We revere G-d and we should show the greatest respect for His name, as the Torah states, "[You must] fear this glorious, awesome Name of G-d your L-rd" (D'varim / Deuteronomy 28:58).
Some of His names should never be pronounced except in prayer or in study. “Whoever utters the (four letter holiest) Name (Tetragrammaton) must be put to death—the entire congregation has to take part in his execution; the same applies to a foreigner as to a citizen: he must die for his uttering of the Name” (Vayikra / Leviticus 24:16).
The various words used to speak of G-d in the T'nach are more "descriptions" rather than "names." We humans try to use words to express Him -- and they range from "mighty ruler," to "judge" to "merciful" to "eternal" to "Father" to "King" and so forth.
The Talmud lists nine names (really more descriptions than names) appearing in the T'nach and which are so sacred that they may not be destroyed (Jews bury torot which are beyond repair so that the holy names will not be destroyed).
In Vayikra / Leviticus 24:16 (the passage in question) the Hebrew word is actually וְנֹקֵ֤ב (v'nokev). It actually means to declare or to state clearly and explicitly. Compare B'réshĭt / Genesis 30:28, Bamĭdbar / Numbers 1:17 and Y'shayahū / Isaiah 62:2.
The verb נֹקֵ֤ב (nokev) has 3 different meanings, and it depends on the context which meaning applies.
One meaning is to pierce, to perforate, to bore (a hole) - e.g.,Y'shayahu / Isaiah 36:6.
A second meaning is to specify, to name, to state - e.g., Br'eshit / Genesis 30:28.
A third meaning is to curse, to blaspheme - e.g., Vayikra / Leviticus 24:16.
Have you ever seen B’réshĭt / Genesis 30:28 translated as “Pierce your wages to me”, B'mĭdbar / Numbers 1:17 as “those men who had been pierced by name” or Y'shayahū / Isaiah 62:2 as “you will be called by a new name that G-d’s mouth will pierce”?
The name of G-d (the four letter holiest name) was only uttered in the Temple during prayer. It is very holy. The people who write it cavalierly or attempt to pronounce it (not knowing the vowels!) are showing disrespect to G-d.
The Tetragrammaton was spoken on at least three occasions in the T'nach and on all three occasions the consequences to the people it was spoken against were disastrous (Sh'mot / Exodus 2:12, Sh'muél Alef / 1 Samuel 17:45, and M'lachim Beit / 2 Kings 2:24); this is why the correct vowels are never printed and are kept a closely-guarded secret.
The “son of the Israelite woman” in Vayikra / Leviticus 24 committed two offences: (1) he spoke the Four-Lettered “Name”, and (2) he cursed It. He was executed for the first of these crimes.
The sin of “cursing G-d” (24:15) is so serious that no “atonement” is possible for it: the person committing a sin of such seriousness must “bear his guilt” (ibid.), i.e. it remains with him for the remainder of his life, and is dealt with by G-d Himself after his death.
Why is showing respect as requested BY G-d in the T'nach such a "big deal" to people? Some people seem to want to "love" G-d on their terms (not His). True love is doing the things the person (or G-d) cares about rather than our own inclinations. . .
The most relevant text for the prohibition against uttering the Tetragrammaton as it is written is the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 10:1) in which Saul declares that one who pronounces the divine name with its letters (i.e. as it is spelled) has no share in the World to Come.
As for people (like me) who hyphenate English words such as G-d, it is done out of respect, not necessity. There is no rule that we must not spell out the names in English. It is simply a sign of respect and honor that some of us choose to follow.
Do not forget that the bible you purport to follow tells you not to be swayed by your own opinions, but to listen to the judges and teachers whom G-d has appointed to teach you. When you were 5 you might have wanted to run into the street to retrieve a rolling ball, but your parents would have wisely told you to stop -- look both ways -- and proceed only if there was no ongoing traffic.
The point is that we all need to be taught. Those who arrogantly think they "know" something and ignore teachers do so at their own peril. Personally, I would not want to trust a heart bypass surgery to someone who sat down one day to read "Heart Bypass for Dummies."
I'd rather have a doctor who attended medical school, did a proper residency and studied under learned experts.
Why is the Torah any different?
Read Sh’mot (Exodus) chapter 18: “But you must [also] seek out from among all the people capable, G-d-fearing men - men of truth, who hate injustice. You must then appoint them over [the people] as leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens. 18:22 'Let them administer justice for the people on a regular basis. Of course, they will have to bring every major case to you, but they can judge the minor cases by themselves. They will then share the burden, making things easier for you. 18:23 If you agree to this, and G-d concurs, you will be able to survive. This entire nation will then also be able to attain its goal of peace.'” Sh’mot / Exodus 18:21-23.
From the time of Moses to today there have been Rabbis (teachers / judges) from all the tribes who teach and mete out justice. They apply the mitzvot to various legal problems (this is what much of the Talmud is doing – describing the rules in a given situation). . . and it is ALL biblical. Rabbinical courts do not “change the law” the rabbis are doing exactly what G-d instructed them to do – follow the rules and apply them using the Torah as their guide.
According to Rabbi Vidal Bikerman of Chabad, it doesn't count as erasing G-d's name when we type them on the Internet, since technically every time the screen refreshes (several dozen times per second), it's already been "removed."
