance rights” which CAN pass through the mother, as in the example of Zelophehad’s daughters. ( I believe inheritance rights can also pass through adoption can’t they? In the Torah, Abraham said “I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus.” [Genesis 15:2]

            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, are we reading the same passage?

            Let’s take a look at 2 Samuel 7:12-15, with emphasis on some key words and phrases:

            12: When your days are complete and you lie with your forefathers, I shall raise up after you your offspring who will issue from your loins, and I shall make his kingdom firm.

            13: He shall build a Temple for My sake, and I shall make firm the throne of HIS kingdom FOREVER.

            14: I shall be a Father unto him and he shall be a son unto me, so that when he sins I shall chastise him with the rod of men and with afflictions of human beings.

            15: But my kindness will not be removed from HIM AS I REMOVED IT FROM SAUL, whom I removed from before you.

            You emphasized the words that show that David’s kingdom will endure forever and then triumphantly proclaimed that David’s throne will endure, but definitely not Solomon’s, with two exclamation points. If you look at the words that I emphasized, you will see that Solomon is included in this promise.

            Although my proof text from Chronicles does not contradict this after all, please disregard it because we agreed that was outside our common ground. When I posted the link, I asked you to disregard it. It would save me the time of republishing it without the reference.

            The passage in 2 Samuel provides the following key points:

            1. Solomon‘s kingdom is permanent (verse 13).
            2. God expects Solomon to sin, but he will be punished by men (verse 14).
            3. God will not take the royal line from Solomon‘s descendants and give it to another (verse 15).
            4. God‘s mercy will never leave Solomon [despite his sinning] (verse 15).

            Genesis 49:10 tells us that the royal line will stay within the tribe of Judah (tribal lineage), and throughout Scripture we see time and time again that tribal affiliation passes through the father. The passage in Samuel doesn’t need to remind us of that because we know it already.

            Furthermore, to argue that because it doesn’t say “tribal lineage passes through the father, no exceptions” means that there COULD be exceptions is like Robin Hood arguing that because it doesn’t say “don’t steal from anyone, no exceptions” means that there COULD be exceptions. Therefore, he wasn’t committing the sin of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. After all, the Torah doesn’t say “don’t steal from the rich to give to the poor.”

            Matthew, you keep bringing up this matter of “two or three witnesses.” You think that it’s common sense. Good. Find me two or three instances where tribal affiliation passed through the mother. You can’t even find one. Yet you glibly say that just because there isn’t any doesn’t mean there can’t be any. Whereas there are dozens of examples of patrilineal affiliation (in Numbers Chapter One alone there are a whole bunch).

            As usual, you hold me to a higher standard of proof than you hold yourself. That makes it all but impossible to have an honest discussion with you, and frankly, I’m starting to wonder if there’s any point to continuing.

            This argument is only taking place because YOU NEED the lineage to pass through the mother to legitimize Jesus’s claim to the throne (although it passes through Nathan, still a problem for you, as I’ve shown above). There is no discussion about tribal lineage this among Jews, it’s not even a question.

            The issue is not inheritance rights. God is clearly talking about a bloodline in the passage referenced above (“your offspring WHO WILL ISSUE FROM YOUR LOINS”). The case of Abraham and Eliezer is therefore irrelevant to our discussion.

            Finally, I’m curious about your silence on the matter of the prophecies. Did you decide to drop it, or what?

          • JIM – HELP !!! Context, right ?

            Dina, you wrote, QUOTE:
            “Matthew, are we reading the same passage?
            Let’s take a look at 2 Samuel 7:12-15”

            ANSWER:
            No Dina, we are not reading the same passage.
            You started by referring to 2 Samuel 7:12-14, and now you’ve expanded it to 2 Samuel 7:12-15. You are completely ignoring the surrounding context.

            You are ignoring the following verse, verse 16 !

            2 Samuel 7:4-5
            The word of Yahweh came to Nathan, saying:
            “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what Yahweh says:….’”

            2 Samuel 7:12-14
            “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and will establish the THRONE of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men.”

            2 Samuel 7:15-16
            “But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. YOUR HOUSE and YOUR KINGDOM will endure forever before me; YOUR THRONE will be established forever.”

          • Dina says:

            Jim, I’m also appealing to you. Can you show Matthew why my interpretation fits neatly into the context, while his interpretation distorts it?

            Or anyone else who wants to give it a shot, be my guest.

            This is so clear, that I’m amazed. So amazed, in fact, that I’m rendered almost speechless.

          • Dina,
            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “There is no discussion about tribal lineage this among Jews, it’s not even a question.
            The issue is not inheritance rights. God is clearly talking about a bloodline…”

            You are “begging the question.”
            Although I admit I’m in over my head with this, I am thinking that the issue really IS inheritance rights, not tribal lineage.. Bloodline is a related issue of course.

            I think this SHOULD be a discussion among Jews about your Messiah.

          • Dina says:

            How much more clear, in terms of a bloodline, can you get than the phrase offspring that will issue from your loins?

            Jews don’t talk about who the Messiah is because his person is not important. He will be who he will be, and we’ll find out who he is when he appears. The person of the Messiah is central to your faith because you actually worship him. Just because you think it’s important doesn’t make it so.

            Anyway, that’s not what I was talking about. Tribal lineage is not even a question because it’s a given that it’s paternal. It’s only a question and a discussion for you because you need it not to be.

          • Jim says:

            Matthew and Dina,

            It seems to me pretty obvious that Dina’s right. God never did take the kingdom from Solomon. He chastised him with the rod of men. He never replaced Solomon with any of David’s other sons, setting up a new Davidic dynasty through Nathan or any other son. It is clear to me that the kingship passes through Solomon.

            Jim

          • Dina says:

            Thanks, Jim!

          • Jim & Dina,
            I’ve put in brackets what Yahweh does NOT say in 2 Samuel 7:12-14:

            “I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and
            .1) I will establish his kingdom.
            [NOT FOREVER NECESSARILY]

            .2) He is the one who will build a house for my Name,
            [YES SOLOMON BUILT THE TEMPLE. A HOUSE, NOT HIS HOUSE, NOT SOLOMONS’S HOUSE. IT WAS BUILT FOR YAHWEH’S NAME.]

            .3) and will establish the THRONE of his kingdom forever.”
            [THE THRONE, NOT HIS THRONE, NOT SOLOMON’S THRONE. NOT ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM FOREVER. NOT ESTABLISH SOLOMON FOREVER. NOT “HIS KINGDOM FOREVER”, but the THRONE of his kingdom forever.]

            Contrast that with what Yahweh said to David:
            2 Samuel 7:15-16
            “YOUR HOUSE and YOUR KINGDOM will endure forever before me; YOUR THRONE will be established forever.”

            It is a big contrast.
            Maybe that’s why it’s the “Davidic Throne”, not the “Solomonic Throne”, right? Kind of like being “Torah observant”, not “Tanach observant” perhaps….
            And the Messiah is called “Son of David” not “Son of Solomon.”

            I’m not dismissing this writing. It is literally the words of Yahweh, recorded in the Prophets, so I accept it’s validity. It’s a fact that the text doesn’t mention anything about about tribal lineage. Does this text prove that the Messiah MUST be in the bloodline of Solomon? I don’t see that. If there were another passage in the Torah, Prophets or Psalms that you could use as another piece of evidence, that would be helpful. But there does not seem to be. You can let me know if there is.

            To quote from the Writings, (Ketuvim) 1 Chronicles 22:9-10
            and then read the Prophets through the lens of the Writings and “harmonize” them to “make it fit” is exactly the same sort of thing that Christians do with Paul’s Writings to the Gospels. The Writings, such as Chronicles and Paul’s letters, have some use, but they are not really authoritative, and we should not pollute or water down the true Word of God with them by trying to “harmonize” them with the more authoritative writings.

            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew.

            I will quote from the passage and re-emphasize what God does say.

            13: He shall build a Temple [Solomon built the Temple, right? Right! So this is talking about Solomon] for My sake, and I shall make firm the kingdom of his [SOLOMON’S] throne forever [THIS DOES SAY FOREVER, DOESN’T IT? RIGHT? IT SAYS FOREVER. IT SAYS IT RIGHT HERE. IT DOES. IT DOES.]
            15: But my kindness will not be removed from him [SOLOMON] as I removed it from Saul etc. [IN OTHER WORDS, I WON’T TAKE AWAY THE KINGDOM FROM HIM AS I TOOK IT AWAY FROM SAUL.]
            16: That’s right, this verse is about David’s throne lasting forever. That doesn’t mean what you think it means. David’s throne will last forever, but God is mentioning that it will go through Solomon. Solomon IS INCLUDED in David’s promise, in verse 13.

            Matthew, find me one place that says that the line will pass through a different one of David’s sons. Find me one place that says it will pass to an adopted child (as opposed to the offspring that will issue from David’s loins).

            If God intended for the line to pass through a different one of David’s sons, then your interpretation makes a liar of Him, God forbid!

            You sneer at the fact that I have “only” one source, while YOU HAVE ZERO. And you keep holding me to a higher standard than you hold yourself.

            I’m astounded because this passage is clear. It’s as clear as daylight. It’s not clear to you because you approach this with a belief in Jesus and you are trying to harmonize it with your belief. It doesn’t work.

            About the Ketuvim, although I completely disagree with you, I agreed not to quote from them. I asked you to honor my request to disregard that one reference to save me the time of republishing what I had already written. Yet you seem to feel the need to keep bringing it up.

            I’m quite done with this line of argumentation. If you held yourself to the same standard you established for me, I would happily continue. For now I’m content to let the audience decide whose interpretation of this passage is correct.

            Let’s talk about those prophecies, please.

            May God bring us closer to His truth, always.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            It is interesting that the you write that we read through the lens of Ketuvim to interpret 1 Kings and link this to Paul and the Gospels. To this date, you have dodged Dina and me regarding the Gospels. Why don’t you investigate those? You take every opportunity to slam Paul (which I don’t mind. Have at it.) But, you do not apply the same standard to the Gospels. We have shown that those books directly lie about the Torah and Prophets and Psalms. They are also no lens through which to read those books. But you continue to avoid that question. I ask you to be honest enough to apply the same principles you are applying here to those books.

            Jim

          • Jim & Dina

            God’s CONDITIONAL promise to Solomon
            The Words of Yahweh according to the Prophets:

            “Yahweh said to him [Solomon]:
            ‘… As for you, IF you walk before me in integrity of heart and righteousness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David…
            BUT if you or your sons turn away from me ….then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple…’” [1 Kings 9:3-7]

            “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to Yahweh his God, as the heart of David his father had been.”
            [1 Kings 11:4]

          • Dina says:

            So, Matthew, I will put in brackets what God did NOT say:

            “BUT if you or your sons turn away from me ….then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple [NOT “THEN I WILL TAKE AWAY THE THRONE FROM YOU,” BUT THAT ISRAEL WOULD BE EXILED AND THE TEMPLE DESTROYED.]

            It’s a little illogical for God to finish the sentence that way, isn’t it? Shouldn’t He have finished it with a parallel to the earlier verse?

            That’s because God already promised that He would not remove the throne from Solomon and give it to another, as He did to Saul (see that passage in 2 Samuel 7 again).

            God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should relent (Numbers 23:19).

            Nice try, though.

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, when are you going to address the prophecies? What happened to Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 53, and Micah?

            I’m really interested in talking to you about that. As far as I can see, the lineage thing is very clear. You have failed to make the case for your position. It’s time to move on.

          • Dina says:

            I can’t resist one final point. What do you make of the fact that David received conditional prophecies regarding the throne, as well? See 1 Kings 2:4; 8:25; Psalms 132:12.

            Anyway, I’m just throwing that out there to give you food for thought. I really want to move on to the prophecies.

          • Dina,
            Right, God let Solomon die a peaceful death in old age as King of Israel, unlike Saul. God didn’t take Solomon’s throne away while Solomon was living and give it to another. But the words of Yahweh are very clear, in [1 Kings 9:3-7] – this is a conditional promise personally to Solomon,, not an unconditional promise. Solomon didn’t meet the condition. As a Jew, you should be know this. It isn’t my place to critique God’s grammar or sentence structure.

            [2 Samuel 7:4-16] and [1 Kings 9:3-7] are both the Words of Yahweh recorded in the Prophets. They help make it more clear that the Messiah does not need to be in the bloodline of Solomon.

            To make your point, you simply use a few verses out of context from these passages. You don’t consider the entire passages, even though they are really not that long. You have no other passages from the Torah Prophets or Psalms to quote, and I don’t see this “requirement” there.

            This supposed “requirement” that the Messiah be from the bloodline of Solomon is literally at the top of your list of objections, so this isn’t some minor point to be breezed by.

            BTW
            I don’t see how 1 Kings 2:4; 8:25; Psalms 132:12. are related to this issue.

            Dina, we didn’t resolve the genealogy issue. I have shown you why according to the words of Yahweh in the Prophets, the Messiah does not need to be in the bloodline of Solomon. Are you dropping this because you have no way to refute this, or are you agreeing with me?

            Sincerely,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, the answer to your last question is no and no. It seems very clear to me that you are wrong, but if you feel that greater clarity can be gained through more discussion, then I am willing to continue.

            However, be aware that every time I enter the arena, I have to fight with both hands tied behind my back, because I have to play by your rules while you can break them at will.

            The way I see it is this:

            1. I have to provide at least three Scriptural citations to prove an assertion, while you have to provide zero.
            2. Whatever I say must be stated explicitly in Scripture, while you are allowed to use Scripture to make inferences.

            How is it possible to have an honest debate under these conditions?

            Nevertheless, here I go.

            Let’s look at 2 Samuel 7 again:

            “I shall make firm the throne of his [SOLOMON’S] kingdom FOREVER. I shall be a Father unto him and he shall be a son unto Me, so that WHEN HE SINS I will chastise him with the ROD OF MEN and with AFFLICTIONS OF HUMAN BEINGS.”

            Hashem is saying here that He will establish David’s throne through Solomon FOREVER. God fully expects Solomon to sin (“so that when he sins”), but when he does, Hashem will punish him through human agents, as in “rods of men” and “afflictions of human beings” (compare to the passage in Kings where that is explained as destruction of the Temple and exile from the Land). This implies that Hashem Himself will not punish Solomon by taking his kingship away as he did to Saul.

            “But My kindness will not be removed from him as I removed it from Saul, WHOM I REMOVED FROM BEFORE YOU.” The phrase that I emphasize explains what Hashem means when He says He removed His kindness from Saul–by taking away his kingship and giving it to David, bearing in mind that the context of this passage is the establishment of the throne and not, say, untimely, violent deaths. That, my friend is the context.

            As for the passage in Kings, according to your interpretation, it would have made so much more sense for Hashem to say this:

            “If you walk before Me as your father David walked etc.then I shall uphold the throne of your kingdom forever etc.But if you and your children turn away from Me…then I shall remove you from the throne and give it to one who is worthier than you.”

            But instead Hashem says, “then I shall cut off Israel from upon the face of the land, and the Temple that I have sanctified for My Name I shall dismiss from My presence [using the RODS OF MEN to achieve this]”. Isn’t that an odd way to finish the thought?

            Matthew, find me one place, just one, where Hashem explicitly says that if Solomon is disobedient He will take away the throne from him. You’re the one who keeps demanding explicit statements.

            If God didn’t expect the throne to pass through the bloodline, shouldn’t He have said so at least once? I have at least one explicit statement on my side (issue from your loins, Solomon, forever), while you have none on yours.

            As for the other quotes, please show me how the context negates the conditional promises.

            Please realize that even if your interpretation were correct, it doesn’t help your case. I don’t accept the strange notion that Luke’s genealogy is Mary’s–but even if it were, Mary cannot pass her tribal affiliation to her son. So her genealogy is completely irrelevant. She may as well descend from Reuben.

            And Joseph can’t pass his tribal affiliation to an adopted son–you have failed to provide a single instance in the Torah or Prophets where such a practice is accepted.

            It’s a slam dunk.

            Lastly, you presented three prophecies that both Jim and I have responded to. Have you dropped this because you have no way to refute this, or are you agreeing with us?

            Best,
            Dina

          • Dina,
            According to the words of Yahweh in the Prophets, in the two passages I quoted, in context, it is clear to me that it is not a clear requirement for the Messiah to be in the bloodline of Solomon. I’m not saying he could not be. God seems to be leaving a little bit of room to believe that the Messiah MIGHT be in Solomon’s bloodline. But I’m saying the Messiah does not NEED to be in Solomon’s bloodline, according to the words of Yahweh in the Prophets. It is not a clear requirement.

            Your further comments here don’t seem to be providing anything new, you are just rehashing points I’ve already addressed from the text, and making arguments from silence. The text says what it says, not what we want it to say.

            Unless you have some other verses of the Torah Prophets or Psalms that you want to bring up and discuss, I suppose we have both said enough about your “issue #1”. Since this was at the top of your list of objections, I wanted to address it as fully as possible. At this point, I think that I’ve done that, to the best of my ability. If anyone else has comments, questions, or further ideas, I would be happy to interact if time permits.
            Sincerely,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Fine, let the audience decide who is making the most sense here. Now will you answer us on the prophecies?

          • Dina says:

            You made arguments from silence too, claiming that because something wasn’t in the text, it could be true. When I say to find it in the text, then you say I’m arguing from silence. Just saying. I’m ready to move on, although I’m peeved.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew.

            We agreed that we were finished discussing the lineage issue. We had started another thread on the prophecies that you have still not responded to. Is this the end of it?

            Thanks,
            Dina

        • Jim says:

          Matthew,

          Although Dina’s remarks were brief, I think she has already answered these prophecies quite well. I shall only do my best to expound further what she has already outlined. But I will have to take them separately for convenience. I do not have the time I would like to devote to this. Nevertheless, I shall do my best.

          Beginning with Micah 5, for no particular reason:

          It is a peculiarity of the Gospels that Matthew cannot even avoid tampering with this text. Please review in Matthew 2.6 where he finds the need to alter the words of the prophet from saying that Bethlehem is among the least to saying it is not among the least. Matthew seems incapable of quoting a text straightforwardly.

          However, I’m not even going to get into the real meaning of the verse. I’ll just go ahead and accept Matthew’s interpretation, for the sake of argument, that the Messiah being born in Bethlehem is what this prophecy is about. (Mind you, for the sake of argument.) However, such an interpretation runs into a huge problem: no one knew Jesus was born in Bethlehem, except his mother. The Gospel writers are making an unsubstantiated claim.

          According to their story, the birth of Jesus was in the stable of an inn, among strangers. After that Jesus and his parents fled to Egypt and then moved back to Nazareth. Jesus’ birth is supposed to have been heralded by angels to some shepherds, and of course some astrologers came to visit him, but no one knows who the shepherds were and the wise men are long gone by the time Jesus begins his ministry thirty years later. Jesus, of course, has no birth certificate. There is no verification that the claim of Matthew and Luke that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. And neither of them was there for the event either.

          John may not even know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Even if he does, it is clear that Jesus’ contemporaries did not know that he was from Bethlehem. A crowd of people, asking whether or not Jesus is the Messiah ask whether it is possible, because the Messiah is to come out of Bethlehem from the seed of David. (See John 7.40-44.) What’s also interesting to note is that John does not add a note, “for they did not know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem,” which seems to mean that he didn’t know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem either.

          (As a curious sidenote: John doesn’t seem to know that Jesus is descended from David, either. I never noticed this until looking this up just now, but the same question arises regarding Jesus being descended from David in this passage. Curious, I looked up how many times David is referenced in John, and this is the only time. You have no lepers calling out to be healed by the “Son of David” or any of that. Nor does John in this passage note that Jesus actually was descended from David. I have a theory about why this is, but it’s not relevant to this discussion.)

          So, it is clear that the people of Jesus’ day did not know that he was from Bethlehem. It also turns out that they did not know that he was descended from David, if you go according to John. And yet, you assert that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. But even the people of Jesus’ day did not know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It is a highly dubious proposition that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, highly dubious. You can say it all you want, but you have absolutely no evidence of this, no birth certificate and no witnesses. He didn’t grow up there and become well known for being from Bethlehem. Rather, he was known as a Galilean from Nazareth.

          Before I finish, I should point out what has been pointed out by many before me that all three of these prophecies are impossible to know if they’ve been fulfilled. You take them on faith. Compare them to those Dina listed. Those are all highly visible. You may claim that Jesus fulfilled Genesis 3.15, but there is no actual way to know that he did (ignoring the other problems of interpretation right now.) It is only that you believe it. But you have absolutely no evidence of it.

          Jim

          • Dina says:

            Here are my notes on that passage from Matthew:

            2:6: But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”
            Here is the entire verse from Micah 5:1: Bethlehem, Ephratah, YOU ARE TOO SMALL TO BE AMONG THE THOUSANDS OF JUDAH, BUT FROM YOU SOMEONE WILL EMERGE FOR ME to be a ruler over Israel; and his origins will be from early times, from days of old (Stone Edition).
            The words that I emphasized show that the prophet is addressing the people who live in Bethlehem and is telling them that an anointed one will come from their people—not necessarily the city.
            So Jesus didn’t have to bother with going to Bethlehem after all.

          • paul says:

            Hello.
            So are saying that to authenticate the linage, and place of birth, one would need written and oral witnesses to verify a claim?

            So that raises a question, by your measure, Moses had a birth certificate of Abram. Moses wrote Genisis hundred of years post creation!!!! You dont seem to have problem with Moses writings? Are there anyother writings prior Genisis?

            The gospels writers were only 30-50 years post the event, not 100,s of years.

            You forget that the shepherds spread the news on their visit to Christ. Its quite clearly stated at they all marvelled at what they spoke of. So for the news to go through the region would not be impossible. Some knew a child had been born. Some believed He was the Christ,some didnt, thats just normal human behaviour.
            Your arguement fails because some did believe. You are arguing that because not all believe then its false. Of course non belief doesnt prove it either. One has to go on common sense deduction from history, not trying to disprove written letters from eye witnesses to force a personal point of view.

          • Jim says:

            Paul,

            Moses is a prophet authenticated by God. None of the Gospel writers is.

            If one is going to claim that one fulfilled a prophecy by being born in a place when no one knew he was born there, then yes, one should have authentication. Your claim that the shepherds spread the news is cute, but thirty years later, none of those witnesses was around to point out that this adult man was the baby they heard about. And of course, we don’t have their testimony at all. I can say all day that thirty people watched me walk on water yesterday as long as you don’t know who they are.

            My argument doesn’t revolve around belief or disbelief at all, Paul. I did not argue regarding belief but about knowledge. I said nothing about some believing and some not. But I did say that Jesus’ contemporaries, including John “the beloved disciple” seemed wholly ignorant that he was born in Bethlehem. This has nothing to do with one’s belief.

            Furthermore, it is a common for Christians to claim that there were eyewitnesses to the events, as you yourself have just appealed to (without knowing who any of them are). Lee Strobel has a chapter dedicated to “The Eyewitness Evidence” in his apologetic “The Case for Christ”. So it is perfectly reasonable to point out that this is in fact a hugely exaggerated claim.

            It astounds me that you would perpetuate the claim to witnesses. Imagine trying to investigate the claim that Jesus was born in Bethlehem 50 years after the fact. Today, you would be lucky to find any records at a hotel from 50 years ago, I suspect. 2000 years ago, no such record would exist. Which inn was he at? Who was the innkeeper? Who were the shepherds? Who believed their report?

            I know what the Gospels tell you, Paul. I am arguing that they present no proof of those claims, and even within 40-70 years of the event there is no way to investigate the claims. Now, if the Christian apologist did not tout it as proof that Jesus was the Messiah, then I would not object. It would not be relevant whether or not he was born in Bethlehem or Nazareth. However, since the Church touts this as a fulfilled prophecy and as a proof of Jesus’ claims, it is incumbent upon them to prove it happened. And since they have none, it is nothing more than an unsubstantiated claim. And in an era when people doubt the birthplace of our president regardless of a certificate, it should occur to you what a feeble argument it is to say that Jesus fulfilled a prophecy in a private event.

            Jim

          • paul says:

            Hello Jim
            Yes of course Moses was appointed by God. But that belief and faith in Moses is the same as for the faith in the Gospels, for me that is.

            You assume that those witnesses were not around. How can you claim such? It neither says yes or no directly, however it does teach that the info was gathered. And the gospels are in harmony with each other.
            But one thing to note Johns Gospel doesnt deal with the birth of Christ as also Marks.

            If for example there was a car crash on the motorway and the police appealed for witnesses, and no one came forward after a large media campaign, would that mean the accident never happened?
            Witnesses, say from walking on water, were not just a point made for someone to see and tell all for the sake of advertising Christs authority etc. The context of the miracle were for the said disciples in question. Christs open air ministry over 3.5 yrs was enough to authenticate His Messiaship.
            When Christ healed a lepor, Christ made the point to the healed man to tell no one but the priest. This miracle and point was for the lepor and the high priest only. Christ made the point of telling the priest because the priest should have recongonised the significance of it.

            Over 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus at some point. Ok we have no names. Who was thinking about recording names? If the names were in the gospels, are you telling me you would believe? No I think not. Those names would be just another lie??!!

            Jesus spoke about Lazurrus and the rich man. The rich man wanted to go back and warn his brothers about hades. Jesus said, they have the Books of Moses, the writings, and the prohets, and they still dont believe, niether will they believe if one is resurrected from the dead.

            The point is that because one is a son and heir to Abraham doesnt give direct passage into heaven because of ones blood line. The same point is made to Nichodimus the priest.

            Its only by the blood of the Lamb, through faith in Him, Christ Jesus Messiah, God and King.

          • Jim says:

            Paul,

            A quick addendum to my above comment:

            You might be tempted to say that Jesus’ birth was not a private event, as shepherds and wisemen are visiting, and many heard and marvelled. I should only add that it remains private, due to the fact that no one knows who those people are. I can claim that I experienced an event publicly, but that doesn’t mean it happened publicly. Because no one knows who saw and believed these things, it remains as a private event. Keep in mind too that Jesus did not grow up in Bethlehem, where he would be well known. He grew up in the Galilee and none of the people who knew the baby would recognize the man, except his mother. There is no continuity between the child and the adult.

            Also, something just occured to me, if Luke’s account is true, and all these people knew about the amazing child, why did Herod have trouble finding him in Luke?

            Jim

          • Dina says:

            You know, Jim, what is amazing to me is the slaughter of the innocent. This was a tragedy of astounding proportions. I mean, killing all the Jewish baby boys in one city? That’s major. But strangely, the Jews don’t remember such an event happening, and believe me, we have a long memory for all of our tragedies. The first time I heard of this was when I started reading Christian scripture last summer.

            Josephus doesn’t mention it. Neither do any other Jewish or Roman historians of the time period. How could they miss such a major event?

            The answer: because it didn’t happen.

          • paul says:

            Hi
            Well what is or isnt recorded in other writings I honestly could not give an answer. Is every single account in history recorded? The pharaoh who followed Joseph hadnt even heard of Joseph. It doesnt mean that all of Joseph s life was a false teaching of Moses. An argument from silence is hardly proof.

            One lesson from the massacre of the infants is the lengths that satan has gone to, to destroy the Jews, and more importantly tried to destroy the Jewish redeemer of Israel. Those last 3 desperate attempts temptations from satan to get Christ off the cross, just didnt work,,,,,So yes look at your history and see why so much pain and suffering. You should have accepted your Messiah while He was here, you could be post messianic kingdom now. However the scriptures do teach, that He would be rejected, so of course God will have to put you and the non believing world through the “Tribulation” to break that stiffneck and soften that hardness of unbelief and bring you to repentance.

          • Dina says:

            Dear Paul,

            It is with a heavy heart, rather than a hard one, that I tell you that I don’t see the point in having a discussion with you, which is why I addressed my comment to Jim rather than to you.

            Instead of responding to a challenge with reason, your pattern has been to demonize, taunt, and jeer at me and others on this blog. Instead of giving a good argument, instead of listening to what those who disagree with you have to say, you preach at us. You have made many hateful statements about our hardness of heart and our lack of sincerity and seem quite gleeful about the pain and suffering your own spiritual ancestors inflicted on us, telling us that we deserved what we got for rejecting Jesus, and more and worse is coming our way soon unless we accept him, God forbid!

            Furthermore, you do not keep your word. You pledged $50 to the charity of anyone who answered your questions with a yes or no answer. I responded to your challenge, but you have not paid up. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, sir.

            You’re not exactly a good example of why a Jew should ever want to be a Christian.

            Anyone else who wants to is obviously welcome to talk to you. I can’t imagine why they would, but that’s their business.

            May God have mercy on your soul.

            Have a nice life,
            Dina

          • paul says:

            Hello Dina
            Its a shame that you feel the way you do. I gues my line of debate has thrown you what. The questions and answers that I post to you, of course contradict your ideaology. Of course I never came into discusion with you, just to give the answers that you wish to hear. I notice a lot that all non christians come on this blog to show there thoughts on Christ and congratulate each other on there religious thoughts.which of course you are free to do.

            In regard to the donation. If you read my question again and look, you will clearly see the requirements that I set. You failed to answer as I asked. I wasnt looking or asking for more than YES or NO. That was the set limit that I asked for. I made it very clear from the start. However you answered yes and no etc etc etc.

            I could be wrong here, but I also stated a charity of some kind. Is this place a registered charity with a charity reg no.? I could be wrong here.
            However as a gesture of goodwill, I will give to a neutral Jewish charity with a no. Here in the UK. To clear up any misunderstanding.

            Ps Anything I have stated is from the The Law, the writings or the prohets. Read and quoted in context. Please do not shoot the messenger.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Paul.

            If it makes you feel good to think that and it absolves you of the responsibility to confront yourself and examine your attitude, so be it. I do appreciate your goodwill gesture but would like you to know that the only extra words in my “yes or no” response were to cut and paste the questions because there were two questions that each required a different response (one yes and one no), and I explained only that. Then I added that Jim’s response was good and that I had nothing to add. So I didn’t elaborate on my “yes or no” response; I didn’t explain it at all.

            You can donate to the Masbia Soup Kitchen, a Jewish charity in New York that feeds all hungry people of all faiths or no faith and of all races. That should be neutral enough for you.

            https://www.masbia.org/donate.asp

            I don’t know how it works in England, but here, if you mail a check, they mail back a receipt to show that your donation is tax-deductible.

            Thanks again for your goodwill gesture.

            Dina

    • Dina says:

      Matthew, about the prince in Ezekiel, you need him not to be the Messiah or at least to be sinless in order to fit your theology while I don’t need him to be the Messiah to fit mine.

      That’s because my theology starts with the Torah. Yours starts with the gospels, and then you need to cut and paste the Torah to fit.

      Therefore, it is interesting to note than in all the messianic prophecies in the Torah and the Prophets, the term “the Messiah” is never used. (For someone who objects to words like “canon” and “bible” because they are not mentioned in the Torah, this should be very troubling.)

      Messiah means anointed, plain and simple, and the Torah and Prophets are full of messiahs. But THE Messiah? The only references I found were the anointed priest הכהן המשיח (Leviticus 4:3 and 4:16). If I had a concordance I would search for the number of times that המשיח appears. I would be surprised to learn of other references.

      This makes it easy for us to dispute each other’s passages in certain cases. For example, you could say that the word המשיח does not appear in the passage. I could say that the word המשיח does not appear in Isaiah 53. More arguments could be made for either side, but I think this is an important point to keep in the back of our minds going forward.

  20. john:

    41Others said, “He is the Messiah.”

    Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.

    comment:
    this means that in the ORAL traditions, MEMORY of jesus’ birth place was unknown. they were divided on 3 things. how come the first thing that came into the people’s mind was GALILEE? what happen to AWESOME oral tradition?

    quote:

    46“No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.

    47“You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48“Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”

    50Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51“Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

    52They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”

    this gets worse. if pharisee’ had good memories and were passing accurate information, how come the pharisees are certain jesus’ was BORN in galilee? they tell him to look into the religious book.

    jesus is the focal point here

    Lk 2:21-39

    oral tradition COULDN’T preserve what went on in luke 2:21-39 by the time john was written. this puts christians in problems. if john had no chain of transmission about memory of jesus’ birth then how do christians prove that matthew was right?

    where did john get his information about people being divided about jesus? if by the time john was written there was no memory of jc’s orignal birth place , then the problem is, how do you know matthew didn’t like and make up nazareth as jc’s birth place?

