Y'shayahu / Isaiah 34:5-6 has the prophet foretelling that before the messianic age Jerusalem will rejoice over the downfall of Edom (Y'shayahu / Isaiah 34:5-6).
First a little background.
In the Torah Abraham's son Isaac had two sons: Esau and Jacob. Esau was the elder of twins, but he was said to be unworth: a womanizing idler with little interest in G-d or Torah, while Jacob was a kind, Torah observant man who loved G-d.
Esau was "in line" to inherit from Isaac, but in B'reshit / Genesis 25 he says: “I'm going to die anyway. What do I care about the birthright. Take it and give me the stew. And Jacob said, "Swear to me as of this day"; so he swore to him, and he sold his birthright to Jacob." (B'reshit / Genesis 25:31-34).
Esau was the ancestor of a nation called Edom, which tradition identifies with Rome. (Edom means red, like the color of blood or of Jacob's stew.)
Isaiah foretells the doom of Edom as does Bamidbar / Numbers 24:18-19. Y'shayahu / Isaiah 34:5-6 says: “Edom shall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, and Israel shall triumph. A ruler shall come out of Jacob, and destroy the remnant of the city."
Edom (the nation from Esau, Jacob's brother) has long been an enemy to the Jewish nation. Our sages stated that Edom = Rome, and when the Roman Empire became the Christian empire it remained "Edom."
Why? Why do so many Jewish sages equate Edom with Christianity (Rome)?
Kimchi, Ibn-Ezra, the Rambam (with an "m"), the Ramban (with an "n") and Abarbanel to name but a few say that Edom = Christianity. The Ramban wrote in “Gate of Redemption” (written circa 1263 C.E.) "We...believe that we are presently in the exile of Edom (Rome) and that we shall have no respite from it until the coming of the Messiah. … The Edomites [the nation around Mount Seir, descended from Esau] were the first to mistakenly follow after the man who claimed that he was the Messiah.
"They also ascribed godliness to him. When they came to the land of Italy, their error spread to the nearby city of Rome. There in the days of Constantine who ruled over Rome …, the council under the authority of the bishop [of the city] of Rome determined their belief in (Jesus) and established it [as the religion of the empire].
"This, above all else, is the main cause and reason that Rome and Edom are considered as one kingdom although they are different nations. In spite of that [difference], they are related because of their uniformity of belief which makes them one people and one nation. … [The Sages of the Targum] thus explained that Rome is in Grecian Italy and that many of the Edomite people are contained therein. Hence, [Rome] is called “O daughter of Edom,” (Eicah / Lamentations 4:22)."
Interesting enough the Christian bible itself states that some of Jesus' followers came from Edom. Mark 3:8 states that Jesus' disciples came from the lands populated by the Edomites. "When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea (Edom), and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon." Mark 3:8.
Does this mean that Ishmael and Esau are somehow doomed?
Of course not. Everyone alive can turn to G-d at any time. We can choose to sin or do good. . . So while the prophet Malachai in 1:3 says "And I hated Esau, and I made his mountains desolate and his heritage into [a habitat for] the jackals of the desert" this does not mean that G-d hates all of Esau's descendants. R' Kook (1865 - 1935) wrote "Noteworthy in this respect is the statement of Rabbi Elijah Gaon on the verse, “But Esau I hated” – “this refers to the peripheral part of Esau, but the essential part of him, his head, was interred with the patriarchs.” It is for this reason that the man of truth and integrity, Jacob, said [on his reunion with Esau], “I have seen you, and it is like seeing the face of G-d” (Gen. 33: 10). His word shall not go down as a vain utterance. The brotherly love of Esau and Jacob, Isaac and Ishmael, will assert itself above all the confusion that the evil brought on by our bodily nature has engendered. It will overcome them and transform them into eternal light and compassion." (Letters, 1, 112).
The Torah tells us that Jacob and Esau as well as Isaac and Ishmael, were eventually reconciled, In the messianic age former Christians and Muslims will all be united, along with Jews, in their love for G-d and their fellow man.