“Don’t rely on ‘princes’ or on that ‘son of man’ —he has no ‘salvation’! When his spirit departs he will turn back into his dust; on that very day all his schemes will be destroyed!” (T'hillim / Psalm 146:3-4).
The term the Son of man is used to refer to Jesus 32 times in Matthew,
The term the Son of man is in Mark 15 times,
The term the Son of man is in Luke 26 times.
The term the Son of man is in John 12 times.
In the first three gospels the title is always recorded as having been used by Jesus of himself and never by angel, by man, or by demon. "Just" Jesus as the "son of man."
Yet G-d warns you that the "son of man" has no salvation.
The son of many cannot save you.
But doesn't Jesus' Hebrew name mean salvation?
Jesus doesn't have a Hebrew name.
The Christian bible was written in Greek, not in Hebrew.
If Jesus ever lived no one knows what his Hebrew name might have been.
It is impossible that it was the Hebrew name for "salvation."
Because Hebrew nouns are either feminine or masculine. There is no "gender neutral" noun.
The Hebrew word for salvation is a FEMININE noun (יְשׁוּעָה - y'shu'AH) . Feminine as in female, girl, woman. . . not a man (let alone a son of man).
Hebrew is not spelled with vowels (only consonants), but when vocalized there is a man's name spelled somewhat similarly -- but it is not the Hebrew word for salvation. The male name is "Yeshu'a" is יֵשׁוּעַ - a masculine proper name.
Did you notice the markings under some of the letters? Hebrew is written only with consonants (no vowels), but those dots and dashes are the Masoretic diacritical markings -- symbols added to letters of the aleph bet to indicate pronunciation (basically, vowels). Not all Hebrew uses them -- the Torah does not have them, most Hebrew in Israel does not use them. . . but they are helpful with people less familiar with Hebrew pronunciation.
The Hebrew word for "salvation" is spelled differently from the masculine name Yeshu'a and it is also pronounced differently, too.
The modern usage of "Yeshua" for Jesus is a recent attempt by missionaries (most of them actively trying to convert Jews to Christianity, aka "messianic" Judaism -- an oxymoron if ever there was one) -- but if Jesus lived no one knows what his Hebrew name might have been as we have no ancient documents with his Hebrew name. People are simply "guessing" -- and for the most part, guessing poorly with limited knowledge of Hebrew.
All we know of Jesus' "name" is what is found in ancient Greek papyri. In Greek the name is Ἰησοῦς / Iesous. This would transliterate into the Aramaic form יֵֽשׁוּ Yéshu (not יֵשׁוּעַ - yeSHU'a or יְשׁוּעָה / "Y'shu'AH").
We know that Jesus (Ἰησοῦς / Iesous) can not represent the Hebrew form יֵשֽׁוּעַ / Yéshu'a (the masculine name closest to / "Y'shu'AH" aka "salvation") because Ἰησοῦς / Iesous would transliterate into "Jesuas" and no missionaries who have tried to make up a Hebrew name for Jesus have ever called Jesus "Jesuas."
The Yeshu'a name game (calling Jesus "יֵשׁוּעַ") began in the 1970s with the various Christian groups established primarily by Baptists to try to convert Jews to Christianity that had a veneer of Jewishness to it (e.g. "Jews for Jesus" and other "messianic" Christian groups). As the Baptists tried to add Jewish trappings to churches (calling their ministers "rabbi" and their churches "Synagogues) they started saying that Jesus' Hebrew name was יֵשֽׁוּעַ Yéshu'a so they could pretend it is the same as the common noun יְשׁוּעָה y'shu'ah (which is feminine and means "salvation").
As shown in this post this deception is transparently obvious to anyone who can read Hebrew (even without understanding the words).
The two words' pronunciation (the feminine word meaning "salvation" versus the male name) are very different: the vowel of the first syllable of יֵשֽׁוּעַ Yéshu'a is tzéré, a full-valued vowel having the sound of the "ay" in the English word bay and the accented syllable is the שֽׁוּ -shu-, whereas the yod in יְשׁוּעָה y'shu'ah is pointed with sh'va na, a "snatched" half-vowel that has no sound of it's own and causes the yod to be subsumed into the compound syllable y'shu-, and the stress in this case falls on the final syllable, -ah.
There is only one G-d, and He does not share His glory with another. There is no salvation from the "son of man."
"Remember the first things of old, that I am G-d and there is no other; I am G-d and there is none like Me." Y'shayahu / Isaiah 46:9.
Most adults know the difference between reality and stories. Reality is the actual things that happen to real people and stories are flights of fancy -- like fairy tales, Harry Potter boks, Homer Simpson, SpongeBob Squarepants, etc.
That should be pretty clear to everyone, right?
So why, when it comes to the idea of prophecy, do people ignore reality and go straight to the fantasy?
The only logical answer is that the reality doesn't say what some people want it to say. As a result they immediately fly to "types and shadows," -- the nonliteral. The "it makes no sense, but just have faith" argument.
This is totally unbiblical (believe it or not) and definitely un-Jewish.
Some missionaries, upon realizing that things in the T'nach (Jewish bible) actually referred to something or someone in the surrounding text came up with the myth of "dual prophecy." This fiction says "oh sure, that prophecy was for XYZ, but it ALSO fits Jesus." Total nonsense. There is no such thing as "dual prophecy." Find me ONE statement from the T'nach (bible) stating that prophecies have dual meanings. There are none.
