A Noachide's Response to Christianity
The Zionist Conspirator is one of America's great Southern writers. Literary talent pools
disproportionately in the bottom half of our country. He's also the Gentile
Joshua, a Noachide for 35 years, AKA the Redneck Rastafarian. This was originally posted
on Free Republic.
Most arguments between Jews and chrstians don't really satisfy anyone on either side because they focus on details -- the eternity of the Torah, the identity of Messiah, the prophecies -- and ignore the big picture of which these things are but details. Be`ezrat HaShem I will call upon my own prior beliefs as a Fundamentalist Protestant to lay out this "big picture" so that, whether the reader agrees or disagrees, he will understand.
Fundamentalist Protestants have a strong antinomian streak as a heritage of the Reformation, when Paul's polemics against the Torah were applied by the Reformers to Catholic rituals, laws, observances, and traditions. Thus the Fundamentalist Protestant (hereinafter FP) pitch to Jews invariably begins by pointing out that everyone is a sinner; that no one has ever kept the Torah perfectly. Therefore, since no one is without sin, no one can be "saved." All must be damned, because G-d, being holy, cannot abide imperfection. The only alternative (other than 100% sinlessness) is for G-d to incarnate Himself (chas vechalilah!) and vicariously damn Himself in the place of every sinner. In fact (according to this view) the whole point of the Torah was to illustrate that, since no one can live a 100% sinless life, all human obedience to G-d is futile, since it's all-or-nothing. Therefore the entire Torah becomes an illustration of the need for the vicarious damnation of this divine scapegoat--a "prophecy" or "type" of this "messiah." Thus, all the FP "witness" has to do is to point out to the one being witnessed to that he isn't perfect. Voila! This "proves" the truth of antinomian "faith only" chrstianity.
Now while apologists argue back and forth about whether Jsus fulfilled the messianic prophecies or whether the cessation of the offerings means that their validity has ceased they are, as I said, missing the big picture, which is that this entire worldview is incorrect from the Torah point of view. Once again, be`ezrat HaShem I will try to explain.
Perhaps the best place to begin is to point out that nowhere in the TaNa"KH (the Hebrew Bible or "old testament") is there a word about "soul salvation" in the chrstian sense. No one goes door to door passing out tracts. In fact, "salvation" in the chrstian sense is never mentioned. The only "salvation" in the TaNa"KH is rescue from a dangerous situation of some kind. It is this very literal concept of rescue that chrstianity has de-literalized, spiritualized, and allegorized into "the salvation of the soul."
In FP thought G-d, being holy and perfect, cannot create anything less holy or perfect than Himself, else He would be implicated in imperfection, which is unthinkable. Sin and imperfection come from an outside force (Satan). G-d, being holy and righteous, cannot bear the existence of sin. His only option in dealing with the slightest sin is eternal damnation--else He would topple from His throne of Holiness. So each individual must either live an entire life of absolute sinlessness or else face this inevitable fate--unless G-d incarnates Himself as a divine scapegoat to take this punishment Himself on behalf of every single individual. This is what Fundamentalist Protestant chrstianity is all about. This is also why FP's think that merely pointing out that no one is sinless "proves" that their religion is right and all others are insults to the Holiness of G-d.
The problem is that G-d's holiness and omnipotence do not mean that in creation He reproduces Himself. G-d is One and the idea of Him reproducing Himself is a non-sequitur, as is the notion that "everything is holy" (since the very definition of "holy" is "other"). By the very nature of things all things that are not G-d are imperfect. In another post I pointed out that there is a Jewish tradition that the first sin was not committed by man, but by the very ground before man had ever been created, when G-d commanded it to bring forth "trees of fruit bearing fruit" and in instead brought forth only "trees bearing fruit" (another tradition says that the sun and moon were created the same size but the moon was reduced as a punishment for its envy).
Also, it is an error to attribute man's evil inclination to the interference of Satan. The Torah alludes to the fact that G-d Himself created man's evil inclination when it uses two yods in the word vayiytzer ("and he formed") in Genesis 2:7. The two yods allude to man's two yetzarim (inclinations), good and evil--both created and given to him by G-d. In fact, Satan is not in rebellion against G-d or a "fallen angel" at all. Indeed, by tempting us to sin and accusing us before G-d he is only doing his job.
Let none of this lead the reader to misunderstand that the ravages wreaked by the First Sin on either mankind or the universe itself is being downplayed. In fact, it is Judaism--the Torah--that first taught us of the First Sin and preserves its memory down to this day. What is being said, however, is that G-d willed to create a universe that, even before the Sin, was not (and by the very nature of things could not have been) as perfect as He--that to create was to bring imperfection into existence--and by creating creatures with free will to whom a Law was given, G-d Himself made sin possible. And this was His Will.
Ultimately, we do not know why G-d created the universe (since His counsels are His Own). But we have been given partial answers. One of these is that G-d created the universe for the Torah. In Jewish understanding Torah is what chrstians call the "logos"--the blueprint or DNA of the Creation. In fact, it was created first (974 generations before Creation according to tradition) and the universe only after. Much as the mechanism of a keyhole is useless without the key that fits into it and makes it work, so the Torah serves as the "key" to the universe. Another answer we have been given is that G-d created this world so it could be filled with and transformed by G-dliness. G-d could have stopped with the creation of the higher, spiritual worlds, but He did not. He chose to create the physical world--the lowest of all the worlds--so that it could be elevated by G-dliness and sanctity. This, more than sanctity in the higher spritual worlds, shows forth G-d's greatness. And how was this to be accomplished? Keyhole, meet key--by the observance of the Torah. In this the Jewish nation retains the fulness of the Adamic mission by observing the Torah in its fulness, which channels holiness from the higher worlds into this physical one. Non-Jews then spread this holiness throughout the world by observing the Seven Noachide Laws. G-d's mysterious ultimate purpose is tied to the sanctification of this lowest of worlds, not by sinless angels, but by men--creatures who struggle with their evil inclination all their lives and who fail more often than they succeed.
You will notice that I have said nothing whatsoever about the "salvation of the soul" for the simple reason that that is not what it's about. In fact, it is the opposite. The soul originates in Heaven, among the supernal realms. It descends down to this lowest of worlds and enters the human body in order to do its job. And its job is not to escape to Heaven but to bring Heaven down to earth. (Please do not confuse this, the true concept of tiqqun olam, with G-dless imitations. This transformation is to be accomplished only by obeying G-d's instructions, not disobeying them or laying them aside, and the ultimate transformation will be supernatural and quite beyond the powers of any secularist philosophy.) In Judaism (and consequently Noachism) it is obedience to G-d's laws in this world that is what it is all about. Of course at death the soul reports to G-d for judgement and some sort of assessment is made, but this assessment will be based on our obedience to G-d's commandments (and our repentance for our sins). This is not an all-or-nothing judgement, for the factors of each individual soul, its trials and tribulations, are something only G-d could possibly judge or recompense. And we will not be cast aside because we were not 100% perfect in a way no created thing (not even the sun and the moon) can be (the First Sin was committed, after all, not by a fallen man but the perfect first-created man). As it is written in Pirqei-'Avot, Lo' `aleykha hamela'khah ligmor, 'aval lo' 'attah ben chorin lehibbatel mimennah ("it is not for you to finish the work, but neither are you free to withdraw from it"). It is also written that G-d will not ask us why we were not Moses, but why we were not ourselves. And that should be our focus: doing our task wherever we are, acknowledging our sins and failures, doing teshuvah (repentance) whenever needed, fearing G-d and obeying Him to the best of our ability, and most certainly not discarding His laws because we find them difficult.
I don't know how good a job I have done in this re-write (re-writes are always inferior to the original), but I hope I have succeeded in getting sincere chrstians (especially antinomian FP's who do so much proselytizing and "witnessing") to see that in this worldview the notion that messiah has already come is ludicrous, and that such arguments as the current absence of blood sacrifices simply do not address the underlying issues at all. Neither do the often heard accusations "you must really have confidence in your sinlessness if you think you can make it to Heaven without Jsus" or "You're just trying to work your way to Heaven because you don't appreciate your own sinfulness and G-d's holiness" address the Jewish worldview, but only strawmen created to be taken down by those arguments. I don't think I'm "good enough." I'm not trying to "work my way to Heaven." I'm trying to do my job. And believe me, I have a greater appreciation than you ever could of the lousy job I'm doing at it!
The Torah foretells periods of destruction and exile when the sacrifices cannot be offered (these are always punishments for abandoning the Torah, not for "rejecting the messiah"). And when the real Mashiach comes it will not be subject to debate but a fact that no one on earth will be able to deny. So long as we're debating, then he hasn't come.
As I said, I fear this re-writing isn't as good as the one I was working on and then stupidly closed without saving. I certainly hope nothing I have written causes anyone to misunderstand. I have tried to explicate these things as I have come to understand them. I have certainly not intended to mislead anyone. And I certainly hope I haven't embarrassed anyone more learned in these matters than I. I hope Orthodox Jewish FReepers will feel free to correct me where I have made mistakes.
