A Challenge to the Rabbis

Apologetics

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A Challenge to the Rabbisrabbi icon

 

Table of Contents

 

Rabbi Link Apologia
Glazerson & Berger Glazerson Utube
Messiah will be anointed 14th of Adar Purim in Bible Code Glazerson
Response on Pages 2-3
Tovia Singer Singer Utube
Why Would God Inspire the New Testament Authors to Write their Bible in Greek? Why Does it Matter?
Response on Pages 4-5
Yitzchak Breitowitz Breitowitz Utube
Why is Jesus not the Messiah for Jews?
Response on Pages 6-8
Tovia Singer Singer Utube
Are the Core Beliefs of Christian Unitarianism or Islam Closer Judaism?
Response on Page 9-12
Tovia Singer Singer Utube
How did Paul Corrupt the Torah? Rabbi Tovia Singer Reveals Why Paul Altered the Jewish Scriptures
Response on Page 13
Tovia Singer Singer Outreach
Here is the Jewish view of Original Sin …
Response on Page 14

 

Introduction

 

This page was constructed as a counter-foil to polemic, in particular the kind found on different YouTube channels and promoted by the Rabbi's. Rabbinical lack of Torah knowledge is astounding but is probably explained by the substitution of the Torah with the Babylonian Talmud (and the Zohar). Esoteric superstition and the traditions of men are no substitute for the word of God. The prophet Zechariah warned that the Jews would build a base for wickedness in Babylon (Zech 5.11) and it is there that the Rabbi's established several academies throughout Parthia (Babylonia) where they wrote and taught the nearly six million words and twenty volumes of the Babylonian Talmud, derived from the same "traditions of men" that Jesus warned the Pharisees (Rabbi's) against. Even Karaite Judaism or Karaism rejected these traditions and recognize only the Tanakh alone as its supreme authority in Halakha (Jewish religious law) and theology. Psalms 40.7 states that all Torah writes and teaches about messiah (Jesus Christ) and on the basis of that belief we present a challenge that no Rabbi is able to demonstrate that Jesus is not the Messiah (using only the OT and the NT if they wish). It is simply not possible as their knowledge of God and their understanding of Torah is deficient. We hope this page will prove a useful resource for Messianic Jews. It is about time that Jews reclaimed Christianity which is essentially a Jewish religion and an extension (fulfilment) of the Torah- where Jesus is the Messiah - the Son of God - but where he is not God (nor ever claimed to be God). God can be seen in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4.6) as he is the true image (Col 1.15; Heb 1.3) or manifestation (I am /I will be) of Yahweh, which image Adam failed to reflect - truly Yahweh was seen (Yahweh-Yireh) in the face of Jesus Christ:

 

"And Abraham called the name of that place Yahweh-Yireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen". (Gen 22 v.14)

 

Yahweh was seen (ra'ah) afar off in the place where the sacrifice of faith (Abraham saw my day and rejoiced) was foreshadowed. [1]

 

"Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw (ra'ah) the place afar off." (Gen 22 v.4)

 

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad". (John 8 v.56)

 

Abram (אַבְרָם) even had his name changed (Gen 17.5) by the addition of ha (הָ) to Abraham (אַבְרָהָם) giving the r-a-h combination found in Yireh and Moriah which are cognates or derivatives of the Hebrew ra'ah indicating seeing. But the descendants of Abraham are still blind and do not see; "Jesus said unto them (the rabbis), If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth" (John 9.41). Although the rabbis could not see Yahweh-Yireh the blind man could! The blind man also became a manifestation -

 

"Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him (like the blind man): but he said, I AM". (John 9 v.3)

 

"Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him". (John 9 v.9)

 

 

NOTES

[1] John 8.56 - Rejoicing is a play on the name of Isaac (=laughter)

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The Anointing Of The Messiah on Purim (20 March 2019)?

 

According to Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, a Bible Codes expert, the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, which begins this year at sundown on Wednesday, March 20, is a particularly auspicious time for Moshiach (Messiah) to be anointed. He stated that the process of redemption began in 2016, continues this year and, even without full repentance, will end in 2021 and concluded by stating that, “All of them coming here in such a clear way teach us that by keeping the Torah, keeping the Shabbos (Sabbath), keeping everything that God really wants us to keep, only then we’ll have Messiah. If not, then we’ll have to wait, unfortunately, for another almost two years.”[2]

 

Purim is a Festival originating in the time of Esther. A celebration of great joy and rejoicing a very noisy feast where the death of Jewish enemies is celebrated and gifts are exchanged and given to the poor.

 

Purim this year will also usher in a Super Moon on March 20-21 of 2019.moon Rabbi Berger believes that Purim signifies a great victory by Israel over evil and the beginning of redemption,” Rabbi Berger said. “Jews are commanded to be happy in the month of Adar because it is the beginning of all redemption. We begin Purim and then go directly into Passover, signifying the Exodus from Egypt.”Rabbi Berger is in contact with several hidden tzaddikim(righteous people) whose identities are known to only a few rabbis. Last Shabbat (Saturday,i.e. the Sabbath) Rabbi Berger paid a visit to one of these hidden tzadddikim and before he even had a chance to say a word, the holy man began to laugh in joy.“He told me that we are very, very, VERY close to geulah (redemption),” Rabbi Berger said. “He has never acted or spoken like this before. He said that in order to prepare, we need to become very strong in joy and happiness.” [3]

 

This is indeed a very strange story. Who are these "hidden" so called "righteous ones"? Why do they "hide" their light? (Matt 5.14-16) Such generalized statements made by "hidden" tzaddikim cannot be tested or verified. Moreover, the Jews have a very bad track record of "announcing messiahs" as the list totals approximately thirty "messiahs" from the first century onwards [4] with six of them being particularly destructive. [5]

 

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect". (Matt 24 v.24)

The worst of them all was Bar Kochba. Jesus warned his followers about Bar Kochba;

 

"I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive".
(John 5 v.43)

 

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Bar Kochba "liberated" Jerusalem and Judea from Roman occupation for 3.5 years (42 months, Rev 13.5), issued coins depicting his star "above" the temple, "....so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God". (2 Thess 2.4) and persecuted Christians (Rev 13.10). coinAs a result of his rebellion Jerusalem literally became a gentile city (Luke 21.24, Rev 11.2) and Jews were expelled and banished from the city by Hadrian in AD 136. This completed the scattering of the Jews that began in AD 70 with the destruction of the temple as predicted by the messiah, Jesus Christ (Matt 24.2). Bar Kochba forced Christians to buy and sell with his coinage (Rev 13.17) and his epithet was 666 (Rev 13.18). The second century revolt led by the messianic pretender Bar Kochba sets the pattern for the future anti-Christ drama.

 

It was the chief Rabbi Akiva and the scribes and Pharisees that declared Bar Kochba the messiah! The Rabbi's hailed 666 as their King! The epithet (cf. Num 24.17) - "Hear the Son of a Star" has a gematria value of 666 (on this see the article on Kzb. [6]) The Rabbi's have a very good track record for following pretenders and false prophets. Bar Kochba was very charismatic, physically imposing and although zealous for law-keeping he more or less prayed for God to mind his own business as they could take care of themselves! Such a flawed character was extolled by the Rabbi's yet he brought nothing but destruction and scattering on the nation. Yet the true messiah was denied, they did not believe the report (of the Baptist) nor did they find him charismatic (Isaiah 53.1-2, John 12.37-41). I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder....and the rabbi's look with eyes of flesh and therefore see flesh. However, flesh is in opposition to spirit.....all flesh is grass and will perish. Their messiah (Bar Kochba) is dead....the messiah of Abraham and David lives and will appear to the condemnation of the Rabbi's and to the justification of all those who love his appearing (2 Tim 4.8). The first and second century pattern is about to repeat.... like madmen the religious leaders keep making the same mistakes....Jesus said that they will take seven worse spirits into themselves and become completely insane (Luke 11.26). They refuse to be healed.

 

Time periods in Scripture are based on the intervals between Jewish Feast Days. The Feasts are important for understanding the structure of Revelation. [7] The Feast of Purim is alluded to in the Apocalypse, not in connection with the appearance of messiah but with the death of the witnesses:

 

 

"And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth." (Rev 11 v.10)

If anything, the death of the witnesses occurs at Purim after 3.5 years of preaching repentance to the Jews. The Jews have always killed their prophets even-though they insist that given the opportunity they would behave differentlyLightning - this is not true -Jesus pointed out they would behave exactly like their fathers...in fact worse...because not only would they kill the prophets they would also kill the messiah (Matt 23:30-32, Matt 21.38). In the last days they will once again kill the prophets who urge the nation to repent and in doing so they will "fill up the measure of their fathers". They murdered the first century witness (John the Baptist) they will also murder the last witnesses (Rev 11.7-8). Purim does not see the appearance of the messiah. Jesus Christ is the messiah and his return will be visible, unmistakable and with great power. He is already anointed with the Holy Spirit beyond measure.