Take any "proof text" that is part of "dual prophecy" and read it IN CONTEXT. Do this and the dual prophecy claim quickly falls apart.
Yeshayahu / Isaiah 7:14 -- This is the supposed prophecy that Jesus will be born from a virgin birth. But read Yeshayahu / Isaiah chapter 7 (the entire chapter) and it is clear that Jesus was not born in the days of Ahaz, for whom the message was given. "And the L-rd continued to speak to (King) Ahaz, saying "Ask for yourself a sign from the L-rd, your G-d: ask it either in the depths, or in the heights above." Yeshayahu / Isaiah 7:10-11. King Ahaz lived 700 years BCE. If the sign was for him (as G-d Himself said) then how could this be a prophecy that Jesus would be born from a virgin? King Ahaz had been dead 700 years before Jesus -- so Jesus' birth could in no way be a sign for King Ahaz! In other words this is a VERY SPECIFIC prophecy for one person (Ahaz) and trying to fit it to another (Jesus) is deceit and nothing more. Link to translation.
Matthew 2:15 says "Out of Egypt I called my son." This is supposedly fulfillment of the prophecy by the prophet Hosea in chapter 11. What does Hosea 11 actually say? "For, when Israel was young, I loved him, and from Egypt I called My son." Hoshea / Hosea 11:1 Again to call this a "dual" prophecy about Jesus ignores the context and is deceitful, nothing more. Link to translation.
Fiction (story telling) versus reality.
As these few examples show a specific prophecy cannot be used for something that does not apply to it -- out of time and context.
Prophecy is another of those words that have very different meanings in the T'nach / Judaism and Christianity. Prophecy in Judaism is very different from the "fortune teller" concept found in the Western view of the term. The Meriam-Webster dictionary says that prophecy is "a statement that something will happen in the future." That is a Christian definition, but not the biblical one.
The Hebrew word for prophecy is נְבוּאָה / navua (a feminine noun). A נָבִיא / navi (prophet) had direct communication with G-d (through dreams and / or visions with the exception of Moses who spoke directly with G-d), and who relayed G-d’s message to his or her own generation. The way a Christian uses the term "prophet" or "prophecy" would be a רֹאֶה Ro'eh (“Seer”) not a נָבִיא Navi (“Prophet”).
Samuel is called a רֹאֶה Ro'eh (“Seer”) in Divrei Hayamim Alef / 1 Chronicles 9:22, 26:28 and 29:29, but he is also called a נָבִיא Navi (“Prophet”) in Divrei Hayamim Beit / 2 Chronicles 35:18, showing that the two terms are not identical. There is also the word חֹזֶה Ḥozeh (“Visionary”). This word describes someone who experiences “visions." Other than Moses all prophets did communicate with G-d through visions and dreams.
Some messages had meaning for the current and future generations, but all prophecy must have a message for the current generation (of that prophet), be direct from G-d (not through an angel or intermediary) and cannot contradict the Torah. If the message is not for the current generation (of the living prophet) and is from an intermediary (not G-d) it is not prophecy per the definition of the wrod.
Thus prophecy is a personal relationship and contact between a צדוק / tzadok (righteous person) and G-d. This is usually through dreams although Moses had communication with G-d while he was awake. Navua doesn’t mean fortune telling or predicting the future, although sometimes these are present.
The word is based on niv sefatayim meaning "fruit of the lips," which emphasizes the navi's role as a speaker. A navi is really a spokesperson for G-d – one who speaks to his or her generation on behalf of G-d.
The greatest navi to ever live was Moses. He could hear G-d clearly and directly (as if “face to face”).“When Moses came into the Tent of Meeting to speak to Him, he heard the Voice speaking to him." (Bamidbar / Numbers 7:89).
Most other navi’s heard from G-d as if through a prism, or a fog – through dreams and visions“I make Myself known to him (other prophets than Moses) in a vision. I speak to him in a dream." (Bamidbar / Numbers 12:6).The Rambam wrote that to be a prophet one must be wise, have a clear mind, be; of impeccable character, and totally in control of their emotions. A prophet is mature, of a calm nature and full of joy. A prophet is not interested in material things or the frivolities of life. A prophet’s desire is to devote themselves entirely to knowing and serving G-d.
At the height of prophecy all Jews were prophets – and prophecy existed in Israel because having all the Jews together in the holy land made for a holy enough link for it to exist and thrive. There were Yeshivot (schools) dedicated to training people to be navis – because one must be very much a tzedak (righteous person) to have that kind of a link to G-d.
Not all prophets were Jews (though most were) and there were women as well as men prophets.
Even if a person meets all the criteria G-d may not give them prophecy (and for now we are not in an age of prophecy so there are no prophets. Jesus and Mohamad could not have been prophets, because prophecy was gone by then).
If a prophet did tell of what would happen in the future such a statement was given either as a promise or a warning. Promises always come to pass. Warnings from prophets (of potential calamities) may or may not happen. Any negative prophetic warning can always be prevented through prayer and repentance. Think of the story of Jonah and the people of Nineveh who were able to avoid the curse by heeding the prophet’s warning. . .