Remember that Esau was Jacob's brother -- just as Ishmael (Islam) was Isaac's brother. We are all related at a very important level and the destruction of Edom does not mean the deaths of Christians, but rather the realization will come to them (as we are told in the T'nach) that there is only one G-d and they will reject the false quasi-paganism that put a veneer on the T'nach to discover the one true G-d.
Zechariah 8 "So said the L-rd: I will return to Zion, and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem shall be called the city of truth, and the mount of the L-rd of Hosts [shall be called] the holy mountain. . .
"So said the L-rd of Hosts: As it will be wonderful in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, it will also be wonderful in My eyes, says the L-rd of Hosts. . .
"So said the L-rd of Hosts: Behold I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west (Christianity and Islam). . .
"And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I shall be their G-d, in truth and in righteousness. . .
"And many peoples and powerful nations shall come to entreat the L-rd of Hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. . .
"So said the L-rd of Hosts: In those days, when ten men of all the languages of the nations shall take hold of the skirt of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you."
It is very frustrating that some "internet trolls" will visit my Facebook page and make stupid, inflammatory accusations about Judaism.
The most recent was a troll who "spammed" multiple threads with the accusation that in D'varim / Deuteronomy 22 the Torah (and thus Judaism) puts rape victims to death.
D'varim / Deuteronomy 22:22 - 29 deals with the question of both adultery and rape. Rape is never condoned, and the Torah (which discusses laws and legal punishments for those who break them) discusses different situations for various crimes. In this chapter a distinction is made between seemingly willing immoral sexual activities (both adultery and suspected rape) and unwilling sexual activities.
In the case of rape this distinction is made by whether or not a woman cries out during the act. In a city if a woman were to scream for help someone would come to help her. In the country if a woman screams out for help there is no one around to hear her and help her. . .
Therefor the Torah differentiates between whether a woman raped in the city cries out or not. If she does not cry out for help it is perceived that she was willing, and not a victim.
If a man and a woman engage in extra-marital sex both of them were liable to the justice system up to and including the death penalty.
This necessitates understanding how Jewish law works.
How likely was it for an adulterer or anyone else for that matter to be put to death?
More than one death penalty in 70 years was considered rare and the court was called a "bloody Sanhedrin."
This is because the rules around passing the death penalty set a very high bar.
One witness must not testify against a person to inflict any punishment or penalty for a crime that he may have committed. A case must be established through the testimony of [at least] two or three witnesses. (D'varim (Deuteronomy) 19:15).
There would have to have been two eye witnesses to the rape.
The witnesses could not be associated with either person.
This is what you must do] if a corrupt witness acts to testify falsely against a person. Two men who have testimony to refute [the false witnesses] shall stand before G-d, before the priests and judges who are involved in that case. The judges shall carefully interrogate [the refuting witnesses], and if the [first] two witnesses are found to have testified falsely against their brother you must do the same to them as they plotted to do to their brother, thus removing evil from your midst. (D'varim (Deuteronomy) 19:15-19)
Jewish courts do not use a jury system, but rather a group of judges, to decide legal decisions. The smallest Jewish court consists of three judges, and these courts still exist today. In ancient times appeals could be made to courts with 23 judges, all the way "up" to the great court which had 71 judges (this number is fixed in the Torah).
A three judge court could, for example, rule on theft cases. A capital punishment case (for example) required a court of 23 judges (a small Sanhedrin), but false prophets had to be adjudicated by the great Sanhedrin of 71 judges (the Great Sanhedrin). (Mishna, Sanhedrin 1:1-6).
The number (23) is derived from Bambidar (Numbers) 35:24-25 as discussed in the Rambam's Mishna Torah: "What is the source which teaches that capital cases may be judged only by a court of 23? Although this is a matter conveyed by the Oral Tradition, there is an allusion to it in the Torah. Bamidbar / Numbers 35:24-25 states: "And the congregation shall judge... and the congregation shall save...." Implied is that there must be the possibility of a congregation judging - and condemning him to death - and a congregation saving - and seeking his acquittal. Now a congregation is no less than ten. Thus there are at least 20 judges. We add three judges so that there not be an equally balanced court and to allow the possibility of "following after the inclination of the majority."