May G-d mercifully lead and guide us each and all! (Free Republic 2008)
The sun, moon earth, stars, and angels will not be judged by G-d.
The sun, moon, stars, and every created thing is judged by G-d every year on Rosh HaShanah. And did you not read my original post? Perhaps you just skimmed it? The ground sinned before man was created, and the moon, which was originally the same size as the sun, was reduced.
It doesn't matter WHAT good works we do here on earth, not that we shouldn't strive to do as many as we can, they would almost invariably not be enough to make ourselves worthy to stand before G-d.
You seem to be totally unwilling or unable to understand that this "man was created perfect, then sinned, and is now lost unless he is either perfect or saved" is totally alien to the Hebrew Bible. It is from the "new testament," the truth of which is at issue here but which you insist on assuming. You then retroject this into the Hebrew Bible.
How much does the Hebrew Bible have to say on the state of the individual soul? Some, but it certainly doesn't obsess on it. The Torah (and mostly the Prophets and Writings as well) are concerned with the development of world history. And certainly the Torah, the foundation as well as the peak of Jewish revelation, says nothing about the salvation of the individual soul. It contains history and laws. Does it contain instructions for an atonement ritual? Of course. Did this atonement ritual atone for the individual soul in the chrstian understanding so the individual could be "saved?" Please. This is your projection of the later, chrstian worldview into the Hebrew Bible. Have you noticed that all these atonement rituals were given to Israel only? The Torah does not speak directly to non-Jews at all. And Yom Kippur was primarily a communal atonement for the Nation.
Have you read the Torah's threats for sins? It says very little about "eternal damnation." It mentions exile, plague, captivity, diseases, slaughters . . . it says nothing about what happens after death. This is because the afterlife in Judaism is an esoteric teaching, less important than the systematization of Torah Law. You may insist that this "esoteric" nature lasted only until the time of Jsus and that the "new testament" makes the doctrines of the afterlife public for the first time, but this is an assumption on your part. The fact that you assume it does not make it true.
Did I not communicate the idea that Torah is not just some basic, unimportant, temporary, and preparatory revelation but The Supreme Revelation? All theories of "progressive revelation" are inherently unprovable. If revelation "progresses" from lower to higher, where does it stop? I know you will say with the "new testament," but that is arbitrary on the part of chrstians. If revelation "progresses," why shouldn't chrstianity be superseded by islam, which would be superseded by sikhism, which would be superseded by bahai, which would be superseded by something new to come along? When would it ever stop? Judaism, alone of all the religions of the world, is the only one that identifies the first revelation as the supreme one, while every other religion has to claim a "progressive" revelation until it comes to its own scriptures (at which point it stops, of course).
Did I fail to convey the very important fact that the Prophets and Writings are not "higher than" the Torah but progressively lower than it? The Torah was not written under Divine Inspiration at all. It was written by G-d. It is of wholly Divine authorship. Moses was only a stenographer. The Torah was written before the world was created. The Prophets were written by men under the spirit of prophecy, which is a step lower, and the Writings were written under Ruach HaQodesh (the Holy Spirit), which is a step lower still. The Prophets and Writings are only being publicly read in synagogue services temporarily until they are fulfilled, after which they will have served their purpose. But the Torah is eternal. It was before the First Sin, after it, on earth, in Heaven (where it is studied by angels), and even in the World to Come when our evil inclinations will have been sublimated. It is eternally in force.
We can NEVER do enough good works to justify us in G*d's sight.
I really think you didn't even bother to read my post. Did you not read that I don't claim to be "perfect" or "good enough" or any other number of straw men you may choose to come up with? The notion that G-d has only one way of dealing with imperfection--eternal damnation (or else chrstian salvation)--is something that you and people like you choose to assume. And btw, even most non-Protestant chrstians don't believe it (else their own rituals, masses, prayers, etc., would be of no use). I was not put on earth to be perfect, damned, or saved. You were not put on earth to be perfect, damned, or saved. The whole "perfect, damned, or saved" thing is a scenario you assume from the "new testament" because you accept its authority from the outset. But I do not. Both of us, on the other hand, accept the authority of the Torah. If there is to be a new religion the Torah must authorize it. And yet even the sloppiest reading yields the fact that it claims to be in effect forever and that it disallows any such "higher revelation" as chrstianity claims to be. Have you ever read the thirteenth chapter of Deuteronomy?
It is a gift that G-d offers that we have to accept.
Everything is a gift from G-d. Our very existence is a gift from G-d. Can you not for one moment, even if you do not agree with me, pull yourself out of this worldview to see for one moment what I am trying to say? At least then you'd know what you were rejecting rather than rejecting some self-drawn caricature of someone who thinks "I don't need any help getting to Heaven because I'm so good."
The angels still in heaven have not sinned. They may not be perfect but they haven't sinned. The angels that sinned, Lucifer for example, were thrown out of heaven.
Okay. This proves that you never read my original post all the way through. There is no angel named "Lucifer" who fell from Heaven (that's a teaching from the "new testament" based on a misunderstanding of a passage in the Prophets). G-d created the angel Samael and gave him the jobs of being HaSatan (the Satan, the adversary), the Yetzer HaRa (the Evil Inclination), and Mal'akh HaMavet (the angel of death). I think he is also the national angel of Edom. But he is not in rebellion against G-d at all. Only a dualist who rejects the idea of One Supreme G-d could believe that there is some evil counterpart to G-d who is responsible for the evil in the world. As I said in my initial post (which, again, you obviously didn't read) G-d Himself created the ground (which sinned), the moon (which sinned), and created 'Adam with both a good and evil inclination (Genesis 2:7). The evil inclination, and even Satan, are creations of G-d. They are part of a world in which man has Divine instructions and the freewill to obey or disobey them. Heylel Ben Shachar ("Lucifer, son of the morning") is not Satan but the planet vnus. When G-d addressed the king of Babylonia He was sarcastically referring to his pride and his shining garments. "Look at this. What's the planet vnus doing down here?"
I agree that we should obey G-d here on earth and do our best to make the earth a better place.
Once again you don't quite get it. It's not about merely "doing good and making the earth a better place." It's about each and every one of us doing his part to utterly transform the physical world in "the Kingdom of the A-mighty." Who needs Heaven? We came from Heaven! We were sent from Heaven down here to do this, and all you can only think of it is as a temporary test to be endured on the way to Heaven. If G-d wanted us in Heaven, why did He not keep us there? Obedience to G-d's laws unleashes spiritual forces throughout all the worlds, just as disobedience and sin unleashes destructive spiritual forces throughout the worlds. All our lives long we are engaging in this activity which eludes our senses. And as I keep saying it is not our job to finish the work. It is only for us to do our part. And this is not the "perfection, damnation, or salvation" scenario of antinomian chrstianity.
Everything we do here on earth will be judged. If we did not have an intercessor we WOULD be damned for eternity. Not necessarily to Hell but not with our Heavenly Father either, and that could be just as bad.
Again, you persist on reiterating the "absolute perfection, or else damnation, or else salvation" scenario, which is the topic of dispute in this thread. Can you justify this worldview by the Torah? Never mind the "new testament." Its authority is what is in dispute here. Just because you believe it doesn't make it true. A moslem could just as easily "prove" islam by quoting the claims of the koran. But the point is that neither chrstianity nor islam are authorized by the Torah. The fulfillment we look for is a world utterly and supernaturally transformed by Torah observance and in which, even though sin and evil are sublimated, the Torah remains eternally in force.
It is not imperfection that damns a person. It is sin without payment. Payment cannot be made unless the gift is accepted.
What makes you think that the penalty for sin is "damnation?" Does the Torah intimate anything about "eternal damnation?" Or are you just going to quote Paul and expect me to say "Oh well, that proves it?" Quoting Paul no more proves chrstianity than quoting the "holy quran" proves islam!
I'm not sure I understand your last statement. If you would care to amplify I might be able to respond.
I find that hard to believe, as you are surely aware that until the Protestant Reformation all chrstians engaged in "works" and "merit" that would put any Jew or Noachide to shame. Perhaps you should first convince these people, whose version of chrstianity actually goes back to the time of Jsus, before you try to convince me, that the whole purpose of G-d's creation was salvation of the individual soul by means of an antinomian loophole?
You know, I'm disappointed that you obviously never read my first post (which dealt with many of the issues you raised in your "response" to it). I can only assume you have no intention of going back and reading over it in its entirety. You probably won't even read all of this one.
The thing is, I used to believe exactly as you do. I grew up under the influence of a preacher who taught that "the worst form of badness is human goodness," that the vast majority of mankind are "egomaniacs strutting their way to hell, thinking they're too good to be damned." I've been there! I never rejected that worldview because I suddenly developed the idea that I was "good enough" for G-d. I rejected it because I came to see in light of the Hebrew Bible that this whole worldview is simply in error. And part of how I learned that was the painful discovery that actual historical chrstianity did not say this at all. It merely said the Torah had been superseded, but had been replaced by something else just like it "only better" and that my beloved form of chrstianity (which was at least consistent in its view of human works) was only a few hundred years old.