The Book of Daniel is not found in Prophets in the T’nach and is not considered prophecy. Christians upon hearing this are usually outraged – but consider the definition you’ve been given. Daniel did not communicate directly with G-d. Daniel communicated with an angel. Thus the information in Sefer Daniel (the Book of Daniel) is not prophecy. This does not lessen its value or importance. Was Daniel a prophet? That was a debate among our sages, some say yes and some say no. We do know that the information we have from him is not prophecy (for the reasons just given).
The T’nach itself gives us a stern warning against listening to soothsayers and diviners.Vayikra / Leviticus 19:26-31 “you shall not indulge in sorcery, and you shall not believe in lucky times. . . You shall not turn to the mediums, nor shall you seek after the wizards, [and thereby] be defiled by them; I am the L-rd your G-d.”This creates problems for Christianity. The Christian bible is full of stories of Jesus talking to the dead, demons, the "devil", etc. are all forbidden. (D'varim / Deuteronomy 18:11 and 19:31).
We are warned not to follow false prophets – including those who show us miracles. Miracles do not “prove” a prophet (let alone a messiah).
"If there should stand up in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream, and he will produce to you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes about, of which he spoke to you, saying "Let us follow gods of others that you did not know (at Sinai) and we shall worship them do not hearken to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of a dream, for HASHEM, your G-d, is testing you to know whether you love HASHEM, your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul. HASHEM, your G-d, shall you follow and Him shall you fear; His commandments shall you observe and to His voice shall you hearken; Him shall you serve and to Him shall you cleave. And that prophet and that dreamer of a dream shall be put to death, for he had spoken perversion against HASHEM, your G-d Who takes you out of the land of Egypt, and Who redeems you from the house of slavery to make you stray from the path on which HASHEM, you G-d, has commanded you to go; and you shall destroy the evil from your midst." (Artscroll) D’varim / Deuteronomy 13:2-6.
If someone adds to or subtracts from the Torah -- changing any of its lessons and mitzvot -- they are a false prophet. D'varim / Deuteronomy 18 says there will be prophets after Moses -- and that these prophets will not change or "add to" Torah. Both Jesus and Mohamad changed the unchangeable rules of the Torah, thus they would have been false prophets.
By the time of Jesus (and later Mohamad) prophecy had been gone for hundreds of years. As Israel was destroyed and holiness declined (with the encroachment of Hellenism) prophecy became more and more sporadic.
The last prophets realized that it was declining and that we were entering a period when there would be no more prophecy for a long time. Therefore Ezra, a prophet, called a Sanhedrin which came to be known as the Men of the Great Assembly. There were 120 members rather than 70. They codified the T’nach and Siddur (prayer book) and prepared the Jews for the move from the era of Proecy to the era of Knowledge . . .the era we are still in today.
The T’nach tells us of the end of prophecy.We have not seen our signs; there is no longer a prophet, and no one with us knows how long. (T'hillim / Psalms 74:9).Two things converged to bring prophecy to an end. One is the Diaspora -- the dispersal of Jews from the land of Judah (Israel). The majority of Jews did not return to Israel from the Babylonian (Iranian) exile, and without a majority of Jews in Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel aka the land of the living) prophecy is limited.
The second reason prophecy ended is because the Men of the Great Assembly appealed to G-d to remove the desire for idolatry and with it went the gift of prophecy (Talmud, Yoma 69b).
With the end of prophecy came the "Age of Wisdom." We still have the spirit of G-d in our midst and we have His Torah, along with His sages. The instructions had been given, now it is up to us to implement them. This is why the last of the prophets implemented the T'nach (Jewish bible, including Prophets and Writings) as well as the Siddur (Jewish prayer book).
Thus we know for certain that Jesus was not a prophet. There is proof within the Christian bible itself that Jesus was not a prophet (or rather that he was a false prophet).
According to the Christian bible, Jesus “prophesied” the following: Matthew 16:28 (NIV)“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." That generation that Jesus addressed died 20 centuries ago, ergo this was a false prediction.
Jesus also predicted the time he will spend in the tomb (the “Sign of Jonah”): Matthew 12:40 (NIV) “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus died on Friday afternoon and “rose” on Sunday before dawn – a total of some 36 hours. The Gospel of Matthew says that Jesus remained in the tomb from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening at nightfall - a total of some 26 hours (Matthew 28:1). Neither equal three days. False prediction.
Conclusion: If Jesus was a prophet at all, he was a false one. But it is immaterial as we know Jesus was NOT a prophet as prophecy ended with the last of the prophets in the T'nach (Ezra and the other prophets in the Great Assembly).
Prophets receive a direct (from G-d) communication that is clear. Prophets communicate the message to people of their own generation (the Hebrew word for "prophet" has to do with imparting the message to others -- a spokesperson for G-d). To be a prophet a person proved himself (or herself) as a prophet by accurately telling a message to the people that was a direct communication from G-d -- and that message (usually a warning) comes to pass. Just imparting a vision is not sufficient. To be a prophet, the prophet must be correct at least three times, just as Moses was given three signs in Shemot / Exodus 4:9.
Thus a "secondary message" that is not clear (requires drash, aka "types and shadows" let alone "dual prophecy") violates the very concept of prophecy itself. Even a "first message" which came directly from G-d (required to be prophecy) that was unclear or required interpreting hints (remez) or inferring something that isn't clearly there (drash) doesn't fit the definition of prophecy.
