December 23, 2013

  • Lost Tribes? Not So Lost.

    Lost Tribes? Not so lost.
    By Hezakiah Sammi Levinson on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 9:19am
    It seems that more and more Christians are thinking they are part of “the lost tribes” adopting the nonsense idea that all Jews are the tribe of Judah since the Southern Kingdom had the name.The fact is the Tanakh records where most of the Northern Kingdom went during and after the Assyrian invasion.

    There were members of all the tribes living in the Southern Kingdom.At the time of the disruption of the united kingdom in 930 B.C., Israelites from all the northern tribes joined their brethren in the south and continued their identity as part of the kingdom of Judah. Two books in Scripture that are strangely ignored by British-Israelites (Ephramites) are 1 and 2 Chronicles. These books make it clear that the tribes in the north continued their existence as part of Judah after 930 B.C. Consider 2 Chr 11:14, 16: “For the Levites left their suburban lands and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem; for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD; …. And after them, out of all the tribes of Israel, such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.” These verses provide irrefutable proof that many individuals out of “all the tribes of Israel” rejected Jereboam’s idolatry and joined the southern kingdom. During the reign of Asa, others followed from Ephraim and Manasseh (2 Chr. 15:9).

    Thus, it is evident that the kingdom of Judah absorbed many from the northern kingdom through the years. Scripture teaches that Israelites continued to live there after the captivity of 721 B.C. Again, Chronicles helps us in this regard. At Hezekiah’s invitation, many from the north settled in Judah after the destruction of the northern kingdom (2 Chr. 30). Even later, in 622 B.C., more godly Israelites came to Jerusalem to help repair the Temple (2 Chr. 34:9), and later to celebrate the Passover (2 Chr. 35:17–18). If the northern tribes had become lost, how could these representatives have joined in worship in Jerusalem one hundred years after the Assyrian destruction? Judah rapidly increased after the fall of the northern kingdom as a result of the many refugees mentioned in 2 Chr. 11:14–16. In the annals of the Assyrian Sargon, he describes how he he carried away only 27,290 people and 50 chariots. Since estimates of the population of the northern kingdom are around 500,000, around one-twentieth of the population was deported, primarily the leaders from the area around Samaria. The ten tribes, therefore, were never lost because they were never completely deported! Their kingdom was destroyed, but most of them stayed, with some around Samaria intermingling with new immigrants to form the Samaritans (2 Kings 17:24–41).

    When the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity in 536 B.C., the Chronicler viewed the restored community as the remnant of all Israel, both north and south, and not just the tribe of Judah: “Now the first inhabitants who dwelt in their possessions in their cities were the Israelites, the priests, Levites, and the Nethinim. And in Jerusalem dwelt of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh” (1 Chr. 9:2–3). According to these verses, we should look to find Ephraim and Manasseh, not in England and America, but in Jerusalem following the return from Babylon. Furthermore, the people at that time viewed themselves as part of all Israel, for they offered “twelve he-goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel” (Ezra 6:17). Although British-Israelism confidently asserts that Judah and Israel are always separate and distinct, a concordance shows that in the Book of Ezra the restored community is called “Jews” only eight times and “Israel” fifty times. The writer viewed the terms as interchangeable, both terms applying to the same people after the captivity.

    Besides in real scripture, even the Christian book shows there were all the tribes in the Kingdom of Judah.It clearly indicates that in the first century “Jews” still maintained their tribal identities—some of whom were members of those supposedly lost tribes. Consider, for example, the aged Anna who beheld the baby Jesus in the Temple. Luke 2:36 states that she was of the “tribe of Asher.” When Paul spoke of his Jewish brethren, he spoke of a common promise and a common hope: “Unto which promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God day and night, hope to come” (Acts 26:7). James addressed his epistle “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (Jas. 1:1). He made no distinction between Judah and the ten tribes. All Jews were part of a common body, the only difference being that some were in the land of Israel and some in the Diaspora. Evidently, members of all the tribes existed both inside and outside the Promised Land.

    The Christian book uses the term “Jew” 174 times and the term “Israel” 75 times, clearly applying them to the same body of people. Paul referred to himself as both a “Jew” (Acts 22:3) and an “Israelite” (Rom. 11:1), and he never distinguished between Jews and Israel, as British-Israelism (Ephramites) does. If the so called lost tribes indeed resurfaced as the British people, and if Jeremiah eventually traveled to Britain to establish David’s throne there, one would expect some trace of these matters to be mentioned in their book. The silence of the writers in this regard, however, is deafening!

  • Ephraimites or Ephra might nots? Gentile theft of Israelite Identity.

    Ephraimites or Ephra might nots? Gentile theft of Israelite Identity.
    By Hezakiah Sammi Levinson on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 7:48pm
    The Ephramite Cult are Gentiles claiming to be the remains of the Northern Kingdom of Ephraim or Israel based on they feel it is so.No proof of linages, no ancient traditions such as you find among the people in Syria and other countries that still have these traditional legends and stories dating back thousands of years.The “Ephramites” base their beliefs almost completely along the lines of British Israelism, keeping their Christian beliefs in Jesus, denigration of Judaism,and thinking all Jews are Judah.

    Even some of the biggest Jewish supporters of the idea that prophesy about the reunion of Judah and Ephraim are showing disappointment.To quote Yair Davidy of Brit AM,
    “First of all what really are the so-called Ephraimites? Recent developments have suggested that they may not be so interested in spreading knowledge of physical origin from Israel especially when the ancestry of concrete groups is specified.
    If such is the case they are in effect Christian enthusiasts who at best have replaced Replacement Theology with fraternalism. Unlike advocates of Replacement Theory they may not say they are the True Israel who have replaced the Jews as the Chosen People. They rather claim to be brothers of the Jews by virtue of religious inspiration. Some of them are very pro-Jewish but others are not and seem anti-Jewish and wallowing in Pseudo-Karaite notions and sinister Conspiracy Theories as well as in some cases having fanatical missionary convictions.

    We say the Lost Ten Tribes are mainly amongst Western Peoples BUT NOT ALL these peoples are Israelites.
    So a certain overlap concerning Israelite Ancestry between us AND the Ephraimites exists. Many of them however may not like us that much and may not really be interested in what we have to say.
    In other words the Ephraimites have been presenting themselves to us, and those like us, as one thing while really being more of something else.”

    Ephraimites or Ephra I am nots? (originally in the Cleveland Jewish News)
    Imagine the outrage if a practicing Jew were to don a Roman collar, assume the title “priest,” and open his own “Catholic church,” interpreting its holidays and symbols however he liked, says Rabbi Tovia Singer, talk-show host, and founder and national director of Outreach Judaism.
    But that is exactly what “Hebraic Roots” adherents (also known as “Israelites” or “Ephraimites,” among other names) do. These groups are led by self-taught individuals who use the title “rabbi” and/or “congregational leader,” as well as “synagogue” (complete with Hebrew names like Beth HaKavod) for their churches.
    These gentiles in Jewish clothing actually claim to be the “true Israelites” in direct, biological descendants of the lost tribe of Ephraim. Of course there are no DNA or blood tests to confirm this unsubstantiated claim.

    Angus Wootten, one of the movement’s grandaddies, explains in his book Restoring Israel’s Kingdom how someone can find out if he or she is a biological member of the tribe of Ephraim: You simply “have a ‘conviction,’ a knowing that we know.”
    While this David Koresh-sounding theology appears ridiculous to both Jews and the vast majority of Christians, the sobering fact is that their numbers are growing constantly. From their websites and links, it would appear there are about 30 Ephraim-style groups in Ohio alone, although it’s hard to get an exact count because they use so many names n Ephraimites, Hebraic Roots Christians, Lost Tribes, Northern Kingdom, Israelites, House of Israel, Messianic Christians, and House of Joseph.
    .
    Rabbi Melvin Granatstein of Green Road Synagogue says there are all kinds of ersatz groups like these. “Catholics have to follow certain scriptural interpretation, but Protestants can pick up a Bible and interpret on their own,” he explains. “Some (Protestants) are very respectable, but others just focus on the parts of scripture they like, and the Bible can have very diverse interpretations.”
    Saying you’re from a lost tribe has a certain “romantic appeal,” continues Granatstein. “The neat thing about claiming to be part of a lost tribe is, if it’s lost, who’s going to be able to prove me wrong?”
    While Hebraic Rooters claim to “unite Jews and Christians” as their ultimate goal, in reality, they seem to hold both groups in disdain. Jews seem to think they are “Cokes” (the real thing), says Wootten in his book Restoring. He questions Jewish ancestral lines “(that have) been affected by conversions, adoptions and extramarital sex (fornication, adultery or rape).” He seems to have particular disdain for the Orthodox, labeling them, among other things, as mean-spirited rock-throwers. Christians fare no better under Wootten’s scathing pen: They are guilty of “Esau’s folly” n throwing away their birthright as the “biological heirs of the tribe of Ephraim.”
    Tired of being “second-class citizens,” these self-proclaimed “Ephraimites” demand that Jews “recognize” them as “Israelites” and that would include rights to the Middle East real estate.
    In 1948, “… instead of naming this Jewish state ‘Judah’ … they named it Israel,” Wooten writes. “Now, in one fell swoop, the Jews grabbed the title back.” Wootten is appalled that these Jews had the chutzpah to name their country “Israel” when those of his “tribe” knew it was partially theirs!
    Eddie Chumney, who was a computer specialist before going full-time into “the ministry” almost a decade ago, heads a “synagogue” in Stark County; his members, he claims, come from Tuscarawas, Carrol, Stark, Wayne, Summit and Cuyahoga counties. Chumney also founded “Hebraic Roots International,” which claims a database network of subscribers in all 50 states and in 55 foreign countries. He travels extensively, both nationally and internationally, at the invitation of gentile groups who want to hear about their “lost (but now found!) heritage.”
    Raised Protestant, Chumney says he was “awakened” to what the New Testament “really” teaches after studying Jewish texts and taking Torah classes from a Reform rabbi in Akron. Chumney accuses Jews of “blindness” for not acknowledging their “Northern Kingdom” relatives. He threatens that peace will only come to Israel when they do so. He also says that Christians are “drunkards like Ephraim,” who have been lied to over the millennia n mostly because of the Catholic Church n as to what Jesus really taught.
    The gospel according to Chumney is that Jesus came to “unite the two kingdoms” (i.e., Jews and “Israelites”) and teach the “Israelites” (gentile Christians) to observe Jewish law. Of course, this is contrary to halachah (Jewish law), which actually says gentiles are forbidden to observe Shabbat, a doctrine which Chumney asserts is false and put forth by “the rabbis.” It’s a title he occasionally uses himself. (See sidebar, p. 29.)
    While Chumney alludes to both Jewish texts and the New Testament scriptures, mixing doctrines and beliefs from both, he chafes at the accusation that he has made up his own religion. He simply wants “the house of Judah” to recognize “the house of Joseph” (his house) and for the latter to recognize Jesus’s “true” mission “foreshadowed in the Torah when those who received the law at Mt. Sinai were the only ones who escaped Egypt because they had put the blood on their doorposts.”
    Chumney asserts that “obviously, there’s not going to be paper documentation” for the Ephraimite/Northern Kingdom/Lost Tribe/ House of Joseph connection. The only “proof,” it seems, is that one adheres to Chumney’s instruction.
    The Chumney/Wootten type of teaching is mushrooming. Rick Ross, an internationally-recognized cult expert, and a former Clevelander, calls it “a growing phenomenon in the United States.”
    Ross “runs into these groups all the time,” but says the “Hebraic Roots” movement is really just an old teaching with a facelift. He points out that the Worldwide Church of God, founded by Herbert Armstrong in 1934, taught that Anglo-Saxons are direct descendants of the 10 lost tribes of Israel, and that church viewed that teaching as the key, unlocking a true understanding of biblical prophecy. At its peak, there were 65,000 Armstrongists, says Ross.
    “These groups are very misleading and very disingenuous,” he cautions. “They have an affinity for Jewish holidays and symbols but have no Jewish background whatsoever,” says Ross. “It really becomes a shanda (shame), as my grandmother would say, when they start parading around with Torah scrolls and trotting out Jewish symbols.”
    Actually, says Ross, there is a psychological component as to why certain types of people are attracted to these types of groups. “It gives them a sense of elite identity. In fact, there is a Yiddish phrase that sums it up perfectly: kol mamzer melech n Every bastard wants to be a king.”
    Will the real rabbi please stand up?
    “Anyone can invent his own religion,” says Tovia Singer, founder and director of Outreach Judaism. “But the reason these movements are dangerous is that they don’t respect boundaries. They are not Jewish at all, and (its leaders and adherents) have no rabbinic background whatsoever; they are simply playing with Jewish beliefs and rituals.”