  21. “One lesson from the massacre of the infants is the lengths that satan has gone to, to destroy the Jews, and more importantly tried to destroy the Jewish redeemer of Israel. Those last 3 desperate attempts temptations from satan to get Christ off the cross, just didnt work,,,,,So yes look at your history and see why so much pain and suffering. ”

    i’m confused. jesus ran away. then satan pinned him to a cross. satan won, right?

    • David says:

      Based on that standard should I also conclude that Satan has won because the Jewish Messiah is nowhere to be found? Or should I rather conclude that God’s plan is not yet complete?

      Regarding references to where Jesus is from as apposed to his birth place, it seems quite reasonable to me that people who came to know he was from Nazareth would say that as an identifier rather than reference a place of birth. If people moved at a young age, they usually reference the place where they grew up rather than their birth place when stating where they are from.

      • David,
        I agree with both your points here.
        Matthew

      • before i answer i need a clarification. do you believe that the pharisee’ and the people from the crowds KNEW jesus’ orginal birth place but they still ref the place where he grew up?

      • john 7:41

        “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”

        7:42 “not the scripture has said that OUT OF the seed (spermatos) of david and from bethlehem the village where was david comes the christ”

        1. do you agree that if one looks at the question in light of the second sentence then one would naturally assume that the people thought that jesus was born in galilee?

        • David says:

          It all makes perfect sense to me as to what some people’s understanding of scripture was. The crowd debating amongst themselves in John obviously didn’t separate in their minds the possibility in scripture that the Messiah could have been born in one place and grew up in another. Again, it seems natural enough to me that if you know someone is from a certain location you don’t stop and then think they might not be born there.

          So to answer your question, those in the crowd who argued the point in scripture that the Messiah must come out of Bethlehem obviously were not aware of the circumstances of his birth.

          As confirmation that the Pharisee’s also were probably unaware of the circumstances of his birth there is this a little later in John:
          52 They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.”

          Of course all the angels know where he was born, and of course his mother knew where he was born, and obviously God (who inspired those to write about where he was born) also knows where he was born.

          Can we confirm that Adam was born outside that Garden of Eden? For that matter how is it the Eve came to be? Adam was supposedly asleep so we likewise have no eyewitnesses.

          • Jim says:

            David,

            You are confirming my point. The Christian apologist says it is a proof that Jesus is the Messiah that he was born in Bethlehem. But the claim he was born in Bethlehem is nothing more than an assertion. So now you have to rely on the knowledge of angels who offer know testimony to his birthplace. It’s no proof is virtually nobody knew he was born there.

            Jim

          • i think all mainstream scholars aknowledge the fact that the two synoptic writers had to place jesus’ birth in bethlehem because jesus’ galilean origin was a big problem.

            jesus goes to judea and the first thing that comes into people’s mind is that he is from galilee?
            baby jesus does yearly visits to jerusalem with his parents from birth onwards (luke).
            the pharisees COULD search the holy book , but didn’t do any other investigation?

            when jesus grew up, people in JUDEA assumed that he was from a different city.

            52 They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.”

            one wonders if the writer of john assumed that jesus birth in bethlehem was authentic. maybe john including the words of the pharisees was trying to say that he didn’t know anything about a birth in bethlehem?

            if we just had the gospel of john , who would assume that jesus born in bethlehem?

          • David says:

            Many of the claims of the OT are assertions as well. Yet you accept them. Apply the same standard. You’ll have to throw out much of the OT along with the NT. Who saw God’s finger write on the stone tablets the 10 commandments? Who saw the burning bush? Who heard the donkey talk? And, how about this one, who saw the sun stand still for a day. That’s pretty big news don’t you think? We’d expect to see evidence from other cultures all over the world on the day in history which was actually 1 and a half o two, etcetera, etcetera.

  22. correction

    when jesus grew up, people in JUDEA assumed that he was BORN in a different city.

  23. Hi Jim, David, mrquestioner2013, Paul, and others.

    None of us know everything. (Paul the Pharisee falsely boasted “I have become all things to all men” but Paul was wrong about that and about many other things.) That is why God gave us the basic principle that a matter should be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. This isn’t only a requirement for legal proceedings, it is just good common sense.

    It should not surprise us that characters in pages of the Bible, including authors of Scripture, did not have perfect knowledge about Jesus. Some authors may choose not to speak about certain things that they do know, given the limited space and time they have.

    Jesus didn’t write his own book. He let 4 men write narratives about Him.
    The Apostle John closed his Gospel with these words:
    “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” [John 21:25]

    • “Some authors may choose not to speak about certain things that they do know, given the limited space and time they have.”

      the “limited SPACE and time ” argument has been addressed here

      http://vridar.org/2014/02/07/casey-taking-context-out-of-context/

      • Hi mrquestioner2013,
        It’s an interesting link. Since in concerns an analysis of Paul’s writings, you may enjoy reading this as well.

        Here is a parable in the form of a “Letter” to illustrate what happens if you follow the wrong pattern.

        Letter to the Angelenos
        Setting and context: Los Angeles California, Summer 2009. Due to lack of rain, there is a water shortage.

        The Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, preached that homeowners should only water their lawns 2 days a week, not every day, in order to save water. But after that, a TV news crew camped out 24/7 at the mayor’s house, and found that the mayor’s own lawn was being watered every day. Now, it has come to the mayor’s attention that some other homeowners are also watering their lawns every day again.

        The mayor could write a letter to the homeowners of Los Angeles about the need for water rationing. If he decided to use the life of the Paul the Pharisee as his example, and he wanted to “be like Paul,” he could write the letter below, using Paul’s letter to the Galatians as his pattern.

        TEXT OF LETTER TO THE ANGELENOS

        Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles,
        To the homeowners of Los Angeles:

        I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the 2-day-a-week plan for watering your lawns. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion. But even if we or an angel from heaven should tell you to stop the 2-day-a-week water-rationing plan, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody should tell you a different message, let him be eternally condemned! Not even my personal staff members at City Hall are watering their own lawns every day.

        You foolish Angelenos! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes I clearly explained the need for water rationing. I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. What has happened to all your joy? Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? How I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

        Mark my words! I, Antonio Villaraigosa, tell you that if you water your lawn every day, your life in Los Angeles will be of no value at all. You have fallen away from grace. For in Los Angeles, neither a green lawn nor a brown lawn has any value. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the 2-day-a-week water-rationing plan? A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty whoever he may be. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and turn their lawns into swamps!

        Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to water your lawn every day. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for having a brown lawn. In Los Angeles, neither a green lawn nor a brown lawn means anything.

        Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I’ve suffered a lot for the City of Los Angeles. Do as I say, not as I did. How dare you ask me why I was watering my own lawn every day?
        Regards,
        The Mayor of Los Angeles – Antonio Villaraigosa

  24. David
    We accept the Jewish Bible on the basis of the testimony of our parents who experienced the exodus themselves – read Deuteronomy 4
    You have nothing to base your belief in Jesus except with the foolish canard of two wrongs make a right – which you can only toss around because you do not understand the structure of the faith you ridicule

    • David says:

      HI Yisroel,

      I do hold the OT to be truth from God as well as the NT. Just as the OT was passed on from your parents so the NT was passed on from our spiritual parents. Just as there has always been a remnant of Jews to pass on the traditions orally and written, so too with Christianity.

      However, having said the above, you were not a witness to events in the past and neither was I. So for you or anyone else to claim the NT as unauthentic with respect to God while at the same time claiming authenticity of the OT with respect to God is duplicitous because it fails the test of consistency.

      For the sake of argument, Moses could have been a tyrant, who killed off all those who opposed him including all adults over the age 20. To the victor goes the privilege of writing about it. Again, for the sake of argument, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb were his cohorts in the plot. How can you prove otherwise?

    • David says:

      Hi again Yisroel,

      I need to clarify my last counter argument to your claim because it wasn’t complete.

      What I mean is that anyone who holds to the OT can of course make an argument against the NT, but not on the grounds that the OT was passed on to you by your parents. Because as stated in my last post that argument is not exclusive to Judaism as it also applies to Christianity.

      I am not ridiculing the faith of Judaism (which you wrongly assert against me) nor that of Christianity. But I do (consistently) make the argument that if you are going to denounce Christianity on this basis this reason or that reason you must also apply the same standard to yourself (consistently).

      I do NOT make the argument that two wrongs make a right (as you have incorrectly interpreted and attributed to me in your post). I do speak of the authenticity of what your parents and my spiritual parents tell us. By doing so, I am rather making the argument that if my parents are wrong (as you claim) then so also must yours be for the simple fact that what my parents say in no way contradicts what your parents have said through scripture.

      Again, I say and have consistently said that what your parents have claimed in scripture is true as is what my parents have told me. And what my parents (not biological but spiritual)have told me is that it is all true from Genesis to Revelation.

      An honest basis of argument against the New Covenant as written in the NT is to establish that it contradicts the OT which no one has done with any honesty. Every apparent contradiction between the NT scripture and the OT scripture which I’ve seen people assert has always and without fail had a resolution in scripture. Usually it is because people (Jews and Christians alike) misinterpret scripture and see contradictions where there are none.

      • David
        If when we ask you to provide evidence you have to resort to the argument – “I have as much evidence as you do” (which you don’t) then you have just admitted that you don’t have evidence. if you would have evidence you would put it on the table.
        As for your assertion that the Christian Scriptures do not contradict the Jewish Scriptures – I find it mindboggling that you could make such a claim. The Christian Scriptures contradict the Jewish Scriptures in letter and in spirit 1000 times over:
        https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/1000-verses/

      • Jim says:

        David,

        These replies hold absolutely no water. Christianity did not begin with an entire people who passed on what they received from God to their children. It doesn’t even try to claim that. It begins with a private experience conveyed by the few who had it to many who made converts later. The Jewish people, however, did not go make converts to carry on their tradition. They had a public experience, which they passed on en masse to their children.

        This is why you can have Moses say, “Remember the things you have seen and heard.” But from Peter and Paul, you get phrases like, “Remember what you have been told.” It is why Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen but still believe,” contrasting those who have no evidence to Thomas who seeks proof.

        Moreover, the NT and the Church have run away with another people’s book and tried to redefine it. This gives us an in for examining their claims. So when the NT writers alter the Tanach, we should sit up an pay attention. Because they already acknowledge Tanach to be true, then they must conform to it, not misappropriate it to serve their own purposes. Since, however, they do alter the text and destroy its meaning, we may with surety reject their teachings.

        The fact of the matter is that the NT is just not credible. It is based on private events with no witnesses, passed on to converts rather than children. It mutilates the meanings of the Torah and Prophets to advance an agenda foreign to those works. I can hardly believe you would say that it was a religion passed on to children, when this is clearly not the case. The NT may seek to link itself with Tanach, but it really has nothing in common with it.

        Jim

        • David says:

          Hi Jim,

          You wrote:
          Christianity did not begin with an entire people who passed on what they received from God to their children. It doesn’t even try to claim that.
          My response:
          Contrary to your claim, Judaism didn’t “begin” as an “entire people” and if by saying so you are referring to Mount Sinai, it did not receive what it received without the intermediation of Moses to tell them what they received. In fact it began as one person and grew into an entire people. As you know, it began with Jacob (Israel) and before him Isaac and Abraham started it all off of course. Abraham received the promises which were later confirmed in Isaac and Jacob and brought to fruition in Moses and Joshua. The “Law” was given through Moses; the promise through Abraham. Judaism holds to both and since the promise preceded the law, you therefore cannot say that Judaism “began” with an entire people at Mount Sinai.

          You wrote:
          This is why you can have Moses say, “Remember the things you have seen and heard.”
          My response:
          This is also why you can have Jesus say, in John 13:34“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

          Christianity has more credible and confirmed eye witnesses to its origin than Judaism. As you well know, it has a minimum of 12 that were eye witnesses who orally gave their eye witness testimony to future would be “children of God” (Christians) from the beginning of the ministry of Jesus to when he was taken up to God. Three of the Gospels (Matthew Luke and John) are writings of eye witnesses which we have today. In addition there are other eye witness writings from some of the 12. There is also one Gospel (Mark) which scholars agree is the writings of the oral account of teachings of Peter, as witnessed by Mark. Christianity has non-biblical corroborating contemporary evidence supporting the historical veracity of some of its claims such as most importantly that there was a historical Jesus.

          What does Judaism have in regards to your claims of origin?

          Moses? Is there any corroborating evidence outside the bible that he even existed? No.
          What about the exodus, anything outside the bible? No, again.

          So, then let’s turn to documentary evidence within the bible since there’s nothing outside the bible which we both accept.

          How many eye witness accounts (to the person of Moses) other than Moses himself exist to prove the “beginning” (as you call it) through Moses at Mount Sinai or that Moses even existed? There’s just one written eye witness account, that of Joshua.

          So then, so far we have no outside corroborating evidence for Judaism and only ONE “written” eye witness account to back up claims made in the writings of Moses.

          So now let’s turn our attention to all those “other” witnesses you speak of (none of whom wrote anything) – “an entire people.” You seem to wish to establish the credibility of Judaism on the basis of numbers.

          The problem with oral history is that it is not sufficient as stand-alone evidence. There is no way to verify anything (absent forensic evidence) once the orator is dead and gone. To say that it was passed on to the Jewish “children” doesn’t add to the credibility. Christianity passes on oral testimony to future “children” of God but it is based on corroborated written testimony of eye witnesses (more than your one and only Joshua). Even in Judaism itself you need two to three “living” witnesses of an event. The dead are not consulted. In Judaism hearsay of nothing but more hearsay is unacceptable even by its own standards. Two or three eye witnesses to an event are required.

          But having said that let’s examine the credibility of the oral history of Moses.
          Who made it out of the desert alive to orally testify to the events of the desert? Only those youth who were at the time, (of spying out Canaan) 19 years of age and under. The exception of course being Joshua and Caleb.

          So, with the exception of two, we have nothing but impressionable youth to rely on to begin this oral history of Moses and Judaism. And what did these impressionable youth witness? They witnessed their parents and siblings executed when 3000 were executed on the command of Moses in the Golden Calf affair. And for the next 40 years these youth repeatedly witnessed that any and all who defied Moses and/or challenged his authority in any way were most often killed either by plague or sword.

          What else do we know about these impressionable youth? They all stood to gain materially in terms of land (as did Joshua and Caleb) if they held to Moses and his account of events his law as he told it and wrote it. And what other choice did they have really? After a year or two in the desert could any have realistically have turned back to Egypt without being executed on the spot? And, once they acquired land in Canaan, why would they give that up by denouncing the veracity of Moses?

          If Christian witnesses stood to gain materially from their testimony Jesus you’d reject it to be sure on that ground alone!

          I’m not saying that the accounts of the written bible and oral history are not true. What I am saying is that you have applied a double standard in your effort to place the testimony of Judaism over that of Christianity.

          • David
            You argue that Jim is applying a double standard in his effort to place the testimony of Judaism over that of Christianity.
            You base your claim on the following arguments:
            1 – Judaism did not begin at Sinai – it began with Abraham
            2 – Sinai was only received by Israel through the medium of Moses
            3 – Christianity has 12 eyewitnesses
            4 – There is nothing outside the Bible to support the existence of Moses or the events of the exodus
            5 – The only eyewitness account to the foundational events of Judaism is the written testimony of Joshua
            6 – Oral witnesses are unacceptable to you – they are only “hearsay”
            7 – The oral witnesses only saw the execution of the 3000 at the episode of the golden calf and that anyone who challenged Moses authority was killed by the plague or by the sword
            8 – The oral witnesses stood to gain from passing on their testimony because they needed this testimony to give them the land of Canaan
            David – every last one of your arguments are roundly refuted by the Bible that you claim to follow and by the sense of reason with which God blessed all of us.
            1 – The testimony of Judaism begins at the exodus. If we know that the events of the exodus occurred then we do not need further corroboration that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob existed.
            2 – Sinai was experienced by all of Israel, just read Exodus 19:9; 20:22; Deuteronomy 4:31-35; 6:19-23.
            3 – The only way you know that Christianity has any eyewitnesses is from the pages of a book, no physical descendants of these eyewitnesses corroborate the events.
            4 – There is an entire nation standing outside of the Bible testifying that this is what their parents corroborate.
            5 – The Moses and Joshua who wrote concerning the exodus both have reputations as honest people within their own communities. The gospel writers were considered frauds by the people who knew them best; their Jewish brethren.
            6 – Oral witnesses may be unacceptable to you but to the God of the Bible they are evidence: Leviticus 23:42.
            7 – The oral witness saw nothing but the executions and the plagues. I guess bread raining from heaven for 40 years is nothing to you, same with a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire.
            8 – And why exactly would they need any testimony to give them the land of Canaan? How many nations do you know that conquered lands from other nation without any religious justification?
            I encourage you to go back and read what I wrote in https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/the-exodus-versus-the-resurrection/
            And
            http://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/blumenthal/resurrection/

          • jesus is giving a to do list to christians in acts. romans and jews would assume that a crucified criminal and blasphemour is on the loose. everytime the christians were arrested in acts they saw VISIONS which no one else saw. why was jesus afraid to show his face? he rearranged it (his face) and looked like an unrecognisable gardener so why couldn’t he do the same in acts and walk about unrecognised? christians are taking to do list from jesus and the authorities release them.

          • this does not address the problem of memory. people could forget. if jesus and his deciples were a small group then it would be thier UNPOLICED oral sayins vurses POLICED oral sayings.people who had power had greater advantage than jesus’ small group. i think governing power can help create policing on what was correct oral saying vurses made up oral sayings. even if one is trustworthy one could still have weak memory. the deciples of jesus don’t understand what jesus was on about. in the gospels there is no verse which says that jesus used memorization techniques. according to the gospel, people could be first hand witnesses and still spread lies about stolen bodies. according to the gospels, people could witness fantastic miracles and still deny someone by using an oath (peter). jesus had no power and no control . neither he, an angel from heaven and 500 witnesses could prevent the guards from spreading lies. christians could counter lies by creating their own lies (bart d ehrman)

  25. Dear Pharisee Friend, Jim, & David,
    I see you debating back and forth about NT vs. OT / Tanach.

    I believe this very mindset, thinking of “your holy Scriptures” as “One Book”, is the root of the problem. The Tanakh was not given to us by God as “One Book”, and it was not thought of that way until long after the texts were written. As you know, Tanakh stands for Torah, Nabi’im & Kethuvim, (Law of Moses, Prophets & Writings.) It’s a collection of writings, with 3 levels of importance and witnessing authority.

    I believe we should apply the same sort of thinking to the collection of writings we call the “New Testament” as well, giving first priority to the 4 Gospels, then to the “Prophecy” of Acts & Revelation, and finally to the “Letters”.

    Respectfully,
    Matthew Perri

    • Jim says:

      Matthew,

      I see you continually ducking the issue and not analyzing the Gospels to keep thumping on a point that you’ve made over and over. Why not deal with the actual issues rather than your pet peeves? Dina and I have both agreed to your rules, and you still dodge us.

      Jim

      • Hi Jim,
        I appreciate most of your comments, even if I don’t necessarily agree with all of them. The posting here on “Horace’s Tree” has been fast and furious, so I’m sure a number of people have not had time to read all the comments and consider. I have certainly NOT been “ducking the issue.”

        Dina made a rather exhaustive summary, with lots of Scripture references, called “A Challenge for Charles” where she listed reasons why Jesus could not be the Messiah.
        I broke this down into 6 sections, and addressed each section directly, specifically, and often at great length, with extensive interaction, making my points from the Torah, Prophets and Psalms, ending with this post. https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/horaces-tree-by-jim/#comment-10528

        I won’t say that “I won” or that “I proved Jesus is the Messiah” here. But I will say that I neutralized all 6 points, and battled to a draw. In sum, the reasons given by Dina are not conclusive enough to prove that Jesus could not be the Messiah. I’m not saying Dina’s reasons are not rational, reasonable, and logical. They just are not completely clear. A reasonable person could believe otherwise, as I do, and not see Jesus as “disqualified” from being the Messiah.

        If you have any objections or comments about my extensive response to “A Challenge for Charles” please let me know.

        I believe next you wanted to deal with Micah?
        (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 53 are on the agenda too.)

        blessings,
        Matthew

        • Dina says:

          Matthew, the only point you fully addressed from my “Challenge for Charles” was Jesus’s lineage, and you couldn’t prove me wrong. Your way of proving me wrong was to say that just because God says “offspring that will issue from your loins” doesn’t mean it has to be so, that just because God says Solomon’s throne will be forever doesn’t mean it has to be so, and just because you can’t find an explicit statement supporting your view (that the throne will move out of the bloodline and away from Solomon)–well, that doesn’t mean anything, either. This despite my showing you what chastisement God had in mind for Solomon when he sinned (from the passages in Samuel and Kings).

          Matthew, you lost round one roundly.

          You also did not fully address the adoption issue and the matrilineal descent issue–you lost on those points as well.

          You lost on the sinlessness of the Messiah, arguing that just because he brought a sin offering doesn’t mean he sinned–once again demonstrating that what Scripture states clearly you are comfortable rejecting if it doesn’t suit your agenda. (By the way, if he was offering a sacrifice out of “respect,” he could have offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Sacrifices in the Temple were not only for sins, you know. They were also offered for holidays, thanksgiving, and purification rituals.) You also said that the passage in Ezekiel wasn’t necessarily talking about the Messiah although Jim showed you that the context shows it is. In the meantime, you see Genesis 3:15 as a messianic prophecy, although neither the verse itself nor the context shows a reference to the messiah, either directly or indirectly.

          And that was only half the challenge.

          You failed to address the rest of the challenge, that Jesus did not fulfill the clear messianic prophecies that I listed. You said that Jesus would fulfill them in the second coming, although there is no scriptural support for such a belief. I can say that about any Jewish leader who died that he is the Messiah and he will come back in a second coming to fulfill his mission in the future. You did not address this argument.

          By the way, how does it make sense to a Christian that the Jews will be vindicated at the end of days and that the gentiles will come to them to learn the truth about God? Christians are expecting the Jews to be shamed at the end of days for their rejection of Jesus. You did not address this argument either.

          You also failed to provide any Scriptural support for the notion that one must put his faith in the Messiah to attain eternal salvation and that prayer and repentance are not enough to atone for sins. Though this wasn’t in the “Challenge,” I presented this argument to you several times, but you ignored it.

          And yes, it would be nice to hear a response from you about Micah, finally. And yes, Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 53 are still on the agenda.

          Have a nice day,
          Dina

          • LarryB says:

            Matthew believes Jesus is god, he believes in the trinity, basically he is catholic. Jesus is God. Why would god bring a sin offering? A mystery. Also, How can the OT say ” I am not man nor the son of man” and the NT say I am man and the son of man, and followers not find a problem with this conflict? Why would god give us prophesy? Why would he give a nation, not a few folks, 12 apostles maybe, a book, teach them, it becomes a best seller only to change his mind and redo the ideas 2000 years later, and have the new believers teach the old timers his new ways, and if not they can just rot in hell? For Matthews sake I hope he does not change his mind again it might be impossible for him to adjust. It’s beginning to sound like we’re all being set up to fail, listening to Matthew.

          • LarryB
            I believe in Yahweh the God of Israel, who is my Father in heaven,
            And in His Son, Jesus the Jewish Messiah who was prophesied in the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms,
            And the Holy Spirit of God who comes in the name of the God of Israel.
            Some people call that the Trinity, which is OK with me.

            To say that I’m “basically catholic” is like me saying that you are basically Reformed.
            Pharisees, Conservative, Orthodox, Reformed, Sadducees, what’s the difference? You’re all Jews, right 🙂 (side note to Yaakov – Just joking !!!)

            God Himself became a sin offering to satisfy the requirements of the Law once and for all, so that you would not need to keep sacrificing all those animals. God is righteous and just, and this satisfies His requirement for justice and righteousness. Since the Temple has been destroyed, it’s a good thing you don’t need to sacrifice animals there any more.

            I recall somewhere in the OT God saying something about not being a man or a son of man – and that was true, at that time. But then Jesus, the Son of God and Jewish Messiah, did become a man, to reconcile us with our Heavenly Father. That is the good news. God gave us prophecy to point us to Himself, and Jesus the Messiah is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.

            The truth about the Jewish Messiah was hijacked by the Second Century heretic Marcion, using the letters of Paul the self-appointed “Apostle to the Gentiles.”
            http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/56-marcionism.html

            LarryB, do you have any specific points in the Torah, Prophets (or Psalms) that you feel I am ignoring or misinterpreting?
            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, if Jesus is not God, then worshiping him is a grievous sin against God. Do you agree?

          • LarryB says:

            Matthew
            You believe in the deity of J. He is god. That is the core of catholic belief. To say you believe in the same god of Israel, would be like a rabbi saying that he believes in the god of christianity. thats never going to happpen. You don’t even believe in the same Jewish messiah. Yours is the same as carholic belief in the messiah. If you did believe in the same messiah, you would know J did not do anything Judaism teaches he would do. Different god different messiah. As far as different specific points I’d be happy if you would just answer the question posed ny Jim and Dina. You have been dodging them for days.

          • LarryB says:

            Oops, carholic would be catholic.

          • Hi LarryB
            You wrote, QUOTE
            ”As far as different specific points I’d be happy if you would just answer the question posed by Jim and Dina. You have been dodging them for days.”

            I am understanding that you may feel somewhat overwhelmed by the depth of the discussion, you don’t have a whole lot of background in the texts of the Torah, Prophets, & Psalms, and you are not sure exactly what sort of questions to ask. So for now, you would like to just “listen in” and try to absorb more content so you can think more clearly. I can relate to this situation – I have been there. No problem. If you do feel like jumping back in later, I would be happy to discuss more, as time permits.

            I can understand that you are probably wary of “Christian Missionaries” who want to do a “high pressure sales pitch” to get you to “say the magic words” and “make a decision for Christ.” I know some of them mean well. Others really don’t, it’s just business to them. Churches today are filled with people who really don’t know Jesus the Jewish Messiah. Istead, they are following the hypocritical example of Paul the self-appointed “Apostle to the Gentiles.”

            As to your last comment about me “dodging” specific points, this really is not fair, as I wrote to Jim here. I’m just catching my breath, and making sure you are still following me. If you feel that the many answers I’ve already provided to Dina’s questions are not sufficient, then I would like to address those points first, before moving on to Micah Genesis or Isaiah.
            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/horaces-tree-by-jim/#comment-10567

            Sincerely,
            Matthew

            Side note to Dina, since I’m sure you’re listening in.
            Here is a song you may relate to – sung in Biblical Hebrew

            Looleh he-emanti:
            lirot betoov – ADONAI
            be-eretz chayim

            Psalm 27, _ADONAI Ori Christine Jackman

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, you assume too much. I hope Larry will forgive my speaking on his behalf, but I’ve been around on this blog long enough to have learned that Larry is not Jewish. He came to reject the Christianity he was raised with through his own questioning.

    • Dina says:

      To Jews like Our Pharisee friend and me, every bit of Christian scripture is equally unauthoritative.

  26. Yaakov says:

    I’m having a good discussion with Matthew. It is much higher up on the page, but my computer only lets me post is down here. Hopefully anyone who is interested will find the connection to the earlier parts.
    Dear Matthew,
    The Hebrew Scriptures are chronologically arranged until the beginning of Writings. At that point, all of the documents, such as Psalms, which were written by personalities who were already mentioned, such as David, are placed. The Writings are placed as they are because their authors lived during the First Temple period, and it makes sense that their books would be included in the section of Tanach that corresponds to their epoch. Then the rest of Tanach basically resumes the chronological accounting starting during the period of the Babylonian Exile. At the end, the Book of Chronicles summarizes. Jewish tradition is that all of the books of Tanach were written with prophecy.
    Prophets all spoke with God. (Moses, the greatest prophet, had the greatest personal understanding of God, yet all the prophets faithfully relay the message of God.) They are therefore all equally authoritative.
    Why do I think that these books were written with prophecy? Part of it is because the same people who passed the Torah and Prophets down to me and my community told me that they were. They were the sole possessors of all scripture for around 2,000 years. Anyone who says that they cannot be trusted must admit that they cannot be trusted to preserve any scripture accurately. Also, the only reason why I know that Isaiah is a prophet is because they told me that he was. If we cannot trust them, then Isaiah is as authoritative as Mark Twain, and maybe even less, because Mark Twain is funny, while Isaiah is not. (You must agree that you personally trust the Jewish sages when they tell you that Isaiah is a prophet and that they preserved his words accurately. That is why we can agree to quote him but not Nostradamus. Yet, to trust them in one area but not in another gets sticky.)
    If a verse from the OT is brought in the NT, it is not brought in order to show that the authors of the NT supported that part of the OT. It is being brought because the authors of the NT understood that their writings would only have any authority if they could prove that their ideas were an extension of the Tradition which was handed down at Sinai, and not a new religion. If Christians feel that their religion is a complete break with Judaism, they shouldn’t read this website. The problem for the NT’s authors is that the community which was charged with deciding whose writings are written with Divine inspiration did not accept their books.
    I am interested in hearing how you respond to these ideas.
    Thanks again for your engaging remarks!
    yaakov

    • Hi Yaakov,
      I just did a quick online search, and came up with this link, in order to give our discussion a basic frame of reference. I’m sure that other Jews on this site could be better sources. However, sometimes it can be hard to see ourselves, and my perspective as an outsider may provide some valuable insights, (even as I also have learned much from people on this site already, and I am thankful.)

      I don’t know what else is on this link, and it doesn’t matter. I am not claiming everything written here, or elsewhere on this link is true. But what is written here below is basically consistent with what I have learned from a number of other sources, and it also provides additional insight (which may be correct, or partially correct) into the different streams of Judaism. This can get the conversation started on yourphariseefriend, to correct or clarify as needed perhaps.

      http://austind90.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/what-are-the-sacred-writings-of-judaism/
      says, QUOTE:
      “The Tanakh has the same books as the Christian Old testament, but arranged in a different order. The Torah or law refers to the first five books of the Christian Old testament and is also known as the Pentateuch. Both Christianity and conservative Judaism ascribed authorship of the Torah to Moses. The Nevi’im, composed of eight different books, includes most of the history books of the Old testament (Joshua-Kings), the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel), and also the minor prophets (Hosea-Malachi). All twelve of the minor prophets are viewed as one book in the Nevi’im. The last division of the Tanakh is the Ketuvim which is composed of eleven books. The Ketuvim comprises the rest of the books found in the Christian Old testament. Inspiration and the level of authority the Tanakh conveys depends on the thought in the three divisions of modern Judaism: orthodox, conservative, and reformed Judaism. Despite the divisions, all three groups believe the Tanakh possesses some form of authority. In Christ’s time on earth, the Pharisees and other Jewish sects believed in the inspiration of the Hebrew bible. However, the Sadducees believed only in the inspiration of the Pentateuch and the Pharisees also believed another book carried the same authority as the Tanakh, the Talmud.
      The Talmud is the written oral traditions passed down from generations of the Jewish Rabbis, Pharisees, Scribes, and other religious leaders that sought to explain, interpret, and apply the Tanakh to daily life..”

      I will respond more specifically to your ideas as soon as I can.

      You wrote, QUOTE:
      “Jewish tradition is that all of the books of Tanach were written with prophecy.
      Prophets all spoke with God. (Moses, the greatest prophet, had the greatest personal understanding of God, yet all the prophets faithfully relay the message of God.) They are therefore all equally authoritative.”

      This matches the teaching of Paul the Pharisee, who wrote “All Scripture is God-breathed” in the middle of one of his personal letters to his friend Timothy. Jesus never said that, and no other New Testament author ever said that either.

      Evangelical “Bible-believing Christians” believe about the 66 Books of the Bible what you have stated about the “Hebrew Bible – the Tanakh” – that it is “all equally authoritative.”
      This is the very idea that I am challenging. You wrote of “Jewish tradition”, but there are really a number of Jewish traditions that understand the Scriptures differently. I know there are some that see a hierarchy of witnessing authority, Torah, Prophets then Writings, rather than simply being “authoritative” or “not authoritative.”

      In any organization, there are different levels of authority. A Mail carrier and the Postmaster General both have “authority”, but not the same level. A customer service agent and the CEO both have some “authority”, but not the same level. Although it is a very common tradition in a number of religions to consider the “writings in the holy book” as all equal in authority, I am saying this not correct.