 

"For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man".
(Matt 24 v. 27 NIB)

 

 

 

quoteArt thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? (John 3 v.10)

 

 

NOTES

[2] See: Can We Expect The Anointing Of The Messiah This Purim?
[3] See: Purim Super moon Ushering Redemption
[4] See: List of Jewish messiah claimants. Note that the many false messiahs that appeared before the first century are not even counted in this tally - they are mentioned in Josephus and in the book of Acts.
[5] See: Six Failed Messiahs From Jewish History
[6] See: Kzb:The Shema and Bar Kochba: the false messiah and 666,March 2018,1-9
[7] For the importance of feast days for structuring see:Time Periods in Daniel and Feasts of the Apocalypse

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Why Would God Inspire the New Testament Authors
to Write their Bible in Greek?
Why Does it Matter?

 

 

Rabbi Tovia Singer presents the following arguments (summarised):

 

1. The NT must have been written in Greek. It was not written in Hebrew or Aramaic and then translated into Greek. Example: The word play in John 3 ("born again"//"from above") only works in Greek therefore John 3 which supposedly reports Jesus' conversation must be fictional as the participants would have spoken Aramaic (or Hebrew).
2. God uses the “Holy tongue” (Hebrew) to communicate – Greek was used by the temple desecrator Antiochus - it would be like God using the German language (sic).
3. Tangential argument: John does not refer to a kingdom on earth - the content of the fourth gospel is not found in the synoptics....the theology of John is incarnational rather than adoptionist etc. Conclusion: none of it “works” it is all falsehood.

 

1. Most serious commentators and scholars would agree with Singer that the NT was written in Greek and not translated from Hebrew or Aramaic originals. However, many do evidence inherent Semitic undertones of someone "thinking in Hebrew but writing in Greek". [8] The conclusion reached by Rabbi Singer that John 3 is a fictional account based on the impossibility of the Greek word play between "born again"//"from above" successfully transitioning the Aramaic language barrier is specious. The linguistic objection is not an original concept as it was first conjectured (to my knowledge) by Ehrman. [9] Leaving aside the fact that the Peshitta version of John 3 employs a word which means "again" and which is translated as such by the majority of versions [10] the Greek word-play "born again"//"from above" is the more difficult reading to explain away and therefore most probably the original version of the conversation did occur in Greek. This would mean that Jesus spoke Greek with Nicodemus rather than Aramaic. Nicodemus is a Greek name therefore in all probability he was a Greek speaker (a Jew originally from Asia Minor?), and Jesus was most likely also multilingual, speaking Greek as well as Aramaic and Hebrew, as he lived in Galilee, which was an international area where many Greco-Romans lived and worked. [11] There is no reason to assume that the dialogue was "invented" by anybody. The Jewish Encyclopedia sates; "The Hellenists were not confined to the aristocratic class, but were found in all strata of Jewish society (Wellhausen, "I. J. G." p. 194), though the aristocrats naturally profited more from the good-will of Hellenistic rulers than did other classes. The Jews thus became sharers in a world-culture if not in a world-empire". [12] So, either they spoke using "again" (anew) in Aramaic ܕܪܝܫ (men derish) which John chose to translate into Greek with ἄνωθεν (anOthen) a word with a double meaning (again/above), or they originally spoke in Greek (a distinct possibility). What is (deliberately) missing from this debate is why the NT was written in Greek. It was written in Greek because Greek was the Lingua Franca of the ancient world it was an acceptable register to Romans for intellectual pursuits it was employed by Jewish philosophers like Philo and Jewish historians like Josephus and moreover the different Torah scrolls (Old Testament initially only the Pentateuch) of the Jewish Diaspora were written in Greek, later the collected version of all these different scrolls would become known as the LXX or Greek Septuagint (See note 8: A Brief History of the LXX). In other words, Jews all over the empire read their Torah in Greek. The use of the Greek word-play "born again"//"from above" was of particular relevance to Diaspora Jews.

 

It is true that the Greek ἄνωθεν (anOthen) in John 3.3 means "again"//"from above"(therefore a word-play) but it finds a synonym in the Greek ὕψος (upsos)"above" or "height" which is used in the Greek version of the Immanuel prophecy and is alluded to in John 3 v.2; "…no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." (= Immanuel e.g. God with us in Isa 7.14) and further allusions to this prophecy follow in John 3 v.12; "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" The sub-text of the conversation is that the Jewish rulers were acting like Ahaz in refusing the divine sign (concerning his origins) that was being freely offered to them. They were being faithless like Ahaz. The Jews of the Diaspora had been reading their Septuagint Bible (LXX) in Greek for centuries and would have understood these allusions particularly to heaven and earth in Isaiah 7.11. Jesus may have conversed with Nicodemus in Aramaic or they may have spoken Greek, but John was writing to Greek speaking Jews (in Ephesus) before the turn of the century. Therefore, if it does not represent the ipissima verba it most certainly represents the ipissima vox of Jesus. Moreover, ἄνωθεν (anOthen) occurs in Wisdom 19.6 (Jewish apocryphal work from Alexandria in Egypt written in Greek about 100 years before Christ) which speaks of the nation being created anew ἄνωθεν (anOthen) after passing through the waters of of the Red Sea and ἄνωθεν (anOthen) is also used to describe the "blessing from above" promised by El Shaddai in Gen 49.25 – particularly the blessings of fruitfulness and fertility (including the birth of children and therefore the messianic hope). Nicodemus said that what Jesus was demanding was as impossible as crawling back into the womb. Jesus replied that the rabbi needed to be born again/from above....like the nation passing through the waters of the Red Sea (of baptism) and receiving the Spirit (like the Sanhedrin did in the wilderness). In this Jesus typified the nation with his own water baptism and anointing with the Spirit. More to the point, each child of God requires to be spiritually reborn through the promised Messiah in doing so they share the same origins as him (born from above) and the same fate (resurrection = sign from the earth below). The Rabbi's would have described themselves as "spiritual" but , Jesus tells the Rabbi's that they do not know how to discern a spiritual person. A spiritual person is like the wind (Both the Greek πνεῦμα and the Hebrew רוּחַ carry the dual concept of wind and spirit) - they are an "invisible force" - you cannot tell where the wind has come from or where it is going - this is true for all those born of the Spirit, but particularly true of the messiah. The origin and destiny of all those "born of the Spirit" is the same......they come from God and back to God (John 3.8). The Rabbi's were truly clueless.....the process of re-birth was not something they could achieve by crawling back into the womb.....not something they could perform themselves (works of the Law) it was an act of faith as only God can bring forth from a barren womb (nation) as nothing is impossible with God (Gen 18.14).

 

 

 

2. Apparently God only uses the Hebrew tongue or Aramaic (the sister language) to communicate. Greek had been used by the temple desecrator Antiochus such a foul language would never be used for divine inspiration…..it would be like using German (the horror!). Language is a human tool used to communicate – there is nothing intrinsically “holy” about any language. If “bad people” use a certain language that does not invalidate the language and make it “evil” for if that was the case Hebrew should not be used as it is the language of the idolater and prophet killer Manasseh, of the brutish priestly sons of Eli, of the murderer Ahab (I could go on). It is a “straw-man argument” that does not bear scrutiny. Moreover, the Jewish Encyclopedia (Ibid., fn 12) observes that, “The Hellenistic Jewish literature is the best evidence of the influence exercised by Greek thought upon the "people of the book." The first urgent need of the Hellenistic Jews in Alexandria was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The strange legends which are connected with the origin of this translation, and which go back to the Letter of Aristeas, are discussed under Aristeas and Bible; it is sufficient to say that the whole translation was probably completed by the middle of the second century B.C. It was highly esteemed by the Hellenistic Jews; Philo ("De Vita Moysis," ii., § 67) calls the translators not merely ἑρμηνεῖς, but ίεροφάνται καὶ προφῆται, who partook of the spirit of Moses. Even the prejudiced Palestinian teachers accepted it and praised the beauty of the Greek language (Soṭah vii. 3; Meg. i. 9). They permitted girls to study it, and declared it to be the only language into which the Torah might be translated (Yer. i. 1). The Jews called themselves Palestinians in religion, but Hellenes in language (Philo, "De Congressu Quærendæ Erud." § 8), and the terms ἡμεῐς ("we") and Ἑβραῖοι ("the Hebrews") were contrasted (idem, "De Confusione Linguarum," § 26)”.
So, the Greek Septuagint translation was thought of as “inspired” until Christians began to employ it effectively in their polemics. Rabbi Singer ignores the fact that thousands of Jews read the Greek Old Testament every week, that Josephus wrote his histories in Greek and that Aristobulus and Philo wrote in Greek and that they explained Mosaic law as an anticipation of Greek philosophy (sic), and they employed Greek allegorical techniques to reconcile these two traditions. Of course when Jewish Christians began to run rings around the Rabbi's using the Greek LXX it became time to make "better" (sic) Greek translations and eventually they abandoned Greek altogether for an approved and standardised Hebrew version (which ended up a thousand years later as the pointed MT text).