    Certainly one of the ways the Hebraic Rooters play with Judaism is with their cavalier use of the title “rabbi.” For example, in the advertisement for Eddie Chumney’s “2005 Midwest Feast of Tabernacles” event to be held in Ohio next month, three of the four speakers are listed as rabbis, although not one of them has any rabbinic training at all.
    If, as the former computer specialist-turned-self-proclaimed-minister says, people will be coming from as far as Florida to attend the weeklong event, they will paying to attend something where the rabbis are not rabbis at all, and the Succot experience is certainly not going to be a very “Jewish” one.
    If someone were to call him or herself an attorney or physician and attempt to practice as such, that individual would be thrown in jail, says Rabbi Singer. Using the title “rabbi” won’t get someone thrown in jail, but it is consumer fraud, he adds.
    “The parameters of Jewish identity exclusively and historically lay within the Jewish community,” says cult expert Rick Ross. “Unless you recognize the parameters of a religion’s identity, you are going down a slippery slope and opening the doors to anything and everything, such as Catholics for Krishna, Mormons for Mohammed, Baptists for Buddha.”

November 13, 2013

  • Messiah,Moshiach,M’shia,and Mistranslations, twistings and other ways to shove Jesus in the text

    Mosiach,m’shia,and mistranslations, twistings and other ways to shove Jesus in the text

    TrueMessiah – Properly Anointed;
    FalseMessiah – Smeared with Ointment

    by

    Messiahtruth

    I. Introduction

    The ninth chapterin the Book of Daniel has been a popular component in the portfolioof Christian apologists and missionaries. The passage that iscommonly extracted from this chapter as an example of a definitive”messianic prophecy” is Daniel 9:24-27 because, accordingto most Christian translations, it contains two direct references tothe Messiah (Dan 9:25-26), which are claimed to be referencesto Jesus. With the help of mistranslations and some mathematicalhocus-pocus, they transform this passage into a prophecy thatallegedly foretells the coming of Jesus and his crucifixion.

    The analysispresented in this essay demonstrates that these claims concerningDaniel 9:25-26 are inconsistent with the teachings of the HebrewBible. Moreover, since these claims also include references to beinganointed, the anointing process, as defined and applied in the HebrewBible, is cast into a template against which the “anointing”of Jesus, as described in the New Testament, is compared in order totest its validity.

    II. Christian and Jewish Translations of Daniel 9:25-26

    Table II-1 showsside-by-side English renditions and the Hebrew text of the passageDaniel 9:25-26. The Hebrew term (mashia’h)and its respective renditions in the two translations are shown inhighlighted form.

    Table II-1– Daniel 9:25-26

    Daniel 9 King James Version Translation
    25
    Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
    And you should know and understand that, from the emergence of the word to restore and build Jerusalem until an anointed ruler, [shall be] seven weeks; and [in] sixty-two weeks it will be restored and be built, street and moat, but in troubled times.
    26
    And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
    And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off, and [he] will be no more; and the city and the Sanctuary will be destroyed by people of the coming ruler, and his end will come about like a flood; and by end of the war, there will be desolation.

    Jewish Translation from the Hebrew

    25 And you shall know and understand that from the emergence of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed king [shall be] seven weeks, and [in] sixty-two weeks it will return and be built street and moat, but in troubled times.
    26 And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointed one will be cut off, and he will be no more, and the people of the coming monarch will destroy the city and the Sanctuary, and his end will come about by inundation, and until the end of the war, it will be cut off into desolation.

    A significant disagreement exists between the two translations in their respective renditions of the noun . A study of the applications of this term in the Hebrew Bible helps resolve this issue.

    III. Review of Hebrew Terminology

    According to theHebrew Bible, the men who were selected to fill the positions of the high priest [(ha'kohen ha'gadol)] and king[(melech)] had to go through a ritual anointing ceremony. The Hebrew root verb (mashah),[to] anoint, appears in the Hebrew Bible 70 times in various conjugations. This verb is used on 63 occasions to describe an act of anointing, i.e., applying a specially prepared oil or compound to someone or something for the purpose of sanctification or consecration; and on the seven remaining occasions, it is used in thecontext of covering something with paint or oil for various other purposes.

    Someone who wentthrough the process of anointing was referred to as (mashi’ah),an anointed one, in the Hebrew Bible. The noun derives fromthe root verb , [to] anoint, and it appears in variousconjugations and forms in the Hebrew Bible on 39 occasions. Thesalient fact about the noun is that not one of these 39instances refers to the Messiah. The reason is that the usage of thenoun as the present Hebrew term for Messiah is a product of thefirst century B.C.E., which is interesting information that emergedfrom research done on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Around that time, theJewish messianic vision experienced a significant paradigm shift fromthe expectation of an era (i.e., “End of Days”) to an expectationof a Jewish leader who will deliver Israel (“Redeemer”). This fact alone defeats the claim by Christian apologists andmissionaries concerning references to the Messiah in Daniel 9:25-26.

    IV. Application of the Noun in the Hebrew Bible

    An analysis of the39 applications of the noun in the Hebrew Bible, and how these arerendered in most Christian Bibles, provides the Biblical evidencethat refutes the claims concerning its occurrences in Daniel 9:25-26. Table IV-1 shows the 39 applications of the noun in the HebrewBible. Each form of the noun is shown separately along with thefrequency of occurrence, a pronunciation guide (CAPS identify theaccented syllable), the respective Scriptural citations, the correctEnglish translation, and the respective KJV rendition. Referencesindicate chapter and verse numbers in the Hebrew Bible; verse numbersin Christian Bibles, if different from the Hebrew Bible, are shown inbrackets.

    Table IV-1– The term in the Hebrew Bible and its KJV renditions

    Hebrew Term
    3
    mah-SHEE-ah Pronunciation
    2 Sam 1:21 References
    an anointed Correct Translation
    anointed KJV Rendition

    Dan 9:25
    an anointed Correct Translation
    The Messiah KJV Rendition
    Dan 9:26
    an anointed Correct Translation
    Messiah KJV Rendition

    4
    ha’mah-SHEE-ah Pronunciation
    Lev 4:3,5,16,6:15[22] References
    the anointed Correct Translation
    [the priest] that is anointed

    8
    me-SHEE-ah Pronunciation
    1 Sam 24:6,10, 26:16; 2 Sam 1:14,16, 19:22[21], 23:1;Lam 4:20 References
    anointed [of] Correct Translation
    anointed [of]

    3
    bim-SHEE-ah Pronunciation
    1 Sam 26:9,11,23 References
    against the anointed of – Correct Translation
    against [the LORD's] anointed KJV Rendition

    lim-SHEE-ah Pronunciation
    1 Sam 24:7 References
    to the anointed of – Correct Translation
    to [the LORD's] anointed KJV Rendition

    1
    me-shee-HEE Pronunciation
    1 Sam 2:35 References
    my anointed Correct Translation
    mine anointed KJV Rendition

    1
    lim-shee-HEE Pronunciation
    Ps 132:17 References
    for/to my anointed Correct Translation
    for mine anointed KJV Rendition

    6
    me-shee-HEH-cha Pronunciation
    Hab 3:13; Ps 84:10[9], 89:39[38],52[51], 132:10; 2 Chron 6:42 References
    your anointed Correct Translation
    thine anointed KJV Rendition

    7
    me-shee-HO Pronunciation
    1 Sam 2:10, 12:3,5, 16:6; Ps 2:2, 20:7[6], 28:8 References
    his anointed Correct Translation
    his anointed, *[the LORD's] anointed KJV Rendition

    3
    lim-shee-HO Pronunciation
    2 Sam 22:51; Is 45:1; Ps 18:51[50] References
    to his anointed Correct Translation
    to his anointed KJV Rendition

    2
    bim-shee-HAI Pronunciation
    Ps 105:15;1 Chron 16:22 References
    at/upon my anointed Correct Translation
    [touch not] mine anointed KJV Rendition

    The KJV renditionof the term differs from the generic an anointed one in onlytwo cases out of the 39 applications, with both instances occurringin Daniel 9:25-26. The question is: “What motivated the KJVtranslators to cast the term as a reference to the Messiah inDaniel 9:25-26, particularly in view of the historical fact that thisassociation of the two terms came much later than the Book ofDaniel?”

    A related issuearises from the way some other Christian Bibles render the noun inDaniel 9:25-26, as shown in Table IV-2.

    Table IV-2– The term as rendered in other Christian Bibles

    Amplified Bible (AMP) Source
    Daniel 9:25 Verse
    the Anointed One Source Translation (note:capitalized)
    an anointed one Correct Translation
    Daniel 9:26
    New International Version (NIV) Source
    Daniel 9:25 Verse
    the Anointed One Source Translation (note:capitalized)
    an anointed one Correct Translation
    Daniel 9:26
    New Living Translation (NLT) Source
    Daniel 9:25 Verse
    the Anointed One Source Translation (note:capitalized)
    an anointed one Correct Translation
    Daniel 9:26 Verse
    World English Bible (WEB) Source
    Daniel 9:25 Verse
    the Anointed One Source Translation (note:capitalized)
    an anointed one Correct Translation
    Daniel 9:26

    The translation of as the Anointed One, although closer to the correct ananointed one, still contains Christological bias, though it ismore subtle. The use of the definite article, the, and thecapitalization of the terms in the expression, Anointed One,is a design that implicitly points to Jesus.

    For the sake offairness, it should be noted, however, that not all Christian Bibleshave mistranslated in Daniel 9:25-26. Among the Christian Biblesthat translate the term correctly are: Basic Bible in English(BBE), Revised Standard Version (RSV), and NewRevised Standard Version (NRSV).

    V. Anointing According to the Hebrew Bible

    The process of anointing

    According to theHebrew Bible, the substance used and the ritual performed are the twosignificant components of the anointing process.

    1. The substance

    In order to beconsidered properly anointed, a king (or high priest) had to besprinkled with a special substance that was stored in a specialcontainer, and which was prepared from pure olive oil, according tothe following formula:

    Exodus 30:22-25– (22) And the L-rd spoke to Moses, saying, (23) “And you,take for yourself spices of the finest sort – of pure myrrh fivehundred [shekel weights]; of fragrant cinnamon half of it, twohundred and fifty [shekel weights]; of fragrant cane two hundred andfifty [shekel weights], (24) and of cassia five hundred [shekelweights] according to the sacred shekel, and one hin of olive oil.(25) And you shall make it onto anoil of sacred anointment [(shemenmish'hat-qodesh)] aperfumed compound according to the art of the perfumer; it shall bean oil of sacred anointment[(shemen mish'hat-qodesh)].”

    No other substanceis acceptable for anointing and, being a holy substance, thisanointing oil had to be stored in the (portable) Tabernacle while theIsraelites were in the wilderness, and in the Temple in Jerusalemlater on.