There is debate in Judaism as to whether Daniel was a prophet -- because the visions he saw (as reported in Ketuvim) were with an angel, not directly with HaShem. Prophecy requires direct communication with G-d. The Book of Daniel (Sefer Daniel) is not found in Prophets in the T'nach. The Men of the Great Assembly who codified the T'nach (Jewish bible) placed Sefer Daniel in Writings (Ketuvim) not Prophets (Nevi'im). Thus while whether or not Daniel himself was a prophet is debatable, the book of Daniel is clearly not prophecy. Thus the Book of Daniel is in Writings (Ketuvim) and not Prophets (Nevi'im).
For those reading this who do not know the terms p'shat, drash and sod, these terms relate to the various levels the Jewish bible is read, PaRDeS:
* P'shat (פְּשָׁט) - the "plain" ("simple") meaning of a passage (prophecy is always based on 'pshat)
* Remez (רֶמֶז) - "hints" implied in the text but not explicit
* Drash (דְּרַשׁ) - which is a deeper or even midrashic meaning -- often inferred from other scripture
* Sod (סוֹד) - "secret" ("mystery") meanings
On top of all that prophecy is never hidden. The Jewish bible itself never once gives an example of a prophecy being "dual" or being "hidden." Thus the Christian concept of changing the meanings long after the fact are simply not supported in the Jewish bible. The real meaning of any biblical passage is the p'shat (plain meaning). Everything else is a kind of midrash, -- a story which is not literal, but is meant to teach some supplementary message. Propheyc is NEVER based on drash, still less from rĕmĕz or sod. Prophecy is only based on a text’s p'shat (actual meaning)—never on d'rash (sermons derived from, or based on, it). The Talmud tells us: "A verse cannot depart from its plain meaning." Shabbat 63a, Y'vamot 11b, and Y'vamot 24a. Rashi, the 11th century Torah commentator, quotes this at B'reshit / Genesis 15:10, 37:19 and Sh'mot / Exodus 12:2).
The Ramban (Nachmanides) explained reality versus fiction to the King of Aragon (Spain) (when a missionary back in the 12th century tried to pull the same trick on him in person (misusing Midrashic interpretation) as if it were literal) The Ramban said to the King: "We have a third book called Midrash, meaning sermons. It is just as if the bishop would rise and deliver a sermon, and one of the listeners whom the sermon pleased recorded it." (Disputation at Barcelona).
Since "sin" in Hebrew means a missing of the mark (you tried to do right and you "missed") what does G-d say about more serious wrongdoings? If they aren't sin, what are they?
What happens if a person commits manslaughter (or theft, or beating someone up) -- acts that were impulsive actions people know are wrong but they "just can't help themselves." These are not "sin" -- there is another term for them in the bible. These are called Avon / עוון (impulsive, lustful acts -- a person couldn't control their urges).
But if Jesus "died for your sins" (totally unbiblical) then he died for your mistakes and not your "big" transgressions. The Christian bible doesn't say that Jesus died for your Avon / עוון or even worse actions!
What about things worse than sin or Avon / עוון? What about things like pre-planned murder, or other evils that are wilfful wrongdoing in defiance of G-d (you know it is wrong, you know G-d forbids it and you defy Him). These are called pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע in the T'nach.
Again, Jesus (per the Christian bible) did not die for your avon / עוון or your pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע --- but just for your mistakes???
In reality human sacrifices are forbidden. No one can die for your sins, your avon / עוון or your pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע. More serious wrongdoings could not be atoned for with blood sacrifices at all
עוון Avon (translated by Christians as iniquity) is an impulsive act of lust or uncontrollable urges (could not be atoned for with a sacrifice). An avon (unless it falls under the asham talu or asham g'zelot) cannot be rectified with a qorban (sacrifice), and neither can a pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע. Repentance and turning to G-d to seek forgiveness for sins against G-d and seeking forgiveness to any person that might have been harmed from that person are the methods of atonement; The generic Hebrew word for any kind of wrongdoing is aveira / עבירה. This is a feminine noun (nouns are either feminine or masculine in Hebrew)..
Cheit / חטא (translated by Christians as sin) translates to a mistake -- a person tried to do the right thing and "missed." For individuals a In Shoftim / Judges 20:16 a group of men are described as "All these could sling a stone at a hair-breadth and not miss." A cheit / חטא could be atoned for with a sacrifice. It was only one of two types of wrong doings which could be atoned for with sacrifice.
Avon / עוון (translated by Christians as iniquity) is an impulsive act of lust or uncontrollable urges. An avon/ עוון (unless it falls under the אָשָׁם תָּלוּי / asham talui or or אָשָׁם גְּזֵל֣וֹת / asham g'zelot) cannot be rectified with a qorban (sacrifice). So what are these two sacrifices which can be brought for an avon/ עוון? They are discussed in Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 5.
Those were the only two types of Avon / עוון (translated by Christians as iniquity) which a person could bring a sacrifice for (an asham / guilt sacrifice). Any other type of Avon / עוון must be atoned for with other actions including charity, prayer, repentance (see the list below). If the sacrifice for either a sin sacrifice or guilt sacrifice was brought it had to meet the following criteria:
1. Is an animal which is physically without blemish; a ram for the Asham (Vayikra / Lev. 5:14); a female goat for the Chatat (sin offering) (Vayikra / Lev. 4:28); male animals or birds for the Olah. (Vayikra / Lev. 1:3, 10, 14). (Olah, translated as "burnt sacrifice" was a voluntary sacrifice generally brought to thank G-d, but sometimes brought for impure thoughts, not deeds).