I suggest Protestants first convince Catholic, Orthodox, Non-Chalcaedonian, and Nestorian chrstians of the validity of their antinomian worldview before arguing with anyone who defends the Torah.
One thing I can say that I have done is that I have been forced to examine the claims of other people--people with whom I disagreed--seriously on their own terms rather than merely answering those claims by endlessly repeating my own assumptions. I am sorry that you, for whatever reason, do not wish to try doing this for even one moment. ...
Note carefully: my imperfection, and the imperfection of every human being, is not an original discovery of yourself, nor does it in and of itself vindicate your religious beliefs.
It would depend on the quality, and frequency of the imperfections discovered in this essay. If you conclude that gentiles should be Noachides, and you use faulty premises to build up the case for such, and faulty premises to tear down Jesus Christ as Messiah and God, then, with respect, you would be in error sir.
Here I am afraid you have misunderstood my point. It is not that my case may be undermined by the mistakes of my presentation (though that is certainly true; any apologist for any religion may inadequately make his case and thereby create the impression that his position is wrong even when this is not the case). My point was that many chr*stians assume that the very fact that all men are sinners proves, in and of itself, that chr*stianity is true. For example, your personal FReeper page seems to make this argument: "have you ever committed a single, solitary sin in your life? Are you less than perfect? Then you must accept Chr*st or be eternally damned." That all men are sinners, are less than perfect, is not an original observation of chr*stianity, nor does it in and of itself prove the claims of chr*stianity. And on top of that, it isn't even the argument of the older versions of chr*stianity. Roman Catholicism, for example, argues for "Purgatory" in part on the grounds that "most people are not good enough for Heaven or wicked enough for Hell." So your antinomian, all-or-nothing approach to perfection isn't even universal in chr*stianity (and is unknown to the ancient churches).
Before we begin: As a founding premise for everything I say in response to your essay, the Tanach, which Christians call the Old Testament, is the very inspired, inerrant, Word of God. The evidence supporting this notion is at http://www.direct.ca/trinity/y3nf.html. The Tanach / Old Testament is the Word of God, because it says what happens, thousands of years before it happens with accuracy, and specificity not seen anywhere else. Devils and men can't do this. Only God.
If you don't accept the above as evidence for the Tanach / Old Testament being the inspired, inerrant Word of God, then I thank you for reading as far as you have.
The inspiration of the "old testament" does not rest, at bottom, on mathematical evidence (though there is much evidence encoded in the Torah itself). The Torah Oral and Written (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) was given by G-d to Israel at Mt. Sinai. Of all the books of the Bible, only the Torah was written directly by G-d Himself. It was not written by any human being (not even Moses) under Divine inspiration. Moses was merely a stenographer. The five books of the Torah are therefore also the only Biblical books that were never canonized by a human authority. No canonization was ever necessary, because it was the direct revelation of G-d.
The Prophets and Hagiographa, however, were written by men (under Divine inspiration) and had to be canonized by competent Torah authority. The Nevi'im (Prophets) were written under the spirit of Prophecy (Nevi'ah), which is a step below the direct Divine authorship of the Torah. The Ketuvim (Hagiographa) were written under Ruach HaQodesh (the Holy Spirit, it, Divine inspiration) which is a step lower still. So as the Bible "progresses" the level of inspiration does not increase, but rather decreases. This is so because the first Revelation--the Torah--is simultaneously the ultimate, definitive Revelation. This goes contrary to the notion of progressive revelation held by other religions, but other religions must adopt progressive revelation in order to make the Torah temporary or low-level revelation.
Who was the authority that canonized the Na"KH (Prophets and Hagiographa)? The 'Anshei-HaKenesset HaGedolah (Men of the Great Assembly). They had no authority to pass judgment on the Torah but rather debated on which of the writings claiming to be holy not only truly were the work of Divine inspiration, but which would be necessary to comfort Israel throughout its Exile until its final regathering (there were many, many prophets and prophecies which were written under the Spirit of Prophecy but were useful only for their own time). The books that are in the Protestant "old testament" are there because these ancient Jewish Sages ruled that they were inspired and carried a multigenerational message. And there were arguments about almost every book (I believe the only one over which there was no argument was 'Ekhah, Lamentations). The reason the Books of the Maccabbees are not included in the TaNa"KH (even though they tell the story of the institution of the festival of Chanukkah) is that the Sages had already closed the canon. And in canonizing these books what was their rule and guide? The Torah. The books written by G-d Himself were the supreme and ultimate rule by which to judge all other scripture (which illustrates its supreme authority over all later scriptures or writings claiming to be scripture). Any writing that was contrary to the Torah would never have been canonized.
1A) Perhaps the best place to begin is to point out that nowhere in the TaNa"KH (the Hebrew Bible or "old testament") is their a word about "soul salvation" in the chr*stian sense.
I brought up PaRDes before. As a reminder to all ...
1) Pashat/Literal primary meaning
2) Remez/Hints in the text of something deeper
3) Drash/The added understanding that can only be gleaned by a story, riddle, or parable and the deepest level
4) Sod/Secrets and mysteries, which are mysterious underlying secrets revealed in the text, which can and often do require many hours, weeks, months and in some cases even years to receive, through the diligent study and meditation in YHWH’s Word.
You and I both believe in PaRDeS. Our disagreement is your assumption that the true below-the-surface meanings of the Torah is that chr*stianity is coming. A little later on you will ask where the Jews get this or that teaching (ie, the sin of the ground) and suddenly PaRDeS will seem to slip from your memory.
The question is not whether or not there is PaRDeS, but if PaRDeS, rightly understood, teaches chr*stianity.
... and your response to this PaRDes summary in post 43 is, “PaRDeS assumes the eternal validity of Torah.” But I don't see why this is necessarily the case. Is there some Torah/Tanach/Old Testament that you could point me to that I might understand why you say this?
Now this is a very interesting position for you to take. You have just argued that the Torah doesn't have to explicitly teach chr*stianity because it is taught in PaRDeS. Yet now you ask me to prove something by the surface sense of Scripture. Do you believe in PaRDeS or don't you? My guess is that you really don't believe in PaRDeS; you believe in the "new testament" when you then retroject into the PaRDeS of the Torah.
“Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord
GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out
of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.”
Plainly, the dead rise. Some to an eternal Kingdom which we know as heaven, and some to damnation and hell as we infer from the following verses ...
The resurrection of the dead is dogmatic in Judaism. It is the subject of the second blessing in the `Amidah (which was composed by the Prophets of the Great Assembly). It is the last of RaMBa"M's thirteen principals of faith and is supposed to have been one of the points of contention between the Perushim and Tzadduqqim (Pharisees and Sadducees).
However, it is not at all clear that this resurrection is to Heaven and Hell. In fact, the verse you just cited seems (granted, on the surface) to refer to a resurrection of Israel alone so that they may reenter the Holy Land.
The permanence of the life of the resurrected dead is also a subject of speculation. RaMBa"M said that those resurrected would live a normal lifetime and then die again, because life as a spirit is higher than life in a physical body. 'ARIZ"aL, however, said that those resurrected would be raised to eternal life in their bodies. There are also debates about whether resurrected married couples will have to be remarried in order to live together, whether the resurrected will have to be ritually purified after having been dead, etc.
"For great [is] thy mercy toward me: and thou hast
delivered my soul from the lowest hell."
Hell is "low" Deuteronomy
Hell has "sorrow" II Samuel 22:6
Hell is "deep" Job 11:8
The Wicked are turned into "Hell" Psalms 9:17
The soul will not be left in "hell" but a "path of life" will be shown Psalms 16:10-11
For the wicked "death" and a quick trip to "hell" are prayed for in Psalms 55:15
The mercy of God delivers from hell in Psalms 86:13
Solomon spoke of hell in Proverbs 5 and 7 and 9.
I could go on, but you get the point. Hell is scriptural, it's not nice, and I don't want anyone I know to go there.
So much to say here!
First of all, I have looked up all the above quotes I could find (except those in Proverbs) and they all deal with She'ol. She'ol, as you know, is not the chr*stian hell. It is derived ultimately from the Hebrew root shin-'alef-lamed which makes up the verb "to ask." It is "the place that is asked about," the grave. The chr*stian hell has much more in common with Ge-Benei-Hinnom (the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom), a place of burning torment for the wicked, and this I most assuredly do believe in. The name for this place is derived from a valley outside Jerusalem where pagan sacrifices were once made and which was afterwards used as a garbage dump. This place is almost exactly equal to the chr*stian concept of hell (some exceptions), but I will deal with that later.
What I said in my initial apologetic was that I denied the specifically chr*stian concept of hell and eternal damnation. This is the concept that every single human being, not being sinless, must either spend an eternity in a place like Ge-Benei'Hinnom unless "saved" by Chr*st. I have never denied either She'ol or Ge-Benei-Hinnom, but these are not the chr*stian hell (the latter is more similar, as I have noted).