    2. The ritual

    Moses wascommanded to anoint his brother Aaron as the first high priest:

    Exodus 29:7– And then you shall takethe anointing oil, and pour [it] upon his head, andanoint him.

    The Hebrew Biblecontains several accounts of the anointing of royalty in Israel.

    a. King Saul

    Saulwas anointed as King of Israel when the prophet Samuel poured thespecial oil on his head:

    1Samuel 10:1 – AndSamuel took the vialof oil, and poured it on his [Saul's] head,and kissed him. And he [Samuel] said, “Indeed, the L-rd hasanointed you to be a ruler over His inheritance.”

    b. King David

    David,the son of Jesse, was anointed as King of Israel when the prophetSamuel poured the special oil on his head:

    1Samuel 16:13 -And Samuel took thehorn of oil, and anointed him[David] in the midst of his brothers. And a spirit of the L-rd passedover David from that day forth, and Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

    c. King Solomon

    Thisis who anointed Solomon to be King of Israel, and how it was done:

    1Kings 1:34,39,45- (34) And Zadok the[high] priest and Nathan the prophet shall anoint him[Solomon] there as king over Israel, and blow the horn and say,”[Long] live King Solomon.”
    (39) And Zadokthe [High] Priest took the horn of oil from the Tabernacle [theSanctuary] and anointed Solomon,and they blew the shofar [ram's horn], and all the people said, “Longlive king Solomon.”
    (45) And Zadokthe [high] priest and Nathan the prophet anointed him [Solomon] kingin Gihon, and they came up from there rejoicing, and (therefore) thecity was in an uproar; that is the noise you were hearing.

    A template for the anointing of kings

    TheBiblical accounts of the anointing of the first three kings ofIsrael, Saul, David, and Solomon, contain the necessary elements forthe construction of a template for the process of anointing royaltyof Israel, one of which will be the promised Jewish Messiah. According to the Hebrew Bible, these elements are:

    [1] A special preparation from pure olive oil was used as the oil of anointing.

    [2] Being sacred, the anointing oil was stored in the Temple.

    [3] A universally recognized prophet performed the ritual of anointing a king.

    [4] The prophets used the vial of oil, or the horn of oil, to anoint the new king, not merely a vial of oil or a horn of oil.1[1]

    [5] The oil of anointing was poured only on the head.

    [6] Anointing was tantamount to crowning a king (or appointing a high priest).2[2]

    I. Anointing According to the New Testament

    Thistemplate for the anointing process can now be used to test thevalidity of the anointing of Jesus, as deduced from the accounts inthe New Testament.

    The process of anointing

    1. The substance

    Thefour Gospel authors describe the substance used on Jesus as follows:

    Matthew26:7-9(KJV) –(7) There came unto him a woman having an alabasterbox of veryprecious ointment,and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. (8) But when hisdisciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose isthis waste? (9) For thisointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.

    Mark14:3-5(KJV) –(3) And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he satat meat, there came a woman having an alabasterbox of ointmentof spikenard veryprecious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. (4) Andthere were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Whywas this waste of the ointment made? (5) For itmight have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have beengiven to the poor.And they murmured against her.

    Luke7:37(KJV) – And,behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew thatJesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought analabaster box of ointment,

    John12:3-5(KJV) –(3) Then took Mary a pound of ointmentof spikenard, verycostly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with herhair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. (4)Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, whichshould betray him, (5) Whywas not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to thepoor?

    1. The ritual

    Allfour Gospel authors describe the manner in which Jesus was anointed:

    Matthew26:7(KJV) – Therecame unto him a womanhaving an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and pouredit on his head, as hesat at meat.

    Mark14:3(KJV) – Andbeing in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat,there came a womanhaving an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; andshe brake the box, and pouredit on his head.

    Luke7:37-38,46(KJV) –(37) And, behold, awoman in the city, which was a sinner,when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, broughtan alabaster box of ointment, (38) And stood at his feet behind himweeping, and began to wash hisfeet with tears, anddid wipe themwith the hairs of her head, and kissed hisfeet, and anointedthem with the ointment.
    (46)My head with oil thoudidst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

    John11:2(KJV) – (Itwas that Mary whichanointed the Lord with ointment,and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

    John12:3(KJV) – Thentook Marya pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointedthe feet of Jesus,and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with theodour of the ointment.

    Moreover,Jesus himself allegedly states the purpose of his anointing:

    Matthew26:12(KJV) – Forin that she hath pouredthis ointment on my body,she did it for myburial.

    Mark14:8(KJV) – Shehath done what she could: she is come aforehand toanoint my body to the burying.

    Elements of the ritual of anointing Jesus

    Theaccounts quoted from the Gospels contain the elements of the processthat was described as the anointing of Jesus, and these are listed inthe order of the elements in the template for the anointing processdeveloped above:

    [1] The substance used to anoint Jesus was an ointment of spikenard.3[3]

    [1] It is unknown from where the costly ointment of spikenard came. It clearly was not a sacred substance, since people complained about having wasted it by pouring it on Jesus rather than selling it and giving the money to the poor.

    [2] Jesus was anointed by a woman (Mary of Bethany, described as a sinner).

    [3] The ointment used on Jesus was contained in an alabaster box.4[4]

    [4] There are conflicting accounts in the New Testament about where on his body the anointing substance was applied to Jesus. The accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark say it was applied to his head; while the accounts in the Gospels of Luke and John state it was applied to his feet only.

    [5] Jesus declared that his anointing was a preparation for burial, i.e., for death, and not for kingship.5[5]

    II. The Anointing of Jesus Contrasted with the Requirements in the Hebrew Bible

    TableVII-1 contains an element-by-element comparison of the components ofthe anointing process in the template against the accounts describedin the Gospels. For each element, a yes/noscore indicates whether the respective component from the Gospelaccounts meets the specification set forth in the Hebrew Bible.

    TableVII-1 – HebrewBible specifications versus New Testament accounts of anointing

    Item
    Hebrew Bible Specifications
    According to the
    New Testament
    Comments
    Valid?
    [1]
    The oil of anointing was a special mixture of spices and pure olive oil.
    The substance used to anoint Jesus was an ointment of spikenard.
    Ointment of spikenard, no matter how costly, cannot substitute for the sacred special oil.
    NO
    [2]
    Being sacred, the oil of anointing had to be stored in the Temple.
    The spikenard was not sacred, and its source is unknown.
    Sacred items were kept in the Temple, and were not offered for sale.
    NO
    [3]
    A recognized prophet had to anoint a king.
    A woman named Mary anointed Jesus.
    Did a recognized prophet anoint Jesus?
    NO
    [4]
    A special vial, or special horn, of the special anointing oil had to be used in anointing a king.
    The spikenard ointment used on Jesus came from an alabaster box.
    The Hebrew Bible never speaks of alabaster containers used for holding the oil of anointing.
    NO
    [5]
    The oil of anointing was poured on the head only.
    2 accounts – head only;
    2 accounts – feet only.
    Which version of the account is the true one?
    NO
    [6]
    The anointing was a preparation for kingship (or high priesthood).
    Jesus declared his anointing was to prepare him for burial.
    Jesus never reigned as the monarch over any kingdom.
    NO

    Thiscomparison demonstrates that the anointing of Jesus, as described inthe New Testament, violates all the specifications for a validanointing of royalty in Israel as provided in the Hebrew Bible.

    Conclusion: Jesus was smeared with ointment and not properly anointed and,
    for that reason alone, he was a false Messiah.

    III. Summary

    Twoimportant and interconnected issues were addressed. The firstquestion concerned the Hebrew noun as it appears in Daniel9:25-26:

    ¤ What is the correct translation of the Hebrew noun , which appears twice in the passage Daniel 9:25-26?

    Accordingto most Christian translations, the term points to Jesuseither by being translated as [the] Messiah or the AnointedOne. A word study on all 39 occurrences in the Hebrew Bible ofthe noun in its various forms demonstrated that the correcttranslation is an anointed one, a “generic”reference to two different individuals who were to appear on thescene at some future time, neither of whom had any connection to theJewish Messiah.

    The questionconcerned the validity of the “anointing” of Jesus, whicharose from the translation of theterm in some Christian Bibles as the Anointed One:

    ¤ Did the “anointing” of Jesus, as described in the New Testament, conform to the specifications given in the Hebrew Bible?

    Tohelp determine the validity of the “anointing” processwhich the accounts in the New Testament describe, a template for theanointing process of kings and high priests of Israel was constructedfrom the specifications detailed in the Hebrew Bible. The relevantelements of information were then extracted from the accounts in theNew Testament which describe the “anointing” of Jesus, andthese were compared, on an element-by-element basis against thetemplate. The analysis demonstrated that Jesus was not anointedaccording to the specifications described in the Hebrew Bible.

    Therefore, sinceJesus was never properly anointed according to the specificationscontained in the Hebrew Bible, the Scripture in force during hislifetime, neither of the two applications of the term in Daniel9:25-26 can possibly point to him.
    1[1] King David and his royal descendants were anointed with the sacred oil poured from the horn. According to the Jewish Sages, this indicated the superiority of the Davidic kings over the non-Davidic kings of Israel (e.g., Saul), who were anointed using the vial.
    2[2] Saul, David, and Solomon all sat on the throne as kings soon after being anointed. They successfully fought those nations that were enemies of Israel. They commanded entire governments, complete with soldiers, spies, tax collectors, foreign ambassadors, treasuries, palace servants and courts.
    3[3]The American Heritage Dictionary (Second College Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, Publishers [1991]), describes spikenard as: “1. An aromatic plant, Nardostachys jatamansi, of India, having rose-purple flowers. 2. A costly ointment of antiquity, probably prepared from the spikenard.”
    4[4] The authors of the New Testament refer to Jesus as the “son of David”, implying that he is from the royal line of King David: Matthew 1:1(KJV) - The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. If, as claimed in the New Testament, Jesus were a bona fide king of the Davidic dynasty, why was the anointing substance taken from an alabaster box and not from that special vessel called the horn?

    5[5] The New Testament is silent on whether Jesus sat on the throne of David during his lifetime, and whether he led a Jewish army in any battles against Israel’s enemies and defeated them. Likewise, there is no mention in the New Testament of Jesus being in command of an entire political government.