 

 

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3. Rabbi Singer does not distinguish between patristic church tradition, critical New Testament scholarship, church dogma (theology) and the New Testament writings themselves. Scholarship questions are complex and not served by reductionism. Respected scholars argue for the priority (Robinson) and historicity (Anderson) of the Fourth Gospel. Anderson demonstrates that John was aware of the Synoptics particularly that of Mark and Robinson states; "Even if it could be shown that John could not have been written until after the publication of Mark, Luke or Matthew, we have already argued that there is no compelling reason to date these later than the early 60s. Equally, from the other side, those who have abandoned the argument for dependence still (as we have seen) wish to retain a dating towards the end of the century". [13] Rabbi Singer points out the apparent discontinuity between the eschatology of the Synoptic Jesus and the eschatology of the Johannine Jesus, between the apocalyptic emphasis on the kingdom of God in the synoptics and the contemporary emphasis upon eternal life immediately received through faith in Jesus Christ in John. However, John presents a deliberate tension between a belief in a future bodily resurrection (John 5.28-29) and the immediate benefits of the kingdom (e.g. the Spirit) a tension between realized and final eschatology in an already/not yet approach to the kingdom. In the same way John builds tension when he shows Jesus being at one and the same time Yahweh but also not equal to God. This is indeed a "paradox", one that cannot be explained either by the doctrine of incarnation or that of adoption but rather by the very Jewish teaching of agency and manifestation. John purposely sets up tensions and paradoxes in order to sift his audience in the same way Jesus used parables (John 12.38-40). Jesus bore the Yahweh name and manifested the character of grace and truth displayed to Moses. The Johannine Jesus is superior to Moses (John 1.17), Enoch (John 3.13), [14] , the Baptist (John 3.30), Jacob (John 4.12), Abraham (John 8.53), and to the “Yahweh” angel (Exod 23.21), who ruled the “gods” (the Sanhedrin) in the wilderness (John 10.34-36). Therefore, John debunks all Jewish mediatorial speculation whether human or angelomorphic categories. John also demythologizes the syncretic drift of Jewish agency (logos/ wisdom personification categories) towards neoplatonic hypostasis and Gnosticism. The Johannine Jesus was greater than any existing Jewish (or Hellenistic) angelomorphic, prophetic or hypostatic category because Jesus was the ultimate manifestation and realization of Yahweh agency. However, John carefully qualifies this by demonstrating that Jesus is subordinate, Jesus may well be superior to all, yet he was not greater than the Father (John 10.29, John 14.28). The Fourth Evangelist was an artistic genius who produced a portrait of Christ as radical as the freely brushed colours of early Impressionist art. Not for him the restriction of line and contour. Christ is the creator (John 1:3), is pre-existent (John 8:58), became flesh (John 1:14), is worshipped as God (John 20:28), in fact he was God (John 1:1). However, when the viewer moves closer to the portrait and examines the individual colours, a different image emerges. Christ is depicted as dependent and subordinate (John 5:19,30; John 8:28), an agent (John 5:43) and the ‘Son of God’ (John 10:36). At the heart of the Fourth Gospel is a paradox – Christ is at the same time both God and not God and the kingdom is immediately present and still future!

 

Conclusion

 

God inspired the NT authors to write in Greek for a number of reasons – first because Diaspora Jews already read their Torah in Greek for centuries, secondly because Greek was the Lingua Franca of the ancient world (like English is now) and last (but not least) because God in his foreknowledge knew that the Jewish nation would be smashed and scattered because of their disobedience and his word would go forth to the Greek speaking gentile world. In the end it does not matter what language is used if the people are unwilling to listen. If the words of God are so holy why do the rabbi’s not hear them? (Isa 28.11-13; Matt 13.14-17).

 

 

NOTES

[8] Dr. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg states; "It is my opinion that the entire original text of the document we have come to know as the New Testament was written by Christ-following Jews (in the ancient sense of the word) in a language that can be best described not simply as Koine or Common Greek, but as “Koine Judeo-Greek……So, other than the authors of the New Testament thinking Jewishly and Hebraicly, we also have the main source of their Old Testament quotations coming from another Jewish-authored document – the Septuagint. So is it surprising that New Testament is full of Hebraic forms expressed in Greek?!" Was New Testament written in Hebrew? In Jewish Culture and History by Dr. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg (September 9, 2017) [Retrieved March 2019] @The Israel Study Center Rabbi Singer is correct in noting that unfamiliar Aramaic (and Hebrew) terms are translated into Greek - a good example of this is the "Saying on the Cross" (See the article (PDF) Sabachthani For further information see also the Work Sheet - A Brief History of the LXX on the Excel download Sabek
[9] Bart Ehrman, Jesus Interrupted, p.155.
[10] The “Born Again” Narrative in John 3: An Aramaic Impossibility? Well, No! katachriston See also Dukhrana Biblical Research John 3v.7 using the Syriac Electronic Data Retrieval Archive (SEDRA) by Dr. George A. Kiraz, distributed by the Syriac Computing Institute. Peshitta verses are taken from the Peshitta NT published by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
[11] Plenty of work for a Greek speaking carpenter and his son; “Professor Reed wrote that the socioeconomic impact of Antipas' two cities of Galilee in Jesus' time was enormous. As had the public works projects of Antipas' father, Herod the Great, building Sepphoris and Tiberias provided steady work for Galileans who previously had subsisted on agriculture and fishing. What's more, archaeological evidence has indicated that within one generation - the very time of Jesus - some 8,000 to 12,000 people moved into Sepphoris and Tiberias”. Galilee as economic center
[12] or second quote Ibid., Carl Siegfried, Richard Gottheil, Jewish Encyclopedia,HELLENISM (from έλληνίζειν , "to speak Greek," or "to make Greek"), Retreived March 2019 @ Galilee as economic center
[13] John A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament, 1976, page 236. In The Priority of John (1984), Robinson furthered the argument put forward in Redating the New Testament that all the books were written before 70 AD, by focusing on the book that is placed early least often. He also wanted to prove that John is independent of the Synoptics and better than them at describing the length and time period of Jesus' ministry, Palestinian geography, and the cultural milieu of the early first century there. Wikipedia That John presupposes a certain level of knowledge of Mark was judged ‘likely’ in Barrett, “John and the Synoptic Gospels,” and is developed extensively in Bauckham, “John for Readers of Mark.” Bauckham highlights particularly two ‘explanatory parentheses’ in John 3:24 and John 11:2 respectively. These parentheses, he argues, ‘are intended specifically for readers/hearers who also knew Mark’s Gospel,’ 151.(Deiniol Williams , An Evaluation of the Relationship between John's Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels,2016,5, fn 25). See also, Anderson, in “John and Mark: The Bi-Optic Gospels,” which contends for an ‘interfluential, augmentive, and corrective’ relationship between John and Mark.
[14] Charlesworth says; I am asking: ‘Is it possible that John 3:13 (‘No man has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man’) is a polemic against Jewish apocalyptic thought; and is it conceivable that he is specifically targeting the claims in the Enoch group?’I shall conclude by answering, ‘probably yes’, to each section of this question.”J. H. Charlesworth, “Did the Fourth Evangelist Know the Enoch Tradition?”in Testimony and Interpretation: Early Christology in its Judeo-Hellenistic Milieu(eds., Jan Roskovec, Jiří Mrázek, Petr Pokorny; London:T. & TClark, 2004), 223-239 (223)

 

 

 

quoteArt thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? (John 3 v.10)

 

 

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Why is Jesus not the Messiah for Jews?

 

 

Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz breaks his discussion down to a number of points (summarised):

 

Introduction
Comments on the Jewish origins of Christianity
Critique of the apostle (rabbi) Paul
1. Objection to the Trinity
2. Jewish objections to the Messiah-ship of Jesus:
    (a). No second coming of messiah in Judaism (he does not die and come back)
    (b). The notion that God abrogated his covenant and replaced it with the messiah

 

Introduction

Rabbi Breitowitz correctly states that the first Christians were Jews. This is a point that needs further consideration and emphasis. It was not just Jesus and his twelve disciples but the early synagogues counted many Jewish Christian converts including Pharisees and priests so by the end of the first century a maximum of 10% of the population of Jerusalem consisted of Jewish-Christians. [15] Moreover, Christianity was not recognised as a separate religion by the Romans, Christianity was regarded as a sect within Judaism. So, early Christianity was a Jewish religion and many Jews had no problem regarding Jesus as the messiah.