The number (71) for the Great Sanhedrin is also discussed in the Mishna Torah: "Great Sanhedrin. It was composed of 71 judges. This is derived from Bamidbar / Numbers 11:16 which states: "Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel." And Moses presided over them, as the verse continues: "And they shall stand there with you." Thus there are 71."
A death penalty could be appealed to the "supreme court" of the land -- the "Great Sanhedrin."
The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of the land, the court which met in the Temple in the Chamber of Hewn / Carved Stone. It was comprised of priests, scribes and judges -- normally 71 judges. This number is taken from Bambidbar (Numbers) 11:16 "Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel." Moses was the 71st in the very first Great Sanhedrin.
In minor and Great Sanhedrin, the judges selected among them a prosecutor and defense "attorney." After hearing the testimony of the witnesses, the judges align with the prosecution or defense and debate would ensue where a judge would give his view of the evidence and try to convince his fellow judges to rule according to his view. The Sanhedrin would then vote. If all the judges voted "guilty" or even all but one voted "guilty" the accused was set free. There had to be at least two judges voting for innocent for a man to actually be condemned to death. This is one reason the death penalty was so rare (one in 70 years was rare).
As there is no Sanhedrin in existence today, and the precise location of the lishkat hagazit is not even known for sure, capital punishment would not be lawful at the present time.
There has been no death penalty since 30 CE (prior to the date given for Jesus' supposed death), and even when it existed it was very hard to achieve the ultimate penalty.
Anti-Semites love to hate Jews. They will take something they do not understand completely out of context (as this troll did about D'varim / Deuteronomy 22) and make outlandish accusations.
"And if (Jesus) has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." 1 Corinthians 15:14.
Did you know that the earliest gospel (Mark) did not have any stories about Jesus being resurrected? This central theme of Christianity (and why Christians celebrate Easter) does not appear in the gospels until well after the 4th century CE!
"And if (Jesus) has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." 1 Corinthians 15:14.
Prior to the Council of Nicea (in 325 CE), when the trinity was made a religious concept, there was a great deal of disagreement in Christians as to whether Jesus was part of G-d, if there were two "parts" of G-d or a trinity. Early church fathers also recognized that the pagans had resurrection themes similar to their own. Justin Martyr (100 - 165 CE) wrote "when we say ... Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propose nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you consider sons of Zeus." (1 Apologies 21).
Resurrected gods (dying and resurrecting) was a common theme in pagan religions. The Greek god Asclepius often resurrected people from the dead. Zeus (the main Greek god) killed him, but later resurrected Asclepius himself.
There are three resurrections in the T’nach:
The prophet Eliyahu (Elijah) prays and G-d raises a young boy from death (1 Kings 17:17-24);
The prophet Elisha raises a boy whose birth he had prophesied (2 Kings 4:8-16 and 32-37);
A dead man's body thrown into Elisha's tomb is resurrected when the body touches Elisha's bones (2 Kings 13:21).
In other words, what many Christians see as the very reason for believing in Christianity (the resurrection of Jesus) is not unique to Jesus. Neither it is a messianic requirement for the messiah to be resurrected. The messiah IS required to resurrect the righteous dead (all of them) -- and this is something Jesus did not do.
As shown above there are examples of Elijah and Elisha raising the dead in the T’nach – and we know that all the righteous will be resurrected in the messianic age.
A Jew would say “so what?” to the resurrection of Jesus (if it ever happened). His resurrection certainly would not make him worthy of worship. . . It does not prove he was the messiah, and it certainly doesn’t show he was part of G-d.
But interesting enough the earliest copies of the gospel of Mark (said to be the earliest gospel) do not have Jesus being resurrected at all.
The resurrection of Jesus appears to be a later insertion -- later than the 4th century CE (when these early texts date).
The gospel of Mark ended with the verse 8: "Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid."
No resurrected Jesus.