November 6, 2013

  • JESUS WAS NOT “THE SUFFERING SERVANT” OF ISAIAH CHAPTER 53

    1
    ISSUES: Christian missionaries are very attracted to the 53rd chapter of Isaiah’s book because it refers to the “affliction, oppression, and persecution of a suffering servant who submitted to his grave.” Superficially, Isaiah’s description sounds enticingly like the Christian view of Jesus. However, chapter 53 is part of Isaiah’s fourth servant song, which does not refer to the Messiah ben David; it refers to a “suffering servant of God.” There are at least five major problems with their interpretation that these verses in Isaiah refer to Jesus:
    First, Christian missionaries use the 53rd chapter of Isaiah as a proof-text for the Christian belief that Jesus died for the sins of others. However, people may have seen Jesus die, but it is not conceptually possible to see someone die as atonement for the sins of others. It is merely a theological assertion by the writers of the New Testament intended to give meaning to Jesus’ death. Only if one first accepts the New Testament teaching that Jesus’ death had this non-visible, spiritual significance is it logically possible to assert that Isaiah confirmed Christian beliefs. Therefore, Isaiah 53 is in reality no “proof” at all but rather circular reasoning and a contrived confirmation for someone who has already chosen Christianity.
    Second, virtually all of the “proofs’ used by missionaries are from rabbinic texts and commentaries such as the Talmud, the Targum and the Zohar. Missionaries use these rabbinic texts to support their assertion that Jesus is Isaiah’s “servant.” The problem with their argument requires an understanding of the nature of “psat” and “midrash.” “Psat” is the plain meaning of a text. All the authors of the Talmud, Targum and Zohar agree that the “psat” of “servant” is Jacob/Israel which means the Jewish People. Midrash never contradicts psat. Midrash is a poetic overlay of meaning designed to teach Jewish theology, not the plain meaning of the text. These rabbinic texts refer to Isaiah’s “servant” as Moses, the soul, an angel, the righteous of Israel, and the messiah ben Joseph (a descendent of Joseph who is prophesized to die before messiah ben David appears to fulfill all the messianic prophecies). Missionaries falsify their analysis of these texts by ignoring all of these non-messianic references and by pretending that messiah ben Joseph is really messiah ben David. They play these name games to shoehorn Jesus into Isaiah’s text. Problematically, Christian theologians universally reject these texts because they contradict or reject the fundamental Christian faith claims about Jesus. It is the height of disingenuousness to use isolated out-of-context verses from Jewish texts to “prove” what the texts themselves reject! Missionaries intentionally misapply these verses to falsify “proofs” to further the Christian missionary agenda.
    Third, it is very important to note that while missionaries are grasping at Talmudic straws to support their forced interpretation of Isaiah 53, the Christian Bible contradicts them. It is obvious from the Gospel accounts that Jesus’ handpicked disciples didn’t view Isaiah 53 as a messianic prophecy. After the disciple Peter (a pillar of the Church and supposedly the first Pope) identified Jesus as “the Messiah” (Matthew 16:16) Peter is informed that Jesus will be killed. (Matthew 16:21) Peter’s response is most telling: “God forbid it, lord! This shall never happen to you.” (Matthew 16:22 and also Matthew 17:23, Mark 9:31-32; Mark 16:10-11; Luke
    1 Source: Lets Get Biblical by Rabbi Tovia Singer
    18:32, John 20:9). Peter didn’t joyfully exclaim: “Praise God, you are the suffering servant of Isaiah 53!” Clearly, the disciples did not know that the Messiah was supposed to suffer and die nor did they view Jesus’ impending death as “good news.” Their reaction makes it abundantly clear that they had no concept that their messiah’s suffering and death was prophesized by Isaiah 53.
    Fourth, Jesus’ enemies such as King Herod certainly didn’t think that the Messiah was supposed to be killed. Otherwise, why would Herod help Jesus’ cause by trying to kill him? (Matthew 2).
    Fifth, Jesus himself obviously didn’t see Isaiah 53 as relevant to his messianic claims. According to the Gospel of Mark, “And he (Jesus) went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me.” (Mark 14:35-36). By asking God to “take away this cup from me” Jesus clearly wanted God to allow him to live and not be killed. This creates a monumental problem for today’s missionaries. Didn’t Jesus know that if God listened to him and “removed the cup” Jesus would not be able to fulfill (the current missionary interpretation of) Isaiah 53? Obviously, until Jesus suffered and died there was no need for Christian missionaries to re-interpret Isaiah 53 to explain his death. Parenthetically, since Jesus was supposedly “god” as a member of the trinity, was Jesus speaking to himself when he asked God to “remove this cup?” Does any of this really make sense?
    It is important to note that there is no scriptural basis in Isaiah 53, the Torah or the Jewish Bible to support the Christian faith claim that it is necessary to “believe in the Messiah” for personal salvation. God gave the Jewish People a detailed instruction manual (the Torah) containing 613 commandments /tools to make moral choices. According to Jewish theology, each person determines their own personal salvation based upon their own moral choices. Therefore, even if Jesus were the messiah there would be no need to “believe” in him for personal salvation.
    TEXTUAL ANALYSIS
    The speakers throughout chapter fifty-three are the Gentile kings who are introduced at the end of Chapter 52 who remark in shock and astonishment at the sudden elevation of the Jewish People. The Christian Church has always taught that the Jews have suffered for the past 2000 years as a punishment for rejecting Jesus, but in Chapter 52 God reveals and these Gentile kings admit that the Gentiles caused the Jews to suffer for their own sins:
    ISAIAH 52: “Behold, My [God’s] servant [Israel] will succeed; he [Israel] will be exalted and become high and exceedingly lofty. Just as multitudes were astonished over you [Israel] …so will the many nations [exclaim about him [Israel] and [Gentile] kings will shut their mouths [in amazement] for they [Gentiles] will see that which had never been told to them [Gentiles], and will perceive things they (Gentiles] had never heard.” (Isaiah 52:15)
    CONCLUSION: In Isaiah 52, the Gentile kings “shut their mouths” when they realize that they sinned by persecuting the Jews for their own benefit. They are the speaker in chapter 53. Once this is understood, Isaiah’s 53rd chapter becomes clear. Remember that in Chapter 53, the “we”
    are these Gentiles and the “he” is Israel (the Jewish People). This is the correct translation from the Hebrew:
    ISAIAH 53: “Who would believe what we [Gentiles] have heard! For whom has the arm of Hashem been revealed! Formerly he [Israel] grew like a sapling or like a root from arid ground; he had neither form nor grandeur; we saw him but without such visage that we could desire him. He was despised and isolated from men, a man of pains and accustomed to illness. As one from whom we would hide our faces; he was despised, and we had no regard for him. But in truth, it was our ills that he bore, and our pains that he carried – but we had regarded him diseased, stricken by God, and afflicted. He was pained because of our rebellious sins and oppressed through our iniquities; the chastisement upon him was for our benefit, and through his wounds, we were healed. We have all strayed like sheep, each of us turning his own way, and Hashem inflicted upon him the iniquity of us all. He was persecuted and afflicted, but he did not open his mouth; like a sheep being led to the slaughter or a ewe that is silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth. Now that he has been released from captivity and judgment, who could have imagined such a generation? For he had been removed from the land of the living, an affliction upon them [lamo in Hebrew] that was my people’s sin. He submitted himself to his grave like wicked men; and the wealthy [submitted] to his execution, for committing no crime and with no deceit in his mouth.
    Hashem desired to oppress him and He afflicted him; if his soul would acknowledge guilt, he would see offspring and live long days and the desire of Hashem would succeed in his hand. He would see (the purpose) and be satisfied with his soul’s distress. With his knowledge My servant will vindicate the Righteous One to multitudes; it is their iniquities that he will carry. Therefore, I will assign him a portion from the multitudes and he will divide the mighty as spoils – in return for having poured out his soul for death and being counted among the wicked, for he bore the sin of the multitudes, and prayed for the wicked.”
    These verses will be analyzed in detail below.
    JACOB AND ISRAEL ARE REFERENCES TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE: According to Genesis, the Jewish patriarch Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. Collectively, Jacob and Israel refer to the Jewish People:
    GENESIS: “He [an angel] said, “No longer will it be said that your name is Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with the Divine and with man and have overcome.” (Genesis 32:29)
    ISRAEL IS GOD’S SERVANT NATION: Isaiah identified the “servant” as Jacob and Israel (the Jewish People) many times in the twelve chapters preceding his 53rd chapter:
    1. “But you, Israel, are my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen.” (Isaiah 41:8-9)
    2. “Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant and Israel whom I have chosen.” (Isaiah 44:1)
    3. “Remember these, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant, I have formed you,
    you are My servant.” (Isaiah 44:21)
    4. “…for Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect.” (Isaiah 45:4)
    5. “The Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob.” (Isaiah 48:20)
    6. “You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” (Isaiah 49:3)
    ANALYSIS: The idea that the servant is the Jewish people in Chapters 41 through 49, and that Isaiah would suddenly turn the servant into the messiah in Chapter 53 without warning defies logic. Missionaries attempt to benefit from the fact that Isaiah had explained who the “servant” was so many times by the times he reached Chapter 53 he did not bother to do so again.
    FURTHER PROOF: In the Jewish Bible Israel and Jacob are often referred to as God’s “servant.”
    1. “A heritage to Israel His servant, for His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 136:22)
    2. “But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, and do not be dismayed, O Israel! (Jeremiah 46:27)
    3. “Do not fear, O’ Jacob My servant, says the Lord, for I am with you for I will make a complete end of all the nations.” (Jeremiah 76: 28)
    4. “Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob, says the Lord, nor be dismayed, O Israel, for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed [zera] from the land of their captivity, Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet.” (Jeremiah 30:10)
    Israel is also referred to as God’s servant in the Christian Bible:
    5. “He [God] has helped His servant Israel in remembrance of His mercy.” (Luke 1:54)
    THE CHRISTIAN VIEW REQUIRES GOD TO BE HIS OWN SERVANT: The Christian view is that the suffering servant of God described in Isaiah 53 is Jesus. However, Christians also assert that Jesus is a part of the “trinity,” one of the three persons in the Christian triune godhead, and therefore is God Himself. Therefore, according to the Christian view, God sent Himself as His own “suffering servant.” This does not make sense logically and is contrary to the plain meaning of the text. Logically and in context, a servant and the servant’s master are not the same person.
    CAN “HE” REFER TO ISRAEL? Christian missionaries claim that since the “servant” is referred to as “he” (singular, masculine) Chapter 53 cannot refer to Israel. However, the verses below demonstrate that the Jewish Bible specifically refers to Israel as “he, him, his servant and God’s son,” in the singular, masculine.
    1. EXODUS: “You shall say to Pharaoh, ‘So said Hashem, My firstborn son is Israel. So I say to you, send out My son that he may serve Me – but you have refused to send him out: behold, I shall kill your firstborn son.” (Exodus 4:22) Israel is referred to as God’s “son” and “he” in the collective.
    2. HOSEA: The prophet Hosea said, “When Israel was a lad I loved him, and since Egypt I have been calling out to My son.” (Hosea 11:1)
    3. HOSEA: Hosea confirmed that in exile, Israel struggled as a young tree growing on parched land, “I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.” (Hosea 14:6-8)
    ANALYSIS: This confirms the verse in Isaiah 53:2 which says “he came up like a sapling before it, and like a root from dry ground, he had neither form nor comeliness; and we saw him that he had no appearance that we should have desired him.”
    ISAIAH SHIFTED TO THE PLURAL: Isaiah himself proves the Jewish understanding is correct by switching back from the masculine singular (he) to the plural form (them) when referring to the Jewish People in verse 53:8. Isaiah said:
    “Now that he [Israel] has been released from captivity and judgment, who could have imagined such a generation? For he had been removed from the land of the living, an affliction upon them [lamo in Hebrew] that was my people’s sin.” (Isaiah 53:8, Jewish Bible, Stone Edition)
    ANALYSIS: Isaiah’s switch from him to them (lamo) is a fatal problem for the Christian claim that it applies to one man, Jesus. Christian missionaries can plausibly claim that “he” applies to Jesus but they cannot plausibly claim that “them” applies to Jesus. The New King James and the NIV versions of the Christian Bible dealt with this monumental problem by merely mistranslating “lamo” as him, fraudulently translating the plural as the singular.
    The prophet Hosea also described the Jewish People as “lad,” “him,” and “son” (singular masculine) and then switched to the plural them (lamo) in exactly the same way:
    “When Israel was a lad, I loved him, and since Egypt I have been calling out to My son. [As much as] they called to them, [Israel] so did they [Ephraim] turn away from them [Israel]…” (Hosea 11:1-2)
    ANALYSIS: Like the prophet Isaiah, the prophet Hosea also referred to Israel in the first person masculine as God’s child and God’s son. Hosea then switched to the plural, “them.” This confirms the Jewish understanding that the “he” in Isaiah 53 describes the Jewish People, God’s suffering servant.
    THEOLOGY BY BIBLE TAMPERING: The New King James (NKJ) Christian translation of Isaiah 53 further manipulated the text in Isaiah 53:3-5 by changing the tense from past to present and by strategically mistranslating key words and phrases in order to force Jesus into the text. The Jewish Bible correctly translates the Hebrew. The reader can compare this to the Christian translation:
    THE JEWISH BIBLE: “…he had neither form nor grandeur…he was despised and isolated from men, a man of pains and accustomed to illness. As one from whom we would hide our faces; he was despised, and we had no regard for him. But in truth, it was our ills that he bore, and our pains that he carried-but we had regarded him diseased, stricken by God, and afflicted. He was pained because of our rebellious sins and oppressed through our iniquities…” (Isaiah 53:2-5)
    THE CHRISTIAN OLD TESTAMENT (NKJ): “He has [instead of had] no form or comeliness…He is [instead of was] despised and rejected [instead of isolated] by men. A man of sorrows [instead of pains] and acquainted with grief [instead of accustomed to illness]. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him. Surely he has borne our griefs [instead of ills] and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed him stricken, [instead of diseased] smitten by God, and afflicted, but he was wounded for our transgressions. (Isaiah 53:2-5)
    ANALYSIS: Isaiah referred to an event that had already occurred and therefore used the past tense. Christian translators manipulated the text by changing the tense to the present tense to apply it to Jesus. Christian translators avoided the problem that Jesus never was reported to have suffered from “illness or disease” by mistranslating these words as “sorrows and grief.” This manipulation of the text shifted the meaning of Isaiah’s words to support Christian theology.
    ANALYSIS OF KEY VERSES:
    ISAIAH 53:3: “He [Israel] was despised and isolated from men, a man of pains and accustomed to illness [not grief]. As one from whom we would hide our faces; he was despised, and we had no regard for him.”
    ANALYSIS: “He” [the Jewish People] was subjected to 2000 years of anti-Semitism, “despised,” and forced to live in walled ghettos in Europe “isolated from men” and “we “ [Gentiles] had no regard for “him” [the Jewish People].
    ISAIAH 53:4: “But in truth, it was our ills that he bore, and our pains that he carried-but we had regarded him diseased, [not sorrows] stricken by God, and afflicted!”
    ANALYSIS: The Gentiles admit that it was “our” [the Gentiles] “ills and pains” that “he” [the Jews] bore. The Gentiles regarded the Jews cursed by God and “diseased, stricken, and afflicted.” Clearly, Jesus was not “accustomed to illness, diseased, stricken or afflicted.”
    ISAIAH 53:5: “He was pained because of our rebellious sins and oppressed through our iniquities; the chastisement upon him was for our benefit and through his wounds, we were healed.”
    ANALYSIS: “He” [the Jewish People] “was pained” [suffered] because of “our” [the Gentiles] rebellious sins and “he” [the Jewish People] was “oppressed” by “our” [the Gentiles] “iniquities” [sins]. The Gentiles believed that the suffering of the Jewish People was deserved because the Jews rejected and killed Jesus but his death redeemed their sins. “We” [the Gentiles] believed that they were “healed” [justified] “through his [the Jewish People’s] wounds” that the Gentiles inflicted upon the Jewish People.
    ISAIAH 53:6: “We have all strayed like sheep, each of us turning his own way, and Hashem inflicted upon him the iniquity of us all.”
    ANALYSIS: “We” [Gentiles] “strayed [from God] like sheep,” [by persecuting the Jewish People], and Hashem “inflicted upon him” [God’s servant nation] “the iniquity of us all” [that the Gentiles deserved].
    ISAIAH 53:7: “He was persecuted and afflicted, but he did not open his mouth; like a sheep being led to the slaughter or a ewe that is silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth.”
    ANALYSIS: This verse refers to the many hardships that “he” [the Jewish People] endured in their exiles. For example, in the eleventh century, the Jewish People was “persecuted and afflicted” by crusaders who brutally tortured and killed Jews in the name of their lord Jesus. In this century the Nazis murdered millions of Jews in the death camps, “like a sheep being led to slaughter…like an ewe that is silent before her shearers.” This verse cannot be about Jesus who “opened his mouth” on the cross to complain that God had forsaken him.2
    ISAIAH 53: 8: “Now that he has been released from captivity and judgment, who could have imagined such a generation? For he had been removed from the land of the living, an affliction upon them that was my people’s sin.”
    ANALYSIS: “He” [the Jews] had been “removed” [exiled] from the “land of the living” [Israel]. The Jews were afflicted and exiled to Babylonia. The Jews were afflicted and exiled from Spain. The Jews were afflicted and removed from Germany in boxcars and taken to death camps.
    ISAIAH 53:9: “He submitted himself to his grave like wicked men; and the wealthy [submitted] to his executions, for committing no crime [NKJ and NIV Christian Bibles translates crime as violence] and with no deceit in his mouth.”
    2 Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46
    ANALYSIS: For one thousand years, European Christians killed wealthy Jews to steal their money who “submitted to execution, committing no crime” [although they were innocent]. “With no deceit in his [the Jewish People’s] mouth” [without pretending to accept Jesus] “he” [the Jewish People] submitted themselves to their grave.”
    THE SUFFERING SERVANT “HAD DONE NO VIOLENCE” According to Isaiah the servant “had done no violence.”3 This verse cannot possibly be about Jesus. With whip in hand Jesus attacked the merchants in the Temple area, overturning tables and seats.4 He destroyed a fig tree for not having fruit out of season.5 He caused the death, by drowning, of a herd of swine by allowing demons to purposely enter their bodies.6 Attacking merchants, cursing and killing a fig tree, and permitting demons to enter the swineherd and causing their death is violent behavior. Whether Jesus was justified in this violence is irrelevant. Therefore, Jesus could not have been the subject of Isaiah 53:9.
    THE SERVANT HAD PHYSICAL DESCENDANTS: Properly translated Isaiah 53:10 says, “He [the suffering servant] would see offspring.”7 The Hebrew word for “offspring” (zera) literally means sperm. As one would expect, “zera” is always used in the Jewish Bible to denote physical descendants. There is no indication in the Christian Bible that Jesus left physical descendants, (offspring) and therefore, Isaiah 53 cannot possibly be about him. In the Jewish Bible when spiritual descendants are intended, the Hebrew word “ben,” which means “sons” is always used.
    THE SERVANT HAD A PROLONGED LIFE: Isaiah said the servant “…[would] live long days…”8 According to the Christian NKJ and the NIV translations [God] will “prolong his days.” “Prolonged days” means a long life, which cannot possibly apply to Jesus. Jesus allegedly died at about 30 years of age, which is not a “prolonged” life. Also, if Jesus was “god” as Christians claim, he was in essence an eternal (not mortal) being whose life could not have been “prolonged.” Although this description cannot fit Jesus, it does fit the Jewish People perfectly, whose physical survival notwithstanding millenniums of persecution is legendary in the face of overwhelming odds against survival. Significantly, the Jewish People are the only biblical people that have survived to the modern era as a distinct people. The days of the physical descendants of the Jewish People have truly and miraculously been “prolonged” for 3200 years and have fulfilled this prophecy and every other prophecy in Isaiah 53.
    CONCLUSION: God’s servant nation was referred to as Jacob/Israel many times in the twelve chapters preceding Chapter fifty-three of Isaiah. The Christian Bible also refers to Israel as God’s servant. The Jewish servant nation is referred to in the singular as “he” in Isaiah, Exodus, and Hosea. According to the Christian theory of the trinity, Jesus was God. Logically, God cannot be His own servant. The Christian Bible changed tense, mistranslated the plural (lamo) as
    3 Isaiah 53:9 New King James and NIV translations
    4 Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15-16, Luke 19:45, John 2:15
    5 Matthew 21:18-21, Mark 11:13-14
    6 Matthew 8:32, Mark 5:13, Luke 8:33
    7 Isaiah 53:10, Jewish Bible, Stone Edition
    8 Ibid
    singular and falsely capitalized pronouns. The suffering servant “did no violence” and Jesus committed several acts of violence. Isaiah’s servant had physical descendants and a prolonged life, which cannot apply to Jesus.