Before going any further, I would also like to clear up one very important thing. You seem to imply that I reject the chr*stian hell simply because it is unpleasant. The pleasantness or unpleasantness of eternal damnation is not a factor in whether or not this is a true concept. My rejection of the chr*stian hell (the eternal damnation that awaits every soul who does not take advantage of chr*stan salvation) is based on theology, not on the fact that such a place sounds scary.
Now let us look at what you are really doing here, which is 1)assuming the truth of chr*stianity and the "new testament" from the outset and then 2)invoking every mention of She'ol you can find in the TaNa"KH to reinforce this assumption and to "prove" that the TaNa"KH points toward chr*stianity. In what way does any of these quotes imply the eternal hell of those who die without being "saved?" And I note that it is the "wicked" who are turned into She'ol, not the "unsaved." Surely you don't believe people justified themselves by their own works in those days?
The most flagrant example of eisogeting chr*stian salvationism/damnationism onto a place where it plainly does not exist is the quote of David HaMelekh in II Samuel where he says "the travails of she'ol surrounded me" (chevlei She'ol sabbuni) in referring to how G-d ultimately delivered him from his enemies (Saul, the Philistines). David's remark about being surrounded by chevlei She'ol most certainly has nothing to do with the hell of chr*stian theology (the place to which every human being who rejects chr*stian salvation is doomed to spend eternity).
But there is something even more fundamentally at work here. As chr*stians have done for two millenia, you ignore the thrust of the Torah (which is primarily a book of laws) in order to find affirmations of the chr*stian hell--and thus chr*stianity--in every mention of She'ol that you find in the TaNa"KH. This is nothing but eisogeting something already assumed from another source. I wonder why you didn't mention the She'ol in the belly of Jonah's fish.
But even if we couldn't infer that the dead rise to damnation or paradise, Daniel spells it out for us ...
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall
awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.”
Again, the resurrection of the dead is not in dispute here. The resurrection of the dead in the future in no way requires chr*stian belief, since it has been a Jewish doctrine for thousands of years and is believed in by Orthodox Jews (who are not chr*stians) to this day. But before commenting further here I must make a few observations.
First, all prophecy by its very nature carries a sense of contingency. For example, Jonah told the Ninevites their city would be overthrown in forty days--no ifs, ands, or buts. But we all know this was not done because the Ninevites repented. This prophecy was contingent.
Secondly (as you probably know), the Book of Daniel is not among the Prophetic books but among the Ketuvim, which means that the contingency is greater and that the book was written under Ruach HaQodesh, not the spirit of prophecy.
Thirdly, the messiah is an office (Davidic King) which means that in every generation since David's time there has been at least one person qualified to be Mashiach HaMelekh should Israel and the world merit it. The very first person in history who could have performed this role (ultimate king from the House of David) was Solomon. The messianic redemption ("redemption" meaning as in the Exodus, not as in the chr*stian concept of salvation from sin) could have happened at any time from Solomon until the last possible instant--the end of the year 6000. The messianic age must begin at some time prior to Ro'sh HaShanah 6001 (and this is the year 5769, as you know). Solomon could have been the ultimate Mashiach but he was not. So could an individual from every generation since then. Messiah could have come in any of these generations but did not. He may come in our generation but may not. He might not show up until the last possible opportunity, but he might come earlier. The most likely generations are alluded to in Scripture, but (like Jonah) the prophecies were contingent. G-d opted not to raise up Mashiach. Similarly many other prophecies (such as the rise of Armilus, and "anti-christ" figure) may well have been vitiated by other events (such as the drawing out of the exile). Armilus might have arisen if Mashiach had come in earlier ages; but the extra suffering caused by the prolonging of the exile and the delaying of Mashiach may have taken the place of Armilus.
Parenthetically, I would point out that there were also occasions in the past when the world could have experienced what we today call the messianic era without it even getting to the point where David was born. If Adam had not sinned, if Israel had not built the Golden Calf, and if Israel had not believed the "evil report" of the spies concerning 'Eretz Yisra'el are three such examples.
I am well aware that the Book of Daniel is regularly invoked as having predicted the "first advent" of J*sus. I have not yet conducted a systematic study of it so I don't claim to be able at this time to answer all of your claims As you know, you and I differ on the fundamental issue of whether the Torah is the ultimate, permanent revelation (which, G-d willing, we will get to later). If this position is accepted, no prophecy can be legitimately interpreted as abrogating it. Your fundamental assumption is that the Torah is temporary, at a low level of a progressively developing revelation (growing ever higher), and apt to be overthrown by any verse in the Prophets.
Now we turn to the verse in question:
"And many from among the sleepers of the ground of dust will awake, these to eternal life and these to reproach and eternal abhorrence."
The verse you quoted merely affirms the resurrection of the dead (and on the surface level only of Israel) and of reward and punishment. That those who rise to eternal life are the chr*stian "saved," and the others the "unsaved" (in the Evangelical chr*stian sense) is an assumpton imposed upon the text.
The aforementioned verse from Daniel, summarizes, and ties together many verses from the Tanach / Old Testament. In one of the many caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, there was a papyrus found where Daniel was called the “greatest” of the prophets. Thus I would think it fitting that Daniel would have the privilege of tying it all together.
Dead Sea papyri are not authoritative. Only the authentic, continuous, uninterrupted Jewish tradition of the past 3300 years (as preserved in the authentic Oral Torah and its elucidating literature) is authoritative. If you assume that that tradition has been knowingly and intentionally falsified then we had might as well stop our debate here and now. To alter the holy texts (as claimed by the enemies of Torah Judaism) goes against each and every instinct and teaching. Jews have counted the verses and letters in each Biblical book and are careful to add or subtract nothing. Even apparent "errors" in the text are never corrected. In addition to this there is the unpleasant fact that by claiming that the Jews of the first chr*stian century came to realize their mistake, actually came to realize they were "wrong," and then rather than admit their mistake actually alter their holy books rather than convert you are in essence positing the existence of a people of pure evil. Why else would anyone knowingly refuse to follow the truth even after admitting it is the truth??? And before you say "obviously, they wanted to retain power over the Jewish people," you forget the point that had they converted they would have probably provided the most prestigious of the clergy of the new religion and would have had similar power there, as bishops and priests have in chr*stianity--plus they'd have it over many more people than before. To refuse this power over the masses of the new religion in order to retain power over one tiny nation doesn't really bespeak power-hunger.
1B) “No one goes door to door passing out tracts.”
“Now the word of the LORD came unto
Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and
cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”
The modern notion of Judaism not being evangelistic, and it's only Christians that evangelize, is an invention. Original Torah Apocalyptic Judaism is evangelistic.
“Keep therefore and do [them]; for
this [is] your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which
shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation [is] a wise
and understanding people.”
In Deuteronomy, we see that God is interested in the nations seeing a great Jewish nation, and coming to faith in their God, the true God.
When you look at a map, you will notice that Israel is the bridge between Africa, and the rest of the world. God centered Israel in the center of the known world, so that it might evangelize to the nations as the nations passed through Israel.
Thus says the Lord, Keep judgment, and do justice; for my
salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Happy is the
man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps the
sabbath and does not profane it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. Do not
let the son of the stranger, who has joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying,
The Lord has completely separated me from his people; nor let the eunuch say,
Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus says the Lord to the eunuchs who keep my
sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name
better than sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that
shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, who join themselves to the
Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every
one who keeps the sabbath and does not profane it, and all who hold fast to my
covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in
my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be
accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all
peoples. The Lord God who gathers the outcasts of Israel says, Yet will I
gather others to him, beside those who are already gathered.
In the above verses, God invites the son of the stranger, and eunuchs to join Israel. The notion that the nations are not to be attracted to, and invited into the covenant God made with Israel, is a modern invention.
What we've got here is . . . failure to communicate!
I am afraid that you have misunderstood my point, perhaps due to my own clumsiness of phrasing. By saying that "no one in Israel went around passing out tracts" I intended to make the point that the Evangelical chr*stian religion, and its concept of "salvation by faith alone" did not exist in those days. Over and over and over and over again Israel is commanded and warned to observe the Torah--not to "have faith" or "believe in the messiah who is coming to die for your sins and be saved." This is an anachronism which Evangelicals impose on the ancient Israelites.
I quite agree with you that the ancient Israelites were indeed to be proselytary--though not in the conventonal sense. Though non-Jews were allowed to become full Jews, however, this was never required. From the beginning Israel was destined to be one tiny nation out of all mankind with a unique covenant with and mission from G-d. They are "a nation that dwells alone" and "the smallest of the nations." Israel's mission is to impel the nations of the world to forsake their idols for the One True G-d and to cease and desist from their frightful immorality--in other words, to come to the Seven Laws of the Sons of Noah. While becoming Jewish is permitted for non-Jews, the Seven Noachide Laws are required. And as a Noachide no one is more frustrated at the anti-proselytary, pluralistic, "I'm okay/you're okay" attitude of today's Orthodox Jewish communty than me. (A "Museum of Tolerance?" Really? Is that what Joshua did after slaughtering the Canaanites? He built a "Museum of Tolerance?" Wow! We learn something new every day, don't we?)