Eusebius (an early church father who lived from 264 CE to 340) CE, wrote in Ad Marinum 1 that "in the accurate manuscripts Mark ended with the words 'for they were afraid'[Mark 16:8].'"
The oldest copies of the Christian bible all end at Mark 16:8 (no resurrection).
Codex Vaticanus (dated by handwriting analysis called palaeography to the 4th century CE) = Mark ends at 16:8.
Codex Sinaiticus (dated by handwriting analysis called palaeography to the 4th century CE) = Mark ends at 16:8.
Codex Syriacus ( (dated by handwriting analysis called palaeography to the early 5th century CE) = Mark ends at 16:8.
No resurrection story in Mark in any of them.
So was the resurrection part of the early belief of all of Christianity -- or just "some"?
Is it possible (even probable) that the resurrection stories (all conflicting with one another) found in the four gospels and Acts were the result of the pro-resurrection Christians "winning" the theological battle of early Christianity? Today around 90% of Christians worldwide believe in the trinity (3 gods in 1 -- the father, the son and the holy ghost), but this concept was once controversial.
In the first century of Christianity the Gnostics believed that Jesus was G-d, but not man. An early adherent was Valentinus (100 CE to 160 CE) who believe that Joseph was Jesus' biological father, but when John baptized he physically died and resurrected as G-d. Jesus he was "born" as a G-d and no longer what he had been (100% human from human parents). The human Jesus is joined to the Savior.in Valentinus' version of Christianity.
A little later came the Arian sect, founded by Arius (250 CE - 336 CE). The Arians believed that Jesus was a man, and not G-d. The Arians did not believe in the trinity. They also thought that Jesus was not equal to G-d. Arius wrote "We are persecuted because we say that the Son has a beginning but that G-d is without beginning." Arius's Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia.
Prior to the Council of Nicea (325 CE) t the Arians and Gnostics were only two differing "schools of thought" as to whether Jesus was a normal human being, a part of a trinity or part of a duality. . .. There were other Christian sects also differing from modern Christianity. The Council of Nicea condemned Arius's doctrine and formulated the original Nicene Creed of 325.
Resurrection (תְּחִיַּת הַמֵּתִים) is a part of Judaism, and indeed it is one of the Rambam’s 13 Principles of Judaism. "My corpses shall rise; awaken and sing, you who dwell in the dust, for a dew of lights is your dew, and [to the] earth You shall cast the slackers." Y'shayahu / Isaiah 26:19.
When the messiah comes the righteous will be resurrected and the soul reunited with body; this is why Jews do not believe in cremation or embalming (Isaiah 26). The T'nach seems to tell us that only the righteous will be resurrected (Daniel 12). Yet, there is a school of thought that every Jewish soul that ever lived will be resurrected. “Even the empty ones amongst you [Israel] are filled with mitzvot as a pomegranate [is filled with seeds]"—Talmud, Berachot 57a and The soul of every Jew is a "veritable portion of G‑d," and as such is eternal and indestructible.
If the resurrection of the messiah were so special why is it that all righteous people will be resurrected?
Many missionaries insist that Jesus is the "paschal lamb" -- saying Jesus' crucifixion echoes the ritual sacrifice of the Passover lamb.
Not even close.
The annual sacrifice of the paschal goat or lamb (not just "lamb" -- and goats were more common) was a celebratory offer made and eaten every Passover while the Temple stood. It was a festival -- a happy time, which had nothing to do with the murder of Jesus in a violent manner.
It also had nothing to do with sin.
When we have a Temple, and can bring sacrifices, we are commanded to keep the goat or lamb for four days (Sh'mot / Exodus 12:3 - 6) from Nisan 10 to Nisan 14. It was slaughtered on the 14th, roasted and then eaten that same night (which was now the 15th of Nisan as days begin at Sundown).
The Passover aka paschal goat or lamb -- usually a goat -- (the פֶּ֛סַח / pesach) offer is mentioned in D'varim (Deuteronomy) 16:2: "You shall slaughter the (פֶּ֛סַח) paschal sacrifice to HaShem, your G-d, [of the] flock, and [the Festival sacrifices of the] cattle, in the place which HaShem will choose to establish His Name therein."