      Your analysis of the speech patterns of Esther was insightful. Your approach to the text of Esther is to assume that what Esther did and said, and how she did and said it, is “a model of maturity and an example for us to follow”. Now I do agree that Esther was heroic, but she was not God. Your unstated assumption is that “we should be like Esther” without question, and I disagree. How Esther spoke to her step-father is not necessary the way she should have. Esther was human, David was human, they made mistakes, some of which are recorded in the Scriptures.

      Evangelical Christians do with Paul what you did with Esther but on a massive scale. The reason is essentially the same. Esther is in “your book” which you believe is “all equally authoritative.” Paul is in “the Evangelical’s book” and they believe “All Scripture is God-breathed” because Paul said so.

      I’ve been following Jesus for 21 years now, and I realized years ago the Paul was a hypocrite (even though most Evangelicals can’t see this.) But it wasn’t until last year that I began to understand how wrong Paul’s TEACHING was as well. Yet, the Evangelical Establishment continues to brainwash people with Paul’s teaching. They are following Paul, not following Jesus the Jewish Messiah. That is why it seems like a foreign religion to you – because it is. It’s “Paulism”, really revivied “Marcionism.”
      http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/56-marcionism.html

      Blessings,
      Matthew

      • David says:

        Hi Matthew,
        I’m curious. Do you also throw out Acts and the gospel of Luke?

        • David,
          This is a loaded question – like “Have you stopped beating your wife”?
          I accept the list of books in the New Testament as it is, putting Paul’s personal letters at the bottom of the heap as least important and least authoritative, because Paul was clearly wrong about so many things. (I think that the Scribes who compiled the Kethuvim (Writings) section of the Tanakh did the same thing with Chronicles, but this is just my guess.)

          Paul didn’t know Jesus personally. I’m assuming Paul was truly saved and born again, although I’m not positive of that. He was certainly very carnal, dishonest, manipulative, abusive, hypocritical and disobedient, I would say lower than Jonah, Samson, or King Solomon on a spiritual level, based on the evidence in the Bible.

          I put the 4 Gospels on top of everything else, just as the Orthodox church does (Eastern Orthodox.) This was the original way, long before the Protestants or even before Roman Catholics. So it isn’t some “new idea” that I invented.
          I put Acts & Revelation next after the Gospels, as Prophecy. This is my personal idea.
          Matthew

          • David says:

            Hi Matthew,
            It’s a fair question I put to you in my last post.

            I find your statement not credible that you include as scripture, Paul’s writings. If you truly believe that that he teaches heresy, contradicts Jesus, and is dishonest, disobedient etcetera as you say, and yet you really want me to believe that you include his writings as scripture then you have a very unusual and contradictory idea of what does and what doesn’t constitute scripture.

            But back to my question; it has a purpose.

            Luke, most scholars agree wrote Acts. You said yourself you place Acts just after the Gospels in order of prophecy.

            Let’s read what the author of Acts (Luke) says in Acts regarding Paul.

            Jesus chooses Saul:
            Acts 9:
            15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel;

            He goes out with the apostles in Jerusalem speaking boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus.
            Acts 9:
            27 But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.

            Peter (not Paul) is the first to be criticized for teaching to the Gentiles. But then the practice is accepted.
            Acts 11:

            18 When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”

            The author of Acts testifies that the Holy Spirit, at work, chooses Paul and Barnabas for work.
            Acts 13:
            2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, …

            The author of Acts testifies that Paul is “filled” with Holy Spirit:
            Acts 13:
            9 But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit,…

            In Jerusalem with the Apostles:
            Peter defends Paul’s way of teaching on the question of circumcision, and keeping the Law of Moses, and also the doctrine that God makes no distinction between Gentiles and Jews with regard to salvation.
            Acts 15:
            6 The apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter. 7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, …

            Immediately after Paul and Barnabas speak, none other than James rules the day, siding with Paul and Peter, and makes the “decision” in defense of Paul’s understanding that Gentiles should NOT be troubled and should NOT be made to follow the Law of Moses.

            Acts 15:
            13 After they finished speaking, James replied, …

            19 Therefore I have reached the decision that we should not trouble those Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but we should write to them to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled[k] and from blood.
            22 Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church, decided to choose men from among their members[l] and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.

            The author of Acts (Luke) hooks up with Paul in Troas. Note the pronoun “we.”
            Acts 16:
            10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
            11 We set sail from Troas …
            Paul and Silas tell the Jailer what he must do to be saved:
            Acts 16:
            31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

            The author of Acts (Luke) implicitly agrees with Paul’s understanding of scripture as it applies to the Messiah. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have used the word “proving.” In Thessalonica, Paul teaches by explaining the scriptures.
            Acts 17:
            2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three sabbath days argued with them from the scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Messiah[ae] to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This is the Messiah,[af] Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you.”

            The author of Acts, Luke, reports that one night in Corinth after Paul vows to go to the Gentiles, Jesus himself appears to Paul and confirms the work Paul is doing and encourages him to continue. Nothing is mentioned about correcting any misunderstandings of doctrine which might contradict the teachings of Jesus.
            Acts 18:
            9 One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.”

            The author of Acts reports that in Ephesus, Apollos taught well in the Way of the Lord but only knew the baptism of John. As a result they hadn’t received Holy Spirit. Jesus confirms Paul’s work and doctrinal understanding yet again (this time in Ephesus following behind Apollos) by sending Holy Spirit on those he lays his hands on in baptism.

            Acts 19:
            6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7 altogether there were about twelve of them.

            The author of Acts reports that God does extraordinary miracles through Paul. This is yet another confirmation that Paul has the approval of our Lord Jesus and God himself.
            Acts 19:
            11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them.

            The author of Acts is again with Paul in Troas and travels with him to Jerusalem:
            Acts 20:
            5 They went ahead and were waiting for us in Troas; 6 but we sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we joined them in Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
            7 On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them …

            More confirmation of Paul: James and the “brothers” in Jerusalem welcome Luke and Paul. When Paul tells of his work they praise God.
            Acts 20:
            17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us warmly. 18 The next day Paul went with us to visit James; and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 When they heard it, they praised God.

            Yet more confirmation of Paul by Jesus. Again, Luke reports the Lord Jesus supports and encourages Paul to continue his testimony.
            Acts 23:

            11 That night the Lord stood near him and said, “Keep up your courage! For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome.”

            The author of Acts (Luke) accompanies Paul all the way to Rome. You’d think by now that if Paul had some doctrinal error he was teaching that would have come to light in their many travels together.
            Acts27: When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius. 2 Embarking on a ship of Adramyttium that was about to set sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.

            If you read Acts honestly you’ll have to either elevate Paul or lower Acts. If you lower Acts you’ll have to lower the Gospel of Luke as well.

          • David,
            Paul the self-proclaimed “Apostle to the Gentiles” had a very unusual and contradictory idea about “scripture”. Paul wrote “All Scripture is God-breathed”, one time, buried in the middle of a personal letter he wrote to Timothy.

            No one in the New Testament agreed with Paul on this point. Not Jesus. Not any other New Testament author. (The Apostle Peter wrote about PROPHECY of Scripture, not “All Scripture”, and no it isn’t the same thing.)

            With the Book of Acts, you are doing as we have been trained – you are blind to Paul’s obvious sins. Evangelicals have been brainwashed to think of Paul in Acts as a sort of Second Messiah. According to the cult of Paul, if Paul did something it must be right, and if Paul said something it must be true – Paul doesn’t need another witness because GOD is his witness – so in every case down the line, Paul was right and everyone else was wrong. Paul didn’t write Acts, Luke did. Why would you assume that just because Paul said or did something in Acts, it MUST be right and true? Brainwashing.

            The Evangelical “Mexican Hat Dance”

            Sin is always specific, not general.
            The “Hat” is, “What were Paul’s sins?”

            The music starts, with a cheery blast of trumpets in a melody that is familiar to most North Americans- the “Mexican Hat Dance.” (The national dance of Mexico, taught in Mexican public schools since 1921, and officially named “El Jarabe Tapatio.”)

            A couple in rather elaborate traditional costumes begins the dance. The man throws his huge sombrero hat on the floor, and the couple dances around it, but never steps on the hat. (The “Hat” is, “what were Paul’s sins?”) Here are the basic steps- (there may be one or two other basic steps, but they are very similar to these.)

            What were Paul’s sins?

            STEP 1) Paul said; “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.” [1 Timothy 1:13]
            (Response- Those were Saul’s sins, before Jesus called him. What were Paul’s sins as a Christian? )

            STEP 2) Paul said; “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst.” [1 Timothy 1:15]
            (Response- Sin is alwasy specific. What were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian? )

            STEP 3) Paul said; “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” [Romans 3:23]
            (Response- Again the same question; What were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian? )

            STEP 4) Paul said; “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” [Philippians 3:12-13]
            (Response- They say third time’s a charm. Same question; What were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian? )

            STEP 5) Paul said; “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing.” [Romans 7:15-19]
            (Response- One more time! This is getting boring. Same question; Specifically, what were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian based on specific verses of the Bible? )

            STEP 6) LOOP- REPEAT steps 1 through 5, until your dance partner gives up, the audience gets bored, or the music stops. The rule is- never step on the “Hat,” just keep dancing around it.

          • David says:

            Hi Matthew,

            You didn’t read my post.

          • David says:

            Hi Matthew,

            If you want to just state your personal opinion about what you believe to be Paul’s doctrinal contradictions to the teaching of Jesus and scripture and then play games dancing around my counter arguments to your claims, rather than responding to the material I post, I’m not willing to participate in that game.

            I’ll condense my above post down to just a few points, all of which are based on the same scripture I posted above. You can respond or not but please don’t play games.

            In a nutshell this is my counter argument.
            Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke as well as the account of Acts. Acts directly and repeatedly supports Paul. In my challenges against your claims I am not using Luke’s quotes of Paul (since your argument holds Paul in low regard) but rather the narration of Luke apart from Paul’s statements.

            1. If as you claim Paul teaches false doctrine, then you must answer the question why would God and/or Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit on at least four occasions encourage him and tell him to continue his teaching to the Gentiles. Acts: 9:15; 13:2,4; 18:9,10; 23:11;
            2. If as you say, Paul teaches false doctrine why would the apostles accept him? The apostles fully accept Paul (especially Peter and James); he teaches with them in Jerusalem and they then later specifically support his understanding of what the Gentiles should be taught and send him to do it. Acts: 9:28; 15:7,13,22
            3. Again (another occasion) the apostles accept Paul in Jerusalem and praise God because of his teaching; Luke is a witness and present with him as he was on many occasions, including the later trip to Rome. If Paul were teaching false doctrine why would they accept him praising God, and why would Luke who was aware of Paul’s teachings let James believe Paul to be something he wasn’t? Acts 20:17 – 20
            4. There is an error of doctrine spoken of in Acts but NOT concerning Paul. Apollos did not have complete and accurate knowledge regarding the Way and the Baptism into the name of Jesus. Others including Paul corrected the error of Apollos. When Paul laid his hands on them (NOT when Apollos laid his hands on them), they received Holy Spirit. Acts 18: 24 thru Acts 19:7.
            5. God indirectly approves of Paul through Power. If God did not approve at least indirectly of Paul’s teaching why would God save, heal, cast demons out and perform many miracles through Paul? Acts 19:11,12

            In conclusion, there is not one single verse in Acts (such as that spoken of regarding Apollos) which corrects a doctrinal error of Paul, not one. Are we to believe that Luke who accompanied Paul on so many occasions, and witnessed so many of Paul’s teachings, would somehow say nothing at any time to oppose false doctrine? So we have God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, all of the Apostles especially Peter and James and the author of the Gospel of Luke and Acts, Luke, all in agreement. Paul and his teachings are approved; we can accept him and his teachings.

          • David,
            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “Acts directly and repeatedly supports Paul.”

            No.
            Acts RECORDS some of Paul’s words and actions.
            Other narrative parts of the Bible record the words and actions of other people – The twelve spies, Samson, Jonah, King Solomon, King David, The Apostle Peter, etc.
            You have been brainwashed not to see Paul’s sins that Luke accurately records. Sometimes Luke records Paul’s own words to convict him of sin.

            In the rather dense parable that I wrote
            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/horaces-tree-by-jim/#comment-10167
            I made already reference to some of these:

            .1) writing to the Corinthians “I became your father – imitate me.”
            .2) having a sharp disagreement with his mentor Barnabas and parting company over a minor matter, because Paul demanded to have his own way.
            .3) circumcising Timothy to please men, while hypocritically, passionately preaching the opposite to others.
            .4) clearly disobeying God and going to Jerusalem.

            Without rationalizing, justifying, or making excuses, can you admit, without reservation, that Paul was wrong in any of these 4 cases I already wrote about?
            Sincerely,
            Matthew

          • David says:

            Hi Matthew,

            Again, you didn’t read my post or the references and/or you don’t understand how to distinguish and differentiate in scripture the concept of narration from the speech and claims of others. I cited what LUKE, the narrator, writes about what others say, believe, and do in reference to Paul. Including GOD AND JESUS. Read it again. I am NOT citing Paul.

            There’s a difference between what the author narrates what has happened and what someone else other than the narrator claims what happened or what was said. I cited what the LUKE, the narrator says happened. NOT what Paul says.

            For example, if you say you, Matthew, say, “I am the instrument of Jesus to bring his name before the Gentiles, kings, and people of Israel.” All we have is your word.

            But if the apostle Luke (NOT you) quotes JESUS to say that, “Matthew is my instrument to bring my name before the Gentiles and kings and people of Israel.” That is quite a different thing.

            Do you see the difference?

            Read my above post again please.

          • David,
            I posted to you March 22nd the following:
            Jesus was asked the basic question “of all the commandments, which is the most important”?
            In Matthew 22 & Mark 12, Jesus gave a direct, specific answer (which was actually bigger than the question, but did answer it) quoting from the Torah.
            Do you believe that Jesus spoke absolute truth here when He quoted the Torah? Or relative truth?
            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/a-new-set-of-feelings/#comment-10295
            You never responded to this.

            Today, I just summarized 4 points from a post I made March 20th, which you never ackowledged. (The original Parable of the Wacky New Religion was heavy reading, so if you didn’t “get it” at first, I don’t fault you.)

            Now you are brushing this off too, and insisting that I read your posts again.
            I am able to give specific clear answers to what you’ve written, but my time is not unlimited. And I understand very well how you have been brainwashed. But I need to know that you are actually listening.

            You are reading things into the text that are not there, elevating glorifying and justifying Paul, while you tear down or ignore the acomplishments of others in Acts, like Peter, Barnabas and Apollos. You’ve been programed that way – I understand. You are blind. But it is time to open your eyes.
            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • David says:

            Matthew,

            You are continuing to play games and in addition you are also lying.

            I went to your link and found your question. In fact I answered that repetitive question of yours at least twice if not more in the earlier posts above your link which you probably either didn’t bother to read or couldn’t bear to accept the truth of it. The fact that you don’t like my answer, which proves through scripture, that your theories on truth and other matters are falsehoods, doesn’t mean that I didn’t answer your question.

            Your other point that you summarized 4 points is nothing more than a distraction which you invented to help you out of the corner you’ve boxed yourself into with your own words rather than deal with my challenges to you.

            This thread began with me challenging you. And so far you’ve been unable to deal with it.

            In this thread, I’ve proved through Acts, which was written by Luke, that your problem is not with Paul but with Jesus and others. Luke quotes Jesus himself (and others) supporting Paul.

            As I said earlier, I’ll not be a party to your games. You are a fraud, not because you are mistaken in your assumptions, but because you make claims and when your words are challenged with scripture and you find yourself boxed in, you resort to lies, distractions, and generally try to do anything but deal with the argument put to you.

          • David,
            Here are the answers to the 5 points you posted 2 days ago.

            .1) You are making a false assumption. Just because Paul was SOMETIMES in God’s will does not mean that he was ALWAYS in God’s will – any more than in the narratives of Samson, Jonah, King Solomon (or King David or Peter or Moses or any other character in Scripture except Jesus.) Just because Paul was correct about SOME things does not mean that Paul was correct about EVERYTHING.

            .2) You are exaggerating and stretching the truth to justify Paul at the expense of others saying, “The apostles fully accept Paul.”

            .3) Acts 21:20 says “When they heard this they praised God.” It’s a subtle point Luke makes in context, and if you have eyes to see and not idolize Paul, you can see what the nuances are in the surrounding context. Luke is a travelling companion of Paul, so he is always trying to be positive about everyone. But you read something into the text that is not there – namey, QUOTE “because of his teaching.” Luke didn’t write that.

            .4) Luke recorded Acts 18:24-28 about Apollos, including:
            “The brothers encouraged him [Apollos] and wrote to the disciples there [Achaia / Corinth] to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help…”
            But you left this part out. You just seized on a small point out of context and slammed Apollos to tear him down.

            .5) You wrote, QUOTE:
            “God indirectly approves of Paul through Power.”
            Well,
            Did God “approve” of Samson, Jonah, King Solomon, and other carnal people through power? God didn’t blindly give a blanket endorsement of everything they said and did. But since you’ve been brainwashed by Paul, you can’t see that. You think Paul is always “The Exception” and somehow he’s “above the law” and the rules don’t apply to him- even his own rules.

            In Acts 9, Luke accurately records Paul’s conversion. It was a pretty big deal, but not nearly as big a deal as Paul made it out to be later, when twice Paul gave boastful, exaggerated, conflicting false testimony about his conversion. [Acts 22 & Acts 26] Paul’s 2 versions of this event, recorded by Luke, don’t match the facts Luke recorded in Acts 9, and they don’t even match each other. Paul made things up, to promote himself. These are facts, in your Bible – you can see for yourself. Luke used Paul’s own words to convict him of speaking falsely.

            Likewise exaggerating 2 years & 3 months [Acts 19:8-10] into “three years night and day with tears” [Acts 20:31]
            And
            Falsely claiming “compelled by the Spirit I am going to Jerusalem” [Acts 20:22] when Luke gives numerous proof from numerous sources that this was false- Paul was disobeying God, and lying about it, saying God told him to go.

            So David, I’ve answered all 5 of your points, plus bonus material for your conclusion.

            I look forward to hearing your response.
            Sincerely,
            Matthew

      • Yaakov says:

        Dear Matthew,

        You made some interesting points.

        The paragraph you copied merely says that modern branches of Judaism, such as Reform, do not accept the authority of scripture. In fact, these groups, which are only about 200 years old, deny all divine revelation. Philosophically, I might have more in common with a person of another religion who believes in the Torah than I do with them. You are currently engaged in a conversation with Orthodox (Torah Observant) Jews, the only Jewish group that exists today which accepts the authority of scripture. We’re not going to agree with a Sadducee. It doesn’t matter what Sadducees think: the fact that there are none of them left demonstrates that God did not agree with them. In any case, there was only one Judaism with no splinter groups for the entire period in which the scriptures were written and accepted by the nation.

        Here is my main point:
        I can learn lessons from Esther because the same people (thousands of Jewish sages throughout all of history) who said that the Torah we have is the actual Torah, and said that Isaiah is a prophet, said that I can do that with Esther. Every person (including Jews of every stripe and also non-Jews) who believes that Isaiah is authoritative does so because they trust the Jewish leaders’ ability to identify a prophet and spiritual truth. If they do not, the OT is as reliable as any fictional work. How can one agree with them regarding some books but not others?

        To be super-clear: when you wrote to me, you made some interesting observations about what Christians think. I’m really interested in hearing your direct response to the point which I made above and re-stated in this post in the last paragraph.

        I’ve been reading this blog for a long time but never posted. I posted when you wrote because I felt that I could clarify the issue about inheritance, and I feel that you’re a person who takes what other people say seriously. However, I didn’t realize how much time this would take up! If you respond directly and write why you agree 100% with the Jewish sages regarding some of the books they passed to the world but not others, and agree with their ability to identify some holy authors, but not others, then I’ll continue to write, otherwise I’ll leave it to our other Pharisee friends.
        All the best,
        Yaakov

        • Hi Yaakov,
          I appreciate your insight. Yes I do take other people seriously – and I take God’s Word seriously. I am not questioning which books should be in the Tanakh. I am bringing up what I believe is actually the traditional, Orthodox Jewish view of the 3-tier authority levels of the Hebrew Scriptures. #1 Torah, #2 Prophets, #3 Writings. Yes, the common mindset is to think that “either it’s authoritative or it’s not” but I believe that historically in Judaism it was not that way.

          The 3 divisions do exist, as we know.
          Correct me if I misunderstood you, but I think the explanation you gave for the division between “Prophets” and “Writings” was basically chronological order.
          This sounds fairly simple and sort of logical and reasonable. I’m guessing that you read this somewhere.
          However, if you look at the texts in the Kethuvim (Writings) it doesn’t hold together so well, and I think it’s probably a modern explanation.

          Chronicles overlaps a lot with the Prophets.
          What does Job have to do with Israel? Really nothing directly. Job may have been one of the first books written, and he may have lived around the time of Abraham.

          If you consider the content in the other books of the “Writings” it’s kind of a collection of loose odds and ends, worldly wisdom, inspiration true stories (like Esther) etc. The Song of Solomon adds richness to the Tanakh, but it certainly should not be considered equal to the Torah – right? It’s like Peter Gabriel’s song “Sledgehammer”, but instead of synthesizers and fancy video effects, it could be accompanied by harp music.

          I believe that if you look into it, you will find that the reason for the division between “Prophets” and “Writings” in historic Judaism was authority level, not chronological order. So maybe you could consider the same question about if you “agree 100% with the Jewish sages” who decided to divide the Scriptures in 3 categories, not just 1 or 2.

          I can also learn lessons from Esther – and from King David too. But just because David committed murder and adultery does not mean I should follow his example on these points. The Torah gives us God’s Ten Commandments, which tell us otherwise. The pages of the Scriptures are full of narratives about human experience, including Esther and David.

          Blessings,
          Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew,

            Yaakov said he would not continue this discussion with you if you did not answer his question directly. You did not answer his question–and true to his word, it looks like he dropped out of the conversation. I am copying his question below:

            “Every person (including Jews of every stripe and also non-Jews) who believes that Isaiah is authoritative does so because they trust the Jewish leaders’ ability to identify a prophet and spiritual truth. If they do not, the OT is as reliable as any fictional work. How can one agree with them regarding some books but not others?”

            Can you answer the question? Just the question and nothing else?

          • Dina & Yaakov,
            If you “trust the Jewish leaders’ ability to identify a prophet and spiritual truth,”
            Then you would trust that they identified
            Torah, Prophets, & Writings.
            NOT
            Torah, Prophets #1 & Prophets #2.
            Would you agree?
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Will you just answer the question?

          • Dina, I just did.
            Jewish leaders had the ability to identify
            Torah
            Nabi’im
            Kethuvim

            not
            Torah, Nabi’im & Nabi’im

            Do you have a Tanakh (Tanach) ?
            or a TANANA ?

          • Dina says:

            That’s not an answer.

            From Yaakov: “Why do I think that these books were written with prophecy? Part of it is because the same people who passed the Torah and Prophets down to me and my community told me that they were. They were the sole possessors of all scripture for around 2,000 years. Anyone who says that they cannot be trusted must admit that they cannot be trusted to preserve any scripture accurately. Also, the only reason why I know that Isaiah is a prophet is because they told me that he was.”

            And for the third time: “Every person (including Jews of every stripe and also non-Jews) who believes that Isaiah is authoritative does so because they trust the Jewish leaders’ ability to identify a prophet and spiritual truth. IF THEY DO NOT, THE OT IS AS RELIABLE AS ANY FICTIONAL WORK. HOW CAN ONE AGREE WITH THEM REGARDING SOME BOOKS BUT NOT OTHERS?” [Emphasis added.]

            So you did not answer the question, which was NOT “Were all the authors of Ketuvim prophets?”

          • Dina says:

            BTW, if it were so, it would be pronounced Tanan. Just saying.

          • Dina says:

            As opposed to Tanana. 🙂

          • Dina, I gave a direct specific answer to Yaakov’s question.
            I agree,
            Jewish leaders had the ability to identify
            Torah
            Nabi’im
            Kethuvim

            They put Chronicles in the “Writings” section, not the “Prophets” section, because it is less reliable, and I trust the judgment of these Jewish leaders. You, on the other hand, are questioning their ability to identify what was written with Prophecy and what was not, insisting that the Writings are really Prophecy. I am not questioning which books are in the Tanakh. I’m simply pointing out the traditional Jewish understanding of the 3-levels of priority, which many modern Jews such as yourself appear to have forgotten.
            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, I think you really don’t understand the question, and that’s why you’re not answering it. The question isn’t whether it was the Jews who put these books together or not. Every book that was included was included because it was deemed to be authoritative, so how do you decide which ones are and which ones aren’t (like parts of the Psalms, for instance)? Where did you get the notion that some books are, according to Jews, less reliable than others? How is it that you are the sole possessor of this information that Jews and Christians seem to have forgotten?

            According to this odd notion of yours, if indeed the Jews said the Ketuvim were not reliable, and you therefore accept that they are not reliable, you should a fortiori not accept the gospels, which the same Jews held to be a work of fiction.

            At the end of the day, why do you trust the Jewish testimony that Moses was a true prophet, same for Isaiah and the rest? Why do accept their testimony in some cases and reject it in others? Either they are reliable witnesses or they are not.

            Or are the gospels your supreme authority, and do you work you way backward?

            And when are you going to respond on the prophecies? Or have you decided to drop that?

          • Dina,
            I agree 100% with the Jewish sages.
            Prophets means Prophets.
            Writings means….Writings. 🙂
            YOU are the one who is questioning the wisdom of the ancient Jewish Scribes, not me.

          • Dina says:

            Matthew:

            Writings could mean anything, you know. Writings could mean my shopping list, a novel, or a math book. Writings could mean historical anecdotes, moral lessons, and prophecies. It could mean “miscellaneous.” You, Matthew, on your own authority, decided that “writings” means “unreliable.”

            I challenge you to find me a source that Jews consider authoritative (like Tanach or the Talmud) that says that the Writings are unreliable.

            And you have STILL not answered the question. Maybe I’m not explaining clearly. Is there anyone out there who’s listening who cares to give it a shot? Because I don’t know how to make it more clear than Yaakov did.

            I find it telling that you want to talk endlessly about this topic but won’t discuss the prophecies. What gives, Matthew?

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, you wrote: “YOU are the one who is questioning the wisdom of the ancient Jewish Scribes, not me.”

            Are you serious? If you didn’t question their wisdom you would not be worshiping Jesus, a practice they condemned. There is something a little dishonest in your telling me that I’m the one questioning them and not you.

            Where is your evidence that the ancient Jewish sages did not believe the Writings were divinely inspired? Is it that they called it “Writings”? Is that the best you can do?

          • Dina,
            I agree with you, QUOTE:
            “Writings could mean anything, you know….. Writings could mean historical anecdotes, moral lessons, and prophecies. It could mean “miscellaneous.”

            Yes, I agree- and if you look at the contents in the actual books of the “Writings”, that is what you will find: “miscellaneous.”

            You are putting words in my mouth accusing me of defining “writings” to mean “unreliable.”
            I am in agreement with the ancient Jewish sages who deemed them LESS reliable, which is why they were not considered part of the “Prophets.” It is wrong for you to ignore the clear distinction made by the ancient Jewish Scribes and insist that “Writings = Prophets.” It may be part of your modern tradition but it certainly is not part of ancient Jewish Tradition.

            “unreliable.” is a loaded word.
            I said the Writings are LESS reliable than the Prophets & the Torah, and this IS Orthodox Jewish Tradition.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew,

            You have said in two ways, that the Ketuvim are not reliable and less reliable. Here are your words, from this page:

            “The Writings, (Ketuvim) is not reliable and should not be trusted.”

            “They put Chronicles in the ‘Writings’ section, not the ‘Prophets’ section, because it is less reliable.”

            Is the Talmud even less reliable to Orthodox Jews than the Writings? Your idea of “less reliable” is mistaken regarding the division of Nevi’im and Ketuvim: the primary difference is that the Nevi’im were originally given as oral prophecies and later written down, while the Ketuvim were originally given in a written format (in general; this difference doesn’t apply to all the books). Furthermore, the books were written with different types of divine guidance–not one less reliable than the other, just different.

            The idea of dismissing something because it comes from Ketuvim is not something that you will find support for in any Jewish tradition.

            It is presumptuous of you to tell me what my own tradition says without any support for your assertion other than your own brain. I challenged you to find me any Jewish tradition that says the Ketuvim are unreliable (or less reliable, if you prefer), but instead you just repeated your old assertion.

            If you can’t find a credible source, then I do not wish to pursue the matter any further.

            Peace,
            Dina

          • Dina,
            I am seeking the truth, and I hope you are too. I have learned quite a bit on this website from people that I may disagree with, including you, and there have been a few points where I was wrong, which I was quick to admit.

            Right now, we are addressing the issue of what exactly are the reasons for the distinctions made by the ancient Jewish sages and rabbis between the 3 sections of the Tanakh – Law, Prophets & Writings. (Torah, Nabi’im, Kethuvim.)

            You must have quoted me out of context, saying to me QUOTE:
            ‘Here are your words, from this page:
            “The Writings, (Ketuvim) is not reliable and should not be trusted.”’
            I am quite sure I didn’t say that in context, and if I did, I misspoke and I don’t mean that. So I am declaring that now; “not reliable and should not be trusted” are loaded words, and that isn’t what I mean.

            OK, so we can move on to what I AM saying, pointing out the traditional Orthodox Jewish distinction between the 3 sections of the Hebrew Scriptures, which Jews call the Tanakh, and Christians call the Old Testament.

            I am not “dismissing something because it comes from Ketuvim.” Dismissing is another loaded word. I am noting that generally speaking, it has a lower authority level than Torah and Prophets.

            You and Yaakov have given two different explanations for the distinction between the Nabi’im and Kethuvim, without citing any sources. I understood that Yaakov said it’s basically a Chronological distinction.
            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “Your idea of “less reliable” is mistaken regarding the division of Nevi’im and Ketuvim: the primary difference is that the Nevi’im were originally given as oral prophecies and later written down, while the Ketuvim were originally given in a written format (in general; this difference doesn’t apply to all the books). Furthermore, the books were written with different types of divine guidance–not one less reliable than the other, just different.”

            What are YOUR sources for these differing assertions?

            My primary source is the text of the Kethuvim itself. It includes Lamentations, written by Jeremiah, even though the Book of Jeremiah is part of the “Prophets.”

            What does the Book of Job have to do with Israel?

            The Old Testament bunches Samuel, Kings & Chronicles in one place, which would make sense if it was about Chronological order. But the Tanakh leaves Samuel & Kings in the “Prophets” section, and bounces Chronicles to the back of the Kethuvim. Why?

            Another source for me is your Tanakh – it’s not a TANAN.

            And here is another outside source.
            http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/56-marcionism.html
            Respectfully,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, my source is the Talmud. Your source is your own speculation (and a Christian source, which is not credible to me). You have failed to find a source within Jewish tradition that agrees with you, so I’m not going to talk to you about this anymore. You just keep repeating yourself.

            Any time you want to discuss the prophecies you presented to Jim and me, to which we responded, just let me know. Why do I get the feeling you’re deliberately avoiding this topic?

            Until then, so long!

            Dina

          • cflat7 says:

            Matthew wrote, “I am not “dismissing something because it comes from Ketuvim.” Dismissing is another loaded word. I am noting that generally speaking, it has a lower authority level than Torah and Prophets.”

            I’ve been following along this discussion. What I’d like to know, Matthew, is what practical significance does having “lower authority” imply? If what you are arguing for is correct, what does that mean? Why would anyone care that the authority level is lower? And is it just a little lower, or a whole lot lower? Who is authorized to judge whether different parts of the Tanach are lower and by how much?

          • Hi cflat7,
            I’m glad you’ve been following the discussion.
            You asked, QUOTE:
            “Who is authorized to judge whether different parts of the Tanach are lower and by how much?”

            The short incomplete answer is, the ancient Jewish sages & rabbis who put together the Tanakh were authorized. They didn’t give you a TANA, or a TANAN, or a TANANA – or a Banana 🙂

            This isn’t some new idea that I just dreamed up on my own. I’m simply reminding you of the ancient Orthodox Jewish Tradition. I’m sure you could research this much better than I could. I’ve also made some specific observations about the content of the Kethuvim, and no one is even trying to refute these points.