2. They are all slaughtered in the holy area of the temple and their blood is poured around the outside altar (Vayikra / Lev. 1:4, 4:30; 7:2);
3. Parts of the Asham and Chatat (sin offering) are burnt on top of the altar. All of the Olah (elevation / burnt offering) is burnt there. (Vayikra / Lev. 1:7-8; 4:31; 7:3-5) 4. The Asham and Chatat (sin offering) must be eaten by the priests as opposed to the Olah. (Vayikra / Lev. 6:19; 7:6-7) which is consumed by the fire.
Jews eat kosher animals only – and humans are not kosher. The asham sacrifice can NOT BE A PERSON.
Now, what about the wrongdoings which are worse than making a mistake (the "sin") or a lusftul action you didn't control (guilt)?
Pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע is usually translated by Christians as "transgression." It means to willfully go against G-d. It means "rebellion" (could not be atoned for with a sacrifice) -- but other things in this life do atone for them. 1 Kings 8:46-50 include chatat, avon, rasha (wicked or evil) and pesha are atoned for by prayer. Repentance and turning to G-d to seek forgiveness for sins against G-d and seeking forgiveness to any person that might have been harmed from that person are the methods of atonement;
Ezekiel 18:21-32 speaks of sin, iniquity and willful rebellion against G-d all being forgiven through repentance. chatat (18:21), pesha (18:22), cheit (18:24), pesha (18:28), pesha and avon (18:30) are all atoned through repentance.
"By loving kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for..." (Mishlei / Proverbs 16:6).
"If you return to G-d you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent...then you will delight in G-d..." (Job 22:23-27).
This whole fixation on blood, blood, blood by missionaries is not supported by the Jewish bible. The missionaries take the statement that blood can atone for SOME sins and somehow morph it into "you need blood for sins to be forgiven." This is akin to eating a slice of pizza because you are hungry and then insisting that the only type of food that exists in the world is pizza.
Here is a list showing different things that atone for different types of wrongdoing that disprove the statement in Hebrews 9:22 that
without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
2 Shmuel 12:13-14 / 2 Samuel 12:13-14 is a cheit (David admits to sin before Nathan the prophet and repents)
Yonah / Jonah 3:10 has to do with the sins of Nineveh (unspecified, just identified as "evil" in 1:2), the people repented and G-d forgave
Vayikra / Leviticus 26:40-42 speaks of avon and repentence atoning for it
Yechezkel / Ezekiel 18:21-32 speaks of chatat (21), pesha (22), chatat (24), pesha (28), pesha and avon (30) are all atoned through repentance
Mishlei / Proverbs 16:6 an avon is atoned for with kindness
Daniel 4:24 is chatat and avon by showing mercy and kindness
PRAYER (accompanied by repentance)
Hoshea / Hosea 14:2-3 teshuva (turning to G-d) and 1prayer atones for avon
1 Melachim 8:46-50 / 1 Kings 8:46-50 include chatat, avon, rasha (wicked or evil) and pesha are atoned for by prayer
Daniel 9:5-19 include chatat, avon, and rasha are atoned by prayer
Yeshayahu / Isaiah 27:9 both chatat and avon are atoned by removing idolatry
Yeshayahu / Isaiah 40:1-2 avon is removed by punishment
Eichah / Lamentations 4:22 avon is removed by punishment
Yeshayahu / Isaiah 22:14 avon will surely not be atoned until you die.
Leviticus 5:1-13 for specific ashams (guilts including not testifying honestly, touching something ritually unclean, if one makes an oath one doesn't keep, he must confess, and he must bring a guilt offering which should be a female sheep or goat, but if he can't afford it he may bring two turtle doves (one as a chatat and one as an olah). If he cannot afford the turtle doves he may bring flour as a chatat (sin offer)
Sh'mot / Exodus 30:15-16 to atone for the life-force (similar to blood in Leviticus 17:11)
Bamidbar / Numbers 31:50 to atone for the life-force (similar to blood in Leviticus 17:11)
Bamidbar / Numbers 17:11-12 atonement for the Israelites "for there is wrath" Per Rashi This secret was given over to him by the angel of death when he went up to heaven, that incense holds back the plague… as is related in Tractate Shabbath (89a).
Hopefully this post shows that "sin" is not defined in the bible as Christians have come to define it. It also shows that blood is not necessary for the remission of sin, and that serious wrongdoings could never be atoned for with blood sacrifices, but that prayer, repentence and other methods have always atoned for wrongdoings -- both accidental and intentional.
The Torah, the Jewish People and even G-d Himself speak a different language than Christians – even when we use the same words the meaning is usually quite different..
Take the English word “sin.” To the average Christian “sin” means “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” It doesn’t matter if that immoral act was an accident or “on purpose.” (see Dictionary.com).
Yet for Jews the Hebrew word translated as “sin” is a mistake (a missing of the mark). You tried to do the right thing (it wasn't willful or knowingly doing something wrong). How could "sin" have to do with immoral acts – surely one would KNOW if one committed immorality! What you tried to do something moral and wound up doing something immoral??? Is that even possible???
"Sin” is a חֵטְא / cheit -- an unintentional sin through caelessness — a “missing of the mark."