 

In his next comment Rabbi Breitowitz highlights the difference between Peter and Paul. It is interesting to note that the rabbis are particularly hostile towards Paul, presumably because that whereas Peter was an ignorant fisherman, Paul was a fellow rabbi and therefore “should have known better”. Paul is condemned as the one who wants to abolish circumcision and the Law and one who promotes a gospel of justification by faith. There is no doubt that tensions existed in how to deal with questions concerning the Law and circumcision. Some early Jewish-Christians believed non-Jews must become Jews and adopt Jewish customs. Paul criticized Peter for acting in a hypocritical manner, abandoning Jewish traditions when in the presence of gentiles but insisting on them in the presence of fellow Jews and therefore presenting a poor example to non-Jews joining the Christians (Gal 2.13-14). Paul was not against Jews keeping the Law or circumcision as he practised both of these himself having Timothy (who had a Jewish mother) circumcised (Acts 16.1-3) but not Titus who was pure Greek (Gal 2.3-5). The determining factor was however not Jewish heritage (as it was possible for a gentile to be circumcised) but the motivation behind the desire for circumcision. Timothy was “well spoken of by all the brethren at Lystra and Iconium” no one was pushing for circumcision in order to prove a point. [16] Titus was a “test case” in Jerusalem (Gal 2:1), but Timothy was to be a constant travel companion (Acts 16:3). Therefore, in Titus’ case a clear theological issue was at stake. But in Timothy’s case, what was at stake was how unbelieving Jews might best be won to Christ. So, just as Christian freedom caused Paul to resist Titus’ circumcision, this same freedom allowed him to remove the stumbling block of Timothy’s lack of circumcision. Paul applied his principle from 1 Cor 9.20, “To the Jews I became a Jew in order to win the Jews.” However, Judaizers (false brethren) circulated a report widely that Paul went about constantly teaching that Jews, especially those who lived in Gentile lands, should “forsake,” (apostasia – cf. “apostasy”) Moses. They apparently had concluded that Paul opposed any sort of connection with the Hebrew Old Covenant, which was not true. The apostle was not insensitive to the feelings of his Israelite kinsmen. Paul was not against the Law as long as it was not used as a vehicle for redemption, therefore Paul agreed with the suggestion that he should partake in a purification ritual in connection with the Nazarite vow. Why would Paul, knowing that the Mosaic regime was obsolete, submit to a “purification” ritual? Many solutions have been suggested [17] but none have considered that the Nazarite vow was in imitation of the high priest [18] and for Paul (and his companions) that high priest was now Jesus Christ. In doing this Paul highlighted that certain aspects of the Law were not obsolete as they foreshadowed the messiah. However, Paul’s attempt at reconciliation with the faction of Judaizers was used against him.

 

So, we have concrete proof (circumcision and a vow) that Paul was not against the Mosaic Law per-se, only when it was pushed as a vehicle of salvation or of Jewish superiority. According to Acts 15 the Council of Jerusalem c.50, customarily believed to have been led by James the brother of Jesus, determined that religious male circumcision (associated but also debated with conversion to Judaism) should not be required of Gentile followers of Jesus, only basic abstentions sometimes referred to as the "Noahide Law" (a reference to the covenant made with all humanity in Genesis 9). A blatant attempt was made by Judaizers to subvert the early church and drive a wedge between Jew and Gentile. Part of that strategy was to misrepresent and slander Paul the rabbi (2 Pet 3.15-16, Rom 3.8) and it seems that campaign has never stopped in some quarters.

 

1. The first issue raised is the Trinity and here we agree with the rabbi although his choice of words is rather unfortunate when he says that, “God has never and will never assume a human form” as we are told from the very beginning that man was made in the divine image or form (Gen 1.26-27). Now of course one can debate what that means but normal use of the word image or form suggests a representation. This explains why the making of idols (images) is forbidden because God has already made a representation of himself in man (Adam). This man was meant to rule the world as the divine agent – he was meant to reflect divine glory. That does not however mean that the first Adam was God. In fact, being "made in the image of God" was not good enough for Adam.....he wanted to be like God (Gen 3.5), equality with God was something Jesus refused....it was snatching at forbidden fruit (Phil 2.6). Rabbi Breitowitz is therefore being disingenuous because it is only half true….God does not take on human form (incarnation) but he does make an image/form of himself (as the Torah teaches). Rabbi Breitowitz is completely correct when he acknowledges that corporealization and reification are a later development of Christianity. This is a reference to the doctrine of the Trinity that was forced through the Council of Nicaea, (325) and has been described as “Christianity’s Self Inflicted Wound”. [19] No self respecting Jew would accept such a doctrine. The New Testament teaches no such doctrine, neither did the apostle Paul. First century Jewish-Christians believed that Jesus was the Messiah. They understood Jesus as the divine agent (or representative) not equal to God himself. Let me say it plainly:

First century Jewish-Christians were strict monotheists and did not believe in the Trinity

In fact, I wager that no respected New Testament scholar from whatever Christian denomination (whether a believer in the Trinity or not) would dare to assert that Jewish-Christians living between 40 and 136 believed in the Trinity. I would be very surprised if even a single scholar claimed that early Jewish-Christians believed in a "triune god". Imagine a first century Christian-Jew proclaiming that he believed in ONE GOD, who was really three gods which included the messiah! It is no good proclaiming that the Shema (Deut 6.4) speaks of "unity" (אֶחָד , ʾeḥād) instead of ONE (mono) Lord, as no first century Jew (Christian or otherwise) would ever have understood the Shema in such a way. As to "Messianic Jews".....I am glad that you have "found Jesus" but he is not the third person of the godhead. Please do not deny your heritage....your first century Jewish brethren believed NO SUCH THING.

One wonders where and when the Triune doctrine first emerged. Was it a development of the “Two-Powers” speculation in Judaism caused by the rabbis inability to grasp the messianic role (cf. Ps 110.1, Matt.22.42-45) or was triune apostasy a syncretic development from paganism or Neo-Platonism?

One can only speculate that the Trinity was introduced into early Christianity as a deliberate ploy to create a schism between Jew and Gentile. There is ample evidence of a fifth column (false brethren) working to sabotage the first century Christian movement particularly the outreach of Paul to the Gentiles (2Tim 1.15, Gal 2.4, 2Thess 2.2). No faithful Jew or Jewish–Christian would accept such apostasy. The strategy which had begun in the first century was therefore successful and Christianity effectively became a Gentile religion and totally unpalatable to faithful Jews. What had originated as a Jewish movement with a Jewish messiah based on Jewish Covenant typology had been wrested and deliberately destroyed.

 

2. His second debating point commences with the question, “I don't believe that he is God or the son of God but let him be the Messiah” Can a Jew accept Jesus as the messiah without believing that he is God? Rabbi Breitowitz lists the objections as follows –

 

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    (a). Classical Jewish literature does not accept the notion of a second coming. The mission of the messiah is the in-gathering of the Jews, the building of the temple and world peace. Jesus was murdered (crucified) before he achieved those goals and therefore Christianity developed the idea of second coming. In normative Judaism...the messiah does not die and come back.

 

The response to this objection is that the "second coming" is necessitated by national Jewish disobedience. If the nation had repented the messiah would have established the kingdom immediately after his resurrection. Scripture is deliberately ambiguous in situations like this to allow for the exercise of freewill – for example the Jews could have entered the Promised Land two weeks after leaving Egypt but instead, because of their intransigence, God delayed his promise and they wandered in the wilderness for forty years (Num 14.34).

 

Whatever "classical Judaism" says, the Torah does speak of these things; Abraham fully expected to sacrifice Isaac and then "come again"(Gen 22.5-6) this demonstrates a belief in the resurrection and the second coming. The story of Joseph completes itself in two acts; in the first act Joseph is sold into the bondage of death by his brethren (Gen 37.24) because of their envy (Gen 37.4,18), in the second act Joseph is removed from prison and elevated to high office (Gen 41.41) and subsequently Joseph reconciles himself to his family (Gen 45.3-5) after testing them to see if their attitude towards him had truly changed . The Song of Songs is a love story based on Hezekiah's courtship of the northern tribes. Initially his overture is mocked by some (2 Chron 30.10-11) but the faithful accept the invitation to celebrate Passover (Song 1.4, Song 2.4), [20] but then Hezekiah becomes mortally ill and overwhelmed by the Assyrian invasion (Isa 38.1) - Song's describes this as the disappearance of the bridegroom (Song 3.2-3, Song 6.1). Hezekiah was raised on the third day (2 Kgs 20.5) and the Assyrian flood and demand for tribute was defeated (2 Kings 19.35, Song 8.6-7). The transformation of the nation of Israel occurs in stages from an army of dry bones to an animated body (Ezek 37). The resurrected messiah is the means by which God will animate the "dead nation", he will bind and heal them through means of the despised "Samaritan" (Jesus; John 8.48) who bound the wounds of the injured man and promised to come again (Lk 10.35) which parable is based on (Hos 6.1-3); "indeed he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth". Not only that, but the healing process (resurrection) of the nation would begin on the third day; "in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight" like the three day journey of Abraham to the place of sacrifice (Gen 22.4). The "healing process" was meant to begin on the third day because that was the day that the Jewish messiah was resurrected, who had introduced and inaugurated the "New Covenant" spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 31.31, Heb 8.8). But, alas and woe...only a minority recognized and followed the messiah.....but he will come again....this time not as the lowly suffering servant by whose stripes you are healed (Isa 53.5)........but as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Isa 9.7, Rev 19.16).
The woof and weave of the Torah speaks of the death, resurrection and victorious return of the messiah (second coming). His first victory is over sin and death his second victory is the establishment of a righteous nation. Just as the messiah experienced death and resurrection, so also the nation must experience death and resurrection - the brothers of Joseph were tested as to their loyalty to their Father before Joseph revealed himself to them. The nation is still not loyal to the Father and still envious of the son. The "second coming" of the messiah could have happened immediately after the resurrection if the nation had repented. Instead they experienced delay because they were faithless (Num 14.34). Then again, they could not wait for Moses either (Exod 32.1), so why should they wait for messiah? Furthermore, the nation is about to make false gods again.