            Your choice of words in writing QUOTE “different parts of the Tanach” is a subtle hint about the prevailing mindset, considering “The Tanach” as “One Book”, just as Christians think of “The Bible” as “One Book.” This is the very point that I am bringing to light. These writings were not given to us by God as “One Book.” The Torah could be thought of as one book, but the others are collections of writings that go along with the Torah.

            To say the “Writings” and equal to the “Prophets” because they are also “Prophecy” is sort of an insult to the ancient Jewish sages, who made a decision to distinguish between the two. Yes, I agree that there is some prophecy in the Kethuvim, particularly in the Psalms, which are almost universaly recognized as the foremost part of the Kethuvim.

            The content of the Kethuvim tends to be heavy on human wisdom, feelings & experience. For example, after Solomon became an idolator due to his 1000 women, he moaned “everything is meaningless… there is nothing new under the sun.” Those are his sinful feelings, the result of his sinful life. This isn’t the voice of God, equal to the Torah.

            I suppose the first thing to do is a little research into Jewish history, to verify that what I’m saying is true, and it isn’t my own new idea. (It’s 3 levels of authority, Torah, Prophets, Writings.) You ask insightful questions, and I hope we can continute fruitful discussion in search of the truth.
            Sincerely,
            Matthew

          • cflat7 says:

            Matthew, my intention wasn’t to side-track your discussion with Dina and others. I wasn’t challenging you on whether your idea is valid or not (as you admit, you need to research that). I just wanted to know what you thought a lower level of authority meant and why you thought it is important.

          • Hi cflat7,
            The “Tanakh”, an acronym for Torah Nabi’im & Kethuvim, was not my idea. I’m simply reminding you of what this acronym (created by those ancient Orthodox Jewish sages) actually means, since you modern Jews seem to have forgotten.

            Annelise was making the general point originally on “A new set of feelings” that our worship and devotion should be God-centered, not man-centered, and I agree with that basic sentiment. God should be first for us, as the Shema reminds us. Man should be second. God’s feelings, experience, words, opinions and commandments are more important than those of men. The Kethuvim tend to be more “man-centered” than the Prophets.

            Nominally “Torah observant” Jews who would say they “believe the Tanakh” tend to do with carnal King Solomon what nominally “Bible-believing” Christians tend to do with carnal Pharisee Paul. That is, regard him personally as “a model of maturity and an example for us to follow”, and regard his writings as “the word of God.” That is idolatry in both cases. But Christians do this with Paul on a far grander scale than Jews do with Solomon.

            In truth, Solomon’s Song, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are the words of Solomon – not The Word of God. Just as Paul’s letters in the New Testament are the words of Paul – not The Word of God. The writings of these men have some value, which is why they are part of “Scripture.”

            We are called to obey The Word of God, so we should be as clear as we can about what actually IS The Word of God and what is not. We need to listen to God first, and man second – it’s clear to me this is important to God.

            Peace and blessings,
            Matthew

          • LarryB says:

            Matthew, you said
            “We are called to obey The Word of God, so we should be as clear as we can about what actually IS The Word of God and what is not. We need to listen to God first, and man second – it’s clear to me this is important to God”
            And yet you believe that man (jesus) is god. Where does god say Jesus is god? Who heard this being said?

          • Dina says:

            Yes, good point, Larry! Answer him that, Matthew!

          • LarryB,
            “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:17
            ]

          • Dina says:

            From the Torah and Prophets, Matthew!

          • LarryB says:

            Matthew
            That doesn’t mean he is god. There is No proof that God spoke with Jesus or anyone else than what Scripture states.
            Unless there is proof, we do not accept the beliefs of anyone. This is simple and rational. Just as no one would accept if you told them God spoke to you, you cannot accept the claims of others, regardless of how large the religious group is or how prominent.

          • LarryB says:

            Matthew
            God’s very words attest to the fact that Judaism will be the one eternal and exclusive religion:
            Deuteronomy, 4:33,34: “Has any people heard the voice of God speaking from amidst fire as you have heard, and lived? Or has God miraculously come to select one nation from others with miracles, signs and wonders, and with war, and a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great awesome deeds, as all that Hashem your God did for you in Egypt in front of your eyes?”

          • LarryB
            If you read Numbers chapter 16, what you are saying sounds sort of like Korah.

          • LarryB
            ‘This is what Yahweh says:
            …”my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
            The Sovereign Yahweh declares – he who gathers the exiles of Israel:
            “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”‘
            [Isaiah 56]

          • LarryB says:

            Matthew
            Back to where does god say Jesus was god. Your answer was
            And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
            How do you explain this as god saying Jesus is god? Do you not say the prayer ” our farther who art in heaven”?

          • LarryB says:

            Matthew
            Using that logic wouldn’t when you say the our father prayer
            You are yourself claiming to be the son of god? Then that would
            Make you god also.

          • Dina says:

            Also, “Israel is my firstborn son.” If we are going to be hyperliteral, then all Jews are gods.

          • LarryB
            I accept Jesus (Yahshua) as THE Son of God.
            I am one of the children of God, who comes to the Father through Jesus.

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            You should note when you say the God declared Jesus to be divine in Matthew 3.17 two things. The first has already been pointed out, that the voice declares Jesus to be its son, not God. The second is that only “he” seems to have heard and seen it. I take it to be the “he” is John, not Jesus, but either way Matthew doesn’t have the voice attesting to the people that Jesus is its son. So a better answer to Larry’s question, since he asked who heard Jesus being called God, is one man.

            We should also note that the testimony of the Gospels is not uniform in this matter. In Mark’s version, Jesus hears the voice. He is the one being told “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (1.11). If we take his testimony, instead of Matthew’s, then we only have Jesus hearing the voice and seeing the dove, with not one other person able to attest the voice.

            Probably the best answer to Larry’s question then is to admit that basically nobody heard from God that Jesus was divine. We have no reliable testimony regarding the major event that testified to him. And in the account where someone other than Jesus heard a voice, it was one man having a private experience, and he was killed even before Jesus was, so we don’t have his testimony.

            For the sake of thoroughness, I will only point out the Luke’s Gospel has the voice addressed to Jesus, and possibly the other people hearing it. You should note when reading it the difference about when the voice speaks as well. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus is out of the water and praying. In Mark, it’s as he’s coming up from the water, just as in Matthew. In John’s gospel, there is no voice. The baptist declares that he saw the Spirit descend on Jesus, which he had been told in advance would happen to the one who “baptizes with the Holy Spirit” (Jn 1.29-34). According to John, then, John the Baptist testifies that “this is the Son of God,” but this is only one man’s testimony, which I know isn’t enough for you.

            On a side note, and it’s not one I would like to get bogged down in, if I recall correctly, at some point you asserted that your rabbi, Jesus, taught that the Ketuvim weren’t scripture. I know of no such teaching, however. Since Tanach had been canonized by then, if he were to teach it, it should have been recorded that he denied the authority of Chronicles and Job, etc. But this doesn’t happen. I am perfectly willing to operate according to your rules regarding Torah, Prophets, and Psalms; however it should be noted that they are your rules, not Jesus’.

            But the real issue, that you continue to duck, still stands. You have not shown that Jesus or the Gospels are authorities themselves. You have not answered Dina or me on this point, yet you continue to rely on their authority. We deny that they have any such authority and have provided reasons why. It is incumbent upon you, if you are going to consider Jesus the supreme authority, to show us why that’s true.

            Jim

          • paul says:

            Hi Jim. I appreciate this is not my discussion here. But ive been following these discusions over the past week or so. You might see it or not as important.? But you just mentioned “He saw the dove descending”
            The NT never says Anyone seeing a dove!!!!!!!……?????

            Of course you dont believe in the context of the NT, thats fine, but eitherway it should be quoted as it is written, not discussed as one thinks it reads.

          • Jim,
            To address your “side note”, no. You did not recall correctly, that is not what I said or meant or believe.
            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “On a side note, and it’s not one I would like to get bogged down in, if I recall correctly, at some point you asserted that your rabbi, Jesus, taught that the Ketuvim weren’t scripture. I know of no such teaching, however. Since Tanach had been canonized by then, if he were to teach it, it should have been recorded that he denied the authority of Chronicles and Job, etc. But this doesn’t happen. I am perfectly willing to operate according to your rules regarding Torah, Prophets, and Psalms; however it should be noted that they are your rules, not Jesus’.”

            No, Jesus never “taught that the Ketuvim weren’t scripture” so you are right about that. And it was never “recorded that he [Jesus] denied the authority of Chronicles and Job.” You are right about that too.

            But it is confusing the issue I am presenting, and indirectly “begging the question” I am raising about what IS “Scripture” and what IS “Authority.”

            I am agreeing with the ancient Jewish sages who named the Tanakh. It’s all “Scripture” with 3 levels of “Authority”- #1 Torah, #2 Prophets, #3 Writings.

            This isn’t a “side note” to me at all. I think it’s really the underlying root of many, maybe most of the problems we have in corectly interpreting the Scriptures. It’s a similar issue for followers of Yahshua the Jewish Messiah. Instead of being Orthodox and putting the 4 Gospels at the top of the “New Testament”, they listen to the voice of Paul instead.

            Matthew

          • Jim says:

            Paul,

            Pardon my haste. I should have said “the Spirit like a dove”. It is generally believed that “like” means something like “in a form similar to” meaning what they saw would be a bird. But I do prefer to be accurate, so I thank you.

            Will you now address all the occasions when the NT changes the words of the holy Torah and Prophets, beginning with Hebrews rewriting Jeremiah, as I’ve mentioned twice. Or does accuracy only count for us but not for you? Why does the unknown author of Hebrews get a pass, over a major alteration?

            (To refresh your memory, from Hebrews 8.9, which you have quoted: “…and so I had no concern for them, says the Lord,” a huge change from Jeremiah’s: “…though I was a husband to them, says the Lord” (Jer. 31.32)

            Jim

    • Yaakov,
      I agree with the basic sentiment of this, QUOTE:
      “If a verse from the OT is brought in the NT, it is not brought in order to show that the authors of the NT supported that part of the OT. It is being brought because the authors of the NT understood that their writings would only have any authority if they could prove that their ideas were an extension of the Tradition which was handed down at Sinai, and not a new religion.”

      Here are my sentiments regarding thinking in terms of OT or NT.
      https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/horaces-tree-by-jim/#comment-10530
      Matthew

  27. Dear Jewish Friends,
    I got it! This sounds wild, but I understand now.
    It might be accurate to say that I also actually believe in a form of Rabbinic Judaism.

    Please correct me if I’ve misunderstood you. Your “Orthodox / Rabbinic” beliefs regarding the Hebrew Scriptures are that:
    .1) You consider yourselves “Torah observant”
    .2) By that, you mean the Torah, Nabi’im & Kethuvim (The Tanakh)
    .3) You cannot interpret the Tanakh for yourselves, but rather you must rely on the Oral Tradition of Rabbis from thousands of years ago, which now is written down in the “Talmud.” So you read the Tanakh through the lens of the Talmud. And you believe that the Talmud teaches there is no distinction in authority level between Torah, Nabi’im & Kethuvim, it is all equal and was “all written with Prophecy.”
    Have I understood you?

    If so, then my mindset is remarkably similar to yours- except Yahshua the Jewish Messiah is my Rabbi. The 4 Gospels are my Talmud – the Oral Tradition of Rabbi Yahshua (Jesus) from two thousand years ago, recorded by his scribes Matthew Mark Luke & John. I read the Tanakh through the lens of the Gospels. But Yahshua taught that there IS a distinction in authority level among the 3 divisions of the Hebrew Scripture, Torah, Prophets, then Writings, and this agrees with the most ancient rabbis.

    Many, perhaps most Western Christians today, are not following Yahshua, they are following a different rabbi –Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed “Apostle to the Gentiles.) The letters of Paul are their Talmud, and they read the rest of Scripture through the lens of the mind of Paul. That is why, practically speaking, they believe it is heresy to ask; “what were Paul’s sins”? Paul’s false teaching has caused so much confusion, where people are debating OT vs. NT, and that is playing the wrong game in the wrong ballpark.

    The issue to consider should be, which lens do we use to interpret the Torah, Nabi’im & Kethuvim? The Talmud, Paul’s letters, the whole “New Testament,” some other guru, our own ideas, or the 4 Gospels? In other words, who is our rabbi? Of course we still need to think for ourselves, but Jesus (Yahshua) is my rabbi.

    I would love to hear your ideas.
    Sincerely,
    Matthew

    • Dina says:

      Here’s an idea, Matthew. How about responding to Jim and me regarding the passages YOU presented as messianic prophecies that YOU claim Jesus fulfilled?

      You just repeated your old argument dressed up in different words.

      Have a nice day,
      Dina

  28. C.S says:

    Hi Matthew,

    I am not sure what you mean by he is your Rabbi. I often hear people make this claim, that Jews all follow different Rabbis with different opinions, so why cant Jesus be one of those Rabbis that they choose to follow? This is not how things work though, and what they are suggesting is not how Jews understand their affiliation to their Rabbi or a particular approach to a topic that they are more inclined towards.

    When it comes to Jewish law, particularly derived laws and Rabbinic decrees, the Talmud will record disputes and different arguments made by different Rabbis as to whose opinion the Torah supports on a given issue, but the ruling will follow the majority and the concensus. G-d tells us that when in the future we are in doubt we are to follow the rulings of the majority among the sages. This is why for example the Houses of Hillel and Shammai disagreed on many issues, Shammai generally being more conservative of the two and Hillel more liberal, but we do not have a history of wars and conflict over these disagreements, for both accepted that G-ds will is the majority and if their view was in the minority they would concede to the majority ruling and observe the law according to them. The halachic and legal aspect of the Talmud is binding on all Jews. You could not for example claim that Rabbi Akiva argued that Chicken is not Meat and should be permitted with Milk and then say ‘Rabbi Akiva is my Rabbi and therefore I will interpet the law according to his opinion.’ Individual Rabbis do not have the authority to change Jewish law like that. We honour our Rabbis and Sages, many of whom disagreed with one another on matters. So to claim that Jesus is your Rabbi, would not give him any authority practically speaking, more to the point, if he were a Rabbi of his era who was respected then we would expect to find him among the sages of his generation within the Talmud such as Rabban Gamliel, Eliezer or Meir… But we dont.
    There is no evidence to suggest that he was considered a sage among the Jewish people who we should even listen to or place on the same level as our other Sages.

    In a contemporary example, the last Lubavitcher Rebbe Shneerson is considered to be a great Rabbi of his day, beyond those of his followers in Chabad. So today after his death if someone in Chabad were to claim he was their Rebbe, (as you are suggesting Jesus is yours) they are saying that they identify with his teachings, which were not adding to or taking away from Jewish law, such as outreach to Jews who are unnaffiliated and bringing them back to Torah observance, emphasizing the principle of Klal Yisrael, and that all Jews are responsible for one another. Yes there are some who claim he was the Messiah somehow and that he will return… These ideas are controversial and not accepted by other Jews, but those who claim he is their Rebbe for example have not authored biographies of him and stuck them to the back of the Tanakh as Gospels, nor are they demanding that other Jews believe in him or follow him, consider him a prophet or someone whos opinions should over rule fundamentals of Jewish teachings in the way that Christians do.

    When Jews say X is their Rabbi, they are not usually referring to someone who is dead, they are usually referring to the Rabbi of their congregation, who they consult for advice and guidence on unclear matters, and it is incumbant on Jews to respect the opinions of their chosen Rabbis of their communities. The key thing to remember is that disputes and following the majority of opinions only occur when we are in doubt and when things are unclear. I am not sure what it is exactly that you believe about what Jesus taught, or what parts of the Christian bible you accept or dont, you seem to not agree with some of it, mainly the influences of Paul, correct me if I’m wrong. But if we take the Christian bible at face value, no respected Sage or Rabbi in the past 2000 years was in any doubt that it is full of teachings either by Paul or quoted from Jesus’s mouth which are heretical, whether it be on its approach to forgiveness for sin, its belief in vicarious atonement, its remarks about the Torah only serving to bring us to the Messiah or suggesting that we need a mediator between us and Hashem by Jesus saying that no one cometh to the father but through him… and many more ideas which all of us agree are violations of the fundamental principles of the faith (See the Rambam 13 Principles of faith).

    If you are simply claiming you see him as a Rabbi like any other, and you agree that the Christian bible contains issues that are a result of Pagan tampering or by someone, which has distorted what he actually taught. Then, what most people with such views point to are a few things that Jesus taught that are in fact not original to him, they are Jewish teachings because he is simply either quoting from scripture, if it is not from scripture they are often teachings that are common among the Sages, and can be found in numerous places throughout the Talmud by many people. So, with that being the case, why do you or anyone need to exalt Jesus in any way as being original as a Messiah or as you see him a Rabbi, or refer to the Gospels for anything? Anything worthy of mention is found in the Tanakh or in the Talmud and what is not found there and not consistent is clearly distortion and should be rejected as such, which it sounds like you do, to some extent or another.

    “If so, then my mindset is remarkably similar to yours- except Yahshua the Jewish Messiah is my Rabbi. The 4 Gospels are my Talmud – the Oral Tradition of Rabbi Yahshua (Jesus) from two thousand years ago, recorded by his scribes Matthew Mark Luke & John.”

    You have misunderstood the Jewish claim regarding the Oral law. The Oral law was given at Sinai, along with the Written Torah (5 Books of Moses), to explain how to observe the laws. This was then taught to Joshua, and passed down from generation to generation orally until it was committed to writing later (you can find the record of the chain of this transmission in the beginning of Pirke Avot/Ethics of our fathers linking back to Moses at Sinai). This includes for example the 39 categories of what is considered working on Shabbat, what Tfillin are, the laws of shechita (how to slaughter a Kosher animal…) and many more, it also includes teachings found in the Zohar and much of the aggadic aspects of the Talmud.

    To suggest that you follow an oral tradition passed down through the Gospels, encounters a few problems. These Gospel teachings do not go back to Sinai, if they did then they would concur with what others recieved and would be accepted as a valid testimony. So for example Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, committed the Kabbalistic teachings of Judaism received orally from G-d at Sinai into writing around a similar time that the Gospels were written, these ideas are accepted by the Jewish people because we can concur that we were all taught these ideas from our ancestors prior to their being written down. If they didnt then the whole Jewish people would all have argued “this is new, I never heard of this, did you? Ask your parents and grandparents…Sounds alien and like you just simply made it up just now.” But that is not the case with the Mishna for example, but is exactly the case with the Gospels. This doesnt lend much credibility to your claim. Our claim is that we follow an Oral tradition that was given by G-d with the Torah at Sinai, so yes we do read the Torah through the lens of the Oral tradition that accompanies it. You are claimng that you read the Torah through a different Oral tradition, that comes from Jesus and passed down through his followers. These two traditions are clearly not the same, and our point is that the prophesy of Moses is supreme and we trust the credibility of our sages and that the Oral law is of divine origin. The same cannot be said of the Christian bible, unless of course you accept that Jesus’s prophesy exceeds that of Moses to somehow justify rejecting our Oral law which is an act of heresy and following your new one. This is what Christians believe, that the Messiah will be greater than Moses, whereas in Judaism this is not the case, the Messiah will not be greater than Moses.

    We hold the prophesy of Moses to be the highest and everything else is assessed in relation to what we heard at Sinai. The later Prophets were not just accepted as prophets because they could perform miracles or forecast an event that would happen in the future. They underwent testing by the Sanhedrin through prescribed criteria, before they were accepted as a prophet and listened to. A prophet cannot contradict anything we learned from G-d through Moses, if he deviates from the Torah or even claims he has come to reinterpret the Torah… he is a false prophet. When we read much of the Gospels and more the letters of Paul, who claims he was a prophet, he was not tested by the Sanhedrin by such criteria like all the others were, and likewise we find that he does contradict what we learned from G-d through Moses. Even to claim that Jesus was a prophet is the same. How do Christians know that Isaiah or Ezekial were in fact Prophets? Other than the fact that their words are in the Tanakh, how did the Jews come to accept that their prophesy was reliable and others who came claiming to be prophets was not? The Jewish people are obliged to listen to prophets, the fact that the Christian bible claims that John the Baptist, Jesus and Paul were prophets does not make them so.

    I hope this helps somewhat. I’m interested to hear your thoughts too.

    Shabbat Shalom

    • Dear C.S
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful analysis. It is extremely helpful for me to understand what “Orthodox Rabbinic” Jews believe and WHY.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that your top major point here is that in Rabbinic Judaism, practically speaking, “the majority is always right.”

      You wrote, QUOTE:
      “When it comes to Jewish law, particularly derived laws and Rabbinic decrees, the Talmud will record disputes and different arguments made by different Rabbis as to whose opinion the Torah supports on a given issue, but the ruling will follow the majority and the concensus. G-d tells us that when in the future we are in doubt we are to follow the rulings of the majority among the sages. This is why for example the Houses of Hillel and Shammai disagreed on many issues, Shammai generally being more conservative of the two and Hillel more liberal, but we do not have a history of wars and conflict over these disagreements, for both accepted that G-ds will is the majority and if their view was in the minority they would concede to the majority ruling and observe the law according to them.”

      In particular, in the middle of this paragraph, you wrote, QUOTE:
      “G-d tells us that when in the future we are in doubt we are to follow the rulings of the majority among the sages.”

      May I ask where in the Torah or Prophets can you find God telling us that?

      When I read the Torah and Prophets regarding the nation of Israel, I see that the majority is almost always WRONG.
      Joseph among his brothers, Moses among the Israelites in the desert, Joshua & Caleb among the 12 spies, the Judges, King David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other Prophets were almost always in a small minority. Wouldn’t you agree?
      Sincerely,,
      Matthew

      • Yaakov says:

        When the minority opinion is supported by the word of God, we go with that, of course. You are smart enough to have answered this question yourself.
        I’m not going to debate.

        • Yaakov,
          We still don’t have a common understanding of what exactly is “the word of God.” If you think it means the entire Tanakh, read through the lens of the Talmud, that is sort of circular logic. What do you mean when you say “the word of God”? Do you think that Solomon’s Song, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs in the Kethuvim are the word of God?

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            It is you who said that the Tanach is read through the lens of the Talmud, not the Jewish people here. Jewish rules for understanding Torah do not put a rabbinic interpretation over the plain meaning of the text.

            Jim

          • Jim,
            Dina posted to me 3 days ago, QUOTE:
            “Matthew, my source is the Talmud.”
            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/horaces-tree-by-jim/#comment-10660

            It seems that perhaps you and I agree that the “plain meaning of the text” in the Torah and the Prophets can and should be read and discussed without “putting a rabbinic interpretation over it.”

            But then we have the “Writings” (Kethuvim) section of the Tanakh…. Christian Tradition usually refers to Solomon’s writings as the “Wisdom Literature.” It seems clear to me that Solomon’s writings are basically worldly wisdom, not God’s wisdom, and not “The Word of God.” Useful sometimes yes, Scripture yes, part of the Tanakh & the Bible yes – but not the voice of God any more then Paul’s letters are in the New Testament. I’m saying that generally speaking, we should not use the Kethuvim as our standard of truth, because it does not have the status of “Prophecy.”

            It isn’t productive to repeat myself – but no one here has given a convincing argument against the 3 sections of the Tanakh being kept divided by the ancient Rabbis for a specific reason, namely authority level.

            By the way, I’ve been thinking of restarting our conversation about Micah/Matthew, but I’m not sure where to start.
            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, this is dishonest. I said my source for the reasons for the division of Tanach is the Talmud. I never said I read Tanach through the lens of the Talmud.

            My point was this: you claimed that unlike modern Jews, you were following Jewish tradition and the ancient Jewish leaders in your notion that the three divisions have different levels of authority (on its face an absurd claim). I challenged you to provide support for this idea FROM WITHIN JEWISH TRADITION. You could not. You could only give me your speculation. Then you asked me for a source FOR THIS PARTICULAR IDEA. I pointed to the Talmud, which happens to be WITHIN JEWISH TRADITION.

            To say I am outraged would be to understate the case. I hope you apologize.

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, you wrote: “By the way, I’ve been thinking of restarting our conversation about Micah/Matthew, but I’m not sure where to start.”

            How about by responding to what was already said?

          • Dina,
            Is this in your tradition?
            http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Bible/Writings.shtml
            says, QUOTE:
            “Unlike the Torah and the books of Prophets (Nevi’im), the works found in Ketuvim do not present themselves as the fruits of direct divine inspiration. (Daniel is the one exception.) What makes books like Psalms and Job so remarkable is their humanity, the “I” who dares to voice questions and doubts about God in the face of danger or suffering.
            ……..
            Not until the first century CE are there sources that hint at a recognized Jewish canon in three parts.”

            Your response?

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, that’s like asking me if this is in your tradition:

            http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/gospels.html

            The website you quoted from is not Orthodox; the people who contribute to it don’t necessarily believe that the Torah has divine authorship.

            The Ketuvim were written with a different type of divine revelation, not necessarily prophecy, so for traditional Jews they are authoritative. Your claim that we modern Orthodox Jews have deviated from our own tradition can find no support within Jewish tradition. You will have to do better than find a website by modern secular Jews who are at best culturally Jewish.

          • Dina says:

            Oops, I meant to write, “That’s like me asking you etc.”

      • C.S says:

        You raise a good question. It is not us as individuals who go according to the majority. Its not like there is a national referendum and everyone gets a vote to decide the ruling of the law.

        In Deuteronomy 17:8:

        8 “If a case comes before you at your city gate which is too difficult for you to judge, concerning bloodshed, civil suit, personal injury or any other controversial issue; you are to get up, go to the place which Adonai your God will choose, 9 and appear before the cohanim, who are L’vi’im, and the judge in office at the time. Seek their opinion, and they will render a verdict for you. 10 You will then act according to what they have told you there in that place which Adonai will choose; you are to take care to act according to all their instructions. 11 In accordance with the Torah they teach you, you are to carry out the judgment they render, not turning aside to the right or the left from the verdict they declare to you. 12 Anyone presumptuous enough not to pay attention to the cohen appointed there to serve Adonai your God or to the judge — that person must die. Thus you will exterminate such wickedness from Isra’el.”

        The question is how did the Levites, Cohanim and Judges come to a verdict? Rambam explains “Matters of Oral tradition – there is no argument about them ever. And any matter in which you find an argument [among the original Talmudic sages], it is certain that it is not a received tradition from Moses our teacher. And matters that are derived from the law: if they are divided [in opinion], the are to rule according to the majority and they produce one law for the masses. (M.T. Book of rebels 1:5[3[)

        Not all laws within the Oral law are derived laws, when discussing this process of following the majority it refers to the sages and those qualified people if you will with the right credentials in each generation who had to follow a legal process in certain circumstances pertaining to how to apply principles passed down from Sinai to changing situations in the world from the generation that received the Torah. I dont know if you have ever attempted to study the Mishnah or have any grasp of what is going on within the dozens of Tractates within Talmud but there are plenty of laws that do not have debates over them. A good example are the 39 categories of work forbidden on Shabbat. The Torah does not define what Melacha consists of, the word translated as Work, but G-d also makes it a serious crime to brake Shabbat. Why would G-d tell us to do something, set up courts to judge the people in accordance with it, but be so vague as to not define what it is that you are not supposed to do? He didn’t, Melacha/Work does not mean avoda/labour, you may in fact pick up your bed and move it to the other side of the room on Shabbat, it is not forbidding an act of exertion, nor is what is or is not work subject your own interpretation based on a lack of information which arises out of not reading the Torah accompanied by the Oral law. G-d gives us 39 categories which were all activities that were involved in the building of the Tabernacle, and it is these activities that constitute work on Shabbat and the details of this can be found within the Oral law, there is no argument on this, as it is a received law from Sinai.

        If you would like some scriptural evidence for this, you will notice this in Neviim. The Prophets came to scorn the people for not keeping the law. But note how many of the laws that they scorn them for not keeping are Oral laws, that you will not find in the 5 books of Moses.

        For example

        Nehemiah 10:29

        “We will live by God’s Torah, given by Moshe the servant of God, and will perform and obey all the mitzvot, rulings and laws of Adonai our Lord.
        31 (30) “We will not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land or take their daughters as wives for our sons.
        32 (31) “If the peoples of the lands bring merchandise or food to sell on Shabbat, we will not buy from them on Shabbat or on a holy day.

        The above refers to the fact that to be Jewish it comes through matralineal descent, says nothing about taking their sons for our daughters, but more that Moses heard this at Sinai! Where in the 5 books of Moses does it tell us that Moses heard that?
        As well as that we cannot buy or sell on Shabbat, but it doesnt tell us this either in the 5 books of Moses, because it was given Orally. Below are two more sources with reference to some more activities which are prohibited on Shabbat, that the Prophets tell us G-d told Moses at Sinai but that you will not find in the 5 books of Moses.

        Nehemiah 13:15
        15 During this time I saw in Y’hudah some people who were treading winepresses on Shabbat, also bringing in heaps of grain and loading donkeys with it, likewise wine, grapes, figs and all kinds of loads; and they were bringing them into Yerushalayim on the day of Shabbat. On the day when they were planning to sell the food, I warned them not to. 16 There were also living there people from Tzor who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on Shabbat to the people in Y’hudah and even in Yerushalayim. 17 I disputed with the nobles of Y’hudah, demanding of them, “What is this terrible thing you are doing, profaning the day of Shabbat? 18 Didn’t your ancestors do this, and didn’t our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you are bringing still more fury against Isra’el by profaning Shabbat!”

        Jeremiah 17:19

        “Then Adonai said this to me: “Go, and stand at the People’s Gate, where the kings of Y’hudah go in and out, and at all the gates of Yerushalayim; 20 and say to them: ‘Kings of Y’hudah, all Y’hudah and all living in Yerushalayim who enter through these gates, hear the word of Adonai! 21 Here is what Adonai says: “If you value your lives, don’t carry anything on Shabbat or bring it in through the gates of Yerushalayim; 22 don’t carry anything out of your houses on Shabbat; and don’t do any work. Instead, make Shabbat a holy day. I ordered your ancestors to do this,”

        Jeremiah tells us that that our ancestors were told not to carry anything on Shabbat. This is another one of 39 activities prohibited on Shabbat. The defined categories are found in Tractate Shabbos and are as follows:

        Field Work

        Sowing
        Plowing
        Reaping
        Binding Sheaves
        Threshing
        Winnowing
        Selecting
        Grinding
        Sifting
        Kneading
        Baking

        Making Material Curtains

        Shearing Wool
        Cleaning
        Combing
        Dyeing
        Spinning
        Stretching the Threads
        Making Loops
        Weaving Threads
        Separating the Threads
        Tying a Knot
        Untying a Knot
        Sewing
        Tearing

        Making Leather Curtains

        Trapping
        Slaughtering
        Skinning
        Salting
        Tanning
        Scraping
        Cutting

        Making the Beams of the Mishkan

        Writing
        Erasing

        The Putting up and Taking down of the Mishkan

        Building
        Breaking Down

        The Mishkan’s Final Touches

        Extinguishing a Fire
        Kindling a Fire
        Striking the Final Hammer Blow
        Carrying

        From a Jewish perspective, when we say Torah we are referring to all that was revealed to us at Sinai. The Torah (5 books of Moses) we refer to as the Written Torah. It is not possible to understand Judaism or what Jews believe by simply thinking you can read the Tanakh alone and then come to us with all sorts of challenges. As I have shown above through the example of the laws of Shabbat, one might simply gloss the Torah see that we are not allowed to work on Shabbat and then wonder why Jews wont carry anything in their pockets on Shabbat (unless there is an eruv), or wont grind salt at the dinner table, or cant write anything… Where does it say that? One who does this, its like reading an incomplete document, but then in most cases refuses to accept the instruction manual and the tradition that accompanied it that gives the correct way to understand a law… We do not need the Oral law in order to refute the claims made by Christianity regarding Jesus and their so called proof texts, we can make a pretty convincing argument with the Tanakh alone. And in such discussions this should be the only text used, however a lot of the time I find Christians feel it necessary or even valid that they can make their argument using the Gospels as their evidence. I don’t accept the Gospels as evidence that is the whole point, it is up to the Christians to make a compelling case using logic, and evidence (preferably from the Tanakh) for why a non-Christian should accept the Christian story. Likewise if someone does not accept the Torah I have to provide them with a good compelling reason why they should, and I am not going to be able to do that by simply telling them what it says in Bereishit, I have to give them a logical argument for why the Torah is true and its claim unique compared to the claims of other religions. With a Christian I dont need to make that argument because they accept that the Torah is the word of G-d, but likewise I have to provide evidence and a logical approach to the credibility of the Oral law.