November 5, 2013

  • Is the Passover Lamb a Sin Offering? No.

    I never read in the Christian book that Jesus was slaughtered in the courtyard, roasted and eaten that night by those that applied for it. Never mind that,like it shows,the Passover lamb isn’t a sin sacrifice and is the least holy.It makes one wonder why the Christian faith equates Jesus being called the Passover lamb with atonement of sin. If you examine the book, the offering to G-d on Passover is Numbers 28:16. And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the Lord.
    17. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
    18. In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein:
    19. But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the Lord; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish:
    20. And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil: three tenth deals shall ye offer for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram;
    21. A several tenth deal shalt thou offer for every lamb, throughout the seven lambs:
    22. And one goat for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you.
    23. Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering.

    Is this another place where Paul didn’t understand Torah law though he claimed to be a Pharisee “brought up at the feet of Gamaliel”, a teacher of higher studies not children.If you refer to my article New Covenant?, you will see where Paul also misquoted Jeremiah.

    Mishnah,Zevachim Chapter 5
    1)What is the location of the offerings? [Regarding] the most holy offerings,their slaughter is in the north(a).The slaughter of the bull and the he-goat of Yom Kippur is in the north and the reception of their blood in a service vessel (b) is in the north. Their blood requires sprinkling between the pole[of the holy Ark](c),and towards the Curtain {of the Holy of Holys} and upon the Golden Altar(d).Every one of these applications is essential.(e)The leftover blood he would pour onto the western base of the Outer Altar;but if he failed to apply it[leftover blood to the base],he has not prevented atonement.

    Notes on 1:A:The most holy offerings are sin,guilt,elevation,and communal peace because they have stricter laws than individual peace and thanksgiving offerings. B:Special vessels set aside strictly for this purpose C:On Yom Kippur the High Priest sprinkled the blood between the poles of the Ark that extended from either side towards the sanctuary. D:The Golden Altar that the incense was burned on every day E:All of the essential applications must be done or atonement is not achieved.

    2)Regarding the bulls and goats that are completely burned(a),their slaughter is in the north and reception of the blood in the north. Their blood requires being sprinkled toward the Curtain and upon the Golden Altar,Every application is essential. Leftover blood was poured on the western base,but failure to do so did not prevent atonement.Both these and the Yom Kippur offerings were burned in the place where the [Altar}ashes are deposited (b) In no case are any parts of the burnt offerings eaten.

    Notes on 2:A:Certain parts were burned on the Altar (see Lev 4:8-12) and the remainder burned outside of Jerusalem. B:The ashes from the Altar were removed when necessary to a ritually clean place outside the city.

    3)Regarding sin offerings of the community and of individual(a)---the communal offerings are as follows:the he-goats of Rosh Chodesh and festivals--their slaughter [of all sin offerings] is in the north and the blood received in the north in the service vessel. Their blood requires four applications,one on each the four corners of the Altar,First the southwest,then the northeast,then the northwest then the southwest. Leftover blood would be poured out on the southern base. These offerings are eaten within the[Courtyard]curtains (b) by males of the priesthood,prepared in any manner,on the same day and that night until midnight (c)

    Note on 3:A;Before giving the laws of sin offerings,the Mishnah lists the kinds of communal sin offerings that fall in this catagory.The listing being necessary because earlier mishnayos, too,have discussed communal sin offerings that fall under the burnt offering category. B:It must be prepared in the Courtyard.The term “curtains” is borrowed from the time in the wilderness when the courtyard was enclosed by curtains instead of walls. C:A sin offering could be eaten on the day it was sacrificed and the following evening until dawn by scriptural law, but the sages imposed a deadline of midnight to prevent mishaps.

    4)The elevation offering is among the most holy offerings.It is slaughtered in the north and the blood received in the service vessel in the north.It’s blood applications are two that are equal to four (A).It requires flaying and dismemberment ( b) and is entirely consumed by fire

    Notes on 4:A:The blood was thrown at two corners of the Altar walls,northeast and southwest.The blood would then spread out to the adjacent walls,Thus,two applications put blood on all four walls of the Altar. B:The hide of all offerings of greater holiness was given to the priests and the body cut up in a prescribed way,only then was it burned.