 

    (b). Rabbi Breitowitz finds it inconceivable that God has abrogated his covenant with Israel. Under the word covenant the Rabbi obviously understands the Sinai Covenant or the Law of Moses.
Such an approach conveniently forgets that the Sinai covenant is subordinate to the Abrahamic Covenant - the nation left Egypt exactly 430 years (to the day) as the covenant was given to Abraham on the Passover night (Gen 15.13, Exod 12.41). [21] After leaving Egypt they received the Law Covenant at Sinai. It was under the Abrahamic covenant that the Jews entered the land (and were circumcised cf. Josh 5.2-5) and it was the Abrahamic covenant that Nehemiah renewed when they returned to the land after the captivity. [22]

 

 

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The Abrahamic covenant came before the law (Gal 3 .16-17) and yet it is said that;

 

 

"Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge (mishmereth), my commandments (mitsvah), my statutes (chuqqah), and my laws”(towrah)". (Gen 26 v.5)

 

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How can Abraham keep the whole law 430 years before it is even given?? Well the Torah tells us how:

 

"And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness". (Gen 15 v.6)

 

Abraham was justified by his faith in the promise of the messiah, which faith he enacted in Genesis 22. [23] These are not works of the Law but works of faith (John 8.39), this was not an “innovation” by the apostle Paul but the true meaning of the good news (gospel) preached to Abraham, namely that;

 

"The Just shall live by his faith". (Hab 2.4 cf. Rom 1.17, Gal 3.11, Heb 10.38)

 

If the rabbi is so concerned with the 613 mitzvah listed by Mamoindes then why does he not keep them? They cannot be kept because many of them relate to the temple and God removed the temple because of Jewish disobedience (as the messiah predicted). So are the mitzvah, that cannot be abrogated honoured in their absence? God himself has abrogated them already. You cannot keep the whole law because without blood sacrifice you can no longer access atonement and forgiveness. This means that as a nation your sin remains and cannot be blotted out because whatever ritual you substitute for the Day of Atonement is meaningless without access to sacrifice and the "holy of holies". It is strange then that you accuse Jesus and Paul of abrogating something that you do not (cannot) keep yourself. This is what lies behind the drive to reconstruct the temple because in your heart you know you have become a lawless nation as a consequence of your disobedience. However, God will no longer look to your sacrifices as he has provided his own sacrifice and any attempt to inaugurate temple worship will be an abomination to God (Isa 66.3).

 

There is no difference between Jesus and Paul on the role of the Law. The messiah does not replace the mitzvah, he fulfils them (Matt.5.17) and his followers (many were Jews) become a holy nation (Exod 19.6) not a temple made with hands (2 Sam 7.5) for God dwells with a contrite heart (Isa 66.1-2) for he has made a New Covenant with Israel and it is not the Sinai covenant from which the Jewish nation apostatized from the very beginning (Exod 32.8):

 

"Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more". (Jer 31 v.32-34)

 

Conclusion

 

Why is Jesus not the Messiah for Jews? The fact is that many first century Jews did consider Jesus the messiah and this included priests and rabbis who saw no conflict with their previously held beliefs – if anything they regarded messiah as the blessing promised in the Torah. First century Jewish-Christians did not believe in the Trinity they believed in the “suffering servant” of Isaiah 53 who would inaugurate a New Covenant (Jer 31). Nothing in first century Jewish-Christianity contradicted the Torah. Neither Jesus nor Paul wanted to abolish the Law….only take it to its natural conclusion….to the next level (written on the heart as Jeremiah says).

 

 

NOTES

[15] The minimum figure is probably about 3% of the Jerusalem population. Of course, over the thirty year period to the end of the century efforts were made to reconvert and reassimilate Jewish-Christians back to Judaism so any figures are of necessity fluid. The progression in Acts 1.15 (120), Acts 2.41(3,000), Acts 4.4 (5,000) Acts 5.14 (multitudes), Acts 6.7 (great company) giving a total of >8,000 converts in Jerusalem but that may include Diaspora Jews. Most scholars tend to dismiss the figures as Lucan exaggeration. Often the reason cited is that Jerusalem in the early first century, according to the calculation of Jeremias (1969:84), had a population of no more than thirty thousand. If the symbology of the tithe in Rev 11.13 is loosely based on realistic first century population ratios then it suggests that Jerusalem had a population of 70,000 with 7,000 Jewish Christians and this lies between Jeremias’s calculation and that of Reinhardt (1995:237-265) who argues that Jerusalem’s first century population was in the vicinity of 100,000-120,000 with 20,000 Jewish Christians. J. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the time of Jesus, (3rd ed. London: SCM, 1969). W. Reinhardt, The population size of Jerusalem and the growth of the Jerusalem church, in Bauckham, R (ed), The book of Acts in its first century setting, Volume 4: The book of Acts in its Palestinian setting, GrandRapids, MI: Eerdmans,1995.
[16] His fellow brethren were not insisting on Timothy’s circumcision. Rather it was a concession and act of goodwill (Acts 16.3) that Paul had Timothy circumcised because of missionary requirements. “Jews” is used over 85 times in Acts and almost without exception refers to unbelievers (non Christian Jews). Timothy’s circumcision was motivated by a missionary strategy not because fellow believing Jewish-Christians insisted on it. Paul only had a problem when it was purposely used as a pre-requisite for salvation or a sign of Jewish “superiority”.
[17] Wayne Jackson, Did Paul Sin in Submitting to the Temple Ritual? Christian Courier: Retrieved March 2019
[18] The high priest did not drink alcohol during his service (Lev 10.9, Matt 26.29) and wore a crown for beauty and holiness (Exod 25.11, Matt 27.29). The Nazarite did not drink (Num 6.4) and his hair (Num 6.5) became his "crown". These were outward signs of consecration to God - to serve a particular purpose.
[19] Anthony Buzzard and Charles F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound,(International Scholars Publications ,1998). See also,Trinity Truth
[20] The Hebrew word for "draw out" (Song 1.4) is first employed for "drawing out" Joseph from the pit (Gen 37.28) and the second usage is for "drawing out" the Passover Lamb in Exodus 12.21 מִשְׁכוּ (miškû) the Hebrew for "chamber" is also found in Song 1.4 and Isa 26.20 בַחֲדָרֶיךָ (baḥădārêkā) as well as the root זָכַר (zākar) translated as "remember" or "memorial" with reference to the Passover Feast which is found in all three passages (Exod 13.3, Song 1.4, Isa 26.13) linking them all to the Passover where the people were instructed to remain in their house (chamber) while the destroying angel "passed over". The Hezekiah reign is characterised by the Passover at the commencement of his reign (2 Chron 30.1) when he invited the Northern tribes (and was mocked) and another Passover where the Assyrian army was destroyed by the angel of death during the Passover night. (2Kgs 19.35 cf. Exod 12.33).
[21] There is a discrepancy between 400 years (Gen 15.13) and 430 years (Exod 12.41) explained by the Jews “affliction” (Genesis 15.13; Acts 7.6) which started when Isaac was five years old and Ishmael mocked him (Genesis 21:9; Galatians 4:29) the 430 years "in the land of Egypt" (Exod 12.40) are from the time that Abraham (father of the nation) sojourned in Egypt (Gen 12.10).
[22] They entered the land after they underwent the Abrahamic rite of circumcision (Gen 17.11 cf.Josh 5.2-5); Deuteronomy chapters 29 and 30 (Moses' farewell speeches before entering the land) have many connections with the Abrahamic covenant; Gen 17.7 & Deut 29.13 = may be a God unto thee// Gen 17.9 & Deut 29.14-15 = your seed after you// Gen 22.14 [Yahweh-Yireh = Yah seen] & Deut 29.29 = revealed//Gen 26.5 & Deut 29.29 = keep all the words (charges) of the law// Gen 22.17& Deut 30.5 = multiply//Gen 17.11& Deut 30.6 = circumcise// Gen 12.3& Deut 30.7 =curses//. Also the return from captivity saw Nehemiah chapter 9 renewing the Abrahamic covenant. Eskenazi recognizes this; “This history emphasizes “inheritance” Sinai is mentioned (9:13-14) but without reference to the covenant because the Abrahamic covenant suffices and is still intact”.... “Today,” says the prayer in vss. 32 ff, Israel is again standing vulnerable, facing a “sea” of foreigners who threaten to destroy it. Like “our ancestors”, the prayer says, we cry to you (see also Neh. 9:4 which uses the same verb to describe the communal gathering). Like Abraham, and in sharp contrast to all the previous generations for whom you did so much, we are faithful. How is our faithfulness demonstrated? With the pledge that follows in chapter 10. Abraham was faithful, נאמן. We are faithful, we sign a pledge – אמנה” Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Nehemiah 9-10: Structure and Significance, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures - Volume 3: Article 9 [All the word forms are related to Gen 15.6 Abraham believed ('aman), Neh 9.8 Abraham's heart faithful ('aman), Neh 10.1 we make a sure ('amanah) covenant]. The birth of the messiah was the fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant (Luke 1.73).
[23] See the introduction to this web page above for references to Abraham in Genesis 22