        I recommend the following mp3s on this topic which hopefully you will find useful:

        Rabbi Lawrence Keleman – Rational Approach to the Divinity of the Oral Tradition
        http://www.simpletoremember.com/media/a/Rational_Approach_Divinity_Oral_Tradition-B/

        Rabbi Tovia Singer – Oral Law part 1
        http://www.simpletoremember.com/media/a/oral-law-1/

        Rabbi Tovia Singer – Oral Law part 2
        http://www.simpletoremember.com/media/a/oral-law-2/

        Rabbi Aubrey Hersh – The Oral Law
        http://jle.org.uk/track.php?id=268&setid=18

        All the best

        • Dear C.S
          I appreciate you taking time to explain all this. But wow. A list of “39 activities prohibited on Shabbat.” This sounds to me like it would make “keeping the Sabbath” a tremendous amount of work, and an unpleasant burden.

          I see the Sabbath as a time to intentionally rest from our usual work of making a living, so we can spend time joyfully in personal fellowship with our God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
          I’ll consider some of your other points later.
          Blessings,
          Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, the first time I heard from a Christian that our laws are a burden, so cold and legalistic, you can’t imagine how surprised I was. I didn’t know what to say, and believe me, it takes a lot to render me speechless.

            I was shocked because I hadn’t realized that Christians have NO CLUE what it’s like to worship God within the Jewish tradition. Shabbos is God’s precious gift to the Jewish people. We look forward to it all week, and we are sorry when it’s over. The feeling of utter peace, love, and joy that descends upon my household when I light the Shabbos candles just before sundown on Friday is indescribable. You have to experience it to understand it.

            Shabbos is not a burden. It is the most liberating experience I’ve ever had, it’s the highlight of my week, it’s a powerful spiritual experience, it recharges my batteries. If you could somehow convince me that my religion is false, I still would not be able to give up Shabbos.

            I’m not even doing Shabbos justice by describing it this way because I can’t.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            Oh, and by the way, Matthew, we obey God because we love Him and it’s the right thing to do, even if it were the biggest burden on the planet. But as it happens, God has made keeping His Law the most delicious delight in the world for us.

            Just read Psalms 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. It is David’s love song for God’s commandments, ordinances, statutes, and decrees. A far cry from “an unpleasant burden.”

    • Dear C.S
      You wrote to me above, QUOTE:
      “You have misunderstood the Jewish claim regarding the Oral law. The Oral law was given at Sinai, along with the Written Torah (5 Books of Moses), to explain how to observe the laws. This was then taught to Joshua, and passed down from generation to generation orally until it was committed to writing later…..”

      AND
      QUOTE:
      “The halachic and legal aspect of the Talmud is binding on all Jews.”

      With all due respect, I am seeing some inconsistency in this line of thinking.
      You are claiming that the Jewish Oral Law has authority because it was given at Sinai (while the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels were not.)

      But then,
      You are saying that the Talmud is a collection of many opinions of Rabbis compiled over many hundreds of years about how to interpret the Torah, and they sometimes disagreed. Rabbis Hillel and Shammai were not present at Sinai, they are just men, who lived hundreds of years later, and their opinions are the opinions of men not of God necessarily. Yet, the “legal aspect of the Talmud is binding on all Jews” through “majority rule.” You don’t say that Hillel and Shammai should not be considered because they were not present at Sinai, but you hold Yahshua to that standard. That is a double standard.

      I think we agree from the pages of the Torah and Prophets that when God speaks His Word through a prophet, it usually is NOT the majority opinion, but rather the opposite. So the fact that the prophecies of Rabbi Yahshua, speaking 2000 years ago, do not agree with the majority opinion does not prove he was wrong at all. Do you think Jeremiah was wrong because the majority rejected him?

      Blessings,
      Matthew

  29. C.S says:

    Dear Matthew,

    You are welcome, I’m only happy to discuss these matters.
    Your thoughts are common of those on the outside observing Jews who keep Shabbat. that it sounds and looks like it is a burden and an unpleasant experience. But the fact is that the only people who see it that way are those who don’t keep it or have never kept it themselves. Ask any Jew who is Shomer Shabbat what he thinks of Shabbat and you will find the complete opposite, it is the highlight of their week, they look forward to Shabbat.

    The 39 categories of melacha are only the prohibitions, there are as you pointed out that Shabbat is a day of servitude to G-d, a joyous, peaceful occasion, time that is made more meaningful by spending that time with those around us, our family, friends and community. It involves a lot of eating, singing, going to Synagogue on Friday night to welcome in Shabbat, and then again on Saturday morning, discussing Torah, often themes drawn from that weeks Torah reading, visiting friends, many people go for walks, play games and by not performing the forms of work that are prohibited it actually permits us to truly rest and feel free.

    That experience of Shabbat is compared to a glimpse of the world to come. Today, many find that this is even more valuable and relevant than before. If you look at just how enslaved people are becoming by technology, in front of screens all day, getting emailed non stop, using computers, tablets, smart phones, kindles, ipods, TV, games consoles, radio… people communicate more and more through these means than they do face to face. And when we do meet people face to face, half the time you or they are having to interrupt one another to take a call or respond to a message. We don’t live in the moment, as people feel the need to record and take pictures of everything they see or do, or feel a need to post status updates and check in wherever they go. That is all very stressful, they are all distractions from your focus on spending time with your family and others, and serving G-d on a day that is dedicated to him, it is a distraction from your setting aside time to rest physically and spiritually, where you don’t have to think about work, business, the outside world at that minute by watching the News…

    On Shabbat it is about taking not just a rest from your day job, but from the material world and dedicate it to bringing out the spiritual aspects of our existence. We are to remember the Sabbath day and keep in holy. In the west we have a two day weekend, if Shabbat is simply a day off from work and a time to relax and go to the cinema, or to bars, clubs, restaurants, do shopping we didnt have time to do in the week… How is shabbat different from the other weekend day off? And what constitutes remembering it and keeping it holy? You may tell me that it is about intentionally resting from your job and week of work, in order to connect to G-d. And I am not saying that you are wrong in that suggestion, we both agree that those are aspects of what Shabbat is about. But how are we to do that, G-d did not leave it purely down to us to interpret for ourselves how to keep something holy. This goes across all of Judaism, where you might say something seems like a burden or is full of details. The same could be said of something like Kashrut, or a prayer service, or anything within Judaism, there is a set structure. This doesn’t mean that you are not permitted to add your own personal thoughts on something.

    I was not always religious and I used to share your thoughts too. Being Kosher means giving up hundreds of foods that I enjoy, keeping Shabbat sounds like a hassle, when I want to go shopping or out with my friends on Friday night… It sounds very imprisoning, but you are only focusing on what you can’t do and not on what you can do and what you get in return for not doing those things, a closer relationship with G-d, a closer relationship with those around you, and an overall better quality and happier, fulfilled life. The word Mitzvah is in English usually translated as a commandment, a law. Which has a negative connotation to it, particularly when coming from a Christian way of thinking, which regards G-d’s law as a burden that they are free from. But Mitzvah comes from the root of the word To connect, a Mitzvah whether an obligation or a prohibition is a connecting point between us and G-d. Likewise the word for a sin derives from the word to miss, as in to miss a target. See how the nature of everything changes when you see things within the world view of the Hebrew bible and not through the western lens which is not for the most part a Hebraic world view but is influenced more by Greek thought. To view G-ds connecting points as a burden rather than as an opportunity to connect to the divine is by its nature not a Judaic approach to the Torah.

    I work as a personal trainer, I often meet new clients who tell me they want to be thin, they want to have more energy and feel better about themselves. They are willing to train twice a week, and maybe cut down on the alcohol, and reduce their eating things they shouldn’t to only the weekend. But the reality is that it takes more than that for these people to achieve the kind of results and changes that they desire to have. For a start, much of what they think they know about nutrition and exercise is incorrect, and is a result of being misled by the media, food companies, or outdated research. So they have a desire to be healthy, to improve their fitness and habits but they lack the appropriate knowledge of how to do it, they can put a lot of effort into this and get nowhere because they are moving in the wrong direction, and need to be educated so that they can train and eat smart. There is a lot of confusion out there. Secondly, they cant do this casually, it takes a lot more and requires dedication. Its not just about eating less and moving more. They need to train at least 4 days a week not just two and then sit down at a desk eating apples. They need to be active throughout the day as well, they need to go to bed earlier and get 7-9 hours of good quality sleep a night so they can recover, get stronger and perform better the next day, its when you sleep when growth and repair takes place, which may interfere with their evening plans of socialising and having a few drinks after work. They may need certain supplements, they may have hidden food intolerances which interfere with their not losing weight, feeling inflamed, poor digestion, lacking energy or disturbing their sleep… They have to learn how to control insulin, manage their stress levels and support the bodies detoxification capabilities. If you are serious about your health, you learn all of this stuff and it leads to radical lifestyle changes, which involves still, giving up eating a lot of food you may have enjoyed, including eating out in many places, how food is prepared and cooked makes a big difference, all sorts of hidden sugars and things you don’t want found in processed food… it means training hard which is a huge effort, when your friends are either still in bed or at home watching football with a can of beer in their hand. When you are not meeting up with your friends because they are either doing an activity that conflicts with your efforts like drinking alcohol, eating food not within what is permitted to you, or at a time when you should be sleeping or winding down before bed or all of the above… Your friends look at you and see a burden, a life that is to them not worth it. But there are people out there, body builders or people who do that but not at a professional level, and they don’t see it as a burden, they don’t want to give up that lifestyle and how they feel and look, just so that they can drink beer or whatever it is. Because they get something more valuable in return, they wake up full of energy, they look good, they feel good, they feel a sense of achievement by making progress in their athletic performance, that they can now lift more than the session before, and see themselves growing in their knowledge, awareness and actions.

    Sorry for going off the topic a bit, I just wanted to illustrate a point. But the same is true of Torah. It is a system for spiritual and personal growth. We are not lifting weights, but are still engaging in a form of resistance training. We all begin at different levels and starting points, have different strengths and weaknesses, and obstacles that are harder for us to overcome than others. So on the surface level, you might say keeping Shabbat is about taking a break from work and acknowledging G-d, much like how people might think living a healthy life is about doing some exercise, not eating too much cake and trying to eat more fruit and vegetables, and that is all that is really required to be healthy. But the deeper you look into it and the more you learn and more committed you become, you discover that you were only really scratching the surface of the subject. In Pirke Avot we learn that the reward for fulfilling a Mitzvah is another Mitzvah. The deeper your relationship is to someone the more your actions will reflect your commitment, by giving to them what they would want. So the same is the case with G-d, and the Jewish peoples covenant and relationship with him, G-d tells us in the Torah what He wants from us, and it is our job in the relationship to do what pleases Him. You may pray only once per week, by attending the Shabbat morning service, much like someone who decides to go to the gym once a week, then they start going on Friday night as well, and as their commitment and connection strengthens they may find themselves in Shul every morning and praying 3 times a day and then acknowledging him every time they eat or drink something… You eventually find yourself observing the laws properly and we are encouraged to go beyond merely what the law says, this is what we call a Tzadik. We are taught in the Talmud that the World stands on 3 things, on Torah, Divine service and acts of love and kindness.

    If you asked me today what I would rather do on Shabbat, spend it with my observant family members or doing what I used to do on Friday nights of going out with my friends to the pub until 2am, I would choose the former, the latter I simply don’t find enjoyable or fulfilling any more. We are supposed to make our lives fit with what G-d wants, make our will His will.

    There are Mitzvot that are logical and we can make sense of, like do not murder, and others which require a bit more thought which perhaps we will not have a definitive answer to, like not wearing wool with linen. So on the outside, you may not understand why G-d tells us not to carry on Shabbat outside a private domain, but we don’t observe the Mitzvot because we understand with certainty their underlying purpose, we do deliberate on them and attempt to provide suggestions of why based on what we may gain, or experience by observing them, such as Kashrut being a means of teaching us a lesson in self discipline, or that Kosher food fuels the soul and non-Kosher food is bad for our souls, some suggest that the laws of Shechita are to do with minimizing animal suffering, or that Kashrut observance is critical in preserving the existence of the Jews so that they may continue to remain Jews and be distinct as a light unto the nations. The Torah doesn’t say, some say that the virtue of the illogical Mitzvot is to demonstrate our trust in G-d, I don’t understand why I cant wear wool with linen, it makes no sense to me, but I trust that there is a reason that G-d asked us to keep this Mitzvah and out of love, fear and trust in Him I observe it.

    Even if it were a burden to observe a particular Mitzvah, the argument that you see it as a burden or an inconvenience to you does not serve as a legitimate argument to not observe it, and instead to serve him in a way that is more befitting to you. It reminds me of the story about when an Orthodox Jew met with a Reform Jew and they discussed many of the differences between them, and at the end of the discussion the Orthodox Jew remarked “I think I understand now, we both serve Hashem, except I serve Him in His way and you serve Him in yours.”

    Shavuah Tov

  30. Hi C.S
    I agree with a lot of your sentiments, and I don’t question the sincerity of some Jews to take delight in keeping the Sabbath in obedience out of love for God. However, I believe this can be taken to what I think is an “unhealthy extreme.” Here are two specific examples, and I wonder what your thoughts are. Both are regarding the prohibition against “Kindling a Fire” on the Sabbath.

    .1) A Jewish family hires a Gentile to come into their home every Sabbath to turn on the coffee pot, so they don’t have to light a fire.
    .2) Crosswalk lights in heavily Jewish neighborhoods are set to automatically turn on at set times, so no one would need to push the button at certain crosswalks on the Sabbath. (Of course, this would strictly limit where an observant Jew could cross the street “legally”.)
    Your thoughts?
    Sincerely,
    Matthew

    • Dina says:

      Matthew, what you think is extreme or not is irrelevant. We do what God demands and we don’t care what others think. If we did, we would not have survived your persecutions and your enormous efforts to convert us for 2000 years.

      By the way, the coffee pot example? Forbidden according to Jewish law.

  31. C.S says:

    Matthew,

    There is no prohibition with doing the work before Shabbat comes in. You are just not allowed to ignite a spark or kindle a fire during Shabbat. These two are stated explicitly from the Torah. So people will do a lot of things which involve preparation before so that they can benefit from it and not transgress these prohibitions during Shabbat.

    You cant use a Kettle for example to make a hot drink, because it means turning on electricity, so some people have an earn which is turned on before Shabbat and turned off when it goes out. Or you can’t turn the oven on and off, so you either have cold food on Shabbat morning and afternoon, or you have the oven set to a low heat and have foods like Cholent, this dish only exists by because of this law. Or things like Jachnun which is eaten in more in Yemenite communities. In Jewish hotels there is often a Shabbat lift which is pre set to stop on every floor going up and down, this is particularly useful for the elderly or the disabled for example.

    If you think the idea of not igniting a spark is extreme, you are calling G-d an extremist. It doesn’t make a difference how you ignite the spark, whether it is by flicking a light switch or using a lighter it is the still lighting a spark. Its no different to for example, not eating pork, you may not eat bacon or something where pork is the main ingredient, but sometimes for example you may find that beef sausages are made with pork fat. It is of course less direct than full pork sausages, but you are still eating pig. Or how about sweets that contain gelatin which is made from pigs bones, I suppose you may say that eating bacon and buying pork sausages you can understand but this is taking it too far and is “extreme.”

    When something is biblically prohibited we are extra stringent, and we are commanded to create safeguards to protect the law (Leviticus 18:30). In this instant however these are not safeguards, but the law itself.

    Your point about hiring non-Jews to help Jewish families on Shabbat is another common complaint. Non-Jews are not bound by the same prohibitions on Shabbat, and can be hired to help in various ways. This is not something which we are commanded to do, most people do not do this. It usually takes place when someone is hosting a lot of people during Shabbat and usually this person is already in employment by the person hiring them in some capacity, such as a Synagogue caretaker or a nanny. To do so is not breaking Shabbat, no one says though that you have to hire someone to do this, and most people do not. It doesn’t really matter though whether or not you consider these things extreme or not, if you claim to believe in the Torah and take what G-d says seriously, who are you to suggest otherwise that igniting a spark only means a literal understanding of this such as lighting a match and not turning a car engine, (what goes on with those spark plugs then?) What gives you the authority to decide that even though that is clearly igniting a spark, you with your infinite wisdom, understand that G-d did not mean igniting a spark in such cases. When new technologies are invented and become a part of our lives such as light switches for example, these matters are examined thoroughly to ascertain would using such technologies be breaking Shabbat or Jewish law in a given circumstance or not by people who are far more learned in Jewish law and in the sciences of how this products work than you or I are. If you are interested in learning more about the halachic process of how Jewish law is applied, I suggest you look into this on a far deeper and serious level, rather than your own subjective opinion that to you, it just sounds extreme.

    The points you raise are minor topics, that have nothing to do however with the fundamental topics that divide Judaism and Christianity. If you approach the subject from the point of view of trying to honestly find and accept what is true then you would not be asking these questions. You seem to be asking questions which revolve more around things that seem to not resonate as well with you. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the problem is not what G-d teaches us in the Torah but you and what you want.

    I’ll give you another example, I like to sleep, I love sleeping in for hours, its relaxing, I feel warm, its like living on my own cloud, I’m most at peace. Peace is a core Jewish value, surely G-d would want us to feel at peace and be happy, so I think I can serve G-d and fulfil this will of his by sleeping more.

    The alarm goes off, I have to get up for work, or for training, or within a certain hour for morning prayers and lay Tfillin. I don’t want to get up, I am happy in my bed, I’m still tired, surely its better if I stay in bed and wake up later when I’m not tired. Its cold outside as well and still dark, that’s depressing. This is me talking, or more to the point my bad inclination, my good inclination tells me get up and thank G-d that you wake up and live another day, make the most of it, be more positive, go to bed earlier tonight and then tomorrow you will not be as tired when you wake up, you need to get up because you have to go to work, and have responsibilities and things to do.

    If I created the world, I would have had a 2 day working week, where we all work really hard, and have a 5 day weekend. We all prefer the weekend to work, so why not have a balance more towards what we enjoy. G-d gave us dietary laws, but I want to eat a cheese burger, wouldn’t that be more convenient, I would have also made broccoli bad for you and Ben and Jerrys good for you. But who am I to tell G-d how I think he thinks we think he should live our lives? If you think that you can serve G-d by ignoring what He expects from you, then who is teaching who? You are trying to teach G-d rather than letting Him teach you and not respecting that maybe you don’t understand what G-d wants and why He wants us to do things a certain way, but there is a reason for it even though you and I may or may not be able to fathom it. A child wants sweets, that’s all he wants, sweets and toys, and love from his parents, he doesn’t understand why he cant have more sweets or whatever toys he wants when he wants. One day he will understand.

    There are teachings within Christianity that I find immoral or hard to comprehend, not only me, but many Christians also are troubled by some of these teachigns. But if a Christian were to give me a compelling reason to believe that its claims were in fact true, then I would have to concede to those beliefs, even if I personally disagreed with them. The fact is that they have not, and I find its claims wholly unconvincing and no good reason to accept such claims any more than I should or shouldn’t accept the credibility of the claims of other religions. Judaism on the other hand, when I scrutinize it, it withstands the challenges, and can answer its critics. Judaism does not believe in blind faith, it does not discourage people from challenging itself, it is an open book. I hear people every week coming to the Rabbis in our community with challenging questions and they produce the goods. Judaism’s answers are logical, credible and satisfying, Christianity’s are not good enough. They are not good enough today and they have not been good enough for the past 2000 years. To such an extent that we are only here today as Jews because our ancestors could see this too and chose death or move somewhere else rather than convert to Christianity.

    We believe the Torah is true and is what G-d wants from us, we don’t conform the truth to suit us, it is us that have to conform to what G-d wants. You wouldn’t do this with other things in your life, why would you do this with something as important as your soul?

    • Dear C.S,
      Thank you for taking the time to explain your interpretation and application of the Law that, QUOTE:
      “You are just not allowed to ignite a spark or kindle a fire during Shabbat.”

      There doesn’t seem to be any prohibition against tending a fire or keeping a fire going on the Sabbath, does there?
      Maybe God sees electricity as a fire that is already kindled, but stored for future use. So while “cooking a meal from scratch” would be work, warming up a pre-cooked meal (or turning on a coffee pot) on the Sabbath would simply be “tending the fire” so it WOULD be allowed. Likewise, with pushing the electronic button at a pedestrian “crosswalk” or elevator- you would be tending a fire that is already kindled. This seems reasonable and logical to me. You have done a great job of explaining your beliefs, and you are reasonable. I cannot say that you are unreasonable, irrational or illogical. However I do note that you do not clearly distinguish between The Law and your interpretation of The Law.

      I agree completely with you statement QUOTE:
      “We believe the Torah is true and is what G-d wants from us, we don’t conform the truth to suit us, it is us that have to conform to what G-d wants.”
      Where you say “Torah” I would say “Torah Prophets & Gospels.” In other words, God’s Commandments and the testimony of Yahshua the Jewish Messiah.
      Sincerely,
      Matthew

      • Jim says:

        Matthew,

        It is unreasonable for you to continue on with “Torah Prophets & Gospels” without answering the challenges to the Gospels. Will you ever stop ducking the issue?

        Jim

        • Jim,
          You started writing about Micah’s Prophecy, quoted in Matthew, that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. I read a number of your posts. Basically, it seems to bother you that many people quoted in the pages of the Bible, (sometimes even the authors of Scripture,) either don’t know everything, don’t write everything, have bad information, or misunderstand things. This is not surprising to me at all. They are human. None of us know everything. If the Apostle John didn’t mention that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, (after Matthew & Luke had already covered that issue), does that mean John didn’t know? Not necessarily. But even if John didn’t know, that doesn’t mean it isn’t true that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
          I’m not sure what else you wanted to bring up.
          Blessings,
          Matthew

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            If one is going to claim that someone fulfilled a prophecy, there should be some proof. The fact that it was unknown that Jesus was born in Bethlehem only means you’ve made an unsubstantiated claim. I could claim to have been born in Bethlehem. How would you know if its true? Maybe I’m the Messiah. (I’m not.)

            You see, Jesus wasn’t from Bethlehem. He spent virtually no time there. Even if some astrologers showed up at his feeding trough crib, they wouldn’t recognize him thirty years later. Jesus had moved quickly on to Egypt and then back home to Nazareth. Now, if people alive at the time had no idea that he was from Bethlehem, you have only an unsubstantiated and dubious claim.

            And I must ask why you ignore the fact that Matthew altered Micah’s words? It just doesn’t bother you?

            Jim

          • Jim,
            About Matthew chapter 2:1-12

            Christian Tradition has done us all a great disservice by frequently showing the Magi (“Wise Men” or Astrologers from East) showing up at the birth of Jesus. Matthew didn’t write that. The text is clear, if we haven’t been blinded by Tradition. Jesus must have been at least a year old, maybe 1 ½ years, when the Magi came.

            2:1 AFTER Jesus was born… (not WHEN Jesus was born.)
            Luke recorded the actual Birth narrative of Jesus. Matthew’s narrative fits in around that, recording what happened over a year later.

            2:4-6 Matthew DID NOT alter Micah’s words. Matthew accurately recorded what the “chief priests and teachers of the law” said. (In other words, the Pharisees – do their words here bother you?)

            2:8 the CHILD (not the baby)

            2:9 the PLACE where the CHILD was (not the baby in the manger)

            2:11 on coming to the HOUSE they saw the CHILD (non the manger, not the baby)

            Jesus Mary & Joseph WERE in Bethlehem for at least a year. Luke records that the Shepherds (and Angels) were witnesses of His birth. So 30 years later, SOME people did know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but not everyone. This is not surprising. I moved to California close to 30 years ago, and I don’t go around telling everyone I meet where I was living as a child.

            By the way, we are not positive that it really was an animal stable. It may have been a sukkot / booth. Jesus may have been conceived on Hanukkah, and born on the Feast of Tabernacles.

            Matthew

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            Good morning.

            I know the Christian synthesis of these totally incompatible birth narratives. They aren’t really relevant, so I’m going to move on. (Although, one could note that your standard of two witnesses or more is failed by Matthew and Luke on every point, or very close to it.)

            This is only a minor point: Matthew wasn’t a witness to what the scribes and chief priests said. You don’t know if he accurately recorded what they said. You believe that, and that’s fine. I’m not saying that they wouldn’t have said that. You seem to think that the misquote is about the Messiah being born in Bethlehem, but that’s not the point.

            Look at Matthew and look at Micah. Matthew: “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah…” (2.6). Micah: “But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah…” (5.2). Do you see it? Matthew has changed Micah’s words to the opposite.

            Now when someone tampers with the words of the Prophets, I find them untrustworthy. Now you might think that it’s not an important change. You might, as a Christian apologist, invent some cause that gives him such right. But tampering with the text is no small problem.

            And this isn’t even the first text altered. He changes the words of Isaiah 7.14 in the previous chapter. Later in chapter 2, he quotes just enough of Hosea 11.1 to decontextualize it and alter the meaning. Hosea writes: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I have called by son.” Matthew only quotes “out of Egypt I have called my son” and applies it to Jesus. But Hosea isn’t talking about the Messiah. He’s talking about his son, Israel, and how he took them out of Egypt during the Exodus. Matthew misappropriates the Prophet.

            I don’t trust Matthew to tell me the truth. If he cannot be honest about the Prophets (or he just has a bad understanding of them) then I do not trust his testimony. He reads the Prophets with an agenda, and he alters their meaning, often their actual words to prove Jesus fulfilled a prophecy.

            Jim

          • Jim,
            Your assertions about Isaiah 7.14 and Hosea 11.1 might have some merit – I will try to address those issues later.

            But I think it is unreasonable to keep accusing the Apostle Matthew regarding Micah 5:2 saying QUOTE:
            “Matthew has changed Micah’s words to the opposite. Now when someone tampers with the words of the Prophets, I find them untrustworthy.”

            The truth is, in Matthew 2:4-6 Matthew simply recorded what the “chief priests and teachers of the law” said. Matthew himself DID NOT alter Micah’s words.

            Your accusation against Matthew here would be like accusing Moses of tampering with the words of God because he recorded the voice of Eve in the Garden of Eden saying “God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” [Genesis 3:3]

            God didn’t say that. Eve was wrong. What she said was not completely baseless, but she forgot that it was really the Tree of Life first, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil second, and she was forbidden from eating from the second tree only, because that would cause her to surely die. She was free to eat from the Tree of Life without danger. And she could touch either tree if she wanted to without danger.
            Matthew

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            I don’t accept your explanation for Matthew’s misquote of Micah. However, I am willing to move on from it. We can deal with the other two passages he abuses.

            Jim

      • C.S says:

        What you say is logical. We do not heat up cold food in the oven, only take food out of the oven that was put in there before Shabbat came in. No one does press the button at the cross walk, or for the elevator. In the case of a shabbat lift it is pre set before shabbat to stop at every floor, someone using a lift like that would simply wait until it arrived at that floor and go floor by floor until they reached their floor. They wouldn’t push any buttons. We do not tend to a fire that was lit before Shabbat came in, once a candle has burned out thats it, one wouldnt get another candle and light it from the one that was lit before during Shabbat.

        “However I do note that you do not clearly distinguish between The Law and your interpretation of The Law.”

        It is not my interpretation of the law, it is the only interpretation of the law that has been accepted and how this law has been observed by the Jewish people for 3500 since they received it at Sinai. You can argue that you read it and suggest that perhaps it could be understood differently?

        Maybe. But you have to ask yourself a question. If there are so many ways you could interpret this law, do you really believe that you are the first person in 3500 to suggest this? You are not, and you are not the first person that I have met who asks these sorts of questions, they are questions I raised when I was age 12, and that thousands of others have asked throughout history.

        So perhaps there were individuals in every generation since Sinai who decided to ask these questions, to disagree with this interpretation, or what they see as the way that the Jews interpret this law and that law and this verse and that verse, and decide to interpret and practice this law differently. And you know what, there were, there were the Saducees, the Essenes, or even the early followers of Jesus, the Nazarenes and the Ebionites, or later on the Karaites. But what happened to these groups? The Essenes rejected the Temple, the Saducees rejected the Oral law, the Ebionites could not let go of the fact that their Messiah was not the Messiah. They do not exist today, after a period of time they fade away. G-d did not preserve these groups with an unbroken chain that links back to Sinai. But he did with the Pharisees, who upheld true Judaism, after the Second Temple period only they survived, the name changed to Rabbinic Judaism in the medieval period, and today since the advent of Modernity and the enlightenment in Europe we call this group Orthodox Judaism maybe in the future in a new era, we will be known by a different name. Today we also have other break away groups, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist… As has been the case in the past, groups and individuals who change aspects of Judaism for whatever reason, whether that has been denying the Oral law, or more today the changes made by non-orthodox Judaism revolve more around the influence of secularism. So these movements may not believe in G-d, or that the Torah is the word of G-d, and therefore it can be changed, or ‘updated.’ Incidentally not only are these ideas unJewish, not based on Torah, and these movements I believe too will not survive. You only have to look at the statistics from those who do research into trends in the Jewish community in the US to see how these groups have the highest rates of inter-marriage, the lowest levels of Jewish literacy, low levels of Jewish education… and are ignorant of what Judaism is really all about, because they think it is just a culture. And those who start searching for G-d and a meaningful spiritual experience think that from their non orthodox synagogue that Judaism is not spiritual or focused on G-d, and so they find it in Buddhism or Jews for Jesus, or other religions. These people did not reject Judaism, they never truly knew what it was in the first place. They are searching for something that was not missing from Judaism only from the very weak, not so meaningful upbringing they had with very limited exposure to Judaism.

        The laws pertaining to these matters that you raise such as Shabbat observance are not new innovations, we have kept Shabbat this way for thousands of years and their sources are found in the Talmud not a recent text, have survived attempts to assimilate us, persecute us and not every Jewish group did survive, and they eventually assimilated but we didnt. G-d will preserve the Jewish people who stick to the covenant and keep the Torah. So up until now, ask yourself what form of Judaism has G-d preserved? There is no unbroken chain of Saducees who exist today who can trace themselves back to the Saducees in the first century. Messianics attempt to fashion themselves on the first Jewish Christians, but the fact of the matter is that it is a modern movement, that emerged out of the Hebrew Christian movement which then came to call themselves Messianic Jews. The same is the case with the Karaites, theres no unbroken chain.

        So yes, I do not distinguish between the law and what is called today the Orthodox interpretation of the law (I.E. What it means to not ignite a spark on Shabbat). Because we believe that G-d gave the law along with its interpretation to us at Sinai, and that is the interpretation that has stood the test of time for 3500 years and will continue to. Your suggested interpretations and questions are not unique to Jews for Jesus, Ive heard them before, more so from Reform Jews. So I encourage you to think about these questions in relation to what I mentioned above, and to then look at different kinds of Jewish groups today and ask, are they thriving? Are they growing? Is G-d likely to preserve them, or is there reason to believe they will fall apart at some point for some reason or another?

        For example, in Israel, the religious parts of the population are growing, because they have higher birthrates and because there are growing numbers of Jews like me who are Baalei Teshuva. Higher numbers of Secular Israelis leave Israel and have a lower birth rate. And of the Jews in the diaspora, the non-orthodox communities are shrinking, at a rapid rate, for lack of involvement, not committed to being observant, or practicing other religions and then cease to identify as Jews in any sense.

        What are the levels of intermarriage like in Messianic communities? How many generations of Messianic Jews does it take before one just becomes a gentile Christian and join a Church? How stable is each group.

        I’m interested to hear your thoughts

        C.S.

        • Dear C.S
          You wrote, QUOTE:
          “So yes, I do not distinguish between the law and what is called today the Orthodox interpretation of the law (I.E. What it means to not ignite a spark on Shabbat). Because we believe that G-d gave the law along with its interpretation to us at Sinai, and that is the interpretation that has stood the test of time for 3500 years and will continue to.”