2) So each individual must either live an entire life of absolute sinlessness or else face this inevitable fate--unless G-d incarnates Himself as a divine scapegoat to take this punishment Himself on behalf of every single individual.
Again, PaRDes. The sacrifice of innocent animals is a type and shadow for the Messiah which was to come.
Please forgive this observation, but your iconsistent invocation of PaRDeS only as an excuse to eisogete chr*stianity into the Torah (while rejecting it in apparently all other instances) is hypocritical and dishonest.
Your assertion that the qorbanot (offerings) were primarily intended to prepare Israel for the crucified "messiah" is of course what chr*stianity has been asserting for two thousand years. And chr*stians don't seem to understand that their assertion of this theory does not make it so.
There are other problems as well. For one, while non-Jews are allowed to offer qorbanot (though only the `olah, the "whole burnt offering"), they are not required to do so. Only Jews are required to do so.
Then there is the fact that there are so many different kinds of qorbanot. There are whole burnt offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings, thanksgiving offerings, peace offerings, individual offerings, communal offerings, mandatory offerings, freewill offerings, and special offerings for various occasions (such as the qorban Pesach, the Pesach offering). Chr*stianity, especially Evangelical chr*stianity, will find itself in quite a quandary in reducing all these to "shadows to prepare Israel for the messiah who was to be crucified for their sins." What about the fact that the individual chatt'at (sin offering) could only be offered for unintentional sins and were not available for intentional ones? (It was repentance--teshuvah--that, then as now, transforms intentional sins into unintentional ones so that they can be forgiven.) What about the many meatless, bloodless grain offerings? Are they a "shadow" of the Catholic mass? Or what about the embarrassing fact that the qorban Pesach, supposedly the "shadow" per excellence, was not a sin offering at all and that if that were the case J*sus should have died on Yom Kippur rather than during Pesach (Yom Kippur, not Pesach, is about atonement). Now it looks like you will have to become Eastern Orthodox (since they reject "atonement" as Evangelicals understand it) in order to identify the qorban Pesach as chr*stological.
And there is one final problem. These qorbanot, according to you, were all given to Israel merely to prepare them for the atoning death of J*sus, yet the one people who were given the lesson didn't learn it, and everyone else (who never had the lesson at all) did! How likely is it that outsiders to whom G-d had never directed his "lesson" would be the ones to "learn" it while the people who actually received it from Him drew very different conclusions?
Maimonides once said, “All the prophets spoke of Moshiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior” If Maimonides saw Messiah in the Tanach / Old Testament, should not you look more carefully?
I never said that the Prophets didn't prophesy of Mashiach and I am sorry if I said anything that gave you that idea. There are many, many prophecies of a Davidic King regathering the Exiles and conquering Israel's enemies. What are these if not Messianic prophecies? But the point you are ignoring is that "redeemer and savior of Israel" RaMBa"M does not refer to "dying for Israel's sins" but delivering them from exile and from their enemies, as they were "redeemed" from Egypt in the Book of Exodus. To quote RaMBa"M's phrase as if it were an endorsement of chr*stianity is really not honest on your part. But then, it's fully in line with "proving" the truth of chr*stianity's claims by quoting the verse "in you (Abraham) all the nations of the world will be blessed." Yep, that one verse couldn't have any other possible meaning but "one of your descendants will be G-d incarnate and will be vicariously punished for the sins of mankind" could it?
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one
to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
God lays our iniquity on the person mentioned in Isiah 53. The “divine scapegoat” is the Messiah himself. The notion that the “divine scapegoat” is Messiah was also mentioned by non-Christian Jews.
As long as Israel dwelt in the Holy Land, the rituals and
sacrifices they performed (in the Temple) removed all those diseases from the
world; now the Messiah removes them from the children of the world.
Isaiah 53 has always been chr*tianity's trump card, the one thing that supposedly means that J*sus is the messiah, that dying was his mission, and that in light of this fact the Torah simply must be dismissed as obsolete or superseded. This is the really the crux of the argument between the two religions. If Torah is absolute, then no further revelation, regardless of what it seems to say, can overthrow it. If revelation is progressive and culminates in J*sus, then the Torah cannot be eternal and absolute, regardless of how little it seems to speak of something greater to come, how eternal it asserts its statutes to be, or how horrifying the punishments it threatens on abandoning it (since in light of the later and "greater" revelation it simply must be abandoned).
This argument has been answered by people far more learned than I over the centuries, and I commend to you their comments, which are available on any number of counter-missionary sites. Let me just reiterate that the `eved mentioned in Chapter 52 (the referent of these famous verses) is traditionally the Jewish People (personified as "My servant, Jacob"). And while chr*stians see the J*sus' dismissal by the Sanhedrion as a sinner stricken by G-d as being what this prophecy is referring to, Jews can certainly point out that for two millenia chr*stians have seen them as "stricken of G-d"--allegedly punished, exiled, and cursed for the crime of "deicide." This certainly fits the prophecy every bit as well.
3) This, more than sanctity in the higher spritual worlds, shows forth G-d's greatness. And how was this to be accomplished? Keyhole, meet key--by the observance of the Torah.
But even the Torah says in Deuteronomy 18:15 that God would send a prophet. Genesis 49:10, and many others do also. If Torah was meant to be forever, then Messiah would not be necessary.
The verse you cite is the commandment to listen to a prophet, and it (like the rest of the Torah) is still in effect (even though prophecy was removed from the world at the time of the return from Babylon). The first of these prophets was Moses' successor, Joshua. After the cessation of prophecy it refers to Moses' successors in the rabbinate (every generation has a Nasi', Moses' title). But even here, no Prophet or successor has the authority to overthrow the Revelation G-d gave to Moses. As RaMBa"M said, "Moses is the father of all wise men, both those who came before, and those who come after."
Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; 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; my covenant which they broke,
although I was their master, says the Lord;
Jeremiah 31:30-31 Soncino Tanach / Old Testament
Even though we were given Torah, God promised a Messiah.
G-d told Jeremiah that the day would come when He would make a "new covenent" with the House of Israel. But why do chr*stians assume this refers to their "new testament?" They assume this, of course, because they already believe in the claims of chr*stianity, and therefore this prophecy simply must refer to chr*stianity, right?
One problem with this is that the chr*stian "new covenant" was not made with the House of Israel but with all the nations of the world (unless you want to claim that the chr*stian church is the "House of Israel" referred to). Then there is the fact that it makes much more sense, and is much more natural, to understand this prophecy in two other ways which are much more consistent and literal. The first of these is when "Ezra gave the Torah a second time" and the covenant Israel made with G-d at Sinai was renewed. It was at that time that `avodah zarah (the lowest and most depraved form of idolatry) was removed from the world. And while Israel had been plagued by idolatry since the Golden Calf, after this time it disappeared from Israel and the entire nation became a nation of Torah scholars. Another possibility is the future event of which this new covenant at the time of Ezra is merely an echo: the World to Come when sin will be completely removed from the world because man's evil inclination (given to him by G-d) will be completely sublimated--while the Torah will remain in force. (Surely you do not claim that the evil inclination was sublimated, and sin disappeared, two thousand years ago!)
Once again, like all chr*stians, you eisogete your assumptions into the TaNa"KH. You already believe that J*sus is the messiah, that the messianic prophecies refer to him, and that the Torah was but a temporary preparation (more on this below). Therefore you interpret the TaNa"KH to mean precisely this.
4) Please do not confuse this, the true concept of tiqqun `olam, with G-dless imitations.
Did "tiqqun olam" which amounts to creating heaven on earth in the name of God, get coined or before or after the destruction of the 2nd temple in 70 A.D.?
You don't believe in Heaven on earth? You don't believe in the Millenium? What are you, Catholic? Because if you are I could have dismissed your claims with must less trouble.
5) Of course at death the soul reports to G-d for judgment and some sort of assessment is made, but this assessment will be based on our obedience to G-d's commandments (and our repentence for our sins). This is not an all-or-nothing judgment, for the factors of each individual soul, its trials and tribulations, are something only G-d could possibly judge or recompense.
I won't repeat myself about this matter.
6) I hope I have succeeded in getting sincere chr*stians (especially antinomian FP's who do so much proselytizing and "witnessing") to see that in this worldview the notion that messiah has already come is ludicrous
Sir, I would be extremely impressed if you can decisively, systematically, logically, and historically tear down the evidence at http://www.direct.ca/trinity/y3nf.html which supports the notion that Messiah has already come.
Again, I do not understand why you seem to think these arguments have never been offered, or answered, before. Chr*stians have advanced these arguments, and Jews have answered them, for 2000 years. Do you really think you have discovered a new, unanswered argument?
There is a world of apologetic literature that answers these chr*stian claims. Why don't you see what they have to say? If you are right, you needn't be afraid.