    5)Regarding communal peace offerings(a) and [personal]guilt offerings(b)–the guilt offering is as follows:guilt offering for theft(c),guilt offering for misuse of sacred objects(d),guilt offering for violating a betrothed maidservant (e),the guilt offering of a Nazirite (f),the guilt offering of a metzora ( leper) (g) and a guilt offering in the case of doubt (h).Their slaughter and reception of blood is in the north and they are eaten by the priests in the Courtyard the same day and night until midnight.

    Notes on 5:A:The only such offering are the two sheep that are brought in addition to the Shavuos mussaf offering (Lev23:19) The other communal offerings are either sin or elevation offerings. B:There are six kinds C.If one owned money–loan or theft,had an article in safekeeping or whatever and swore he did not owe it intentionally,he is required to bring an offering (Lev 5:20-26) D:If someone unintentionally used an belonging to the Sanctuary,he must bring an offering (ibid 5:14-16)E:A female non-Jewish slave is owned by two Jewish partners,One sets her free but the other does not,making her half free and half slave. Since a freed non-Jewish slave has the same status as a convert,she is half Jewish and half non-Jewish.She is therefore forbidden to marry a Jew nor a non-Jew.She is however allowed to marry a Jewish indentured servant,who is permitted to both a Jewish ands non-Jewish maidservant.If she becomes betrothed to a Jewish indentured servant and has relations with another man,the adulterer must bring an offering. F:A Nazirite who became ritually contaminated by contact with a corpse (Num6:9-12) G:A leper that has been declared cured must bring an offering 8 days after he is pronounced cured .H:If one is unsure whether he needs to bring a sin offering .The possible transgressor protects himself from punishment through a guilt offering,If it becomes evident that the offence was committed, he must bring a sin offering at that time.

    6)The thanksgiving offering(a) and the ram of the Nazirite (b) are offerings of less holiness (c) Their slaughter is anywhere in the Courtyard and their blood application is two equal to four.They are eaten by anyone,anywhere in the city,prepared in any manner on the same day and night until midnight.The priestly portion is separated from them (d) and treated like them in preparation and where it can be eaten except that only the priests and their family can eat these portions.

    Notes on 6:A:Brought by someone that survives serious danger B:Offered after the Nazirite has completed his period of abstinence he imposed on himself C:The greater leniency of these offerings is obvious from comparison to the above offerings laws. D:Priestly portion is the breast and right thigh before they are cooked,In the case of the Nazirite ram,the priests receive the right foreleg after cooking.

    7)The peace offerings (a)are of lesser holiness. Their slaughter is anywhere in the Courtyard and the blood is applied two equivalent to four.They are eaten anywhere in the city and prepared in any manner.The priestly portion is separated and treated the same way except only the priests and their family may eat it.

    Notes on 7:A:The peace offering can be eaten for two days and the night between while the thanksgiving offering is just the one day and night

    8)The firstborn and tithe of animals,and the Pesach offering are the least holy of the offerings. Their slaughter is anywhere in the Courtyard and their blood requires only a single application (a) provided it is applied above the base.They differ in consumption:the priests only eat the firstborn offering and the tithe by anyone They are eaten throughout the city,prepared in any manner,for two days and one night.The Pesach offering is eaten only at night and only by those registered for it (b) and it may only be roasted.

    Notes on 8:A:Unlike all the rest of the offerings,only a single application to the base is required.The base is part of the Altar,one cubit high and one cubit wide that juts out along the entire lengths of the west and north walls,but only one cubit along the south and east walls.The blood may only be applied to that part of the Altar directly above the base. B:Those who wish to eat the Pascal lamb must reserve their share before the slaughter (Ex12:4).In the case of all other offerings,any qualified person may partake of the flesh.

December 6, 2010

  • “They say there never was a Chanukah”

    “It happened in those times and again in our time!”
    They say there never was a Chanukah

    2,200 years ago, the Maccabees fought off an attempt from the Greeks to delegitimize the existence of the Jewish people. But you and I know that the battle to denyhttps://www.kintera.org/site/apps/ka/sd/donor.asp?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4860911&en=7pLHJONoF5KCJTPAK9JCJSNyFkKXI2MxFeJQL2OyHdLQKWNCKtF Israel’s right to exist is still going on in our time and you can help us do something about it.

    Only last week, a senior Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information official had the audacity to say, “The Jews have no historical or religious ties to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. There is no archeological evidence that the Temple Mount was built during the period of King Solomon….”

    This lie was contradicted by their own Supreme Muslim Council, the highest Muslim religious authority in Jerusalem which, from 1924 to 1953 published their own official guide to Jerusalem which described the Dome of the Rock as follows, “Its identity with

    the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot according to the universal belief, on which [quoting Hebrew Scripture] ‘David built there an altar unto the Lord.”

    We must respond to this continuous campaign to delegitimize Israel by the Palestinian leadership. Only two weeks ago, UNESCO joined in in this campaign by calling Rachel’s Tomb a “mosque,” attempting to steal from the Jewish people one of its most sacred religious sites.

    Remember the words of the Chanukah prayer, “It happened in those times and again in our time!!”

    With your help, we will be successful in standing up to these revisionists as our ancestors did 2,200 years ago on the first Chanukah. Please email this Chanukah message to your family and friends.

    Rabbi Marvin Hier
    Dean and Founder
    Simon Wiesenthal Center

     

October 10, 2010

  • Federal Light Bulb Ban Creating Jobs in China

    Federal Light Bulb Ban Creating Jobs in China (from my email)

    A federal law banning ordinary incandescent light bulbs has already had a negative effect on the American economy — GE has closed its last major bulb producing factory in the United States, creating job opportunities in China.

    Legislation enacted in 2007 orders the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs beginning with the 100-watt bulb in 2012 and ending with the 40-watt light in 2014. These bulbs cannot meet efficiency requirements dictated by law.

    Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are the least expensive alternative. But the manufacture of CFLs is “labor intensive and too expensive to be done at U.S. wage rates,” according to a report from The Heartland Institute, which estimates that domestically produced CFLs would be 50 percent more expensive than bulbs manufactured in China.

    So instead of retrofitting its plant in Winchester, Va., to produce CFLs, GE closed the plant in September and laid off 200 workers.

    CFLs are already being manufactured in China, and increasing American demand will no doubt create new jobs there.

    As the Insider Report disclosed earlier, while CFLs use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last far longer, they cost significantly more, take longer to turn on, can flicker, and contain small amounts of highly toxic mercury, which creates problems for users when they break or need to be disposed of after they burn out.

    “Environmental activists and their allies in Washington were either too ignorant of basic economics to see these job losses coming, or they were simply too callous to really care,” said Heartland Institute science director Jay Lehr.

    “Either way, compact fluorescent light bulbs in the real world fail to live up to environmental promises, unnecessarily subject American households to toxic mercury, produce poor-quality light, and are sending American workers to the unemployment line.”

    And Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said: “If the new energy-saving technologies being pushed by government are really that good, then we don’t need government to mandate them. And if they are being mandated, that’s a sure sign that they’re not very good.”

    Three Republican members of Congress — Joe Barton, Marsha Blackburn and Michael Burgess — have introduced a bill that would repeal the ban on the incandescent bulb.

    The three said in an article on The Daily Caller: “The unanticipated consequence of the ’07 act — layoffs in the middle of a desperate recession — is what sometimes happens when politicians think they know better than consumers and workers.” 

     

September 22, 2010

  • The Nations in the World to Come and Messianic Age

     

    I was asked that since the whole topic of the new covenant has to do with Israel, where do the Gentile nations fit in. I’m quite sure that everyone is familiar with the Noahide Laws as shown in Tractate Sanhedrin, Rambam’s Mishneh Torah: Kings and their Wars and, those that are Christian, in the book of Acts,chapter fifteen. If any aren’t acquainted with the laws, just ask, and I’ll post information.
     
    The questions remain if a Gentile can accept more than the seven laws of Noah and the corresponding sub laws or if they can take on many of the Mosaic Laws as well and if and how are they are connected to Israel.
     
    Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Teshuvah 3:4 based on Tosefta Sanhedrin 13:1; Talmud Sanhedrin 105a :The righteous of all nations have a share in the World to Come.
    Jerusalem Talmud Peah 1:1 :It says (Job 37:23): “With justice and an abundance of kindness, He does not deal harshly.” G-d does not withhold reward from gentiles who perform His commandments.
    Avos4:3:Do not despise any man
    Zohar:
    Tana DeBei Eliahu Rabbah 9: I call heaven and earth as witnesses:Any individual,whether gentile or Jew,man or woman,servant or maid,can bring the Divine Presence upon himself in accordance to his deeds.
      
    In the Jewish world view all gentiles who are ethical monotheists will achieve salvation. Judaism does not denigrate gentiles and does not see them as condemned to eternal damnation. Rather we see them as fellow human beings, from other nations, searching for G-d and for meaning in life. Judaism wishes them well with their search and celebrates those who succeed in becoming ethical monotheists. Jews are obligated in many rituals and ceremonies and those Jews who fail to fulfill these rituals are considered sinners. Gentiles, however, are not obligated in these commandments and are only obligated to be ethical monotheists. Those who fulfill this obligation receive their full reward in the world-to-come.

    There are three main categories of gentiles [see R. Yom Tov ben Avraham Alshevili, Chiddushei HaRitva, Makkot 9a n.]. The first category is the gentile who fulfills his obligations as an ethical monotheist. This person is generally called a Ben Noach (or Noachide) meaning a proud descendant of the biblical Noah. In the Jewish tradition Noah and his sons were commanded to fulfill seven commandments which amount to ethical monotheism [see Aaron Lichtenstein, The Seven Laws of Noah]. Those gentiles who observe these commandments are considered righteous gentiles. They are, however, not Jews and are not considered part of Jewish society. They are righteous people and recognized for their accomplishments. However, they remain part of the human brotherhood but not part of Jewish society.

    There are those who go beyond this step and approach a Jewish court and, in exchange for entering Jewish society, they vow to observe their commandments and be ethical monotheists. Such a person is called a Ger Toshav. By pledging that he will fulfill his obligation to be an ethical monotheist he enters Jewish society. He is not a convert and does not become Jewish. In fact, he can worship any monotheistic religion he chooses. He is, however, a righteous gentile and is gladly received into the Jewish community. He is welcome to live in Jewish neighborhoods (should he so choose), is supported by Jewish charities (if he so needs), and is considered part of the fabric of Jewish society in many ways [see Talmud Pesachim 21b; Talmud Avodah Zarah 65b; Nachmanides, Additions to Book of Commandments, 16; Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Zechi'ah Umattanah 3:11, Hilchot Melachim 10:12; Ra'avad of Posquieres, Comments to Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Issurei Biah 14:8]. Both the Ben Noach and the Ger Toshav are righteous gentiles. However, the Ben Noach has not entered Jewish society and perhaps does not wish to. Therefore, he is treated like a stranger. He is respected as a righteous human being, one who is fulfilling his divine purpose in the world. However, he is not part of the Jewish community.

    It is of these two categories of gentiles that the Talmudic literature states:

    Midrash Bamidbar Rabbah 8:2

    (Psalms 146:8) “G-d loves the righteous.” G-d said: ‘I love those who love Me and so it says (1 Samuel 2:30) “For I honor those who honor Me.” They love Me so I love them in return.’ Why does G-d love the righteous? Because righteousness is not an inheritance or a family trait. You find that priests are from a priestly family and Levites are from a levitical family as it says (Psalms 135:19-20) “O house of Aaron bless G-d! O house of Levi bless G-d!” If someone wants to become a priest [from the family of Aaron] or a Levite he cannot because his father was not a priest or a Levite. However, if someone wants to become righteous even if he is a gentile he can because it is not a family trait as it says (ibid.) “O those who fear G-d bless G-d!” It does not say the house of those who fear G-d but those who fear G-d. It is not a family trait rather on their own they chose to fear and love G-d. Therefore, G-d loves them.