          But the Orthodox / Rabbinic / Tradition of the Pharisees was not all downloaded in the Oral Law 3500 years ago. You mentioned numerous Rabbis, Hillel, etc. that contributed to this Tradition over thousands of years. We’ve only had AC/DC electricity for something like 100 years. There were no elevators or electric crosswalk signals on Mt. Sinai, these are new Rabbinic Traditions. You are not distinguishing between the Word of God and the words of men in their human traditions.

          I agree that if a “religion” dies out, such as the Saducees, this is a sign that God was not with them. But on the other hand, just asking “are they thriving? Are they growing?” is unrelated to truth. Islam and Mormonism are thriving and growing – that does not mean they are true.

          Matthew

          • C.S says:

            Matthew,

            You have misunderstood again. I mentioned that there are received laws from Sinai, that there are no arguments over how they are to be interpreted and we have practiced those laws as far back as Sinai. I gave the example of the 39 categories of work prohibited on Shabbat. Another would be the laws of Shechita, how to slaughter an animal.

            This is an easy one to illustrate, so lets look at it:

            “If the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to put His name there be too far from thee, then thou shall kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the Lord hath given thee, as I have commanded thee.”

            Deuteronomy 12:21

            If we look throughout the entire Torah, we do not find anywhere any mention of how to kill an animal, yet we are told that there is a particular way. G-d did give instructions of how to do it, only he gave this information orally, and it was not written down until later. You will not find arguments in the Talmud regarding Shechita, or be able to argue that some Rabbi or the majority of Rabbis decided that this is how we think we should do it. Nor is there any record in Jewish history of there being any other way of doing this, or of any splinter group choosing to interpret this differently, like smashing it over the head with a hammer or something like that. Interestingly in Islam they have the same law on the method of slaughter, and it is quite commonly known amongst non-Jews about this practice, but you will not find mention of how to do this in the Tanakh because it was given orally.

            Lets go back to the 39 categories of work. If you will note within those categories I mentioned, not carrying is one of them. These 39 categories were not derived from man but were told to us at Mount Sinai from G-d. You are looking at me telling me, that sounds extreme and asserting that the Oral law is contributed by man, and I am not distinguishing between G-ds law and mans law. If these categories are not from Sinai and are just later inventions of the Rabbis, then we are going to have a very hard time making sense of the following verse in Jeremiah:

            Jeremiah 17:19

            “Then Adonai said this to me: “Go, and stand at the People’s Gate, where the kings of Y’hudah go in and out, and at all the gates of Yerushalayim; 20 and say to them: ‘Kings of Y’hudah, all Y’hudah and all living in Yerushalayim who enter through these gates, hear the word of Adonai! 21 Here is what Adonai says: “If you value your lives, don’t carry anything on Shabbat or bring it in through the gates of Yerushalayim; 22 don’t carry anything out of your houses on Shabbat; and don’t do any work. Instead, make Shabbat a holy day. I ordered your ancestors to do this,”

            Jeremiah tells us that G-d told us not to carry anything on Shabbat and that he told this to our ancestors. It could not be more explicit than this. Yet again, if I flick through the entire Torah (5 books of Moses) I do not find anywhere mention of not carrying on Shabbat, but in Jeremiah G-d says that He did tell us this. Is G-d telling us a lie? Or is Jeremiah a false prophet? How do you reconcile this, other than to accept the obvious conclusion that G-d revealed more to us at Sinai than what is written in the written Torah.

            Jews who keep Shabbat do not carry on Shabbat and have not since the giving of the Torah at Sinai. This has absolutely nothing to do with electricity, Rabbis arguing over how a law should be followed, ruling according to majorities… It is the word of G-d, not man. Just because it is found in the Oral law doesnt make it the word of man.

            You clearly have a limited understanding of what the Oral law consists of and how it works. You simply are aware that there are disagreements on things and therefore think clearly if people disagree it cant have any divine authority or be given at Sinai. Can you even name me one example of one of these disputes and what they are arguing about?

            Your second point about disputes. Many people do not understand this subject, so I will try to explain by way of the Talmud and the Rambam explaining the origin of disputes within the Oral law.

            “Originally there were not many disputes in Israel…But when the disciples of Shammai and Hillel, who had not studied sufficiently, increased in number, disputes multiplied in Israel, and the Torah became like two Torahs.” (Sanhedrin 88b)

            “By the time Moshe passed away, he had already transmitted to Yehoshua every detail of the Oral Law that he received prophetically, and Yehoshua, together with his contemporaries, analyzed it and gave it much further thought. But there was no discussion or dispute over what Yehoshua or any of the Elders had actually received from Moshe.

            It is only in areas that they had not heard an Oral Tradition from the Prophet [Moshe], i.e. further legal ramifications, that they derived legal rulings logically using the Thirteen Principles of Torah Interpretation given on Mount Sinai.

            Some of the laws derived in this manner evoked no controversy and were unanimously agreed upon. But some of them were subject to a difference in opinion… and they would follow the majority opinion, as the Torah states, “You will decide according to the majority” (Shemot 23:2)…

            Based on the above principles, the laws of the the Torah could be divided into…groups:

            The first group is those Oral Traditions received from Moshe which are also suggested by scripture.

            Over these laws themselves we never find any dispute, for as soon as a Sage will declare, “I received this as a tradition,” any debate will immediately cease.

            The second group is laws which are known as “Halachah given to Moshe at Sinai,” which have no indication at all in scripture, as we have explained. These laws too are never subject to dispute.

            The third group is laws that were derived by logical application of the [Thirteen] Principles, and they are the subject of disputes, as we have mentioned, and the law is ruled in favour of the majority. But this is the only case where the matter is [not received by tradition but is] subject to pure intellectual analysis… as conflicts occurred only in those areas where no legal ruling had been received…

            Anyone who imagines that the Sages who disputed an issue each claimed to have received a tradition from Moshe and that that the dispute had arisen because of a mistake in the legal tradition, or because laws were forgotten, or due to an imperfect communication between teacher and student… such a notion is extremely loathsome and would only occur to a person who lacks intelligence and basic knowledge. It also besmirches the men who received the law…

            As for our Sages’ statement, “when the disciples of Shammai and Hillel who had not studied sufficiently, increased in number, disputes multiplied in Israel,” the explanation is as follows. If two men both share the same level of intellect, analytical skills and basic principles of logic, they will never have a dispute over any of their theories, except in rare instances. Thus we find that Hillel and Shammai themselves [in contrast to their schools] only had few disputes…

            But when their disciples’ diligence for attaining wisdom slackened, and their analytical skills became weak in comparison to those of Hillel and Shammai, then disputes arose among them concerning the analysis of a host of issues. Each one reasoned according to his own intellectual capacity and basic understanding of the principles of logic, and we cannot blame them for that because we cannot demand that two Sages conduct their debates on the intellectual level of Yehoshua and Pinchas…

            It is in this manner that disputes arose, and because laws were forgotten, leading one person to say the truth and the other falsehood.”

            Rambam, Commentary to the Mishnah, Authors Introduction.

            I hope that the Rambam has made things a bit more clear for you. Received laws he mentions which I gave an example of earlier. The Torah anticipated that it is binding on Jews in all times and all places. The Torah doesn’t mention anything about electrical appliances on Shabbat because the it was not applicable to the generation that received the Torah. So how are we supposed to know what the law is when we do encounter changes in the world like that? G-d doesn’t tell us that we are supposed to each interpret the law according to how we see it. We are given principles and a means of applying it to each case as well as recognizing that each human being has a different level of analytical abilities and intellect and so differences of opinion would arise, so G-d tells us we are to rule according to the majority. And it is by that authority that G-ds will is the majority because He said so. He doesn’t tell us He will intervene and clarify the law for us every time we are in doubt and unsure how the law applies to this new circumstance, he gives us a process to work it out for ourselves.

            You may disagree with those interpretations, or how the law is applied by Jews, but that is the divinely sanctioned interpretation that G-d commands us to follow, not your own interpretation. You should also know, that in Judaism we record those minority opinions in the Talmud, and respect those opinions even though we do not follow the law according to them. Nor does it mean that they were necessarily wrong, there is a concept in Judaism of Ilu ve’ilu… which means that These and these are the words of the living G-d. It is possible that they can both be authentic interpretations, but the law can only follow one, and those in the minority are aware that G-ds will is the majority and would follow it, even if they disagreed. Much like in Maths, when you are given sums and you are not allowed to just give the answer, you have to show your working out. That is what the Talmud does with these cases, it shows how and why we arrived at the ruling that it did. As well as recording these minority views so that in the future when someone raises that argument again we can see already that it has been raised and dealt with.

            Note also that the majority does not include people like you and I, it is commanded to the Sanhedrin and the Sages. And those who received the Oral tradition from the Sages in the previous generation. It is they who we are commanded to consult in such unclear matters. If you have a problem for example with your health, who would you think is the most authoritative person or group of people for you to consult? A doctor, a specialist maybe? Because they have more knowledge are more experienced in these matters, they went to medical school and were taught by the top scholars in that field. Would you think then that you can make a better and as informed decision by googling your problem, diagnosing it yourself. Or perhaps you have bought all the latest medical textbooks on the subject, you know someone who went to medical school and you have his lecture notes. Do you think that you have or can attain as comprehensive knowledge of the subject and the skills to be able to treat people, and perform surgery on people, based on the fact that you have read a couple of books on it. Or does it make more sense to understand that a doctor shadowed a practicing physician and there is a lot that he learned through observing and learning to do it himself with his guidence which he learned from other skilled doctors who preceded him. The same is true of the Torah. So if I want to know what was received by Moses at Sinai, and what was passed on, I cannot simply look at lecture notes. There is a living tradition that has been passed down to us. So who possesses that tradition? Where is it preserved?

            Will I find it by talking to Pastors, or in Jews for Jesus communities? Or by speaking to Muslims or people of other faiths? These groups deny that there is an oral, we do not see competing claims amongst different Jewish groups or Christian groups as to who possesses the Oral law. There is only one group of people on the planet who claim to live according to it and preserve it, and that is Orthodox Judaism.

            If you want to know what the Torah is about you have to learn it within its tradition. The Christian world took the Tanakh, and simply misinterpreted it so that it would fit with their world view and beliefs according to their understanding. Frankly, asking a Christian about what the Torah is teaching from our perspective is much like asking a Plumber for advice on open heart surgery. I’d rather trust the credentials of a Surgeon not a Plumber. He can have his own opinion, everyone has opinions now days, but are they all credible, reliable? Was the plumber at Medical school? Or was the Christian Pastor or Priests predecessors at Sinai for G-ds lecture? I don’t think so.

            We are the descendants of G-ds witnesses of the giving of the Torah at Sinai, who all heard G-d speak to them directly. Christians do not even argue with this. They trust us enough to reliably transmit the written Torah to them accurately for 1500 years, and to distinguish who a false prophet was from a true one, but when it comes to their scriptures, no Jews in that generation or any generation following using the same principles concurred that the Christian claims about Jesus or Paul were prophetic or of G-d. So which is it? Are we trusted and reliable, or not? If not, how can you trust that all the books cannonized in the Tanakh are reliable? Maybe verses quoted by Jesus or Paul from Scripture we just made up at some point in those 1500 years before the non Jewish world even knew what the Bible was or heard the word Messiah, or they were quoting prophets who were in fact false? Seeing as you think we are wrong about Jesus, perhaps you think we were wrong about Isaiah, or Ezekial? Others have raised this point with you too on this feed I can see.

            If you want to know what the Torah is all about, seek out those who learned from the descendants of the biblical Sages. You will find them in the Yeshivah world. Maybe there are some near to where you live, if not, go and find them. You can even find classes aired online through the internet if you know where to look.

            C.S

          • Dear C.S
            About Jeremiah 17:19 –22

            “Then Adonai said this to me:”…….don’t do any work. Instead, make Shabbat a holy day. I ordered your ancestors to do this,”

            How do I reconcile this?

            Yahweh told your ancestors “don’t do any work. Instead, make Shabbat a holy day.”
            Through Jeremiah, Yahweh was then giving the specific application of this command to those people at that time, namely not to engage in commerce on the Sabbath by carrying merchandise through the gates. He was not necessarily referring to some “Oral Law.”
            Matthew

          • Jim says:

            Matthew,

            Are you saying that God gave instructions on how to keep Shabbos hundreds of years after the giving of the Torah? They didn’t know throughout the time of the Judges, nor through the majority of the first Temple period? Breaking the Sabbath entails the death penalty, if I understand Exodus 31 correctly. Is it more reasonable to think that God told them how to observe it properly at the giving of the Torah or that explained it after many generations?

            How were they supposed to judge these cases if they didn’t know what entailed work? How could Jeremiah castigate them for something they are just now hearing for the first time? I am afraid that your explanation makes little sense. It is unreasonable to think that people had to observe a law that had no established boundaries for hundreds of years and were then criticized for it, or that violation of the law entailed the death penalty with no clear definition of “work”.

            Sorry for butting my nose in C.S. and Matthew,

            Jim

          • C.S says:

            Jim, thats fine, no need to apologize, welcome to the conversation, you took the words right out of my mouth.

          • Dear C.S
            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “The first group is those Oral Traditions received from Moshe which are also SUGGESTED by scripture.
            Over these laws themselves we never find any dispute, for as soon as a Sage will declare, “I received this as a tradition,” any debate will immediately cease.

            The second group is laws which are known as “Halachah given to Moshe at Sinai,” which have no INDICATION AT ALL in scripture, as we have explained. These laws too are never subject to dispute. ”

            So in summary, what you are saying is, if a Sage or Rabbi says “it’s Tradition”, then it can’t be questioned or discussed, even if there is little indication in Scripture, or even no indication at all in Scripture about this “tradition.” Is that correct?
            Respectfully,
            Matthew

          • Dear C.S
            You wrote QUOTE:

            “G-d tells us we are to rule according to the majority. And it is by that authority that G-ds will is the majority because He said so…..
            Note also that the majority does not include people like you and I, it is commanded to the Sanhedrin and the Sages. And those who received the Oral tradition from the Sages in the previous generation.”

            Can you point me to somewhere in the Torah or the Prophets to support these assertions?
            Respectfully,
            Matthew

          • C.S says:

            Hi Matthew,

            The scriptural reference pertaining to the majority is Exodus 23:2.

            “2. You shall not follow the majority for evil, and you shall not respond concerning a lawsuit to follow many to pervert [justice].”

            No, it would not have been just one Sage who would have received a tradition from Sinai, it would have been taught to more than one person, so others would have been able to verify that they were also taught from the same teacher or another teacher. There is no dispute on these received traditions because they could be verified by others who could vouch for it. So no, a Sage could not simply invent a ‘received tradition’ he would have contemporaries who would have objected. The point is that the Sages were Sages because they were honest people.

            Those who were ordained as Judges and members of the Sanhedrin were not selected lightly. Jethro was the first to suggest this appointing process to Moses.

            ” 21. But you shall choose out of the entire nation men of substance, God fearers, men of truth, who hate monetary gain, and you shall appoint over them [Israel] leaders over thousands, leaders over hundreds, leaders over fifties, and leaders over tens.

            22. And they shall judge the people at all times, and it shall be that any major matter they shall bring to you, and they themselves shall judge every minor matter, thereby making it easier for you, and they shall bear [the burden] with you.

            “25. Moses chose men of substance out of all Israel and appointed them as heads of the people, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens.

            26. And they would judge the people at all times; the difficult case they would bring to Moses, but any minor case they themselves would judge.”

            Exodus 18:21,22,25,26

            You are forgetting something, we do not have to find a Scriptural reference in the Written Torah for absolutely everything we believe, it can be found in the Oral Torah too. What I have been doing is providing you with arguments for the existence of the Oral law which can be pointed out in numerous ways, either by the Torah telling us that something was conveyed orally which is not included within the Written Torah alone, by the fact that the details of how to observe a Mitzvah are rarely clear enough with the text alone. That Oral laws appear in the Prophets but are not mentioned in the 5 books of Moses… So there are things that are received orally that are inferred from Scripture, as the Rambam explained, and there are laws that were received that are not inferred clearly from Scripture.

            If anything in the legal aspects of the Torah were merely down to your own interpretation then how would a legal system have operated? The Shabbat example particularly, it was a capital crime to break Shabbat, so does it make sense for each of us to have for himself a completely different set of rules?

            In your approach, someone who would have broken Shabbat would have been brought to the Sanhedrin, and they would plead “I don’t interpret what I did to be work on Shabbat.” And then what? The Sanhedrin would say, “Oh, ok, I understand now, we’ll let you go, each to their own I suppose, who are we to say what is or isn’t work on Shabbat, he raised an interesting point.” And this would not be the case only with Shabbat but with everything.

            You seem to be challenging the sincerity and trustworthiness of our Sages to be honest with their faithful transmission of the Oral Torah.

            I will raise some more points following your logic. We heard G-d speak to us directly from Sinai. This served to show us that Moses could be trusted as a Prophet. When Moses went up Mount Sinai he returned with the Tablets with the 10 commandments on them.

            He did not come down with the entire 5 books of Moses. We are not 100% whether or not he wrote it throughout those 40 years or all at the end, we do know that he wrote it all before he died, and had taught the Oral Torah to Joshua by then too.

            The point is that most of our communication with G-d up until Moses died was largely an Oral communication between G-d and Moses. So if Moses were to say that he learned something from G-d that was not written in the Torah, why would you accept that? It’s not in the book he is writing, how do you know he was telling the truth?

            You trust that what he said is true because his credibility has been established as a Prophet and as someone who fears G-d and would have no good reason to lie, because he would be greatly punished for doing so. So think about the judges that Moses appointed now and think about Joshua, who were entrusted by Moses to pass on all that he was taught at Sinai to all future generations.

            The people knew that Joshua succeeded Moses and so there would be no reason to believe that he would lie about what Moses taught him, and so he passed it on to others and so on. So people can trace who learned what from who (even until today). If multiple people in each generation knew of what was taught from their teachers then they would concur with one another if something was a received tradition or not, and there would be unanimous agreement that that was received by them too.

            Now I raised this point with you before about the Zohar. The Zohar includes the Kabbalistic teachings which also link back to Sinai which were a part of the Oral law. These teachings were like the Mishna and the Gemara not committed to writing until later. So if it were invented at the point of being committed to writing and not received from Sinai, wouldn’t people have objected? And denied that these ideas were already familiar to them and taught to them from Sinai too? The answer is that they did not, the Jewish world incorporated these texts into their tradition because they were already an accepted part of their oral tradition from Sinai.

            Perhaps you are unaware that when we talk about the Talmud, we are usually referring to the Babylonian Talmud. There are in fact 2 Talmuds, a Jerusalem Talmud as well. So the same Oral laws were committed to writing in two separate locations, one in Babylon and one in Jerusalem. So if they were both made up on the spot, would you not expect that they would not corroborate on what they claim are their received traditions from Sinai?
            But they do not.

            I am trying to demonstrate the credibility of the Oral law and that if you trust the same people who transmitted the Written Torah to you faithfully, then give me one good reason why you would distrust their sincerity to transmit the Oral law to us as well when they say that the received an Oral Torah as well.

            With that being the case, and if you come to accept this, as Jews do, you will admit that in order to have a better picture of what G-d revealed to our ancestors at Sinai, you are missing essential information by relying on the Tanakh alone. We are interested in all that was revealed. You encounter problems with your understanding of the text and you attempt to fill in the gaps yourself, it is you who is creating a man made oral tradition of the Torah, not us.

            So I hope you understand a bit more of the foundation that we operate within. So now lets apply these principles to the Christian claim. Those same people you trust to faithfully transmit the Tanakh to you and filter out false prophets from true ones and as I have argued who faithfully transmitted the Oral Torah to us, looked at the Gospel accounts, the claims of Jesus or Paul… and all said “No, this is not only not of G-d, or guided by prophesy, it is heresy.”

            Its teachings do not concur and line up with the teachings in the Tanakh that we learned from Sinai, its proofs that are offered are based on mistranslations, quoted out of context, or simply made up that do not exist. Dina and Jim have been discussing these points with you separately on this feed, pertaining to fulfilled prophesies cited in the Gospels, so I will not dwell into those.

            So you understand why we accept our Oral tradition, and you equate your Gospels as your Talmud/Oral tradition (which is not very substantial for an attempt to record an Oral tradition, we have over 60 volumes of Tractates) and some of our Oral tradition is still not committed to writing and is still Oral.

            If you are suggesting that Jesus trumps our Torah and our Oral law, then that too is anti-Torah.

            Drawing on some of the things you have written concerning how you view who Jesus was, you see him as G-d, the typical Christian view or the Son of God perhaps, either way divine. So you clearly do not see him simply as a Rabbi as you suggested earlier. This then leads us to a new area of issues which is, you clearly think that Jesus is the Messiah, and you think that means that he is G-d or divine… and you think that this is consistent with what our ancestors were taught at Sinai and were expecting.

            So you are putting forth a claim that Jesus was the Messiah, it sounds like you have a very different criteria for how you are assessing what the Messiah is and has to do.

            So before I comment more I am interested to know what your position is on this topic.

            I am unclear about your position on Paul, you infer that you do not agree with Paul, and a number of aspects of Christian belief. So it would be helpful to know more about your views on this.

            C.S.

  32. Jim says:

    Matthew,

    I was thinking over my conflation of the Matthew and Luke birth narratives and “tsk! tsk!-ing” myself for doing it when I knew better. And while I was giving myself a mini-lecture over this, something occurred to me, which doesn’t have much to do with our conversation, but is interesting.

    When one reads Tanach, the wisdom of various magicians, astrologers, sooth-sayers and the like is always shown to be empty. (I think always. I’m working off the top of my head.) When Pharaoh has a dream, his people cannot tell him what it means. The same thing happens with Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream and his people cannot interpret it. It requires a prophet, a true prophet. It requires one who is not steeped in superstition and idolatry, who relies on the One True God.

    This is not the case in the NT. The wisdom of the idolaters is elevated. Who knows that the King of the Jews is being born? Idolaters. Astrologers. They have read the signs and followed them. They have discernment, wisdom.

    This is the opposite pattern of what we see in Tanach. There we would see their wisdom coming to nothing. In the NT, they are the ones who know what is happening. Their superstitions give them special insight. The NT does not show the vanity, the emptiness of those traditions but uses them to substantiate its claims.

    Just a thought,

    Jim

    • Dina says:

      That’s a fascinating point, Jim. It reminds me of Blasater’s important observation about the curious absence of God’s voice in Christian scripture. We don’t hear God, but we do hear idolaters and astrologers.

      • Dina,
        “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to Yahweh his God… He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of Yahweh… [1 Kings 11:4-6]

        “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs…” [Genesis 1:14]

        “I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood…[Joel 2:30-31]

        You are repeating yourself with the untrue assertion about “the curious absence of God’s voice in Christian scripture.” I gave you 6 passages before.
        https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/a-new-set-of-feelings/#comment-9931
        https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/a-new-set-of-feelings/#comment-9950

        Blessings,
        Matthew

        • Dina says:

          Matthew, God’s voice is largely absent in Christian scripture. You gave me a few passages. That’s it. And they are unremarkable. In the Torah His voice is everywhere. Numberless verses start with the words “And God said.”

          So I still stand by that assertion.

          Be well,
          Dina

          • Dina,
            You are difficult to satisfy. You made an assertion. I provided 2 passages to the contrary from the Gospels. You scoffed that it was only 2. So I provided 4 more. Now you scoff at these “few passages.” I guess you can look at the Gospels for yourself rather than me typing out more passages. Yahshua is God, and His voice is everywhere in the Gospels.

            I agree there is some truth in what you said, “God’s voice is largely absent” in the Christian ‘Letters’ part of the New Testament, just as God’s voice tends to be largely absent in Solomon’s Wisdom Literature or Esther, in the Kethuvim (Writings) section of the Tanakh.
            These letters and writings are not the voice of God, so no surprise there.
            Wouldn’t you agree?
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew,

            I have in fact begun reading the gospels. I read Mark and Matthew very carefully and I started reading Luke. I’m having trouble continuing because it’s desperately boring to read the same story for the third time. Just so you know how well I paid attention to what I read, I wrote over 30 pages of notes–single-spaced–on Matthew. God’s voice is mostly absent. I never did say “completely absent,” but for the sake of accuracy I am adding the word “mostly.”

            If you want to compare the gospels to the Torah, here is a comparison of the first chapter of Genesis with the first chapter of Mark:

            Number of times the phrase “God said” appears:

            Genesis 1: 9 times
            Mark 1: 0 times

            Number of times the word “God” appears:

            Genesis 1: 30 times
            Mark 1: 4 times

            We also see in the Torah chapters like Leviticus 19 which is God speaking the whole entire chapter starting from a few words into the first verse. There is nothing like that at least in the two and a third gospels that I have read.

            So there.

            Now of course, you assert that Jesus is God. You have yet to present compelling evidence from the Torah to support this idolatrous notion.

            Jesus is not God. He left nothing of his own writings for us to really know anything about him. I rather suspect that had he known he would be worshiped as a god he would have been horrified.

            Peace,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            I compared to Mark because it’s the earliest gospel, so here’s a comparison with Matthew 1:

            God said: 0 times
            God: 1 time

            So long,
            Dina

          • Dina,
            I can appreciate your conditioned response to “defend the Torah” against “Christian Missionaries” who want to tell you that the Law is a curse, is bad, does not apply to us, has been abolished, etc. You have been hearing this for decades, and it’s based on many hundreds of years of false tradition from the prevailing cult inside the “Christian Church,” the cult of Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed “Apostle to the Gentiles.” It actually began with the Second Century heretic Marcion, who created a new book he named the “New Testament”, consisting of nothing but 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke.

            But you don’t need to defend the Torah with me. I’m on your side. I wrote “Torah Torah Torah.”
            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/a-new-set-of-feelings/#comment-9821
            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/a-new-set-of-feelings/#comment-9826

            Much peace and blessings,
            Sincerely
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, my response is not conditioned but thought through, and you are guilty as charged. Just reread your thread with C.S.

            Besides, this last comment of yours is non sequitur. What does it have to do with anything I said?

            I said that, one, God’s voice is largely absent from Christian scripture; and, two, that you have yet to show me in the Torah that Jesus is God.

            Good luck,
            Dina

          • Dina,
            You appear to be comparing “The whole New Testament” ( your definition of Christian Scripture) with only the Torah (not the whole Hebrew Scripture, The Tanakh.)
            So by the standards that you seem to mean, yes I agree with you.

            But I was comparing the New Testament Letters with Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Esther. I provided 6 quotes of the voice of God from the 4 Gospels. Do you think you could provide 6 quotes of the voice of God from these 4 Books of the Kethuvim?

            By the way, I consider all 66 Books of the Bible as “Christian Scripture”, generally in 3 authority levels.

            I wrote:
            I agree there is some truth in what you said, “God’s voice is largely absent” in the Christian ‘Letters’ part of the New Testament, just as God’s voice tends to be largely absent in Solomon’s Wisdom Literature or Esther, in the Kethuvim (Writings) section of the Tanakh.
            These letters and writings are not the voice of God, so no surprise there.

            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Following your standards, I was comparing the gospels with the Torah. That’s a fair comparison by your standards, and you are not addressing it.

            God’s voice is mostly absent from the gospels, unlike the Torah. I showed you the numbers. By comparing the gospels with Ketuvim, you are comparing apples with oranges according to your standards regarding authority levels. That’s intellectually dishonest.

            (By the way, why did you select those particular books? Why not Psalms, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemia, Chronicles, etc.?)

          • Dina
            I am comparing the New Testament Letters with the Kethuvim, and saying they both have a lower authority level. God’s voice is completely absent from Song of Solomon, Esther, and also I think the other 2 books. You can let me know if I missed something.

          • Dina says:

            No, you gave me passages from the gospels to prove your point. So I showed a comparison to the Torah. And you have nothing to say about that?

          • Dina says:

            Just to be fair to you, since you did bring up these particular books, within Jewish tradition (i.e., the Talmud) there is discussion about things like the absence of any mention of God in the Book of Esther. But there is no point to our discussing that. You hold the Ketuvim to be non-authoritative and the Talmud to be complete nonsense.

            So I’d rather stick to the comparison between the gospels and the Torah. I’d like to know what you think about that.

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • Well Dina,
            Although you are exaggerating, I agree with your basic idea.
            We should stick with comparing the Gospels, Torah & Prophets.

            It is exaggerating to say QUOTE:
            “You hold the Ketuvim to be non-authoritative and the Talmud to be complete nonsense.”

            No, I hold the Kethuvim to be LESS authoritative and the Talmud to be of some value, although I admit to being ignorant of the content of the Talmud. However, it seems only reasonable and logical to conclude that God would give a higher authority and priority level to the things He DID put in writing through Moses, compared to the things He didn’t.

            I am not saying that the Torah contains every word or commandment that God ever spoke to Moses- it would be ridiculous to make such a claim. Yet neither do I think it would make sense to consider a supposed “Oral Law” as EQUAL to the written Law given to Moses. But that sort of discussion will have to wait until a later time.

            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Fine, then will you comment on my comparison of God’s voice in the first chapter of the Torah to the first chapter of Christian scripture?

          • Dina,
            Gospel of John chapter 1 would be good to read with Genesis chapter 1

          • Dina says:

            Matthew:

            Genesis 1: “God said,” 9 times.
            John 1: “God said,” 0 times.

            Genesis 1: “God,” 30 times.
            John 1: “God,” 13 times.

            But here’s where it gets interesting. In Genesis 1, “God” refers exclusively to God. In John, 12 out of 13 references refer to others, like children of God, son of God, lamb of God, angels of God, etc.

            God is still mostly absent in your gospels, and He is completely silent in John 1.

            My assertion still stands.

          • Dina,
            The Letter to the Hebrews chapter 1, in the New Testament, answers your question. I hold this at a lower authority level than the Gospels. But rather than me re-inventing the wheel, this could be helpful – especially since it was written specifically for Hebrews by a humble anonymous author.
            blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Before I take a look, I should tell you that I don’t have a question. I made an observation and you took issue with it. I’m very busy with holiday prep, may not get to it today.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew.

            I’m going to take you to task for your fixation on the content and authority of books. It’s a red herring. I have noticed that almost no matter what the topic, you manage to end up discussing this one thing. You are avoiding focusing on the real issue, the mauling of Tanach that occurs in the gospels. Jim and I have given you examples and you drag your feet with responding.

            How about Isaiah 7:14 and Hosea 11:1, then? Or how about yet another “prophecy”? Jesus applies verse 10 in Psalm 41 to himself in John 13:18. But in verse 5 in that Psalm, the speaker talks about having sinned against God. So I’m not sure why the author of this gospel would have wanted to make Psalm 41 a prophecy about a sinless Jesus.

            It takes courage to confront the real issue head on. I understand.

            May God lead all of us, His children, ever closer toward the light of His truth.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Hi Dina,
            You noted:
            Jesus applies verse 9 in Psalm 41 to himself in John 13:18. But in verse 4 in that Psalm, the speaker talks about having sinned against God.

            The Psalms are song lyrics. This is a song of David. Other than Yahshua, everyone sinned against God, so of course these lyrics are not a PERFECT fit here. But in general the feelings and experience expressed by David fit Jesus, the Son of David. Likewise, I also sometimes refer to a few words from a song to express the general meaning of the song in a sort of shorthand. (eg. We should be “Brave.”) Notice that Jesus referred to “Scripture” not The Law or The Prophets.

            Hosea 11:1 / Matthew 2:14-15
            Yes, this is reading the Prophets through the lens of the Gospel of Matthew. Hosea probably was not intentionally referring to the coming Messiah when he wrote Hosea 11:1. But that is the nature of Prophecy – all telling, but not all-knowing. It does happen to fit with the narrative of the life of Jesus, so it might have been a prophetic “hint,” one among many that Matthew saw, and I believe it. If you just don’t believe it, and you think Matthew made up a messianic prophecy here, understand that this is just one minor point among many, and God did bring Jesus out of Egypt, so it isn’t a false statement.

            Isaiah 7:14 / Matthew 1:21-23
            I don’t have the resources to look it up personally. But I have heard that the translation of the word “young woman” from the Hebrew into the Greek Septuagint (Greek language Tanakh) was done with a word that usually meant “virgin” but it was unusual that it was translated this way in Isaiah. I believe this is another prophet “hint.”

            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew,

            Forgive my bluntness, but there is no point in having an honest discussion with someone who defends quoting out of context and circular reasoning as serious means to weigh evidence. If I tried to use this type of reasoning, you would cry foul; you know you would.