We do not bring the sacrifices now because we do not have the place which HaShem will choose. That "place" was the Temple, and we do not have a Temple thus we are forbidden from bringing sacrifices for now.
But note that the Passover sacrifice had to be kept for four days, slaughtered, roasted and eaten. . . as part of the festival.
Yes, Passover is a festival as in CELEBRATION. The festival sacrifices are mentioned in the verses in Numbers (Bambidar / Numbers 28:16 - 17 "The 14th day of the first month (Nisan) is G-d's Passover. Then, on the 15th day, a festival shall begin, when matzo (unleavened bread) shall be eaten for seven days." ).
A festival shall begin.
Not a sad time.
Not a time of sin and repentance and atonement.
The paschal lamb was not a sin sacrifice (other wise called a חַטָּ֖את -- a chatat -- is an offering for a "missing of the mark" or accidental sin.
Torah tells us clearly that the sacrifice is part of a CELEBRATION, a festival -- a rejoicing -- to remember our freedom from slavery.
Sh'mot / Exodus 12:14 "This day must be one that you will remember. You must keep it as a festival to G-d for all generations. It is a law for all time that you must celebrate it."
There it is again: festival.
Showing all of this to a missionary they may actually admit that the Passover offer was not for sins -- hard to deny given that the bible says so very clearly.
But (the will insist) the FIRST paschal offer mirrors Jesus' death and it was all about blood, blood, blood.
Sorry -- also wrong.
Moses clearly tells Pharaoh (and us) that the animal to be sacrificed by the Jews is sacred (e.g. a G-d) to the Egyptians. The paschal lamb (or sheep) has nothing whatsoever to do with atoning for sins. In Egypt it was an affront to the Egyptians -- the slaughtering of their ram god. After the Exodus it was a remembrance and celebration.
Some say that the Egyptian Kevatim would worship the Zodiac sign of the sheep (what today we call Aries). To this end, they banned the slaughter of sheep and despised sheep traders and shepherds (Sh'mot / Ex.8:22, B'reshit / Genesis 46:34) .... By sacrificing their "god" (sheep / goat) the Jews were insulting the Egyptians and proving they trusted that G-d would protect them from the Egyptians as they insulted them. . .
There are other offers brought during the Passover holiday . They are mentioned in Bambidar (Numbers) 28:18-25. In addition to the various celebratory offerings—every festive occasion also had completely separate “atonement” offerings (sacrifices). These other sacrifices are all public, communal offerings that were made throughout the year for “atonement."
Not ONE of them was ever a lamb.
Nope, no lamb for "forgiveness of sins."
All holy days had a list of sacrifices some of which were sin, some guilt, some the daily offering, etc. The list of sacrifices also re-enforces the fact that atonement to G-d is an ONGOING process not a one time "last and final" sacrifice. That concept makes no sense since people make mistakes every day and mistakes often = accidental sins, or even perhaps more serious errors.
Examine the story of G-d's command to Moses regarding the first paschal offer. It is found in Sh'mot / Exodus 12. "On the tenth of this month, every man must take a שֶׂה (seh) for each extended family, a lamb for each household. 12:4 If the household is too small for a שֶׂה (seh), then he and a close neighbor can obtain a [ שֶׂה (seh) together], as long as it is for specifically designated individuals. Individuals shall be designated for a lamb according to how much each one will eat. 12:5 You must have a flawless young animal, a one-year-old male. You can take it from the sheep or from the goats. 12:6 Hold it in safekeeping until the fourteenth day of this month." Sh'mot / Exodus 12:3 - 6.
Drinking blood is forbidden because blood is identified with life - it is the "life force" in all living creations. Some of our Sages (e.g., in the Talmud and also the commentator Sforno) explain that there was a belief that, through eating blood, one could cultivate the companionship of demons (the demons are invisible beings who get their sustenance from consuming blood). Thus pagan religions often drank blood as part of their religious observance -- but it is strictly forbidden in the T'nach (Jewish bible). Vayikra / Leviticus 17:10-11.