 

 

 

quoteArt thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? (John 3 v.10)

 

 

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Are the Core Beliefs of Christian Unitarianism or Islam Closer to Judaism?

Rabbi Tovia Singer Responds

 

 

Rabbi Tovia Singer responds to the question by using Christadelphians as an example of Unitarianism. He says that his interaction with Christadelphians has been very positive and commends them as decent biblical scholars. Moreover, Rabbi Singer states unequivocally that Christadelphians are “absolute monotheists” and therefore they are “not idolators” (a term reserved for Christians who believe in the Trinity). In the first instance it seems that the Rabbi has reached some sort of rapprochement (at least with this group of non-Trinitarian Christians) however, such a conclusion is presumptuous as the video ends with the words that, “No version of Christianity can be as close to Judaism as Islam not, even remotely”. In order to justify his conclusion the rabbi draws on the argument of vicarious atonement Rabbi Singer says that the mercy of God is destroyed when you believe in vicarious atonement.

 

Christianity uses the phrase 'vicarious atonement' as a synonym for penal substitution, and it is also sometimes used to describe other, non-penal substitutionary, theories of atonement. In other words Jesus takes the place (becomes a substitute) for the sinner.

 

At this point I am rather confused because Rabbi Singer is certainly not talking about Christadelphians as they reject 'vicarious atonement' as surely as they reject the Trinity. In fact it is one of the doctrines mentioned on the CARM website (the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry) who regard Chrisadelphians as a heretical cult – see screenshot below:

 

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So unless Rabbi Singer is presenting a “Straw-man” argument (here we give him the benefit of the doubt) he must be talking about other Christian groups. I am sure that the Rabbi knows that Christians are not a homogenous group just as Jews are not a homogenous group. First century Jewish-Christians did not believe in the Trinity nor did they believe in 'vicarious atonement' and neither do Christadelphians [24] or many other Christians. [25] In opposition to the above views, CARM's position is the one known as 'vicarious atonement.' The word 'vicarious' means substitute. Therefore, Christ was a substitute for others in that he took their place and suffered their punishment. It was also a legal act whereby Christ fulfilled the law and lawfully paid the penalty of sin.

So, the Rabbi is not talking about the beliefs of first century Jewish-Christians or Christadelphians because both these groups reject the Trinity and reject 'vicarious atonement'.

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Rabbi Tovia Singer raises a number of other objections that require consideration, namely that it is “not a good idea” to pray in Jesus name. This is interesting when we consider that the name of Jesus means “Yah saves” and using his name is in fact an acknowledgement of divine saving power. Asking in the name of Jesus is found in John 14.14 and follows “believing on his name” (John 1.12, John 2.23) which is the same as saying believing that “Yah saves” and "coming in my Father’s name" (John 5.43, John 12.13) which means coming as the divine agent (as Yahweh’s saviour or the Messiah). Then follows a call by “Yahshua” for Yahweh to "glorify his name" (John 12.28) which receives a thunderous divine response which connects the glory of Yah with “lifting up” a reference to the crucifixion but also to resurrection, which resurrection glory was seen by the prophet (Isa 6.1 ; John 12.41). In the Isaiah (resurrection) vision the Living Creatures praise God (Isa 6.3) because he is a God of the Living who dwells between the Cherubim (Living creatures); a God of the Living not of the dead (Matt 22.32) because the “fullness of the earth is his glory” (RSV) and the dead cannot praise God (Isa 38.18-19). [26] The Father is glorified in the Son (John 14.13) or “so that the Son may bring glory to the Father” (NIV) [27] particularly in the “lifting up” of the Son. What was being asked for in his name? In the first century it was the Holy Spirit (John 14.26) Jesus had “manifested the name” (John 17.6), “declared the name” (John 17.26) so that they "might have life through his name" (John 20.31). Thus Yahweh’s name is linked with divine glory, with divine power and with life itself, particularly with resurrection life. The name of Jesus is linked with the salvation of Yahweh and the manifestation of Yahweh. Those who do not honour the Son do not honour the Father who sent him (John 5.23). It is never a good idea to mistreat an ambassador sent by a powerful King (2Sam 10.4) and an even worse idea to mistreat the Son of the vineyard owner (Isa 5.1, Mark 12.6-8) who comes “in his name”- a much better idea would be to treat the Son kindly and ask the owner of the vineyard in the name of his beloved Son to show some leniency, don’t you think? Now that is a good idea. The irony is exquisite as the Rabbi’s who did not believe Jesus (Yah saves) when he came in his Father’s name did believe Bar Kochba when he came in his own name for the chief Rabbi Akiva declared him to be the messiah (John 5.43) and as a consequence the nation was destroyed, the Jews were expelled from the land (for 2,000 years) and the Jews were even banned by Hadrian from entering Jerusalem (making it a gentile city)!

 

The Rabbi mentions three scriptural references without further elaboration (1Kgs 8.47-50, Jonah 3.10 and Ezek 18.21-24). Presumably these citations are meant as refutation of 'vicarious atonement' or as an explanation of forgiveness. As neither Christadelphians nor the Biblaridion website promote 'vicarious atonement' (penal substitution) these citations could just be ignored as irrelevant to the debate, however it is perhaps useful to examine these citations more carefully:

 

    1. 1Kgs 8.47-50 is part of Solomon’s prayer at the inauguration of the temple. I suspect that the Rabbi wants to make the point that sacrifice is totally unnecessary in order to obtain divine forgiveness. All that is required is true repentance and prayer directed towards “this house” and they will be granted forgiveness. If the viewpoint of the Rabbi has been correctly presented (if not my apologies) there are a number of things incorrect about this reasoning. In the first place this deals with a specific case, namely, when the nation is in exile and therefore has no access to the temple. Secondly, this pertains to national sin which was normally forgiven on the Day of Atonement when one goat was slaughtered and the other goat (scapegoat) was sent into exile (away from the Sanctuary). In such a case how is it possible to restore the nation (scapegoat)? If the temple was completely destroyed (as happened in BC 586) how can the nation be forgiven? Solomon is asking God to make an exception in such dire circumstances. This is the case of Daniel’s prayer in chapter 6 and 9. In the first instance (Dan 6.10, 1Kgs 8.38) [28] Daniel is metaphorically “raised from the dead” (Dan 6.23) and Darius calls Yahweh the “Living God” (Dan 6.20) a reference to temple imagery as divine glory rests on the mercy seat between the Cherubim (cf. the living creatures Ezek 1:5-10). Raising Daniel from the Lion’s den anticipates the resurrection of the nation and the “immutable Law” (Dan 6.15) of Darius is brought to nothing…..in the same way that the Living God negates the immutable law of sin and death (Gen 2.17). It was under Darius (not under Cyrus) that the nation returned and completed the building of the temple (Ezra 4.24, Hag 1.15, Hag 2.18). On the second occasion Daniel also prays towards Jerusalem also in connection with restoration (end of the 70 years predicted by Jeremiah). So, the request of Solomon that God hear prayer and forgive wickedness is related to the specific case of national sin and exile. There could be no sacrifice and no Day of Atonement because the temple was destroyed. In this specific case God was willing to make an exception otherwise it would be impossible to restore the “Scapegoat”. This has nothing to do with personal forgiveness; moreover, it demonstrates the inadequacy of Mosaic ritual when national sin had reached such a crescendo that the temple was removed and the nation exiled. In other words they had broken the covenant so badly that God removed them (and his presence) from the land.