            What you have heard about Isaiah 7:14 is plain wrong. There is one word, and one word only, that in Hebrew means virgin. Isaiah does not use that word. He uses a word that can mean virgin, but doesn’t have to. Young woman can mean virgin, but doesn’t have to, even in English, right? There are a lot of other problems with using this passage as a prophecy, but I can see that you don’t want to be bothered.

            Have a good one!

            Dina

          • Dina
            For Isaiah 7:14 I am referring to the GREEK word for virgin that was used in the Septuagint version of Isaiah hundreds of years before Jesus. (Not the Hebrew word.) But I don’t have a Septuagint. The word choice by the translators could be pointing to Jesus, and Matthew could be referring to that.
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, the Greek was translated from the Hebrew by CHRISTIANS.

          • Dina,
            American Heritage Dictionary definition
            Septuagint n. A Greek translation of the Old Testament made in the 3rd century B.C. [Lat. septuaginta, seventy (from the traditional number of it’s translators)[

          • Dina says:

            Never mind the Greek; you need to look at the original Hebrew. If the original Hebrew doesn’t say “virgin” you have a problem.

            Listen, I’m awfully busy today. I hope you don’t mind if I carry on this dialogue either tomorrow night if I have time, or after Passover. So stimulating, but so much to do!

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

    • Dina says:

      Matthew, I am pleased as punch that you are talking about the prophecies again. About the Micah prophecy, I pointed out when you first presented it, that if you read it in context, the prophet is saying that the person will come from the particular clan, not the particular place. Just wanted to refresh your memory of what was said.

      Along the same lines of refreshing your memory, I said that Genesis 3:15 doesn’t refer to the Messiah either directly or indirectly. The verse is simply not a messianic prophecy. Any thoughts?

      And finally, Rabbi Blumenthal and I posted a bunch of links about Isaiah 53. Would love to know if you read/listened to them and had thoughts about those as well.

      Peace and blessings,

    • Jim,
      I think that the “Wise Men” were connected to Daniel’s spiritual legacy in Babylon.
      I heard recently that Ezekiel’s tomb is in modern-day Iraq.
      Ezra was working for Cyrus King of Persia.
      Nehemiah was working for Artaxerxes King of Persia.
      Esther was Queen of Persia.
      Job was from Uz – which appears to be in the East somewhere.

      These 6 people were all followers of the One True God, even though they were not (always) in Israel, but rather in The East.

      I dimly recall that in the Hebrew Scriptures, there may be some other relevant prophecies in addition to Micah that these Wise Men may have been considering.
      Matthew

      • Jim says:

        Matthew,

        In writing this, you remind me of Augustine. He had a difficulty. How did Plato know about the Trinity? It doesn’t appear at all in Tanach, although of course Augustine finds numerous references to it. But it’s troubling that Plato knew about the Trinity, a thing never explicitly discussed in the Jewish scriptures. One might think that the Trinity had nothing to do with Torah at all, that it was Greek in origin.

        Augustine had a solution to this problem. Jeremiah went to Egypt. Plato had also gone to Egypt. By his reckoning, they were in Egypt at the same time. So, what must have happened is that they met. And Plato studied with Jeremiah, and that’s where he learned about the Trinity. Of course he has no proof of this. He makes it up out of whole cloth to solve his dilemma. It is as thin an argument as one would be likely to invent.

        When I say that it’s thin, I don’t just mean that there is no testimony to support this, although there isn’t. He doesn’t even try showing parallels in their teaching. I can’t think of a place where one would find a reference in Plato to this very important teacher who changed his life. The only evidence for such a connection is Augustine’s need for one, which of course isn’t evidence at all.

        And that is what you have done here. You have not explained how astrology and superstition are practices normally condemned but in Matthew’s Gospel favored. You have tried to deny that they were following stars by giving them a tradition you just made up. (Strange, since you deny the Oral Torah which is well attested. How could you think a tenuous invented tradition would serve you in an argument?)

        The most amazing thing to me is how you posit that there may be a prophecy they were following. Somehow they didn’t know about Micah 5:2, though. That one they missed. They knew the timing of the birth. Of course, Matthew doesn’t write of any prophecy or any tradition. You have made them up. It is your invention.

        (Micah precedes Jeremiah and Ezekiel. In fact, he’s referenced in Jeremiah. So, since Matthew thinks Micah is telling us that the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem, but the story you’ve created, it seems they should know where he was going to be born. Why were they in Jerusalem?)

        What else is amazing about this theory of yours is that the Jewish people still in Babylon didn’t apparently know anything about this. The only people who did are your made up mystery cult.

        No, Matthew, this theory is purely apologetic. It is derived from no proof except the Jewish presence in Babylon. Of course, the Jews you named all preceded Jesus by quite some time, but I assume that you consider them to have passed on a tradition. But Matthew doesn’t write of some tradition. In a chapter where he quotes four prophecies Jesus is supposed to have fulfilled, he doesn’t tell us that the wise men came because of a prophecy. He doesn’t find some other verse to misappropriate for his own needs. He has them following a star. (How one follows a star, I don’t know.) You have invented this out of whole cloth to suit your needs.

        Jim

        • Jim,
          You are exaggerating. Of course I agree with you that the idea “Plato must have met Jeremiah” is a baseless fabrication, pure fiction really.

          But the 6 people I mentioned include several top-level advisors to Kings, and one Queen. There was a well-documented Jewish presence in Babylon of many thousands of people during the exile as you know. And of course, many from Israel were deported and resettled in the East. So this is not a fair comparison with Plato & Jeremiah.

          You are right, as far as I know, Matthew “doesn’t tell us that the wise men came because of a prophecy.” Matthew didn’t know everything. The Gospels don’t tell us everything. Neither do the Law or the Prophets.

          Matthew

          • Dina says:

            In that case, Matthew, why is it okay for you to make up explanations that aren’t in your scripture but demand at least two but possibly three sources for every explanation that the other side gives?

            Like your explanation for Matthew quoting a made-up prophecy, “And he shall be called a Nazarene.” Which is completely not what Matthew meant according to the very obvious meaning of the text. The very obvious meaning is that Matthew is telling us that there was a prophecy in Hebrew scripture which he quotes as above. Such a verse is nowhere to be found; neither is the city of Nazareth mentioned anywhere.

            You aren’t even troubled by this.

            Amazing, really.

            And that’s beside the mistranslations and out-of-context quotations such as those Jim put forth, like Isaiah 7:14 and Hosea 11:1.

  33. Dear C.S, Jim, Dina, Yaakov & others

    You have convinced me that, at least in theory, God gave Moses additional unwritten instructions not included in the Torah (you could call it the Oral Law) which were entrusted to the Jewish People, and which have some value. OK.
    Having said that,
    .1) just how important are they today to Jews & Gentiles,
    .2) how much authority do they have relative to the Torah, Nabi’im & Kethuvim,
    .3) what really came from Sinai, and what was added later by various Rabbis,
    .4) if it was so important why wasn’t it written down for hundreds of years,
    .5) if it’s the Oral Law, why is it written down now,
    .6) why should we continue to define work based on 39 categories that relate to the lives of wandering shepherds living in tents, and farmers, when most of us don’t live like that,
    .7) Were the instructions about sacrificing animals not written down because the method in the desert was different than the method in the Temple, and now that Yahshua has become the sacrifice, this has been fulfilled and is not needed?
    .8) Perhaps the Oral Law was given so the written Torah could be applied to the circumstances of the day, which would change (geography, society, technology, etc.). There was electricity at Mt. Sinai in the form of lightning, but not AC/DC power at man’s disposal.

    I think the problems we have in correctly interpreting the Scriptures are a matter of priority. Many Christians and Jews have their priorities upside down.
    For the Tanakh, I think the tradition of your ancient Jewish sages tells you it should be:
    .1) Torah
    .2) Prophets
    .3) Writings
    .4) Rabbinic Tradition / Oral Law

    Likewise following the model of these ancient Jewish sages, Orthodox Christians believe the 4 Gospels should be at the top level of authority among the “New Testament” texts. This Christian Tradition goes back to the beginning of the church, long before the Protestant Reformation or even before the Roman Catholic Church.

    Here is my best guess for the correct priority of “The 66 Books of the Bible.”
    .1) The Word made flesh- 4 Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
    .2) Torah – The Law of Moses – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
    .3) The Prophecy – Acts, Revelation
    .4) The Prophets – Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets
    .5) Psalms
    .6) General letters: of the Apostles I & 2 Peter, 1 John
    .7) General letters: to the Hebrews, and from James (aka Jacob)
    .8) Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, Ruth, Esther and the other Writings
    .9) Personal letters: of The Apostle John, Jude, and Paul

    Blessings,
    Matthew

    • C.S says:

      Dear Matthew,

      I am pleased to hear that we are coming to a closer understanding. Most of the answers to your questions can be found on those MP3 links I sent you on the subject of the Oral law. I will attempt to answer them though.

      “.1) just how important are they today to Jews & Gentiles”

      They are extremely important, because as I discussed, the Written law is unintelligible in many ways without the Oral law which clarifies its meaning. You would have a very hard time reading the Written law and knowing exactly what is being asked of you. Most Christians generally have no interest in trying to observe the laws of the Torah, so they would not generally notice this, until they begin to attempt to. The Torah and the covenant made at Sinai is eternal and binding on all Jews in all times and all places, so they are as important today, there is no reason why they wouldnt be. They are as important for Gentiles, this is another peice of evidence for the Oral law. This time, it is an example where I can in fact draw on evidence even from the Christian bible to support.

      After the Flood recorded in the book of Genesis, G-d makes a covenant
      with all of humanity (Genesis 9:8).

      Non Jews do not need to become Jews in order to be seen as good by
      G-d, there is a principle that the Righteous of all nations have a
      share in the world to come, their salvation comes through the covenant
      G-d made with humanity through Noah by observing the 7 laws that G-d
      gave to Noah, after the flood.

      What are these 7 laws?

      1.Do Not Deny God
      2.Do Not Blaspheme God
      3.Do Not Murder
      4.Do Not Engage in Incestuous, Adulterous or Homosexual Relationships.
      5.Do Not Steal
      6.Do Not Eat of a Live Animal
      7.Establish Courts/Legal System to Ensure Law Obedience

      These are in fact not 7 laws, they are packages of categories for laws
      within them and actually include hundreds of commandments ( For more
      details see http://www.hasidicuniversity.org/index.php?page=hu_theocracy/th_toc.htm).

      Similarly the 10 commandments handed to Moses at Mount Sinai are also
      not in Jewish tradition seen as 10 individual commandments but as 10
      categories which contain all of the 613 commandments. Rav Saadia Gaon
      provides each commandment and ascribes which of the 10 commandments it
      falls under.

      So, the first question that one might ask is, what is the source for
      these 7 laws? Where in the five books of Moses does it tell us about
      these laws? It doesn’t, it is found in the Oral law. All we are told
      from the book of Genesis, is that G-d would establish a covenant with Noah and all his descendents. The Tanakh, does not tell us very much
      about what this covenant consisted of.

      Here is one of a few examples of where Christian scripture actually corroborates with the Oral law.

      The book of Acts, following Jesus crucifixion, records debate amongst
      the disciples of Jesus as to the status of non-Jews who wish to join
      their movement. Some believing that a non-Jew had to convert to
      Judaism if they wanted to be a part of their movement, “some believers
      who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘It is
      necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of
      Moses’ ” (Acts 15:5) Acts records, Peter opposing this position
      believing that non-Jews do not need to be circumcised and become Jews
      in order to join the movement. The final verdict on this matter is given by
      James, the leader of what is referred to as the Jerusalem ‘Church.’
      This is known as the ‘Apostolic decree,’ James said “I have reached
      the decision that we should not trouble those Gentiles who are turning
      to God, but we should write to them to abstain only from things
      polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been
      strangled and from blood” (Acts 15:19-20).

      What did James draw on in order to come to this ruling? He must have
      been basing this decision on some sort of teaching rooted in Torah, he
      could not have just invented it out of whole cloth, we are told he was a Torah observant Jew. He didn’t, we see
      that these critera are part of the Noahide laws. Prior to the rise of
      Christianity, there were many non-Jews who admired Judaism and wished
      to convert, but for men the requirement of circumcision was an
      obstacle for their choosing to undertake conversion. This led to a
      number of non-Jews who would instead remain non-Jews but would attach
      themselves to Jewish communities as Noahides, or at the time they were
      known more as Yirei Elokim/ G-d fearers.

      The book of Acts claims that the Jerusalem Church and the disciples
      were Torah observent and Zealous for the law. They, like Jews in
      general at the time regarded non-Jews who wished to join their
      movement in the same way that Jews still do today, which is based on a
      teaching within the Oral law.

      Interestingly notice how in this verse in Acts there is no mention of requiring that gentiles must accept Jesus as G-d or their Lord and Saviour who died for their sins or anything that we would recognise as Church doctrine, in fact believing in, accepting or even agreeing to follow Jesus was not mentioned at all! All that was mentioned was a number of the Noahide laws that they must observe.

      .2) how much authority do they have relative to the Torah, Nabi’im & Kethuvim,

      As I have mentioned, you are confusing a number of things. The Oral law is contained within the Talmud, it is not all of the Talmud. The Talmud contains as I mentioned received laws, such as the examples I gave, these are not independent of the written law but their explanations, and definitions. So they are as important as the Torah. The Torah tells us to remember Shabbat, and keep it holy… that is a direct commandment from G-d. How do I do that? What is and is not forbidden…? The details are found in the legal sections within the Talmud pertaining to Shabbat.

      The Talmud also includes non-legally binding parts, such as parables, esoteric teachings, narrative, philosophy, Midrash… these are not considered legally binding, nor is everything necessarily believed to be literally true, Midrashim for example are often viewed allegorically and that the Sages are trying to teach us something from them. Some people may interpret some Midrashim literally, but many do not, there are also differring opinions in this area. But people are quite free to kind of pick and choose which ones they like, or none at all. I know observant Jews who have no interest in Midrash, particularly not in a literal understanding and prefer a more simple, plain reading of the text. In Judaism we believe that a verse never parts from its simple plain meaning. But also that it is read on a number of levels, so the Midrashim are read more on an allegorical level, and Kabbalistic readings tend to be more hidden less obvious meanings, this may include looking at gematria, numerical values of words and deriving teachings through the roots of Hebrew words, to other words related to the same root…

      This is an area which Christians do not understand very well. In the Barcelona disputation in the middle ages, Pablo Christiani presented to the Ramban parables and Midrashim from the Talmud that he thought proved that Jesus was the Messiah, only to have been told he has misinterpreted the meaning of this parable as well as that the Ramban just didnt accept the opinion of that Midrash.

      3) what really came from Sinai, and what was added later by various Rabbis,

      I mentioned this before. You are not allowed to add or take away from G-ds law. The Sages and later Rabbis are commanded to erect fences to protect the law. These we are commanded to follow. A distinction is made between these fences/Rabbinic decrees and G-ds law. The rule is that when it comes to biblical law, rulings are more stringent and more lenient when it comes to Rabbinic decrees. Things that are added by Rabbis, is only done so to safeguard the law as they are commanded to do. They are not introducing brand new laws, they fall within the parameters of the 613 Mitzvot. There are a lot of traditions that are not laws which have been introduced which are observed, and Judaism as a religion is very rooted in traditions. You have to be able though to distinguish whether or not the things you are talking about is a tradition, a rabbinic decree or a biblical law, or a received oral law, a derived law…. They are not all the same. This doesnt mean that if something is a tradition and not a law that there is no value in observing it. There is no law on wearing a Kippah, it developed as a tradition, symbolising to remind us that there is always something above us. It came to be a symbol of identifying oneself as a Jew, and today it is more a symbol of identifying oneself as a religious Jew. But halachically, you could be an observant Jew and argue that I have no obligation to wear the Kippah. Your friends may find it strange and unusual, because it is untraditional, and we value our traditions. You could not however do this with Shatnez, wearing wool with linen, it is a biblical prohibition. You will also find that different Jews wear different atire and this reflects differences of attitudes towards different issues. For example the Ultra Orthodox wear black suits and black hats, this is not a biblical or rabbinic law, no one is claiming that it is, this began in response to the Haskalah, and the assimilation that increased amongst the early Reform movement, so they are a reactionary group to the idea of how we respond to changes that occur in the outside world. At the time that was how Jews dressed, and so from that point on they continue to dress that way, to symbolise that they will not compromise the Torah just because the non-Jewish world thinks that we now live in a modern world which is somehow unique and religion is something of the past or should be updated or whatever. You will of course find Orthodox Jews who do not reject modernity, the sciences, and are less isolationist, and engage in the modern world, they dress like everyone else, they get a secular education as well as a religious one. There are variances in style of Kippot and dress between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, which come about more through local trends, climate, culture… As well as differring attitudes towards the State of Israel. Traditions have developed and of course have changed, Moses and the generation that left Egypt did not eat Lockshen and Kneidelach in Chicken soup on Friday night, or eat Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese bagels on a Sunday.

      4) if it was so important why wasn’t it written down for hundreds of years,

      We were not supposed to write it down, it was intended to remain Oral. The decision to write it down came with the Roman persecution, because so many Jews were being killed and dispersed that there was a fear that it could get lost.

      .5) if it’s the Oral Law, why is it written down now,

      See above.

      .6) why should we continue to define work based on 39 categories that relate to the lives of wandering shepherds living in tents, and farmers, when most of us don’t live like that,

      It is your assumption that those 39 categories relate exclusively to the lives of a wandering shepherd. I mentioned before they pertain to activities that were involved in the building of the Tabernacle. One of the reasons we remember Shabbat is as a testimony of G-ds creation of the world, after 6 days of G-d creating the universe or a home for us to live in He rested. The Torah does not take much time in talking about this, 2 chapters, its not a great effort for G-d t0 do that for us. But for us to attempt to create a home for Him, is a different story, the end of the book of Exodus goes on and on about it, it can become on the surface of it a bit boring, but this was our act of creation from whos activity we are to cease from on Shabbat. Not just your day job in order to watch TV.

      Those activities have nothing to do with the life of a wandering Shepherd, had G-d commanded the Israelites to build it whilst they were settled it would have been no different. And again, back to the point, it is a received law from Sinai given by G-d. Who are you to decide that you think it is non applicable or to change it? You seem to have all sorts of issues with our Rabbis who have done nothing more than dedicate their lives to protecting G-ds law, preserving what G-d revealed to us and enabling the Torah and Jews who are faithful to it to survive, and you seem to think that they without any authority start changing the law. But that is exactly what you are suggesting, your suggestions are typically raised by non-orthodox denominations of Judaism, but they justify changing or ignoring G-ds laws because they dont believe that G-d gave them, they think that even the Torah is the work of man, but ‘inspired’ by G-d. And so they think that it was all applicable back then but not today. Some speculate that the dietary laws were to do with poor refridgeration and so pork would not keep and people would get sick, so it was forbidden, but today we have fridges so the food doesnt go bad and can be eaten. Or that back then lighting a fire was more strenuous than it is today and so would have been considered work back then, but today we can just flick a switch with no effort at all. I have already gone into length about why this is not the case, and how physical exertion has nothing to do with the definition of melacha/work. They feel that they have the authority to change or redefine these laws, because they do not believe the Torah is from G-d, and therefore not eternally binding. They see it as moral for its time, but that society has moved on and become ‘more ethical’ and that the Torah and G-d should keep up with man, if that’s what you believe, what do you need G-d or the Torah for? Make Rousseau, Hobbes and Kants writings your Bible. But you and I Matthew do not view the Torah that way, we believe that it is given by G-d and is not subject to man deciding that he can change it for whatever reason.

      .7) Were the instructions about sacrificing animals not written down because the method in the desert was different than the method in the Temple, and now that Yahshua has become the sacrifice, this has been fulfilled and is not needed?

      The method of slaughter for sacrifices is the same as it is for Kosher meat as far as I am aware. Jesus was not a sacrifice for anything. Sacrifices were only offered for certain kinds of sins, unintentional sins. You did not bring a sacrifice every time you did something wrong, people atoned for their sins through repentence. The laws pertaining to offering sacrifices only apply when you have a Temple. Since the Temples no longer stand we currently do not have a sacrificial system. This does not mean that Jesus died as an all time sacrifice to replace the Temple and our not bringing sacrifices today. The Torah tells us that in the Messianic era, we will build a third Temple, and that there will be sacrifices again. If Jesus came to completely do away with this, then why does the Torah tell us that we will build a third temple and bring sacrifices again?

      In the Christian bible we hear that even the followers of Jesus continued to bring sacrifices to the Temple after his death! I do not believe that even they believed that his death was a sacrifice for their sins. There are further problems with your claim about the Messiah dying as a sacrifice. If he came to die as a sacrifice and that was the role of the Messiah, and that is what people understood the Messiahs role to be, then Jesus could have turned up at the Temple and claimed “I am the Messiah” and the Kohanim would have said “Really?? Oh Baruch Hashem, we’ve been waiting for you, please come this way and lie on the alter, this slaughtering of animals is hard work, I can now retire, seeing as you have come to atone for all of our sins for all time.”

      That is how it would have happened had the people held by your understanding of the purpose of the Messiah. But that isnt what the people understood the Messiah to be and it is not how the Gospels account for his death. He is crucified, crucifixion was not a light punishment, the Romans used it to make an example of people, an act of deterrence, particularly against rebels, and messianic claiments. Why would the Romans do this if the Messiah was to come to die to atone for your sins? Do you think that sounds threatening to the Romans? Or that they would care. The Messiah was supposed to redeem the people of Israel, physically, and restore Israel to independence, to ingather the exiles, to be a descendent of King david and restore the monarchy, this meant leading a messianic war against Rome. Much like all the other failed Messiah of his era, who are mentioned in the book of Acts by Gamliel. Or Bar Kochva for example, no other Messianic claiment came along claiming to have come to die to atone for your sins and I do not believe Jesus did either, I believe that the historical Jesus too was planning a rebellion against Rome. What leads me to suspect this? On his Cross the Romans write “King of the Jews”, not heretic against Judaism or blasphemer… There is no reason why the Jews would have wanted to crucify someone who could have been their Messiah, the Gospels do not mention anything about his death atoning for sin. The High Priest in this era though was not a Pharisee, the Pharisees were not collaborators with Rome, the Saducees were, and were a minority who rejected the Oral law, and whos lives revolved most around the Temple, they like King Herod, were not annointed or chosen by the people, but by Rome to do their bidding, puppets of Rome. It makes sense that they would act to protect their priviledged position by turning trouble makers for Rome ove to the Romans. Another reason for suspecting this is that Jesus says “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34) or

      “Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: `And he was numbered with the transgressors’ ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That is enough,” he replied. (Luke 22:35-38, NIV)

      Whilst at the same time there are passages that imply a more passifistic teaching of Jesus, one cant but help but wonder whether or not these verses may suggest along with others based on our knowledge of the situation at the time, what the Jewish scriptures teach and what people believed, that the historical Jesus most likely claimed to be the Messiah as the Messiah was always understood in Judaism and was killed. I dont think that Jesus himself even thought that he was the Messiah once he was on the cross. He calls out “My G-d, My G-d why have you foresaken me.”

      If you know anything about Jewish martyrdom and Kiddush Hashem, you can see a problem here. We are commanded to Love G-d, with all your heart and all your soul. This is to love G-d unconditionally and to sanctify His name, Kiddush Hashem. This is a subject that really cuts to the heart of Jewish faith it demands even in such circumstances as the death camps as an ultimate sign of ones love of G-d. That in spite of such injustice being inflicted upon us we are to have complete faith.

      Eliezer Berkovitz describes the death of Rabbi Akiva (recorded in the Talmud) is one of the most illustrative examples of one who fulfilled the commandment of Kiddush Hashem.

      “The classic example of Jewish martyrology is the manner of the death of R. Akiva. As they were tearing the flesh from his body with iron-pronged combs, “he took upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven.” His disciples asked him “Thus far?” His answer was: “All my life I was worried by the verse, ‘You shall love the Eternal your God… with all your soul,’ that is, even when he takes your soul. I said to myself: When will I have the opportunity to fulfil it?” As he surrendered his soul, with the completion of the verse of the shema, “Hear O Israel, the Eternal our God, the Eternal is One,” he prolonged the pronunciation of the word “One.” When R. Akiva was captured by the soldiers of Hadrian, he had little choice to die or not to die as the average Jew in the death camps in Europe. He had already forfeited his life by renouncing Judaism. It would not have helped him. He rebelled against Rome and was under sentence of death. As the sentence was carried out, R. Akiva was fulfilling a religious commandment: He recited the Shema, whose meaning is the acceptance of the yoke of the kingdom of heaven, the affirmation of ones love of God. The “Thus far?” of the disciples meant: Is one obligated to fulfil this commandment even at a moment of ones being forsaken by God? The question becomes even more poignant just because there was no choice for R. Akiva…..

      It would, however, seem that with this act alone, the highest form of Kiddush Hashem is not yet reached. There is still a great deal in it for man. At this stage, man is still acting within the frame of reference of this world. He preserves his dignity in the face of a this-worldly challenge. The ultimate phase of Kiddush Hashem begins after the choice has been made, when the martyr approaches the stake at which he is to be burned. The world has died to him, he is no longer of it. He no longer confronts man and his works. He is alone – with his God. And God is silent, and God is hiding his face. God has abandoned him. Now man is truly alone. If at this moment he is able to accept his radical abandonment by God as a gift from God that enables him to love his God with all his soul, “even when he takes your soul,” he has achieved the highest form of Kiddush Hashem. “Thus far?” asked the disciples; “thus far” answered the master. R. Akiva does not complain to his God, asking why he has forsaken him. His radical abandonment is the great moment for which he has been waiting all his life. For no one can so completely surrender to him as one who is completely forsaken by him.”

      You see, I dont mean to offend Christians by this but I find Rabbi Akiva’s story to be more admirable as a “Passion narrative”, there were Chasidim too who walked to the Gas chamber quietly reciting the Shma, and these people were just Rabbis or ordinary people, but who had a devout faith, they didnt think their death redeemed us or atoned for the sins of others or anything. So if Jesus is to be seen as the Messiah or in your view G-d, would you not expect this from him too? Rather than what the Gospels tell us he says on the Cross? I think the historical Jesus more likely died as a martyr and that the Gospel accounts are unreliable.

      .8) Perhaps the Oral Law was given so the written Torah could be applied to the circumstances of the day, which would change (geography, society, technology, etc.). There was electricity at Mt. Sinai in the form of lightning, but not AC/DC power at man’s disposal.

      Yes, that its partly why it was given, the world changes, our circumstances change and so we need principles and a methodology for how to apply the law to those new circumstances which we got from G-d as well through Moses.

      I will leave it there, you asked a lot of good questions, I hope that this was helpful. I am interested to hear your comments.

      C.S.

  34. Jim says:

    Matthew,

    I am going to take up your explanations of the NT use of the Torah, Neviim, and Tehillim. But, I don’t have time to deal with all of them at one time. It may take me a couple days to do so. And I would ask you to consider the idea that you have done nothing different than Horace in explaining these passages. The Gospel writers have misappropriated the writings of the TaNaT (the scriptures most authoritative to you at the time the NT was written) in exactly the manner of Horace does when defending his worship of a tree. Also, having assumed the truth of those writings, you have undercut any ability to test the truth of them. If you are unwilling to honestly investigate the claims of the Gospel writers, you will never honestly know if they are to be trusted.

    When you defend these scriptures, you ignore context, like Horace. In defending the use of Psalm 41, you ignore that John isn’t just drawing a parallel between Jesus and David. Jesus says that it was done so that the scripture might be fulfilled. It is purposefully, necessarily done. In fact, Christians will use it as one of the many prophecies Jesus fulfilled (300+, can you believe it?! It could only be done by the hand of God!) But when one reads the scripture, one finds it isn’t waiting for fulfillment at all. And one cannot claim that Jesus has fulfilled a scripture if when taken in context the rest cannot apply to him. According to Christian theology Psalm 41 absolutely cannot be about Jesus, because Jesus is supposed to not have sinned. It is no answer to say that David had sinned, just as everyone else. If this was a message about the Messiah, waiting to be fulfilled, then David should have omitted any reference to sin. It is incompatible with Christian belief to tie this Psalm to Jesus.

    Likewise, Hosea 11 is incompatible with Jesus. That too talks about sin, which Jesus is supposed to never have done. Hosea 11.2: “The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and offering incense to idols.” And as pointed out, it directly tells us that it is talking about Israel. It is about the Exodus.

    For you to defend the usage of this as saying that prophecy is “all-telling but not all-knowing” is apologetic frippery. One cannot take it seriously. Matthew is no different than Horace, forcing his theology on a verse that doesn’t apply at all to his beliefs. He only gets away with this among Christians because they believe in Jesus first, and then they read this verse. Believing in the words of Matthew already, they come up with terms like “dual prophecy” and “all-telling but not all-knowing”.

    The same people will constantly appeal to the “context” when someone challenges the words of Jesus. They acknowledge the general principle when it suits their purpose. You have appealed to context, yourself. You and David have had long arguments over the context of Matthew and Mark. And you have appealed to the context many times in discussing things with Dina and me. However, the context is irrelevant when quoting TaNaT. This is inconsistent.

    For Matthew to take only a portion of a phrase and apply it to Jesus is absolutely a violation of the scripture. By taking a few words here and there from a work, one can portray it any way one chooses. However, this is not a legitimate practice. And I know that Christians don’t really accept it either, because they discuss context whenever it fits their agenda. They only ignore it when it contradicts their beliefs. They would look at the “teachings” of Horace with contempt (as they should.)

    That is why it is not only a “minor point” among many when discussing Hosea. Although it isn’t the most major prophecy, I think it it one that cannot be overlooked. First, it shows that Matthew isn’t interested in the truth. He is either ignorant and cannot be bothered to verify his sources, or he is deliberately lying. And if he is willing to lie here, then I can’t trust his testimony elsewhere. And if he is ignorant, then I can’t trust his interpretation of events. I will certainly say, either way, that Matthew does not hold authority equal to or greater than Torah, Neviim, Tehillim, nor even the Ketuvim.

    To say that one fulfills a prophecy is to relate the prophecy specifically to that individual. It is not to draw an analogy. It is not to apply it to one person different from others to whom it applies in a similar manner. Nor is it to apply it to a person differently than it applies to other individuals. And therefore, when you bring out song lyrics like “Brave” (again!) it is irrelevant. One would not say that I fulfill the lyrics to “Piano Man” because I play a piano. (I don’t by the way, but if I did, you wouldn’t say it was fulfilled in me.) Nor if I perform some action at “Nine o’clock on a Saturday” would you say it was a fulfillment of the song, because I’ve clearly manufactured a meaning to the song that wasn’t there. Fulfillment indicates that the scripture was written for this instance specifically to be done in the future, such as when Jericho was rebuilt. When it was built, the man who built it lost his children, just as Joshua had spoken hundreds of years before. It was not a vague, out-of-context fulfillment. It had a one-to-one correlation. It is not a fulfillment to relate it vaguely to someone by some rough similarity.

    Consider this a general overview. I shall try to be more specific regarding the prophecies going forward. I would urge you to consider Isaiah 7.14 more thoroughly. If you do, you will see that the word “virgin” isn’t all that Matthew changed. Moreover, the context has nothing again to do with the Messiah. Note that Matthew doesn’t quote 7.15, which is a continuation of that prophecy.

    Jim

    • C.S says:

      Sorry to but in Jim, upon reading this I was reminded of something Rabbi B wrote in his supplement to Contra Brown, I have dished it up as I thought it makes the point very well regarding choosing verses that are clearly not talking about the Messiah and claiming that they are “hinting” or pointing to Jesus. Matthew you have to ask yourself the following question with this subject. If you were to read these verses five years before Jesus was born, would you think that this was a Messianic prophesy? You must put yourself in that position and then assess the claims made by the Christian Bible. If you can take any verses from anywhere at random said by a prophet and say that he was hinting at Jesus, why couldn’t anyone else who thinks that someone else is the Messiah take completely different unrelated verses, rip them out of context and then say ‘look the whole Tanakh is pointing at ‘Shabbatai’ or ‘Charlie…’

      Rabbi B explained it well:

      III. 20. Page 154
      Brown goes on to argue that there are many “minor, specific fulfillments, along with allusions, foreshadowings, and midrashic (i.e., homiletical) applications of texts” that were fulfilled by Jesus.He provides the following list; “he was to betrayed by a friend, sold for thirty pieces of silver, be forsaken by his disciples, be accused by false witnesses, be mocked and beaten, be pierced in his hands and feet, be crucified with thieves, pray for his persecutors, be the object of ridicule, have his garments gambled for, be deserted by God, agonize with thirst, commit himself to God, have his friends stand far off, be spared having his bones broken, be pierced be hidden by darkness, be buried with the rich, and die a voluntary, substitutionary death.” Brown goes on to admit that not all of these references can be called messianic prophecies. Brown explains that the authors of the Christian scriptures “in keeping with the sentiments later expressed in the Rabbinic
      writings, saw the whole of the Hebrew scriptures as pointing to King Messiah.”