Making mistakes (trying to do the right thing and missing aka sin) is all about learning from your mistakes and making up for them via apology, repayment, etc. G-d tells Cain way back in Genesis 4 that he can over come sin (this is "after" Adam and Chava (Eve) sinned, so OOPS there goes the idea of "original sin").
G-d clearly tells Cain that he can rise above sin!
So to a Christian the word "sin" generally means 1 John 3:4: “Whosoever breaks the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." Hmmm, this would be the very law (Mosaic) that they later say you don't have to follow?
But John seems to change his mind. 1 John 5:17 says: “All unrighteousness is sin . . .”
Neither definition is the Torah definition of sin. Let me give you an example from the T'nach. Shoftim / Judges 20:16 says that archers are so good with shooting arrows that they can "aim at a hair and not חֵטְא / cheit (miss)."
Another example is in 1 Melachim 1:21 / 1 Kings 1:21. Bat Sheva, King David's wife, comes to him as he lays dying and says: "when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, and I and my son Solomon shall be [considered] חַטָּאִים / chetaim.." She is saying that when David dies Solomon and she will have missed thier opportunity, their potential -- because David's other son, Adoniahu, was trying to take David's place even though David had promised the kingship to Solomon. Rashi's commentary says: "they (Bat Sheva and Solomon will always be lacking and restrained from any greatness."
Examining one word, "sin" shows how Jews and Christians often use the same words in English – but mean very different things! As the title of my page says: Judaism is not Christianity minus Jesus!
What about the Christian contention in Hebrews 9:22 that "the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."? Totally false.
There are many qorbans (translated as "sacrifices", but in Hebrew the term means offers to G-d meant to bring the person closer to G-d). Most qorbans had nothing to do with atoning for anything -- and blood was not required. If one was too poor for an animal, then flour could be substituted for the חַטָּאת / chatat (sin sacrifice).
Many qorbans specified money, incense or flour as well as burnt offers or blood offers.
There were only two types (the chatat – which is for a חֵטְא / cheit – translated as “sin” and meaning a “missing of the mark – you tried to do good but “missed” and the second type of qorban (sacrifice) which could be brought for wrongdoing were the אָשָׁם / asham qorbans which are translated as “guilt” but that is a poor translation. The חַטָּאת / cḥattat (accidental sins) and אָשָׁם / asham sacrifices were PRIVATE offerings brought by INDIVIDUALS, not “atonement” offerings on behalf of the entire nation. 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:
Vayikra / Leviticus 5:1 If he is bound by an oath [to give evidence in court], where he was a witness who saw or knew [something], and he does not testify
Vayikra / Leviticus 5:2 The same is true] if a person touches anything ritually unclean, whether it is any dead non-kosher animal, wild or domestic, or any dead unclean creeping animal, and then commits a violation while forgetting that he was unclean.
Vayikra / Leviticus 5:3 if he comes in contact with any ritual uncleanliness stemming from a human being, which renders him unclean, and then forgets about it,
Vayikra / Leviticus 5:4 if a person makes a verbal oath to do good or bad, no matter what is expressed in the oath, and then forgets about it.
The אָשָׁם / asham (guilt / tresspass) qorbanot also atoned for stealing things from the altar.
You also brought an אָשָׁם / asham if you weren't sure if you'd sinned -- or what sin you might have committed. If you weren't sure you'd sinnd you'd bring an asham, instead of a חַטָּאת / cḥattat (accidental sins). This is because a חַטָּאת / cḥattat (accidental sins) means an admission of the sin, and you'd be punished for it. If a person brought an asham (because they weren't sure they'd sinned) and later discovered that he had in fact committed the sin, he would have to bring a chatat at that time.
As shown above, it was also if you broke your word (a breach of trust) that was an asham.
Ashams were eaten by the priests.
The only types of individual sins that could be atoned for with blood sacrifices were these two types: חַטָּאת / cḥattat accidental missing of the mark) and the אָשָׁם / asham PERIOD. Any other type of sin (like willfully doing something wrong had to be atoned for with repentance, charity, turning to G-d, etc. Sacrifices didn’t work at all). Hebrews 9 lied (or whoever wrote it was woefully ignorant of Jewish law including those surrounding sacrifices).
In the next few days I'll be discussing other words that both Christians and Jews use -- but both have very different definitions for them. We'll also discus more about sacrifices, why they existed (G-d doesn't need or want them), and more on words that Christian and Jew use that mean very different things to each.
How are Jews OK with G-d since there is no Temple and no sacrifices?
Jews are obeying the mitzvot by NOT bringing sacrifices! G-d commands that they only be brought when there is a Temple, without one we would sin by doing bringing sacrifices. Human sacrifices were never permissable -- and where and how and when they were brought was critical (which is another reason Jesus' murder by the Romans was not a sacrifice).
Just think for a minute. . .
Moses couldn't bring sacrifices in Egypt. Do you think Moses didn't have a relationship with G-d?
Daniel couldn't bring sacrifices in exile. Do you think Daniel did not have a relationship with G-d?
Blood atonement was NEVER the only way to be forgiven. "G-d said to Cain, 'Why are you so furious? Why are you depressed? If you do good, will there not be special privilege? And if you do not do good, sin is crouching at the door. It lusts after you, but you can dominate it.'" B'reshit / Genesis 4:6-7.