    Midrash Sifra, Acharei Mot 9:13

    (Leviticus 18:5) “Which man shall carry out and by which he shall live.” Rabbi Yirmiyah would say: We see from here that even a gentile who fulfills his laws is like a [Jewish] high priest. He would also say: (2 Samuel 7:19) “And that would be fitting for priests, Levites, and Israelites” is not what it says rather “and that would be fitting for great men – O Lord G-d.” He would also say: (Isaiah 26:2) “Open the gates so the priests, Levites, and Israelites may enter” is not what it says rather “Open the gates so the righteous nation, keeper of the faith, may enter.” He would also say: (Psalms 118:20) “This is the gate of G-d; priests, Levites, and Israelites” is not what it says rather “This is the gate of G-d; the righteous shall enter through it.” He would also say: (Psalms 33:1) “Sing joyfully, O priests, Levites, and Israelites” is not what it says rather “Sing joyfully, O righteous, because of G-d.” He would also say: (Psalms 125:4) “Do good, G-d, to the priests, Levites, and Israelites” is not what it says rather “Do good, G-d, to good people.” We see from here that even a gentile who follows his commandments is [as righteous as the Jewish] high priest.

    The third category is of the gentile who is not an ethical monotheist. He is violating the covenant G-d made with Noah and his descendants and will be punished for those sins. It is with these people that Judaism has a very ambivalent attitude. On the one hand, they are acting contrary to G-d’s purpose in the world. For this reason, Judaism tries to distance Jews from them. On the other hand, they are people created in G-d’s image and must be respected as such. The compromise is that their positive traits, examples of which we will shortly see, are recognized and respected. However, their negative traits are never fully forgotten and full societal integration with such people is discouraged.

    Talmud Semachot 1:8

    Rabbi Yehudah said: [The euology of a gentile is] Alas! The good, alas! The faithful who eats the fruit of his own labor. [The sages] said to him: What then did you leave for the worthy? He replied: If he [the gentile] was worthy why should he not be lamented in this manner.

    Professor Saul Lieberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine, p. 77

    The virtues enumerated in this eulogy are purely secular; there is no trace of religion in them. The man was good, faithful and enjoyed the fruits of his labor. The Gentiles spoken of is a heathen; he is neither a semi-proselyte nor a Christian; no mention is made of his fear of G-d… The Rabbis understood the heathen society and credited it with the virtues it was not devoid of.

    Talmud Avot 4:3

    [Ben Azzai] would say: Do not regard anyone with contempt, and do not reject anything, for there is no man who does not have his hour and nothing that does not have its place.

    Talmud Avot 3:10

    [Rabbi Chaninah ben Dosa] would say: Whoever is pleasing to his fellow creatures is pleasing to G-d; but whoever is not pleasing to his fellow creatures, G-d is not pleased with him.

    Talmud Avot 3:14

    [Rabbi Akiva] would say: Beloved is man who was created in the divine image. An extra amount of love is given to him because he was created in the divine image as it says (Genesis 9:6) “For in the image of G-d He made man.”

    Those gentiles who have the status of Ger Toshav, who have requested acceptance into Jewish society and have pledged obedience to their commandments, are treated almost like Jews. Those who have the status of Ben Noach because they have not requested acceptance are respected but are not treated like brethren. They receive letter-of-the-law treatment because to treat them beyond that would be to detract from our brothers. What has a Ger Toshav gained if a Ben Noach is treated the same? What extra connection is there between fellow Jews and within the entire Jewish/Ger Toshav society if everyone is treated extra specially?

    Consider the case of a family. My brother needs to borrow money and knows that if he asks me I’ll give him the special interest-free family package. This type of family treatment solidifies us as a unit and increases love between us. I don’t hate everyone else because I treat my brother specially but I have an agreement that my family receives special treatment. Now, what if a stranger off the street knocks on my door and I give him also my special interest-free family loan? It loses its specialness and there is no difference between my bond with my brother and my bond with some guy off the street. Should I treat every human being equally or should I treat everyone properly and reserve extra-special treatment for my family?

    The same applies within the Jewish/Ger Toshav society. All members, both Jewish and gentile, are joined together as a community united in its single goal of worshipping the one G-d. While we treat all human beings with the respect due to someone created in the divine image, those within the Jewish/Ger Toshav society get slightly better treatment. They are handled above and beyond the letter of common human interaction.

    There are those who point out these differences in treatment and wish to demonstrate that Judaism is anti-gentile. Quite the opposite. Judaism is one of the few religions that recognizes that even those outside its faith can be saved and allows them into its community. Righteous gentiles have a place in the world to come and can choose to join Jewish society if they wish. If they decline this invitation then they are given the full respect that these righteous people deserve.  

     

     

March 7, 2010

  • Pi and Spirituality

     

    From Kabbalah made easy
     
     

    Pi and Spirituality

    If there is a God, then everything is interconnected, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we find the famous math enigma Pi π hinted to in the Torah, and in Kabbalah. Sure, the Greeks, Babylonians, and Egyptians may have had the kabbalists beat in the general field of ancient mathematics, but while science and math have evolved in amazing ways over the millennium from abacus to supercomputer; spirituality, the mystic’s forte, hasn’t.
    They had it back then and they still have it. We’re still waiting for the world to catch on to ideas like Love Your Fellow Man, and we’ll continue teaching and talking about it until it does. We can find Pi hinted to if we look a little deeper into the words of scripture, so too the meaning of life and the important ideas are still there. We need to continue to mine the depths of Jewish wisdom. It’s not out of date.
    Despite the fact that Jews were involved in advanced mathematics in Egypt, Babylon, Greece and all throughout the ages, some historians are quick to dismiss their understanding of math, based on a cursory glance of Jewish literature. We may not have had the first textbook for algebra, but numbers and calculations are of primary concern in every corner of Judaism; from the song Who Knows One? sung on Passover, to the complicated systems of Gematria (math coded in the letters of the Torah). Indeed the early sages were often called Sofrim, which means “scribes” but can also mean “counters” as the sages were often involved in counting days, months, years, as well as letters, words, and verses in Tanach.

    Mysterious and profound

    On a deeper level, the kabbalists delve into the concept of holy emanations or divine traits called Sefirot which comes from the same grammatical root as Sofrim and refers, among other things, to the divisions the Almighty created that are inherent in the transition from an infinite being to the finite world we live in. So counting or enumeration is not just a practical way of measuring lima beans to be sold in the market, but an esoteric path to the heavens as well.
    Sages in the Talmud also took numbers as symbols that traverse huge gaps, tying together discordant themes. For example, the number of judges needed in concluding a court’s ruling on the new moon is seven, which the sages compare and relate to the seven words in the last sentence of the Priestly Blessing, and the seven officials that served King Achashverosh in the Book of Esther. In other words, numbers can serve as bridges that unite disparate divine texts. Put that in Newton’s pipe and smoke it.

    A little bit of infinity

    Fascination with Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, has occupied mathematicians for a long time, and math history buffs are familiar with a verses from the Book of Kings I Chapter 7 that describe a pool that King Solomon had built which state the ratio of 3:1, a very rough estimate of Pi which is partially calculated as 3.14159. (The digits keep going forever without any known pattern.) It’s a given that the ancients did not use the number symbols we use, called Hindu-Arabic numerals; these symbols didn’t become popular until the 10th Century. But the Hebrews had words for numbers and used the letters of the Aleph-Bet in place of numbers. And of course they were no strangers to the concept of infinity. Certainly mathematical infinity is not exactly the same as philosophical infinity, but they are cousins. What many people who don’t know Hebrew miss out on is the basic understanding of the primary four-letter name of God, -spelled yud, hey, vav, and hey, it is a construct of three words: he was, he is, he will be, i.e. infinity in time. The English word God is an accurate word but it’s like instant coffee; just doesn’t quite hit the spot. Compounded with a weak word, English speakers are also Godophobic. Unless they are Bible thumpers people tend to avoid talking about God in any real way. But the Psalms and other parts of our tradition are filled with interesting nuances about the Creator. There is infinity in time, space, love, omniscience, and much more; maybe infinitely more. We cannot limit the concept of the Creator, but He gave us a variety of influences or qualities of His, so to speak, to focus our attention on.
    If a circle and a line that cuts through it are a type of miniature infinity in our world, or the world of mathematics, then maybe the ancients knew more about it than we think. Math historians say one ancient manuscript Mishnat HaMiddot by a second century Rabbi Nechemia apparently adjusts the math of King Solomon’s pool by pointing out that it had a lip, which would add a bit to the 3, not quite one seventh which is needed but nonetheless intriguing.

    They did know a thing or two

    Another overlooked source is in the Babylonian Talmud Tractate Eruvin 14a. The statement is made that for every circle the ratio of the circumference to the diameter is 3:1, to which the Talmud asks, “From where?” and the answer is the verses from Kings regarding the pool. This Talmudic passage is odd since the Talmud generally asks “From where?” when it wants to know the Biblical source for Jewish Law. The question doesn’t make sense in this context when we’re asking for the source of an easily demonstrated geometrical measurement. Take a string or rope and measure any circle’s diameter and circumference and you’ll get a fairly accurate answer. A commentary on the Talmud therefore states that the real question of the Talmud is the following: We know 3:1 is inexact. We want to know for purposes of Jewish Law can we round it off this ratio to 3:1. Since the Book of Kings uses an inexact measurement we understand God to be teaching us that it’s ok to use that inexactness in questions of Jewish Law like the proper dimensions of a round sukkah.
    And if you aren’t asleep yet, I’ll tell you something even more fascinating. What makes Pi unique is that it can’t be described in a fraction, i.e. it is irrational. 22/7 is approximate. Through Gematria, we find a more exact version of Pi based on a fraction. Gematria is the numerical system of the Hebrew letters. In the verses of the pool the word for diameter is kav- spelled kuf vav, which would have the numerical value of 106. But instead, in this passage it is spelled with an extra hey, kuf vav hey which makes it 111. An 18th C. sage and math expert, called the Vilna Gaon, noticed that if the value of 111/106 for the diameter is multiplied by 3 for the circumference the result is 3.1415, a closer approximation to Pi. Maybe the ancients knew more than we think?

    A kabbalistic metaphor

    With the world of technology and science advancing at a dizzying pace, we often put the past into a box labeled “Primitivo”. Whatever is older is less intelligent. Less sophisticated. In math the concept of infinity has evolved and advanced over the years. Our understanding of galaxies and light years has broadened our minds. Yet some fundamental truths like peace, love and harmony still struggle like a clinically depressed turtle to move forward for humanity. The Torah is still relevant after thousands of years. And what whets our collective appetite from the paths of spirituality outlined in the Torah all come back to the infinite Creator and His creation. All lines lead back to the circle. What a surprise to find the kabbalists articulating that creation in geometric terms.
    They meant it as a metaphor, not a visual account but an esoteric description. They described the divine act of creation as a circle cut through. Is it a coincidence that the kabbalists use a metaphor that is one of the paradigms of mathematical enigma, the Pi that fascinates mathematicians and has a cult following of people trying to memorize its endless amount of numbers? Contained infinity. That’s a description of Pi, and a description of the creation itself. Once upon a time we were a little closer to the truth.

February 16, 2010

  • Jesus the Pharisee:Trial of Jesus and the View of Early Christianity

     It is difficult to write about the crucifixion of Jesus.  Rivers of Jewish blood have been shed because of it, despite the fact that it was Romans, and not Jews, who performed the execution.  But the Gospels insist that a Jewish Sanhedrin delivered him up to the Romans, after adjudging him guilty.  The most enigmatic aspect of all this is that scholars have been unable to ascertain with any degree of precision the cause of the guilt.  Some have suggested blasphemy, others that he claimed to be the Messiah, but all such theories lack substance when scrutinized in the light of Jewish law .