Torah tells us that a proper sacrifice must be of a kosher, domestic animal (the animal is often identified as a bull, a seh (goat or lamb), etc (see Sh'mot / Exodus 13:13; Vayikra / Leviticus 22). Jesus, being a human (or even a demi-god) was obviously not a kosher animal and thus was unacceptable as a sacrifice.
The blood of the שֶׂה (seh) was a sign -- it did not "save" let alone save the Jews from the wrath of the Egyptians. The Paschal animal was not an atonement offering -- it had nothing to do with "saving" the Jews -- either the physical lives or the souls.
What kind of sign was the blood of the שֶׂה (seh)?
The blood was on the inside of the doors, where the Jews were to be able to see the blood painted on the door-frames but the Egyptians were not to see it. The sign was for the Jewish people, not for the Egyptians. How do we know the blood was on the inside of the doors (and not the outside, where the Egyptians would see it)? The text! It clearly says the sign is for "you" -- for the Jews, and not for the Egyptians. As Rashi opined"
[The blood will be] for you a sign but not a sign for others. From here, it is derived that they put the blood only on the inside. — [from Mechilta 11].
The sign meant that the Jews believed enough that G-d would free them that they risked being killed by the Egyptians who worshiped goats and sheep by keeping the animals close for four days, slaughtering them (which was obvious to the Egyptians), painting the animal's blood as a sign of their trust in G-d and then EATING the Egyptian gods. All of these actions (not just one little thing) was an act of defiance of their slave masters, and showed G-d that they trusted in Him, and Him alone.
"The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are staying. I will see the blood and pass you by (pasach). There will not be any deadly plague among you when I strike Egypt." Sh'mot / Exodus 12:13.
THE BLOOD WAS A SIGN.
Not an atonement.
Not somehow magic.
Who was the blood a sign FOR?
Well, it was painted on the inside of the houses -- not the outside. The sign of the blood was not for an angel (wouldn't an angel know who to kill or not kill?), or the Egyptians -- no the sign was for the Jews.
Keeping the animal INSIDE 9yuch) for four days, living with the smell and filth, then killing it and putting its blood inside the houses -- every single action was one of bravery by the Jews and showed trust in G-d to save them.
You see, Egyptians worshiped the animals -- so the Jews were defying the Egyptians by killing and eating the Egyptian god.
Torah also says that the Passover sacrifice be a male-goat, be offered on an individual (per household) basis (Bamidbar / Numbers 28:22), not as a communal offering. According to the Christian Bible, Jesus’ death (termed a “sin sacrifice”) expiated the sins of mankind (Romans 6:10; Hebrews 9:12, 10:10, 10:18 ). In previous posts the חַטָּאת / cḥattat / sin sacrifice has been discussed. The חַטָּאת / cḥattat (accidental sins) and אָשָׁם / asham sacrifices were PRIVATE offerings brought by INDIVIDUALS, not “atonement” offerings on behalf of the entire nation. The חַטָּאת / cḥattat / sin sacrifice was only for mistakes -- when someone tried to do the right thing and "missed" -- thus if Jesus died for sin it would only have been for a "missing of the mark" -- an accidental mistake (and again, human sacrifices were forbidden, PERIOD).
Also, no individual sacrifice could be brought for someone else or in advance. The type of offering was specified (female goat or lamb being the most common, but sometimes a bull, birds or flour) -- only domesticated (not wild) kosher animals were fit for sacrifice. Human sacrifices (Jesus anyone?) are totally forbidden by the Torah. Read Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 5 to learn about the אָשָׁם / asham (guilt / tresspass) qorbanot (sacrifices) and the very few things they covered:
No one can die for the sins of another.
Sophiee Saguy has been countering false missionary claims about Judaism and the T'nach (Jewish bible) for nearly twenty years. You may find her on FaceBook and at the Messiah Truth forum.