Between what Daniel, Haggai, and Genesis report to be the time of the Messiah, we can triangulate the coming of Moshiach to be early 1st century.
Rashi also agreed Daniel spelled out the time of Messiah ...
He (Jonathan) moreover sought to make a Targum of the
Hagiographa; but the voice from heaven came forth and said, "Enough."
And why might he not execute a Targum of the Hagiographa? Because the End about
the Advent of the Messiah is revealed in it. Rashi says, "In the Book of
Megillah fol. 3a
So, since the messiah had to have shown up in the "first century" (when J*sus did), and since the royal prophecies were never literally fulfilled, then these prophecies simply must be figurative and refer to the chr*stian church? I'm not being sarcastic here; I'm asking a sincere question. Because unless one utterly rejects the literal messianic prophecies (the ingathering, the Davidic messiah sitting on his ancestral throne in Jerusalem), there is simply no way these prophecies have been fulfilled yet (in which case it is not Daniel, or Rashi's interpretation of Daniel, but your interpretation of Daniel (and of Rashi) that is at fault.
BTW, just where in Rashi's vast writings does he ever say that the messiah came a thousand years before he was born?
“The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that
of the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give peace,
says the Lord of hosts.”
Haggai 2:9 Soncino Tanach / Old Testament
What did God mean about “give peace” in the 2nd Temple, if it meant not the coming of the Messiah?
There was "peace" during the time of the Second Temple? Doesn't that make Zerubavel the messiah? For surely there was more peace prior to J*sus' coming than there was after. Unless you have an extremely non-literal interpretation of the word "peace."
“The staff shall not depart from Judah, nor the scepter from
between his feet, until Shiloh come; and to him shall the obedience of the
Genesis 49:10 Soncino Tanach / Old Testament
It was whilst the 2nd temple still stood that the Talmud reports that the Jewish leaders thought that Genesis 49:10 should be fulfilled. The following are what some ancient Rabbis thought of Genesis 49:10
The transmission of domain shall not cease from the house of
Judah, nor the scribe from his children's children, forever, until Messiah
The scribes still have not ceased. They exist today, still doing their work. And until a few hundred years ago the Rabbinic courts still had the power to inflict the death penalty, even in exile. By your definition, didn't "domain" cease once before, when Israel was carried away into exile by Nevuchadnetzar? In which case, the messiah should have come at that time (the Temple was destroyed and the offerings ceased at that time also).
Rabbi Johanan said, ‘The world was created for the sake of
the Messiah, what is this Messiah’s name?’ The school of Rabbi Shila said, ‘his
name is Shiloh, for it is written, until Shiloh comes. (Genesis 49:10)’
Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b
The sages also said that the world was created for Israel and for the Torah.
Kings and rulers shall not cease from the house of
Judah…until King Messiah comes.
Wasn't Tzidqiyahu the last Davidic king, long before the time of J*sus?
UNTIL SHILOH COMETH; this alludes to the royal Messiah. AND
UNTO HIM SHALL THE OBEDIENCE (YIKHATH) OF THE PEOPLE BE: he [the Messiah] will
come and set on edge (makheth) the teeth of the nations of the world.
Midrash Rabbah, Genesis XCVIII. 8
Kings shall not cease from the house of Judah...until the
time of the coming of the King Messiah...to whom all the dominions of the earth
shall become subservient.
Since the destruction of the 1st Temple in 587 BC, the Jewish people though continuously occupied by a “lawgiver from between his feet”, were always given by their conquerors the option of wielding the “scepter” for executing whoever they esteemed worthy of death according to the Law of Moses.
The Temple was not destroyed in "587BC." It was destroyed in "422BC." If you were ever an Orthodox Jew surely you would know this.
According to Josephus, the ascension of the Roman Procurator Caponius in the early 1st century also marked the end of the Jewish option of wielding this scepter.
It was wielded again during the Middle Ages when the chr*stian powers occasionally allowed the Jews to execute capital punishment. If the government allowed it it could be done today (chayyav mitah bazeman hazeh).
And now Archelaus' part of Judea was reduced into a
province, and Caponius, one of the equestrian order of the Romans, was sent as
a procurator, having the power of life and death put into his hands by Caesar.
The aforementioned eyewitness report by the 1st century Jewish Pharisee Josephus is corroborated by the following quote from the Talmud:
A little more than forty years before the destruction of the
Temple, the power of pronouncing capital sentences was taken away from the
The relevant question is, now that we've established that “Shiloh” is an idiom for “Messiah,” as well as the fact that the “scepter” had been struck from the hand of Israel by the “lawgiver” Caesar, did the Jewish leaders recognize the fulfillment of Genesis 49:10?
They did, and they recorded it in the Talmud.
When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived
of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of
them: they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth,
exclaiming: 'Woe unto us for the scepter has departed from Judah and the
Messiah has not come.'
For a fuller discussion with references on historical corroboration of the fulfillment of Genesis 49:10, please visit http://www.direct.ca/trinity/shiloh.html.
So, the ancient Sages of the time knew that J*sus was the messiah . . . but didn't become to chr*stians? I'm sorry, but that makes no sense. If they "knew" J*sus was the messiah they would have followed him. Since they didn't follow him they didn't believe he was the messiah. How can you invoke the ancient Sages to prove J*sus was the messiah if they themselves didn't believe this?
7) The Torah foretells periods of destruction and exile when the sacrifices cannot be offered (these are always punishments for abandoning the Torah, not for "rejecting the messiah").
P>Sir, I respectfully disagree.
You've never read the Torah? See below.
Our rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the
destruction of the Temple, the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the
right hand; nor did the crimson-colored strap become white; nor did the western
most light shine
Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 39b, Soncino Version
The crimson colored strap supernaturally became white when God accepted the sacrifice made by the Jewish priests for the collective sins of Israel. God stopped manifesting this miracle, according to the Talmud 40 years before the destruction of the 2nd temple. The 2nd Temple was destroyed in 70A.D. 70 minus 40 years means 30A.D. is precisely when the punishment of God refusing Israel's sacrifices started.
I was referring to those two portions of the Torah which contain all the fearful punishments awaiting Israel (including exile from the Holy Land and the concomitant absence of Temple offerings). These are Parashat BeHar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2) and Parashat Ki Tavo' (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8), both of which thunder with warnings about what awaits Israel if they stray from the Torah. There is not a hint of "rejecting the messiah." You have read these portions, correct? Why would HaShem threaten such terrible things for straying from the Torah and then turn around and punish them for refusing to see that the Torah had ceased to be valid (G-d forbid!)?
One must ask themselves: What happened in 30AD for God to punish the Jewish people by refusing their sacrifices? The answer is, the Jewish leaders began publicly insulting the ministry of Jesus Christ (“Anointed Savior”).
Are these the same Jewish leaders who you say knew that J*sus was the messiah? And btw, pointing out that the name Yehoshu`a means "savior" and that the word christos is Greek for "anointed" does not make J*sus of Nazareth the messiah. The anointed high priests and kings were anointed (and thus "messiahs" in the literal sense) and everyone named "Yehoshu`a" is named "savior."
The [Jewish leaders] said, 'He casts out devils through the
prince of the devils.'
And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath
Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
Now you're arguing from a book whose authority I do not recognize. Could I convert you to mormonism by quoting the "book of mormon?" And I point out again that these Jewish sages whom the NT says made this charge against J*sus are the very ones whom you seem to think really secretly believed he was the messiah after all.
On the off chance you believe that the Jews didn't kill Jesus on the charge of claiming to be God, and rather the Romans did, here are the words of Maimonides in his “Letter to Yemen”.
Jesus of Nazareth... impelled people to believe that he was
a prophet sent by God to clarify perplexities in the Torah, and that he was the
Messiah that was predicted by each and every seer. He interpreted the Torah and
its precepts in such a fashion as to lead to their total annulment, to the
abolition of all its commandments and to the violation of its prohibitions. The
sages, of blessed memory, having become aware of his plans before his
reputation spread among our people, meted out fitting punishment to him.
Maimonides was right. J*sus was guilty of blasphemy and according to the Torah should have been put to death by strangulation. As you have pointed out, the Jewish authorities could not do this at that time, so he was turned over to the Romans who crucified him, with the result that--surprise, surprise--he died of strangulation.
Again, the exact year the Talmud reports the punishment having begun, is the exact year that Yehoshua Ha Mashiach arrived on the scene, performing miracles, and proclaiming the “Kingdom of Heaven” is “at hand”.
So when does it get here??? Seriously.
8) And when the real Mashiach comes it will not be subject to debate but a fact that no one on earth will be able to deny. So long as we're debating, then he hasn't come.
Deuteronomy 18:19 makes it perfectly clear that people will have a choice to follow Messiah or not. Isaiah 53:1 shows that reports of the Messiah's coming will be doubted.
The verse in Deuteronomy you mention is the commandment to listen to a prophet. I have replied to the claim that the "suffering servant" of Isaiah 53 is J*sus--or even the messiah at all--above.