    I should like to suggest a different approach based on R. Jacob Emden’s thesis that Jesus of Nazareth had sought to establish a religion for the Gentiles based upon the Noahide Commandments.  The Christian Bible tells us John 11:49-51; 18:14) that the High Priest Caiaphas, who had convened the Sanhedrin to try Jesus, said to them, “It is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” This phrase is found virtually verbatim in one rabbinic source (Midrash Genesis Rabbah 94:9) in conjunction with a Halakhic ruling which was discussed some two hundred years after Jesus’ crucifixion.  We shall seek to demonstrate that this later case bears a direct relationship to Caiaphas’ remark and the resultant crucifixion.

    The Halakha under discussion there states (Tosefta, Terumot 7:23) that if a group of traveling Jews are suddenly confronted by Gentiles who demand that they hand over a Jew to them to be killed, or else they will all be murdered, they must all agree to die and not hand over one of their number.  However, if the Gentiles identify a specific Jew to be handed over, he should be given to them. 

     
     It is then related (Jerusalem Talmud, Terumot, end ch. 8, and Midrash Genesis Rabbah 94:9) that a certain Ulla bar Koshev-apparently a member of the rabbinic community-was once sentenced to death by the Romans, and he sought protection at the home of the third century C.E. Sage R. Joshua ben Levi.  Representatives of the Romans soon appeared in the town, and threatened to kill a large number of Jews if Ulla was not turned over to them.  The Jerusalem Talmud records that the Sage then spoke to Ulla, convinced him to surrender, and handed him over to the Romans.  But the Midrash is more explicit, and quotes R. Joshua as uttering basically the same words spoken two hundred years earlier by Caiaphas, “It is better that you should die than that the community  should be punished because of you,” and R. Joshua then handed him over to the Romans.

          The Jerusalem Talmud and the Midrash then tell us that R. Joshua ben Levi had previously been frequently visited by the prophet Elijah (according to the Taimuds, exemplary pious sages were accorded this honor), but the Prophet ceased visiting him following this incident.  R. Joshua fasted for a long time, until Elijah finally appeared to him.  Angrily, Elijah rebuked the Sage, “I do not visit those who hand over a Jew.  ” R. Joshua replied in self-defense, “Did I not act in accordance with the Mishnah (teaching or law)?” Ulla had of course been identified by the Gentiles as the one causing the danger, and it was therefore permitted to surrender him in order to save the other lives.  The Prophet again reprimanded him, “Is this the Mishnah of the Hasidim (pious ones)?” The usual interpretation here is that although R. Joshua had acted in accordance with the law, the Hasidim (truly pious) were expected to act beyond the letter of the law, and someone other than the sage should have handed Ulla over to the Romans .
     
    However, this is difficult, especially as we do not find any precedent in Jewish law to differentiate between Hasidim and others where danger to life is involved . (The Halakhic principle involved here is that of the “rodef” [pursuer], i.e., one who pursues an innocent person with the intent of killing him,any individual having the right and obligation to save the pursued innocent,even if it necessitates slaying the pursuer [see Sanhedrin 72B-74A]  .)33

    Since we have established that the formula spoken by Caiaphas and R. Joshua ben Levi pertained to the same Halakha, there is a more profound analogy here.  In previous posts the opinion is shown many times  that Christianity as a religion for the Gentiles was founded by the Hasidim-the Essenes and disciples of Hillel from whose midst Jesus of Nazareth emerged.  I have also demonstrated that the Pharisees criticized by Jesus were the School of Shammal, who dominated Jewish life and thought in Jesus’ time, and therefore were the Pharisees in control of Caiaphas’ Sanhedrin as well.  Bet Shammai would have been opposed to Christianity on two grounds.

            First, they held salvation of the Gentiles to be impossible, for, according to them, even those Gentiles who observed the Noahide Commandments did not merit a share in the World to Come, as per R. Eliezer (Sanhedrin 105A).  The only mitigating factor would have been that such a Gentile religion might have helped the Jews especially in the long exile foretold by the prophets, which was soon to begin.  Perhaps Rome’s conversion to Christianity might even have saved the Jerusalem Temple, as the Romans would have been brought closer to the Torah of Moses.  But Bet Shammai’s negative attitude toward the Gentiles would have dismissed such a stance.  They would have argued that if the pagans received a new religion based on the Torah of Moses, it would only be a matter of time before they would insist that theirs was the only true religion, thatJews be missionized, and even persecuted and forced to embrace their new faith.  A “new covenant” to the Gentiles would come to mean a breaking with the old, rather than a strengthening and reaffirmation . According to Bet Shammai, such a new religion would not lead to brotherhood under God, but to the murder and persecution of Jews .

         We may now attempt to comprehend the session of the Sanhedrin as recorded in John (I 1:47).  The priests and Pharisees said, “If we let him go on like this, the whole world will believe in him.  Then the Romans will come in and sweep away our Sanctuary and our nation.” In other words, they feared that if the Roman rulers should embrace Christianity, they would destroy the Temple and Jewish government.  Caiaphas then pointed out to them that the main issue was not the Temple or government, but Jewish lives!  Christians would murder Jews!  Jesus would have then been accounted as a “pursuer” (rodef) of the innocent under Jewish law, and it was for this reason that he was sentenced to death.

          Needless to say, the Hasidim-Bet Hillel and the Essenes-held a different view of the Gentile world.  Hillel had taught “Love mankind and bring them nigh to the Torah,” and the Essenes had given as their goal “to love all the sons of light.  R. Joshua ben Hananiah of Bet Hillel gave their tradition (Sanhedrin 105A)-which is accepted by all Jewry since the Heavenly Voice’s intervention in favor of Bet Hillel-that those Gentiles who observe the Noahide Commandments merit a share in the World to Come.  To them the Gentiles were not a threat, and certainly not murderers.  To the Hasidim, the Gentiles would become brothers in God’s Kingdom.  I would venture to say therefore that Jesus of Nazareth was mainly motivated by just such a hope: that the conversion of Rome to Christianity-according to the Noahide Commandments of the Torah of Moses-would save the Temple.

         Unfortunately,the beliefs of Bet Shammai and the Saducee Zealot priests were the ones that came true.The lack of understanding of the Judaic concepts that spawned the Christian movement and what the real meaning of what was said in their texts,led to its break away from brotherghood with Judaism and a millinium and a half of murder,torture and forced conversion.

          It is only today that Christianity seeks its roots with a desire to understand the cultural and historical aspects of the first century.

    Through earlier posts,I have shown by examination of what the two schools taught,that it was the one’s that applied the concepts of Bet Shammai to thier beliefs that opposed the early Christians.The Saducee,who had ties to Rome,the Zealots that were violently anti-gentile,and the sect of Pharasee that believed no Gentile could merit the World to Come.

       With regard to Bet Hillel’s relationship with early Christianity, attention should here be drawn to R. Gamaliel the Elder’s intervention in order to save the lives of the Apostles, after they had been sentenced to death by the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:34).  In his statement to the latter body-which is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (5:39)-this grandson of Hiliel states, “If it (Christianity) does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them, but you might find yourselves fighting against God.” (See R. Jacob Emden’s comment in Lechem Shamayzm to Avot 4: 1 1, where he refers to Christianity and Islam as an “assembly for the sake of Heaven” which will in the end be established.) R. Gamaliel thereby offers a strong indication that he knew what the ultimate purpose of its founder was-namely, as a religion for the Gentiles according to the Halakha.

           I have also previously pointed out  that the Jewish-Christians who initially opposed Paul and refused to admit uncircumcised Gentiles into the Christian Church were influenced by the teachings of certain Pharisees who had joined them (Acts 15:5); we now understand that those Pharisees were Shammaites who would have given their School’s position that even those Gentiles who observe the Noahide Commandments do not merit a share in the World to Come, and this position caused the error of the Apostles.  Paul, like Jesus before him, had ties to Bet Hillel, and knew the Hillelite view that righteous Gentiles merit salvation.  Accordingly, Paul’s statements concerning Jews must also be viewed within the same context of protest against Bet Shammai’s influence in his time.

              Jewish scholars have long been mystified as to why Simeon son of Hillel and father of R. Gamaliel the Elder-who served as Nasi(leader of the Sanheddrin) following Hillel’s death, is not quoted or discussed even once in the entire Talmudic literature (except for the brief statement that he succeeded Hillel [Shabbat 15A]).  I believe that the Talmud is thereby telling us that the School of Hillel reached its nadir in his time, and that he had no say at all in the affairs of the community.

            Returning now to the Jerusalem Talmud and Midrash, we realize that R. Joshua ben Levi is not recorded as having approached the Romans in an attempt to save Ulla’s life.  If he would have spoken to them as a rabbi of God’s love for humanity, of man being created in the image of God, or similar teachings, perhaps they would have relented and spared Ulla.  He made no attempt however to plead with the Romans.  The Prophet Elijah thus rebuked R. Joshua ben Levi for uttering Caiaphas’words and handing over a Jew.  When R. Joshua replied that he had acted within the law, the Prophet reminded him that this was not “Mishnat Ha-Hasidim, that a true Hasid would have first endeavored to speak to the Gentiles, to intervene and attempt to teach and inspire them.  A Hasid had to see the best in humanity.  Since R. Joshua had not acted in such a manner, he was not worthy of the Prophet’s visitation.  Thus, Elijah’s condemnation was in reality directed simultaneously toward Caiaphas and his Sanhedrin as well, for they too had handed over a Jew, and not judged the Gentiles as the Hasidim had.

    The Jerusalem Talmud in fact gives the Prophet’s rebuke as “Is this the Mishnah of the Hasidim?” to which the Midrash adds, “Such an act should have been carried out by others, and not by you.” But here again the Midrash does not mean to imply that R. Joshua should have bowed out of the picture, while someone else surrendered Ulla.  The Prophet is rather saying that some other person should have remained with Ulla, ready to hand him over at a later time should the Sage’s mission to the Gentiles prove fruitless.

        We should also note that after giving the Tosefta’s ruling that the Jew identified by the Gentiles may be handed over and immediately prior to the incident involving the Prophet Elijah-the Jerusalem Talmud records a dispute between the two third century C.E. Amoraim, R. Johanan and Resh Lakish.  According to the latter, he may be handed over only if he is guilty of a capital offense according to the Torah, whereas

    R.    Johanan rules that even a completely innocent person may be surrendered to the Gentiles.  It is entirely possible then that Ulla bar Koshev was really an innocent man despite an unjust Roman conviction, and this led to the Prophet’s condemnation (Turei Zahav  initially offers this interpretation, but abandons it because he believes Maimonides to have assumed that Ulla was guilty of a crime).  If this were so, two important questions before the Sanhedrin at Jesus’ trial would have been, first, whether an innocent man may be handed over, and second, whether a mission to the Gentiles takes precedence.The term “Mishnah of the Hasidim” would then apply both to Resh Lakish’s opinion (which would explain why Maimonides adopted his view, even though R. Johanan’s opinion is always accepted) and to the mission.

         Our previous identification and analysis of the mission of the Hasidim to the Gentiles two centuries earlier has thus enabled us to offer this new understanding of the Prophet’s reference to “Mishnah of the Hasidim.”

       It would seem that R. Judah Ha-Nasi-a descendant of Hillel in the second century C.E. who compiled the most important work of Jewish law, the Mishnah-left Bet Hillel’s view of Caiaphas for posterity by referring to him (Parah 3:5) as Ha-Kof (the monkey), a play on his name  which would be related to his remark before the Sanhedrin.