 

    2. Jonah 3.9-10, it is presumed that the rabbi wishes to make the case that the men of Nineveh were forgiven because they repented. They did not need sacrifice in order to gain forgiveness…..God freely forgave them (without sacrifice). The obvious point is that the Assyrians were not in covenant relationship with the God of Israel. They were not under obligation to the Mosaic Law and were therefore not required to offer sacrifice. All they were required to do was to heed the warning issued by Jonah and mend their ways. The response of the men of Nineveh was meant to shame Israel as the northern tribes were deported by Assyria because of their wickedness. It was ironic that a people not under the Mosaic covenant (gentiles) were willing to turn to the God of Israel and trust in his compassion when Israel was unwilling to do so, even when one greater than Jonah appeared to them (Matt 12.41).

 

    3. Ezek 18.21-24 once again this passage is probably quoted by the rabbi to highlight that forgiveness is available without the necessity for sacrifice. However, besides a change of heart the passage does say, “…and keep all my statutes (ḥuqqā), and do that which is lawful and right” (Ezek 18.21) which means that observation of the law [29] was required. So, in other words the wicked had to repent and bring a sin offering and then he was forgiven.

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Forgiveness and sacrifice

 

Rabbi Singer is attempting to make the case that God can forgive sins without the shedding of blood [30] but the examples he has employed are not germane to his case. A far better example would have been the forgiveness of King David (2Sam12.13). David was immediately forgiven his heinous sins of murder and adultery without offering any blood sacrifice. Not only that, but these were capital crimes….there was no forgiveness under the law for murder and adultery….David should have been put to death……there was no suitable sacrifice that David could bring (Ps 51.16-17). Under the Law he was a dead man. Can the Rabbi please explain the means of David’s forgiveness? David could only have been forgiven outside the law. The only way David could have been forgiven was through his faith in the messiah promised to him in 2Sam 7.14 and seen by him in the vision of Ps 110.1 explained in Matt 22.42-46. In the same way Abraham was counted righteous (Gen 15.6) because his faith in the promised messiah Abraham was able to keep the whole law (Gen 26.5) before it was even given! The law could only bring life if it was kept and therefore it brought death to everyone except the messiah who was the only man ever to keep the whole law in spirit and truth! So, in the case of David where forgiveness was immediate it was because of his faith in the sacrifice that he knew God would provide. Abraham and David saw the messiah “afar off” (Gen 22.4) because he is the Lamb slain by Abraham from the foundation of the (Jewish) world (Rev 13.8).

 

Rabbi Tovia Singer mentions that “a price was paid for you in Romans chapter 6” which is mistaken as he was probably thinking of “bought with a price” (1 Cor 6.20 and 1 Cor 7.23) which a fascicle reading would understand as a “transactional exchange” but only if the context is ignored because it is about buying slaves. The metaphor suggests that we were purchased out of slavery [31] in order to become freewill slaves of him who bought us out our hopeless situation of bondage. However, Jesus no longer considers us servants but "friends" (John 15.14-15 cf Isa 41.8). If the sacrifice of Christ was a straight transaction and substitution why do all men still die and why is there still a judgement? The atonement wrought by the messiah is not a transactional exchange.[32]

 

Islam more Compatible than Christianity

 

Here follows a salutary lesson for Christians (and Christadelphians) as the Rabbi voices the opinion of many of his rabbinical colleagues when he clearly states that;

 

"No version of Christianity can be as close to Judaism as Islam, not even remotely". (Tovia Singer)

 

This statement should be pinned above the bed of all Christians who think that “their version” of Christianity is in some way “compatible with Judaism”. Let me summarise and emphasize:

1. It doesn’t matter if you are a monotheist and deny the Trinity
2. It doesn’t matter if you deny “vicarious atonement”

The rabbi’s still do not want Jesus as the messiah. First century Rabbis did not believe their Jewish brethren despite the fact that they held exactly the same belief system. They will never admit that they sold Joseph into slavery or that they are healed by the stripes of the suffering servant. It has very little to do with correct doctrine;

 

"Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day". (Isa 66 v.5)

 

The rabbis do not want Jesus as messiah full stop......they prefer another Bar Kochba. They even prefer Islam.

 

Why the Rabbis prefer Islam

 

It should come as no shock that the Rabbis prefer Islam because it is an offshoot of Rabbinical Judaism. [33] Jewish Law (halakha) means "the way of walking" and Islamic Law (sharia) in Arabic means “the way.” The Islamic obsession with “Law” comes from the Jewish obsession with Law as Parthia (Babylonia or Shinar) was the centre of Jewish Law Schools and the place (Zech 5.11) where the Babylonian Talmud was written for centuries before Muḥammad appeared. Moreover many Jewish tribes lived in the Arabian Peninsula where Muḥammad (an illiterate but well travelled merchant) received his visions. Muslims believe that the Quran was orally revealed by God to the final Prophet, Muḥammad, through the archangel Gabriel (Jibril), incrementally over a period of some 23 years concluding in 632, the year of his death.

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According to tradition, several of Muḥammad's companions served as scribes and recorded the revelations. In 1896 Rabbi Abraham Geiger highlighted the similarities between Rabbinic Judaism and Islam. [34] Jews are allowed to pray in a mosque and Muslims in a synagogue but neither will pray in a church. Christians are considered “idolaters” [35] by Jews and Muslims but as we have seen even when Christians reject the Trinity and vicarious atonement it makes little difference to the rabbis as Islam is preferred above the monotheistic “version” of Christianity. There is therefore no version of Christianity that is palatable to the Rabbis. So Jews and Muslims eat the same clean food, practice male circumcision (which is also widespread in Islam and accepted as established practice by all Islamic schools of jurisprudence) and we must not forget ostentatious prayers etc and the giving of alms and the pilgrimage to Mecca (based on the historical pilgrimage to the Jewish temple cf. the Wailing Wall). In 1976 the historians Patricia Crone and Michael Cook wrote the book Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World is a 1977 book about the early history of Islam. According to the authors, 7th century Syriac, Armenian and Hebrew sources depict the formation of Islam as a Jewish messianic movement known as Hagarism, [36] which migrated into the Fertile Crescent. It drew considerable influences from the Samaritans and Babylonian Judaism. Around 690 AD the movement shed its Judaic identity to develop into what would later become Arab Islam. [37] Although the theory was subsequently universally rejected for its methodology [38] it did open up new avenues of research. Hagarism built on the work of Joseph Schacht (d. 1969), a towering figure in the history and study of Islamic law; and before Schacht, to Ignaz Goldziher (d. 1921), a man who in many way stands as the godfather of modern Islamic studies in the West. Both Goldziher and Schacht showed that many of the oral traditions which had been attributed to Muḥammad and regarded with canonical authority by Muslims were actually late fabrications which reflected the cultural and political situation in the Middle East long after the Prophet had died. [39] Apart from casual allusions in the Qur’an, most of what is reported about Muḥammad's life is based on oral traditions of his followers later collected and written down in biographical works of the A.D. 8th and 9th centuries. Suffice to say that the truth lays somewhere in-between full blown Hagarism and a conservative Islamic view as it is quite obvious that Islam owes much to Rabbinic Judaism but probably not to the extent that Hagarism suggests. One might say that Judaism is the mother religion (rather than the sister) of Islam.

 

Conclusion

 

Even though there are versions of Christianity that are monotheistic and that reject vicarious atonement the rabbis still prefer Islam as a sister (daughter) religion because Judaism and Islam are so closely related. On a “psychological” level Judaism and Islam are the same as they find great comfort in the certainty of their traditions, their laws and in what is proscribed because “works” are always less arduous than freely exercising conscience and morality as law keeping allows the “believer” to present God with an concrete balance sheet that requires settlement. [40] Islam has taken this to the extreme with Jihad that allows a “martyr” direct access to Paradise bypassing any “settlement” altogether. But God is not an accountant and does not owe anyone eternal life for the supposed “good deeds” that they have performed and the laws that they have kept. Why would you expect a reward for doing the right thing anyway? Do you really need to be told not to kill and steal and then receive a reward when you obey? Are you really a better person because you have never eaten a bacon sandwich? Whoever holds such simplistic views knows nothing about the nature of God or the nature of man because the Law of Moses was honoured only in the breach. It could not be impeccably kept hence the need for the multitude of sacrifices. The Jews have fallen after the sin of Adam, the original Causa sui, project of wanting to be self-determining and equal to God [41] the only one Jacob has deceived this time is himself. God put you to the test by giving you a law like he did with Adam…..and you were found wanting.
However, in their love for Islam the Rabbis need to exercise care as Ishmael was sent away by Abraham because he mocked the child of promise as being a bastard (Gen 21.9-10) conceived in the tents of Abimelech (Gen 20.18-Gen 21.1-2). Hagar was Abrahams “bondservant” and she was sent away with her son. Similarly, the Jews mocked the legitimacy of Christ as the true heir of Abraham (John 8.39, 41, 48) and therefore they were sent away (for 2,000 years) because they were also slaves (John 8.33-35). In fact Islam has decided that Ishmael was sacrificed as he was the firstborn [42] .....Muslims are effectively calling the Jews “illegitimate”, mocking the true heirs (descendants of Abraham) and laying claim to their inheritance (Jerusalem). Who says that God has no sense of irony? What goes around comes around. A true Jew has the faith of Abraham (Gen 15.6) and does the works of Abraham (John 8.39, Gen 22.3). The Rabbis need to be careful for not only did Abraham send Ishmael away, he also sent the sons of Keturah away (Gen 25.6) because of the strife they caused. And all this because when God sent his messiah he “hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa 53.2). The Rabbis had no problem accepting the charasmatic Bar Kochba though. How did that work out for you?