For 15 prophecies that foretell the rejection of Moshiach, please see http://messiahrevealed.org/rejected.html.
Fifteen prophecies, like all the others, that have been raised and answered thousands of times during the past two millenia.
The fact that people reject Moshiach, does not negate from his authenticity at all. In fact it proves it, since His rejection was foretold, and the Word of God does not lie, because only it says what happens before it happens with accuracy and specificity.
When Mashiach comes and people reject him, all will know (including the rejecters themselves) that it is indeed Mashiach they are rejecting. And Mashiach will wage war (literal war) against them, compelling them to either submit to him or be killed.
And again, your standard of determining what constitutes Scritpure is mistaken. The Torah, the initial and ultimate Revelation, was not accepted at Sinai because it correctly predicted future events but because (unlike ever other alleged "divine revelation" in history) it was delivered to Israel by G-d Himself, publicly, to an entire nation of people (which counting women, children, and the `Erev Rav (great mixed multitude) may have numbered three million people. Every other religion in world history was founded by a human being ("incarnate gxd" or not) who claimed to speak for (or to be) G-d. Only the Torah was given publicly and objectively by the invisible G-d to an entire nation of people. It never happened before; it has not happened since; it will never happen again. This is the basis of Scripture, and this is why Torah is the Ultimate Revelation which sits in judgment on all prophets and revelations to follow.
9) I take the following quote from your post 8 in the vanity I posted, “It did not take chr*stianity to discover that we all sin. Even before man was created the ground sinned when G-d told it to bring forth `etz peri `oseh peri and instead it brought forth `etz `oseh peri. The universality of sin is not a chr*stian discovery.”
It did not take chr*stianity to discover that we all sin.
True. For the Jewish doctrine of Original Sin, please see ...
Thank you for acknowledging this. My point was that many chr*stians seem to think that only chr*stianity recognizes the universality of sin, therefore only chr*stianity sees the world as it is (and is therefore the one true religion). But as you and I know, Judaism recognized this long before chr*stianity ever existed, and claimed to have the antidote (repentance) all along. No new religion was necessary. If it's new it ain't true, if it's true it ain't new.
But surely you aren't going to switch gears now and claim that because Judaism recognized this truth it was ipso facto predicting chr*stianity, are you? That would be quite an argument. If Judaism recongizes original sin then it is recogning the truth of chr*stianity, and if it doesn't recognize original sin its inadequacy is proven! (And btw, Eastern Orthodoxy, one of the oldest forms of chr*stianity, explicitly rejects "original sin," claiming it is a concept derived from Greek paganism.)
“Even before man was created the ground sinned”
Pulling out my trusty electronic Soncino Tanach,
Are you sure you don't mean your "Handy-Dandy Soncino Tanach?" ;-)
which for those of you not graced with a nominal Jewish upbringing as I was, is an English Old Testament translated by Jews for Jews circa 1960-1963, we read ...
... and fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed
is in itself, upon the earth; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass,
and herb yielding seed after its kind, and tree yielding fruit, whose seed was
in itself, after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Pushback #1 to “ground sinned”) If the ground or trees disobeyed in Genesis 1:12, meaning the 1st sin came before the fall in Genesis 3, why would the Bible also report in Genesis 1:12 that, “God saw that it was good.” Was God blind to this sin by the ground? Put another way, if sin did not get introduced into creation when Adam and Eve's partook of the forbidden fruit, why did God only curse Adam, Eve, and serpent in Genesis 3 *after* the fiasco in the Garden of Eve?
Pushback #2 to “ground sinned”) What kind of tree yields fruit other than a fruit tree? This “ground sinned” theory makes it sound like God commanded fruit, and for all intents and purposes, got fruitbats. Functionally, what is the difference between what God commanded, and what he got in Genesis 1:11-12? Could it be possible the person who came up with this theory is inadvertently making God out to be impotent, just for the sake of opposing Original Sin as a Biblical doctrine that began with Adam and Eve's sin?
Pushback #3 to “ground sinned”) Do you have any idea when this interpretation was birthed? I would draw some comfort that it was brought forth in good faith if it could be verified that it pre-dates the time of Yehoshua Ha Mashiach a.k.a. Jesus Christ.
(Parenthetically, calling J*sus Chr*st by the Hebrew transl(iter)ation of his name does not make him the messiah. Why would anyone think that it does?)
The midrash about the ground sinning was called forth by a problem in the text. G-d commanded the ground to bring forth `etz peri `oseh peri (trees of fruit yielding fruit), while the Torah says that the ground brought forth `etz `oseh peri (trees bearing fruit). Traditionally, G-d commanded that the earth bring forth trees of fruit--trees which would have themselves been fruit, tasting exactly like the fruit they bore. Instead the ground brought forth merely trees bearing fruit. The trees were not fruit themselves (in part for this the ground was cursed when G-d spoke to Adam after his own sin).
To understand why the simple change of phrase by the omission of one word would be a problem, one must recall that the Torah is not merely inspired writing--it is the very Word of G-d Himself. It was written by G-d 974 generations before the creation (being what you chr*stians call the "logos") and the universe was created to fit it. Every single word, letter, and stroke of the scribe's pen is loaded with meaning. If a word is used in the first phrase and omitted in the second, there is a reason for it. It isn't a meaningless coincidence. The presence of the extra word "fruit" in "trees of fruit" in the first phrase which is missing in the second phrase means that G-d commanded the ground to bring forth "trees of fruit bearing fruit" but instead got only "trees bearing fruit."
The same factor explains the midrash about the moon being reduced in size after being created of equal size to the sun. In Genesis 1:16 it says that G-d made "the two great lights" (shenei hame'orot hagedolim), but then describes them as "the great light" (hama'or hagadol) and "the little light" (hama'or haqaton). At first both lights are described as "large," but then suddenly one of them is large and the other is small. Why does the Torah say this? The midrash is that the moon was jealous of the sun, saying "it is impossible for two monarchs to wear the same crown." For this reason her light was reduced, but she was given a greater host (the stars) in order to mollify her. And it is because HaShem reduced the moon that Israel was commanded to bring a sin offering (chatta't) on each day of Ro'sh Chodesh (the new moon): to atone for His having reduced the moon!
I notice that you have neglected to mention the really important point I made in this section of my argument: that G-d Himself gave man his evil inclination. This is adduced from the extra yod in the word vayiytzer in Genesis 2:7. Again, there has to be a reason the Torah uses an extra, "superfluous" yod; it can't really be superfluous or G-d wouldn't have put it there. This is an example of remez (one of the four senses that make up PaRDeS).
The point to all this is that everything in existence--even evil--has its ultimate source in G-d. There is no other creator. There is no "evil gxd" who came along later and messed up a good creation made by the "good G-d" (that would require two "gxds"). As I said (something else you have ignored) G-d created the Satan and gave him his duties. G-d created a world that was imperfect even before Adam's sin so that it could be corrected and perfected by observance of the Torah. This was so before Adam's sin, and remains so after Adam's sin. Though the first sin affected terrible changes in human nature and in the universe itself, man's relationship afterwards--just as before--was primarily statutory rather than salvational in the chr*stian understanding.
10) All theories of "progressive revelation" are inherently unprovable. If revelation "progresses" from lower to higher, where does it stop? I know you will say with the "new testament," but that is arbitrary on the part of chr*stians. If revelation "progresses," why shouldn't chr*stianity be superseded by islam, which would be superseded by sikhism, which would be superseded by bahai, which would be superseded by something new to come along? When would it ever stop? Judaism, alone of all the religions of the world, is the only one that identifies the first revelation as the supreme one, while every other religion has to claim a "progressive" revelation until it comes to its own scriptures (at which point it stops, of course).
The reason the progression of revelation continues with the New Testament, is because the New Testament, like the Old Testament, says what happens, thousands of years before it happens with accuracy and specificity. Please see http://www.direct.ca/trinity/evidence.html and http://www.direct.ca/trinity/y3nf.html for the details. This is what Grant Jeffrey appropriately called, the signature of God. By which you know that you can trust your eternal destiny to the God revealed in the Bible.
Once again, you are missing a very important point. It isn't accuracy of predicting the future that forms the basis of Divine Revelation but the fact that G-d Himself (and I mean the invisible, unincarnate G-d) publicly spoke to three million people at Mt. Sinai, something He never did before and will never do again (let me know if this ever occurs). This is so basic to an understanding of Torah that I begin to wonder if you were not converted from some liberal form of Judaism, or perhaps from irreligion and agnosticism. That would explain why you cannot divorce your belief in G-d from a belief in J*sus (you would have received them both at the same time) and why you are so impressed with arguments that have been made and answered for two thousand years.
Why does the progressive revelation continue through the New Testament and cease with Islam et. al.? The writings of Islam don't tell the future with accuracy and specificity the way the Bible does. Devils and men can't do what you bear witness to at the aforementioned links. Only God can. All you have to do to dismantle my response to your point, is tear down the evidence at the above links, and my responses which follow your challenges, and this case falls apart.