      Some of these “allusions” are nowhere to be found in the Jewish scriptures. No one in the Jewish scriptures was sold for thirty pieces of silver, no one is pierced in his hands and feet, no one is crucified with thieves, and no one is buried with the rich. These are the products of the Christian imagination.

      Even the allusions that are to be found in scripture do not support Brown’s position. Using
      Brown’s arguments we could say one can claim to be the Messiah if he sleeps (Psalm 3:5, 4:9), cries every night (Psalm 6:7), does battle against enemy regiments (Psalm 18:30), leaps over a wall (Psalm 18:30), NOT to die with sinners (Psalm 26:9), to bring offerings of victory in the Temple (Psalm 27:6), be abandoned by his parents – both father and mother (Psalm 27:10), NOT to be given over into the hands of his enemies (Psalm 31:9), be saved from a besieged city (Psalm 31:22), to afflict himself with fasting when his enemies fall sick (Psalm 35:13), to be saved from a mud-filled pit (Psalm 40:3), be healed from sickness (Psalm 41:4), be considered subhuman (Isaiah 52:14), be barred from habitation with other people (Isaiah 53:3), be buried with the wicked (Isaiah 53:9), be killed with the rich (Isaiah 53:9), be unjustly accused of violence and deception (Isaiah 53:9), and be hired for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12). I do not believe that the Messiah has to accomplish any of these, what I am demonstrating here is that Brown’s list of “allusions” is entirely arbitrary and proves nothing.

      • Jim says:

        C.S.,

        Well said. Butt in anytime.

        Jim

      • C.S (& Jim)
        I am understanding the basic point you are making here (and with Horace’s Tree), although you are exaggerating to the extreme to really drive the point home.
        However, you wrote, QUOTE:
        “no one is pierced in his hands and feet, no one is crucified with thieves, and no one is buried with the rich. These are the products of the Christian imagination.”

        See Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 53:9
        (really all of Isaiah 52:13-53:120

        • C.S says:

          Matthew,

          I reject outright your telling us that we are being extreme to prove a point, we are merely doing exactly what Christians do with the Bible to try to insist that verses wherever they are, however they are cut up, no matter what the context are talking about the Messiah and more specifically talking about Jesus. It gets worse though Matthew, as Jim and Dina raised that the Christian bible will not only use the above techniques but will invent prophesies that are nowhere to be found in the Bible, or they will deliberately be mistranslated so as to fit their assertions. An example of this is Isaiah chapter 9:5.

          “For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us, and the dominion will rest on his shoulder; the Wondrous Advisor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, called his name Prince of Peace.”

          This verse is talking about the birth of King Hezekiah. But some Christian bibles translate “has been born” to “will be born” to asset that this is something that will happen in the future and then claim that it is a messianic prophesy talking about Jesus.

          As Dina pointed out you constantly demand that when we give you sources in the Tanakh for our claims that they be clear, explicit, in context and not be an isolated unclear verse that if interpreted that way would contradict numerous teachings elsewhere which teach otherwise which are clear, consistent and explicit. Yet you do not feel that you or Christians must adhere to the exact same standard when we demand it in return from you. This is nothing more than dishonesty on your part.

          Genesis 3:15 is not talking about the Messiah, G-d is addressing the punishment and suffering of the snake and his descendants for enticing Eve.

          “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring an her offspring. He will pound your head, and you will bite his heel.” Genesis 3:15

          Can you explain to me how this passage is talking about the Messiah (not Jesus, for 1500 years Jews read this passage and still read it and do not see that it is clearly discussing anything to do with the Messiah). Both Jews and Christians agree that for example the the Messiah must be a descendent of King David and one of many messianic prophecies. Or the ingathering of the Exiles, or that there will be universal knowledge of G-d. We know this and agree, because they are clear and explicit and can be found in multiple passages throughout the bible, not on vague isolated snippets of verses that are talking about completely different subjects.

          You seem to not understand how it is possible that we cannot see how Isaiah 53 is speaking about Jesus. To be honest Matthew, after studying this passage more deeply, we find it hard to understand how you possibly could. This is not a Jewish bias, there are many Christians who actually agree with us, and non religious scholars too. From a plain reading of the text it is very unclear whether or not this is Messianic or not. It is certainly messianic in that it is discussing the exaltation of G-ds suffering servant which will occur in the Messianic age, but we assert that the suffering servant is the righteous/loyal remnant of the Jewish people who kept G-ds Torah and the covenant and suffered throughout history as a result of it.

          To say that Isaiah 53 is so clearly describing Jesus is not so. I advise that in order for us to have a reasonable discussion on this particular subject you watch the Jews for Judaism counter missionary seminar on Isaiah 53 by Rabbi Skobac. This is quite long, but I do not see much point in typing out all the arguments on this subject here when I can refer you to a comprehensive presentation on our views on this subject here

          I will quote here some points made by Rabbi Skobac below on the issues with Isaiah 53 being about Jesus as you claim:

          “• Followers of Jesus didn’t understand Isaiah 53 as being Messianic, Matthew 16:21-22, Mark 9:31-
          32. There is no reason to assume that this passage is about the Messiah – it certainly isn’t clear.

          • There is no corroboration for the Christological reading of this passage anywhere in the Hebrew
          Bible; the entire case for the Christian concept of the Messiah rests on this controversial chapter.
          The Jewish picture of the Messiah is based on dozens of clear passages throughout the Bible.

          • Circular reasoning: Christians may assume this chapter speaks about the death of the Messiah
          to atone for sin, yet there is no proof that Jesus is the subject of the passage. It could apply to
          anyone who suffers.

          • It is worth noting that this chapter, the nuclear bomb in the missionary arsenal, suffers from two
          fatal flaws: it isn’t clearly Messianic and it doesn’t clearly point exclusively to Jesus.

          Actually, Jesus is the one person in the history of the world least likely to be the subject of
          this passage. Isaiah begins by telling us that G-d’s servant will ultimately be exalted, lifted
          up, and raised very high (52:13). Isaiah goes on to say that when this happens, the kings and
          nations of the world will be totally stunned and taken by surprise. The one individual whose
          elevation as Messiah would NOT shock the world would be Jesus of Nazareth!

          • Reasons why Isaiah 53 doesn’t correspond to the picture painted of Jesus in the New Testament:
          a) 53:3 says the servant would be despised and rejected by all, yet the Gospels say Jesus was
          universally popular, ie. Luke 4:14-15, Mark 3:7-9.
          b) 53:3 says the servant would be well-acquainted with sickness and pain; there is no evidence this was true of Jesus.
          c) 53:7 says the servant won’t open his mouth and protest before his tormentors, yet in the Gospels, Jesus defends himself cleverly at his trial before the Romans, John 18:36; and protests on the cross: “My G-d, my G-d,why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46.
          d) 53:8 is speaking about a group of people who will suffer, not an individual, “as a result of the transgression of my people, THEY (lamo) were wounded.”
          e) 53:9 says the servant would do no violence, yet Jesus:
          1. Attacked people with a whip in the Temple – John 2:15
          2. Needlessly destroyed a fig tree – Mark 11:12-14
          3. Needlessly killed an entire herd of swine – Matthew 8:30-32
          4. Said in a parable, “Those enemies of mine who didn’t want me to rule over them,bring them here and slay them in my presence.” – Luke 19:27
          f) 53:9 says the servant will have no deceit in his mouth, yet Jesus:
          1. Contradicts himself in John 18:20 because he always taught secretly – Mark 4:10-12,
          Matthew 16:20, Luke 8:56
          2. Told the Romans his was just a spiritual kingdom (John 18:36), yet told his followers
          to purchase swords – Luke 22:36
          g) 53:10 the servant would have children and live a long life.

          G-D’S SUFFERING SERVANT IS ISRAEL:

          a) Context of surrounding chapters is about the Jewish people who suffer at the hands of the
          nations, but are ultimately redeemed by G-d.
          b) Isaiah identifies the servant as the Jewish people, 41:8-9, 43:10, 44:1-2;21, 45:4, 48:20, 49:3,
          54:16-17.
          c) Jewish nation is often identified as an individual, Deuteronomy 32, Hoseah 8:3; 14:5-6,
          Jeremiah 50:19, Exodus 4:22, etc.
          d) End of Chapter 52: Jewish nation will be exalted in Messianic age, Isaiah 60:1-3,10,14-15;
          61:6-9; 62:2-3, Zepheniah 3:19-20, Nachum 2:2.
          e) Nations and kings will be astonished when this happens, Micah 7:15-17, Isaiah 41:11,
          Jeremiah 16:19.
          f) Chapter 53 is a continuation of 52; the nations express their shock, “Who would have believed
          what we are hearing?” The chapter continues with the confession the nations will make in the
          future when they are confronted with the true nature of their relationship to the Jewish people.
          They will admit that they had mistreated the Jewish people throughout history (Jeremiah 10:25).
          The nations will confess that the Jewish people suffered “from our sinfulness” (or “as a result of
          our sinfulness”). They thought that by using the Jewish people as scapegoats, their own problems
          would be alleviated. The nations will confess that throughout history, they based their mistreatment of Jews on their assumption that G-d had rejected Israel (Jeremiah 50:7).

          g) Jewish people went through their suffering without rejecting G-d – Psalms 44:12-23. One
          purpose of Jewish suffering is a test, as in Genesis 22, to purify them and strengthen them.
          h) By passing this historical test, the Jewish people will be fulfilling G-d’s purpose, and will bring about the transformation of the world.

          • Numerous non-Jewish and Christian commentaries to the Bible accept this understanding of the Suffering Servant as referring to Israel.” (Rabbi Michael Skobac, How to answer a Christian Missionary)

        • Dear C.S, (Jim, Dina, Yaakov LarryB, David & others)

          I appreciate your theological insight, depth of thought, and research. You have brought to light some good questions, and exposed some common but false “Christian” presuppositons, blind spots, double standards, and “invisible lenses” that many “Christians” tend to see things through. I have learned things from each of you, and I am thankful for that.

          C.S, you wrote, QUOTE:
          “Genesis 3:15 is not talking about the Messiah, G-d is addressing the punishment and suffering of the snake and his descendants for enticing Eve. “

          “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring an her offspring. He will pound your head, and you will bite his heel.” Genesis 3:15

          Well, that is begging the question. That is your interpretation of Genesis 3:15. I would see this as a prophecy that the Messiah, the seed of the woman, a male descendent of Eve, will strike a death blow to the head of the serpent, (who brought sin into the world) while at the same time being struck in the heel (having his heel literally nailed to the cross, which happened to be the usual Roman practice) to save and redeem us from sin. This is a very big deal, like Isaiah 52/53 is.

          You have raised the issue that Christians tend to read the Hebrew Scriptures through the lenses of the New Testament and see Jesus everywhere, maybe 300 times, which seems like extreme exaggeration, reading things into the text, adding meanings, quoting out of context, etc. like “Horace’s Tree.” I believe I have understood your general objections to this approach correctly. And your objections have some merit. (I cannot speak for all “Christian” theologians who have lived for almost 2000 years. – we all have blind spots, because we are not God.)

          We all have lenses that we see through, whether or not we are aware of them.
          .1) For Protestant Christians, to quote from the New Geneva Study Bible’s introduction to Paul’s letter to the Romans, “All the “Reformers saw Romans as the God-given key to understanding all Scripture…”

          .2) Most “Christians” today would probably say the “New Testament” is their lens, but really they mean Paul’s letters, practically speaking.

          .3) For me, it’s the Testimony of Jesus, recorded by the 4 Gospel writers, (in harmony with the Law and the Prophets.)

          .4) For you C.S, (& Jim & Dina,) your lens appears to be the “Oral Law & Rabbinic Traditions.”
          Regarding “just how important are they today to Jews & Gentiles”
          You responded, QUOTE:
          “They are extremely important, because as I discussed, the Written law is unintelligible in many ways without the Oral law which clarifies its meaning. You would have a very hard time reading the Written law and knowing exactly what is being asked of you.”
          So in other words you understand “the Oral Law” to be “the God-given key to understanding all Scripture…” right?

          C.S You wrote, QUOTE:
          “So yes, I do not distinguish between the law and what is called today the Orthodox interpretation of the law (I.E. What it means to not ignite a spark on Shabbat). Because we believe that G-d gave the law along with its interpretation to us at Sinai, and that is the interpretation that has stood the test of time for 3500 years and will continue to.”

          “extremely important”?
          Compared to what? The Shema & the Ten Commandments? I don’t think so. Everything is not equally important. If God chose to have something written down, it seems fairly obvious this is more important then something not written down. I’m not denying the existence of the “Oral Law”, but rather stating that it should be a considerably lower priority level.

          In the Hebrew Scriptures, we can see the three offices of Prophet, Priest & King. Usually, it was the Prophets who spoke the actual Word of God, and they were usually in a small minority against the prevailing majority opinion. So, with all due respect, the idea that the majority opinion of the Jewish religious leaders must be the correct one, is nonsense, based on the Torah, Prophets & Writings. That sounds like an idea from “Rabbinic Judaism”, not the Word of God.
          https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/horaces-tree-by-jim/#comment-10702

          Yes there are plenty of greedy hypocrites around everywhere, including “Christian” churches. But
          Overall, I believe that for some followers of Jesus, the reason they see Jesus everywhere is because they are head over heals in love with Jesus the Jewish Messiah.
          This song says it better than I can.

          More Like Falling In Love (Jason Gray)
          http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=jason+gray+more+like+falling+in+love+youtube&FORM=VIRE8#view=detail&mid=73CA4BFF4789929E014473CA4BFF4789929E0144

          • C.S says:

            Dear Matthew,

            “I would see this as a prophecy that the Messiah, the seed of the woman, a male descendent of Eve, will strike a death blow to the head of the serpent, (who brought sin into the world) while at the same time being struck in the heel (having his heel literally nailed to the cross, which happened to be the usual Roman practice) to save and redeem us from sin. This is a very big deal, like Isaiah 52/53 is.”

            That is an interesting interpretation, but as I asked you before, if Jesus had not been born yet, would you read this verse and interpret it this way? Are you suggesting that the Snake is some sort of foreshadowing of the Messiah? What you have offered us here in your interpretation of this verse is allegorical, speculative, very lose and far from the plain, simple meaning of the text. Christianity is so centred on its concept of the Messiah coming to die to atone for sins, to the point where the name of the religion is Messianism/Christianity and so therefore it looks to interpret everything in light of its concept of the Messiah. Judaism doesn’t, the Messiah is a fundamental part of Judaism but at the same time if you eliminated all the verses in the Torah talking about the Messiah or even the actual coming of the Messiah in practical terms and most of Jewish theology you would not notice any change in Jewish life, whereas in Christianity if you take away the concept of the Messiah, there is nothing left, it can’t stand on anything else.

            You keep raising the point that you read the Tanakh through the lens of the Gospels, whilst we read it through the lens of the Oral law. This is not the case Matthew, at the moment we are dealing with narrative such as the verse you raised in Genesis, and with prophecies. Yes we have an Oral law, and I explained that this is particularly important with regards to the legal aspects of the Torah, how to observe the written law. It is therefore not distinguishable from its relevance to putting laws within the written text into practice. So it is not secondary to the written text.

            We are now addressing narrative, Genesis. What you provided us with is allegorical, its not the plain meaning of the text. We have a principle that a text never departs from its plain, simple meaning. So it is on this level of analysis that we can address scripture with regards to assessing a subject like whether or not someone is or is not the messiah. All that we are presenting to you is the plain meaning of the text, we are not believe it or not providing you with our allegorical interpretations of these verses. We have them, but they are not exhaustive or exclusive, nor do they as you suggest take priority in interpretation over the plain meaning of the text. There are many layers and levels that we can read the text on, we are not engaging with you on those other levels. We have our own midrashic and esoteric readings of scripture, but we do not really have just one way of interpreting texts on that level, there are many, they can conflict and we are not bound by accepting all of them. To us, to provide your own allegorical interpretations and insist that these interpretations even though they conflict with plain readings of the text or are not supported by it or could be viewed completely differently does not hold much weight.

            You gave an allegorical interpretation of this verse in Genesis, about the serpent bringing sin into the world, and that it is somehow the Messiahs role to remove sin from the world, and redeem and save us. That’s all well and good, but is this a valid interpretation? What does the plain meaning of the Tanakh elsewhere when actually explicitly talking about the role of the Messiah tell us about the Messiah? And what do the chapters addressing the subject of how we atone for our sins tell us about how we atone for our sins? Christians assert that Jesus died and suffered to atone for our sins. Where does the Torah teach that explicitly? In fact the opposite is true, after the building of the Golden calf, Moses asks G-d to spare them and let him be punished instead. Moses is essentially proposing the Christian position, that he be allowed to die for their sin. And G-d says no, each person is accountable and pays the price for their own sins. You cannot insert Christian bible ideas in between the lines, that are elsewhere explicitly contradicted. Read the Hebrew bible on its own terms, you can’t simply zoom in on verses that sound like you can loosely use to fit your already arrived at conclusions about Jesus.

            You admit to reading the bible through that lens, we are not, no matter what you say, reading it through any lens other than what the text says, when we engage in these discussions with you. We admit to having other ways of reading scripture that is not the plain reading, but we cannot discuss these sorts of matters using such methods. We can only discuss the subject reading the Tanakh on its own terms, not with you bringing ideas which you get from the Gospels, or us bringing Midrashim. And that is all we are asking of you. Christians and Jews both agree that the Tanakh is authoritative and from G-d and that is what must be used in such discussions using the plain meaning of the text. I don’t think if you were discussing such matters with Horace or Charlie you would appreciate them using speculative, allegorical interpretations to whatever unrelated verse they choose to dish up to support their claims. There is no place for that in this discussion. The Tanakh gives us clear passages that address the Messiah, and the messianic age, these passages both Jews and Christians agree on. There is not one verse that Jews hold to be messianic passages that a Christian disagrees on and claims they are not, but there are verses like the ones you are providing where all Jews agree that these are not talking about the Messiah, and even many Christians will agree with us, but some Christians like yourself are insisting that they are messianic somehow.

            We have a definition in the Tanakh, a criterion for measuring whether or not someone is or is not the Messiah, and it is obvious to all that Jesus did not meet that criterion. And Christians admit this, so how do they continue to believe that he was? With their belief that he will fulfil them when he returns. There is one small problem with this, how do they know he will return? Because the Christian bible said that he would. But there is nothing in the Hebrew bible that talks about the Messiah coming a second time. If you can claim that he was the Messiah and that he will return without having fulfilled the prophecies, then you can make that claim for anyone who claimed to be the Messiah but died without fulfilling those prophecies. How then do you know it is Jesus, it could have been Shabbatai Tzvi, or Bar Kochvah… or anyone else who lived and is now dead. If so, they only get the title of the Messiah when all those prophecies have been fulfilled by them.

            Another problem is that in the Christian bible, Jesus talking about his second coming was that he claimed he would return in his disciples lifetime, not some indefinite time in the future in 2-3000 years from then.

          • Dear C.S,
            RE: Genesis 3:15, you wrote, QUOTE:
            “if Jesus had not been born yet, would you read this verse and interpret it this way?

            No.
            And that is frequently the nature of true Prophecy. The prophet of Yahweh speaks for God, regardless of the consequences, without knowing many details about the fulfillment, full meaning, future implications, possible multiple meanings, etc. (Prophets were all-telling, not all-knowing.)

            Example:
            The Prophet Daniel wrote:
            “I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, ‘My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?’
            He replied, ‘Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.’” [Daniel 12:8-9]

            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “G-d says no, each person is accountable and pays the price for their own sins.”

            Yes we are accountable. Yet in truth, we really can’t pay the full price for our own sins. But that’s the Good News. Yahshua paid it all for us. That is how we can have a right standing with Yahweh our Father in Heaven, through His Son Yahshua.

            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “Christians and Jews both agree that the Tanakh is authoritative and from G-d and that is what must be used in such discussions using the plain meaning of the text.”

            I see 3 authority levels, Torah, Nabi’im, Kethuvim in the Tanakh. I think that you, Jim, Dina & I are all in agreement then to try to focus on the plain meaning of the texts of the Torah, Prophets (& Psalms.) Not the rest of the Kethuvim. Sorry for quoting Daniel. Personally I think Daniel really does belong in the Prophets section, but this is not worth debating here.

            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “there is nothing in the Hebrew bible that talks about the Messiah coming a second time.”

            But the most recent post here on Your Pharisee Friend, “Kosher Jesus”, said in part QUOTE:
            “There is however one Scriptural passage which would perhaps lend weight to the “two advent” theory proposed by Jesus’ followers. This passage is known as the “suffering servant” passage from Isaiah 52:13 thru Isaiah 53:12. This passage describes the servant of God exalted and honored in the Messianic era. But this servant is not an unknown figure. Those who witness his exaltation are shocked because they have known this servant as one acquainted with suffering. They had assumed that his suffering was a sign of God’s displeasure with him and now that they see him honored by God they are stunned into a shocked silence.
            If this passage is indeed referring to the Messiah then we have a case for two advents. The servant described by Isaiah first undergoes a period of suffering and shame and this same servant then experiences honor and glory.”

            Blessings, and Happy Passover,
            Matthew

          • Dina says:

            Matthew, I’ve not responded to a lot of your comments lately. I’m very busy with holiday preparations and will resume our discussion, God willing, after Passover.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • C.S says:

            Matthew,

            You wrote QUOTE
            “No.
            And that is frequently the nature of true Prophecy. The prophet of Yahweh speaks for God, regardless of the consequences, without knowing many details about the fulfillment, full meaning, future implications, possible multiple meanings, etc. (Prophets were all-telling, not all-knowing.)

            Example:
            The Prophet Daniel wrote:
            “I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, ‘My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?’
            He replied, ‘Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.’” [Daniel 12:8-9]”

            I do not understand your reasoning, G-d speaks through prophets for a few reasons, such as to scorn the people for not keeping the commandments, to inform them of what will happen if they continue as they are… and they give prophecies pertaining to events and changes that will happen in the future. I however do not read this verse in Genesis and automatically recognise that it is a messianic prophesy or particularly a Messianic prophesy telling us about the individual Davidic King that we call the Messiah. That is the point that we are making with you, you admit that prior to Jesus being born, you would not have looked at this verse and understood that this verse is in fact talking about the Messiah, but there would have been other verses that you would have known were talking about the Messiah and the Messianic age without any knowledge of Jesus.

            If that is the case then this cannot possibly be a criteria for the Messiah, unless you have come to accept that Jesus is the Messiah based on something completely different. You are not accepting Jesus as being the Messiah based on what the Tanakh tells us about the Messiah and the Messianic age. If the fulfilled prophecies you will provide are like the one in Genesis, which you admit would not have made sense or be viewed as such prior to Jesus birth then all you have left are the actual messianic verses that are universally recognised as such by both Jews and Christians, and Jesus did not fulfil those. You have redefined what the Messiah is, and redefined what passages are messianic in order that they fit somehow with Jesus’s life.

            You wrote in response QUOTE
            “G-d says no, each person is accountable and pays the price for their own sins.”

            Yes we are accountable. Yet in truth, we really can’t pay the full price for our own sins. But that’s the Good News. Yahshua paid it all for us. That is how we can have a right standing with Yahweh our Father in Heaven, through His Son Yahshua.”

            You say yet in truth we cant pay the full price for our sins… and that we need the Messiah to pay it for us…. But you have yet to actually provide any evidence for this teaching in the Tanakh. Where does it say that the role of the Messiah is to come and die as a sacrifice to atone for our sins? The Torah already tells us how we can atone for our sins, through repentance. G-d does not permit human sacrifices, only animals, how Jesus died was not as a sacrifice and it violates all the laws and requirements for how a sacrifice is to be made.

            For more information on these subjects see the links below:

            Jews believe that one person’s death cannot atone for the sins of another
            http://www.whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation1.html

            G-d hates Human Sacrifices
            http://whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation4.html

            Gd is Gd, Humans are Humans,Gd doesn’t become Human, and Humans do not become Gd.
            http://whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation8.html

            Rabbi B wrote about the second advent in relation to whether or not Isaiah 53 is talking about the Messiah or not. We have previously argued and so has Rabbi B that Isaiah 53 is not talking about the Messiah. We have all been pushing for you to watch the link we posted to you so that you can better understand our position on this topic.

            Happy Passover
            C.S.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Matthew,

            I’m back.

            Question for you: some Christians see the story of the copper snake in Numbers 21 as a messianic prophecy. Do you?

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • Dear C.S
            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “I do not understand your reasoning, G-d speaks through prophets for a few reasons, such as to scorn the people for not keeping the commandments, to inform them of what will happen if they continue as they are… and they give prophecies pertaining to events and changes that will happen in the future.”

            Yes I agree with you – God speaks through prophets for a few reasons. My statement about the nature of true Prophecy was not all encompassing, but rather focused on “prophecies pertaining to events and changes that will happen in the future.” In other words, Prophecy is “Forth-telling”, speaking for God. Prophecy is not always “Foretelling” the future, although that is one valid part.

            You wrote of QUOTE:
            “the actual messianic verses that are universally recognised as such by both Jews and Christians, and Jesus did not fulfil those.”

            In terms of Rabbinic tradition, I think we could loosely call these the prophecies about “Messiah ben David.” Without delving into this too deeply I believe generally speaking that these remain unfilfulled. So I guess we pretty much agree on that, and we could focus our attention elsewhere.

            We can focus on
            “Messiah ben Joseph.” Genesis 3:15 & Isaiah 52/53 relate to this heavily. I have started to watch that (long) “Jews for Judaism” video on Isaiah 52/53.

            You wrote, QUOTE:
            “I however do not read this verse in Genesis and automatically recognise that it is a messianic prophesy or particularly a Messianic prophesy telling us about the individual Davidic King that we call the Messiah.”

            In that video, this kind of thinking also seems to be present with Rabbi Skobac. The idea you are putting forth is that in order for a messianic prophecy to be valid, it must be immediately, automatically, universally recognizable to everyone as a Messianic prophecy.

            I simply disagree with that basic foundational premise, because it is so contrary to the content of the Torah and the Prophets.

            Regarding future events, the prophets themselves sometimes didn’t understand their own words. Many people never understood them, and still today many people don’t understand them. Rabbi Skobac quoted the Apostle Peter saying that Jesus is the Messiah, but soon afterward Peter made it clear that his idea was based on Messiah ben David. (not the suffering servant, Messiah ben Joseph.)
            And the point being….what?
            Peter didn’t “get it” at first – but later he did. This is not surprising. It takes time for all of us to learn and grow in our understanding, and God is patient with us.

            Blessings,
            Matthew

          • C.S says:

            Matthew,

            You QUOTE: “In terms of Rabbinic tradition, I think we could loosely call these the prophecies about “Messiah ben David.” Without delving into this too deeply I believe generally speaking that these remain unfulfilled. So I guess we pretty much agree on that, and we could focus our attention elsewhere.

            We can focus on
            “Messiah ben Joseph.” Genesis 3:15 & Isaiah 52/53 relate to this heavily. I have started to watch that (long) “Jews for Judaism” video on Isaiah 52/53.”

            This has nothing to do with Rabbinic tradition Matthew. The term ‘The Messiah’ does not appear anywhere in Tanakh. The Torah talks about Messianic prophecies, what will happen in a transformed world in the Messianic age. That the Jewish people will be ingathered and return to the land of Israel, and will become observant again, that there will be world peace, that all the nations of the world will know G-d, that we will rebuild the temple in Jerusalem…and that we will reinstate the Davidic monarchy, the first of these anointed kings who will reign during the messianic era we call THE Messiah. It is here where Christians get the Jewish concept of the The Messiah from.

            When both Jews and Christians talk about The Messiah, whilst Christians have developed a different concept from us for the Messiah son of David’s role, we are always talking about the son of David. You accept that these prophecies remain unfulfilled. You now are asking us to focus on Messiah ben Joseph. Are you now claiming that Jesus is the Messiah son of Joseph?

            If so, why then does the Christian bible not make this claim? To the contrary, both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke go out of their way to provide genealogical records to show that Jesus is the Messiah the son of David. Nowhere does it claim that he is the Messiah son of Joseph.

            The Messiah ben Joseph is to die in battle against Israel’s enemies during the war of Gog and Magog. And his death will cause the Jewish people to mourn his death and repent and turn back to G-d. The war of Gog and magog has not yet taken place, Jesus did not die in this war at this time as it has not taken place, nor does his death atone for sin, it causes mourning and triggers the Jewish peoples returning to G-d through repentance.

            I refer you to this other article on this site:

            Zechariah 12:10
            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/zechariah-1210/

            For more on this I recommend this where Rabbi Tovia Singer explains the Messiah ben Joseph
            http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Radio/News.aspx/5288#.U01l08d8xJw

    • Dina says:

      Jim, this is so true…but now I’ve got “Piano Man” stuck in my head 🙂

      The double standard–low standard for Christian evidence (out-of-context, non-literal when it suits and literal when it doesn’t, circular reasoning) and high standard for Jewish evidence (must be literal, in context, etc.)–drives me crazy!

      Matthew, if you claim to be reading “Tanat” through the lens of the gospels, then are admitting to circular reasoning. You start with your conclusion, then you find the evidence to fit.

      Have a nice weekend, both of you.

      • Well Dina,
        Thank you for the testimony about the power of music – how a brief reference to a song can stir our thoughts and emotions, in a way that is not necessarily linear logic or a carefully reasoned “proof text.” that must match up every yod and tav. You are kind of like Jesus referring to Psalms sometimes 😉

    • Jim, C.S, Dina & others,
      Although Dr. Brown seems to be too busy “following the Pauls” to listen to me, I think I basically agree with him on this point. QUOTE:
      ‘Brown goes on to admit that not all of these references can be called messianic prophecies. Brown explains that the authors of the Christian scriptures “in keeping with the sentiments later expressed in the Rabbinic
      writings, saw the whole of the Hebrew scriptures as pointing to King Messiah.”’

      Not all Scripture is equal. It isn’t all equally authoritative, equally important, equally clear, equally useful today, or all to be used in the same way. Some books are more important than others, and some parts of a particular book are more important, authoritative, and clear than another part of the same book. Many Jews believe that the entire Tanakh is “Prophecy” and equally authoritative. Many Christians believe that “All Scripture is God-breathed”, meaning that every word in the 66 Books of the Bible is equally “the Word of God”. This view of Scripture is fundamentally flawed. It could be called “Bibliolatry.” But it is very common.

      The “Suffering Servant” in Isaiah chapters 52-53 is such a clear picture of the experience of Jesus that it amazes me people can read it and not see that, (if they are familiar with the Gospels.) This is a big section of text, and very clearly a Messianic prophecy. It is much more clear than other hints and glimmers, such as Hosea 11:1, Psalm 41, or Matthew’s creative word play about the root word for Nazareth / Nazarene meaning “branch”, which I have addressed already. (Isaiah 7:14 may need further cosideration.)

      Blessings,
      Matthew

      • Dina says:

        Matthew, obviously you didn’t bother to read the links to Isaiah 53 that R’ Blumenthal posted or the link to the video lecture I posted.

        Otherwise you would see why it’s amazing that we think you think this is clearly talking about the Messiah when clearly it is talking about corporate Israel.

        • Dina says:

          Sorry, I’m in a hurry. I meant to write: “Otherwise, you would see why we find it amazing that you think this is clearly talking about the Messiah etc.”

  35. Dina says:

    ???

    Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by W.A. Mozart

    Are we getting off topic here?

  36. If you want to “Tap In To The Strength of Judaism” check out this song.
    Baruch Adonai – Joel Chernoff

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s