 

 

NOTES

[24] See, The Sacrifice of Christ; "Did he offer as one of those needing the sacrifice, as a REPRESENTATIVE; or did he offer merely on behalf of others, himself NOT needing it, that is, as a SUBSTITUTE? Brethren Thomas and Roberts are emphatic that the former is the truth, and the very heart of the truth concerning his sacrifice".
[25] See, A Biblical Argument Against Penal Substitutionary Atonement
[26] Apt words from Hezekiah who had just been "resurrected" from his death bed.
[27] This is (as far as I know) the Christadelphian understanding of praying in the name of Jesus (Brother John Thomas, Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come,April 1855); “Now the Lord Jesus is high priest over the house of God, which is composed of those who embrace and hold fast to the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope to the end. These are his priestly household, all of whom "call upon his name" on becoming members of it. Thus they are "in his name" and being in his name when they pray they pray in his name, and when they praise they praise in his name, and whatsoever they do religiously they do in his name to the glory of God the Father. When they pray they do not pray to their high priest, but they pray with him as their "advocate with the Father."
[28] At least since Mishnaic times (AD200), Jews faced the Temple Mount in Jerusalem while praying. The Mishnah speaks about this in Berakhot chapter 4, Mishnahs 5 and 6. Originally, the Muslim direction for prayer (the Qiblah) was also toward Jerusalem.
[29] The nom. ḥōq occurs 129x in OT, ḥuqqā generally overlap those of tôrâ, mišpāt, and miṣwā. Many instances of ḥōq and ḥuqqā are justaposed to those other terms, suggesting possibly that, in those cases, they share roughly the same semantic domains, although some argue for clear distinctions (e.g., ḥōq refers to cultic law and mišpāt to civil [TDOT 5:143]). In the final analysis, however, it is difficult to draw distinctions (VanGemeren, 184-87). NIDOTTE, (ed. Van Gemeren, Pater Noster, 1997), #2976 G/K vol 2. Pg.250
[30] From the very beginning God provided the covering for Adam’s nakedness with animal skins (Gen 3.21).
[31]Anyone remember the nation being redeemed out of the slavery of Egypt by the blood of the Passover Lamb? Was that a “transactional exchange”?
[32] See the article Soteriology and Atonement theory
[33] See David Steinberg, Islam and Judiasm Influences Contrasts and Parallels
[34] The Talmud and Islam and Abraham Geiger, Judaism and Islam, (Translated by F.M. Young, 1896).
[35] For Maimonides, Christianity and Islam are related to Judaism. Maimonides's practical view of Christianity was usually assumed to be negative and he regarded Christianity as a form of proscribed polytheism, even for gentiles. In his code of Jewish law, Mishneh Torah, Maimonides basically restated his judgment about the idolatrous status of Christianity without repeating the reasons he gave in his earlier works. As a theologian, he took regularly strong exemption to Christian Trinitarianism. Maimonides ranked Islam superior than Christianity on theological grounds. For him, Christianity is the prime example of the error of such anthropomorphism in its original doctrine of the Incarnation and in its associated doctrine of the Trinity. See,Oxford Scholarship
[36] Named Hagarism after Hagar, the Egyptian wife of Abraham
[37] SeeWikipedia: Hagarism
[38] Stephen Humphreys observes, "Unsurprisingly, the Crone-Cook interpretation has failed to win general acceptance among Western Orientalists, let alone Muslim scholars ... The rhetoric of these authors may be an obstacle for many readers, for their argument is conveyed through a dizzying and unrelenting array of allusions, metaphors, and analogies. More substantively, their use (or abuse) of the Greek and Syriac sources has been sharply criticised. In the end, perhaps we ought to use Hagarism more as a 'what-if' exercise than as a research monograph." Stephen Humphreys, Islamic History, (Princeton, 1991) pp. 84–85.
[39] Donner, Fred M, Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam (2010), Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 126.
[40] God already gives us our due......what we have “earned” (Rom 6.23)
[41] In a classic case of projection the Jews accused Jesus of the same sin as Adam (John 5.18) although Jesus refused to follow that route (Philip 2.6).
[42] Ishmael and Hagar are taken to Mecca by Abraham in Islamic texts. In many of these accounts, the Sakina (something like a wind or spirit sent by God compare the Shekina in Rabbinic Judaism), or the angel Gabriel (Jibral) guides them to the location of the Kaaba. Most Muslims believe that Abraham was told to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, though the Qur'an does mention the son.The multiple versions suggest that the dhabih was originally an oral story that had been circulating before being written as it is in the Qur'an and in additional commentaries. Norman Calder explains, "oral narrative is marked by instability of form and detail from version to version, and by an appropriate creative flexibility which makes of every rendering a unique work of art."[7]:92–93 Each version is indeed a "unique work of art," differing from another in various ways to present certain ideas, such as the importance of Ishmael over Isaac because he was the first child. Calder, Norman (2000). "4". In Andrew Rippin. The Qur'an : formative interpretation. Aldershot: Ashgate,92-95

 

 

 

quoteArt thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? (John 3 v.10)

 

 

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How did Paul Corrupt the Torah?
Rabbi Tovia Singer Reveals Why Paul Altered the Jewish Scriptures

 

This video jumps straight to the accusation leveled at Paul 602s which is basically based on Paul's interpretation of Deut 25.4 about "muzzling oxen" which Paul employs in 1 Cor 9.9-10 as an example of the beast (ox) benefiting from its own labour. Rabbi Singer becomes extremely agitated about this....the Torah text is purely about being kind to animals (it has no other meaning than its surface meaning). Paul says something diametrically opposed to the Torah? What? Because he says that a lesson can be learned from Deut 25v.4? Are you serious? You do know that the Ox represented Israel? A beast of burden under the law? You do know that Rabbi? Of course God wants you to be kind to animals (that is the surface meaning) but is that the only reason it was written? Or how about this;

 

 

"The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider". (Isa 1 v.5)

 

The ox was a beast of burden (Israel under the law) but it waxed fat and kicked (Deut 32.15). The laver (sea) in the temple was supported by 12 oxen (1 Kgs 7.25). Elisha was ploughing with 12 oxen (1 Kgs 19.19). The ass represented Israel’s royal aspect....the only animal that was required to have its neck broken (not very kind to animals?) if it was not redeemed (Exod 13.13). Moses (Num 16.15) was accused of stealing the ass (wanting to Lord it over them like royalty). Have you considered these things Rabbi?

 

  • If the Ox could benefit from its labour
  • If Israel could benefit from their labours
  • Could not the apostle reap the benefits of his own labour?

 

And yet, despite being justified by the Torah Paul refused to demand material support for his own ministry (1 Cor 9.15); so this runs contrary to what you are saying! He refused money. Rabbi, you are being completely disingenuous in allowing your antipathy towards Paul (a fellow Rabbi) to deliberately cloud your judgement. I believe you might learn something about your Torah if you sat at the feet of the luminary "Rabbi Paul". And finally Rabbi, do you know your owner, have you considered? Do you know your master’s crib (manger)?

 

 

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn". (Luke 2v.7)

 

 

quoteArt thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? (John 3 v.10)

 

 

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Here is the Jewish view of Original Sin …
A Critique of Rabbi Tovia Singers interpretation of Pauline theology

 

In response to an article that originally appeared on "Outreach Judaism". The apostle Paul is often attacked because he is a fellow rabbi and used similar midrashic techniques to expound scripture. However, when Paul employs similar techniques as his fellow rabbi's he is "misusing" scripture. Of course the rabbi's often conflated various texts or used one text to explain another but none of the rabbi's were endowed with the Spirit like the apostle Paul. Not only are Pauline insights supremely Jewish they are grounded and rooted in Jewish inter-textual-ism and offer powerful spiritual insights. If only the rabbi's would follow the example of their fellow rabbi instead of judging him.

 

This response was written as long ago as 2003 for the old website (Biblaridion.net) and has been re-posted here. It is still awaiting a reply. Download the PDF Tovia critique of Paul

 

 

"But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgement: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord" (1 Cor 4v.3-4)