Why does not the revelation continue with Sikhism, Bahaiism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnessism, and Scientology? They don't predict the future as only God does in the Bible. The signature of God is not in their writings as demonstrated in the above links. God did not write them.
While it is true that one method of testing the prophets is whether or not their predictions come true, I cannot stress enough that this is not the foundation on which Revelation rests. I have elucidated this above. Moreover, you are ignoring two very important points:
1) All prophecy, even by true Prophets, contains an element of contingency. G-d always has the option of "repenting" and withholding a promished chastisement (or blessing) depending on how the prophecy is received. Jonah's prediction that Nineveh would be overthrown in forty days (which G-d didn't do because the Ninevites repented) is one example.
2) False prophets may very well make predictions that come true--even though this would seem to supernaturally confirm their authority. This is spelled out very clearly in Parashat Re'eh (Deuteronomy 13). There it explicitly states that "if a prophet or dreamer of dreams arises from your midst and gives you a sign or wonder ['ot; mofet]; and the sign or wonder comes to pass of which he spoke to you saying 'come and let us walk after other 'gxds' whom you have not known and follow them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer of dreams because HaShem your G-d is testing you to know whether you truly love HaShem your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul." The very next verse states "after HaShem your G-d you will walk and Him shall you fear, and his commandments shall you keep, to His Voice you will hearken, Him you will serve, and to Him you shall cling."
Here we have a case of a genuine "prophet" who gives "signs and wonders," the "signs and wonders" actually come to pass, and this is a genuine supernatural phenomenon brought about by G-d Himself. And how are the people to react? They are to completely ignore the prophet and his supernatural phenomena and keep following the Torah. I don't know how much more plainly this could be laid out. This is a commandment in the Torah by which each and every prophecy, sign, and miracle must be judged, even if they come to pass. In fact, their coming to pass is the work of G-d Himself to test His people, and His commandment is that they ignore this prophet and his genuine supernatural signs and wonders and stick with the Torah.
Even the first revelation of Judaism promised the Messiah, and Christianity is the fulfillment of that promise.
Only for those who believe this already.
Islam claims that Christianity is true but that it was corrupted, thus leaning on the truthfulness of Christianity for credibility. Exactly as chr*stianity leans on the Revelation at Sinai for credibility, all the while claiming that it has been "corrupted" by scribes and pharisees.
Mormonism and Russelism do the same thing, leaning on Christianity as true.
Their founding premise, like that of Islam, is that Christianity is true, but has been corrupted over the years.
Again, see above.
All this, despite Psalms 12:6-7 and Jesus' claim that “my words will not pass away”.
Psalm 12 only refers to J*sus if you already believe the claims of chr*stianity. And as for J*sus claiming his revelation is eternal, the Torah also claims to be eternal. If the words of the Torah aren't sufficient to establish its eternity--if their obvious literal sense must be discarded in view of the "plain truth" of the "superior revelation," then you are a hypocrite for not following the exact same logic with the words of J*sus. Like Torah, he claimed his teachings were permanent, but revelation being "progressive," they simply "must" be discarded in favor of the "higher" revelation. And moslems are hypocrites for wanting progressive revelation to end with their "qur'an" as well. Once the principal of "progressive revelation" is admitted there is no stopping point; only hypocritical claims that "my revelation is the final one."
And if you do not see the claims of the Torah to eternity--the many assertions that these commandments are to be kept "forever"--and if you do not see that your criticism of islam for not accepting J*sus' words that his religion is eternal is identical to my criticism of you for not accepting the Torah's words that it is eternal--if you do not see that you are making the identical claim the moslems make, and that it is as groundless for you as it is for them, then you are simply too blind, too hypocritical, or too dishonest to have this conversation with.
11) Finally, I take the following quote from your post 23 in the vanity I posted, "And unlessyou're implying that since the sacrifices cannot be carried out at this time that the Torah as (sic)"expired" (G-d forbid!). First, the Torah itself predicts exile (during which sacrifices cannot be brought)--never as a punishment for "rejecting the messiah," but always and only for straying from the Torah itself.
I have already laid out the ...
A) ... case for the messiah having come in the past.
B) ... case for the rejection of the Messiah.
You have made the same arguments that chr*stians have made for two thousand years, and which Jews have answered for two thousand years. You have proved nothing.
If the Messiah is God himself, then rejecting the Messiah would be rejecting God himself. Please see http://www.yourarmstoisrael.org/misc/pdf/The%20New%20Updated%20Messianic%20Believers%20First%20Response%20Handboo..pdf for the case for the systematic and deliberate erasure of the divine name, YHVH, from the received Masoretic text at least 134 times, specifically in cases where one could infer the Messiah to be God.
I believe I have already explained the extreme reverence with the Jewish scribal tradition has for the Bible, how every verse, word, and letter is carefully catalogued, and how even apparent "mistakes" in the text are never corrected. This makes any assertion of tampering as you describe (to say the least) highly unlikely. Other than this, what you suggest is a people who knew they were supposed to accept J*sus but didn't out of . . . what? Pure evil? That would make them "the serpent race" of anti-Semitic mythology, wouldn't it?
If the Jewish sages had believed J*sus were the messiah, they would have followed him. If not before, then certainly after his "resurrection." What motivation would a people have to know the truth and reject it anyway other than being the evil "serpent race" of anti-Semitic imagination? I'm sorry, but your argument that the ancient Jewish sages knew J*sus was the messiah at some point but still didn't convert to chr*stianity simply makes no sense at all.
Thus, Israel rejected God, and thus
his Word, Jesus Christ, when they rejected their Moshiach.
The Brief Case For Christianity:
1) http://www.direct.ca/trinity/y3nf.html. If you disagree, please tell me what exact sentence your disagreement begins.
I don't require a response to all 300+ fulfillments of Old Testament prophecy in the life and times of Jesus Christ.
I have explained in my replies above that Judaism is based on the Torah, not the messiah. The messiah is the servant, not the master, of the Torah ("Moses is the father of all wise men, those who came before, and those who come after;" this includes the messiah). I have also explained that there are alternative interpretations that make much more sense when the truth of chr*stianity is not assumed from the outset. There is simply no need to respond to each and every argument when 1)they are based on the faulty assumption that the messiah rather than the Torah is the heart of Judaism, and 2)others far more learned than I have been answering these arguments for two thousand years and have done so far better than I ever could. I have demonstrated above that Torah is absolute and sits in judgement on all prophets and "messiahs.' How do you answer that without making the very same argument the moslems make against chr*stianity--that Judaism was "true once" but became corrupted, that while on the surface it seems to claim eternity this must be rejected in light of a later, "higher" revelation? You can't do it.
If you could show me a verse in the Tanach / Old Testament where it says the Messiah must accomplish all in one visit, or a verse where it says the Messiah can't do all in two visits, I will be impressed to no end. I have compassed the Tanach many times, and I have not seen it.
What's this? You've been invoking PaRDeS every time I point out that chr*stianity is not the obvious, surface teaching of the Hebrew Bible but now suddenly you reject it and refuse to accept any meaning not on the surface of the text? Oh yes . . . that's consistent! Besides--the argument from silence is a pretty weak argument. On top of all that is the fact that until very recently all chr*stians believed that all the messianic prophecies were fulfilled metaphorically ("spiritually") rather than literally two thousand years ago, with no messianic prophecies awaiting the "second coming."
None of us has the time to instantly and expertly answer every point brought up in this forum. I am patient for an excellent response from you, about this most important of matters.
Your task, “if you choose to accept
1) Show me how I err in my statements questioning Noachidism (sp?), as presented.
You ever read Genesis 9? Are you going to throw PaRDeS under the bus again after making it one of your main arguments earlier?
2) Tear down the Brief Case for Christianity I have made in the above two points.
You know something? I've pointed out several times that these supposedly irresitable arguments of yours have been around for two millenia and have not only failed to convince but been answered by people far more learned than I. I also realize that my arguments in response to chr*stianity have been around just as long (though I honestly believe that most chr*stians have not heard them) and over the millenia they have failed to convince the great mass of chr*stians that they are wrong in believing that J*sus is the Jewish messiah (there have been, here and there, individual Jews and chr*stians who have been swayed by these arguments and crossed over to the other side, but nothing en masse).
If you believe that this argument is going to be permanently and finally settled for all time by the you and I arguing here on Free Republic then you have an inflated sense of the intellect and importance of both of us. We will be debating these things until Messiah comes for the first time (as I believe) or for the second time (as you believe). How anyone could possibly think he had the unanswerable argument in a dispute that has occupied the finest minds in two religions for two thousand years is beyond me.
Be well. And please . . . be a
little more realistic in your expectations!
Posted on 1/1/2009 by Zionist Conspirator (Vay'omer Yosef 'el-'echayv "'Ani Yosef; ha`od 'avi chay?" velo'-yakhelu 'echayv la`anot 'oto . . .)
Seven Laws for a Beautiful Planet: The Noahide Tradition
The Noachide Case Against Christianity