Sacrifice isn't even mentioned -- but G-d tells Cain that if he lives a good life all will be well. Read to the end of chapter 4 and hear about the first prayer to G-d: B'reshit / Genesis 4:26 "A son was also born to Seth, and [Seth] named him Enosh. It was then initiated to pray with G-d's name."
Prayer -- B'reshit / Genesis chapter 4.
So now if a missionary tells you that the rabbis "replaced sacrifices with prayer" you will easily be able to disprove the lie. Prayer has always been an important part, actually a far more important part, of communing with and atoning to G-d.
"He will pray for you, and you will live." B'reshit / Genesis 20:7.
"Abraham prayed to G-d." B'reshit / Genesis 20:17, Br'eshit / Genesis chapter 24:12, 24:42, 25:21, 32:10, 32:12, etc.
Until the Temple is restored we are not allowed to bring sacrifices (qorbanot), but we can (as Hosea put it) offer the sacrifices of our lips -- we can bring our prayers. Jewish tradition characterizes prayer as avodah sheb'lev - "The [Temple] service of the heart." To recall the sacrifices we cannot perform we remember them in prayer.
The Torah says that blood atones -- it doesn't say that ONLY blood atones. This concept was added by the Greek Text to explain the need for Jsus to die for them. It is like saying "pizza is food -- ergo the only food in the world is pizza."
Many, may things atone. There is atonement through:
repentance (II Samuel 12:13-14, Jonah 3:10, Lev. 26:40-42, Ezek. 18:21-32, 33:11-16)
kindness (Prov. 16:6, Daniel 4:24)
prayer (Hos. 14:2-3,I Kings 8:46-50, Daniel 9:19)
removal of idolatry (Is. 27:9)
punishment (Is. 40:1, Lam. 4:22),
death (Is. 22:14)
flour offerings (Lev. 5:11-13)
money (Ex. 30:15)
jewelry (Num. 31:50)
and incense (Num. 17:11-12).
Here is what G-d has always required:
Deuteronomy 4:27-31 - (29) . . .seek the L-rd your G-d, then you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (30) When you are in distress, and these words will find their way to you; in the end of days, you will return to the L-rd your G-d, and you will obey him; (31) For the L-rd your G-d is a merciful G-d, He will not forsake you and will not destroy you; and He will not forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.
Turning to G-d (teshuvah), and communicating with G-d (tefillah) have always been a REQUIREMENT for the forgiveness of sins -- with or without a Temple.
G-d has revealed to us that He is not a man or a son of man in whom there is no salvation. "Do not trust in princes, or in the son of man, who has no salvation." (Psalm / T'heillim 146:3). The Christian bible calls Jesus the "son of man" over 77 times. It is not the Jews who are blind! Human beings cannot be sacrificed -- by the high priest or anyone else. BTW the only lambs sacrificed for sin were FEMALE.
Aside from the fact that human sacrifice is forbidden, 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 sacrificial ritual must be administered by a Jewish Priest (see Vayikra / Leviticus Chapters 1-7). According to the accounts in the Greek Testament (Christian Bible), Jesus was crucified by Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:33; John 19:18, 23). Some Christians may say that Jesus was a priest "like Melchitzedek" -- but Jewish sacrifices had to be brought by Jewish priests who were of the tribe of Levi and descended from Aaron (Moses' brother) -- which would exclude Jesus (see Sh'mot / Exodus 29:9 and Bamidbar / Numbers 25:13 for two of many references). The so-called priesthood of "Melchitzedek" is non-existant (the King of Salem was a king of righteousness -- which is what the words "malki and tzedek" mean). The King of Salem (Shem) in B'reshit / Genesis was NOT Jewish ergo his priesthood had nothing to do with Judaism or Jewish sacrifices! In Psalm / T'hellim 110 where the phrase is used again it is simply referring to King David who was also a king of righteousness (malki - tzedek).
Torah further tells us that the blood of the (cheit / sin) sacrifice had to be sprinkled by the Jewish Priest on the veil of the sanctuary and on the altar in the Temple (e.g., Vayikra / Leviticus 4: 5-6). Christian Bible evidence clearly shows this was not done.
Then it tells us that the (cheit / sin) sacrifice must be without any physical defect or blemish (e.g., Vayikra / Leviticus 4:3). According to the various accounts in the Christian Bible, Jesus was beaten, whipped, and dragged on the ground before being crucified (Matthew 26:67, 27:26, 30-31; Mark 14: 65, 15:15-20; Luke 22: 63; John 18:22, 19:1, 3). Moreover, as a Jew by birth, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after being born, a ritual that leaves a scar ("sign of the covenant"). According to the Christian Bible, circumcision is tantamount to mutilation (Philippians 3:2, Galatians 5:12).
Torah says that the Passover animal was to 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 ). It was not a sacrifice -- it was a celebratory offering to G-d (read the bible!).
The phrase the "lamb of god" is pagan. Read up on Greek gods. . . the Jewish sacrifices of bulls, goats, sheep, birds, etc. were all of pagan gods to show the power of the real G-d over false gods. . . they are for us (not for G-d) -- a gift from G-d to man. . . more on that if you desire an explanation.
Some missionaries are posting videos or other "testimonies" of former Jews who have become Christians. When their backgrounds are explored one finds that these Jews were raised in non-religious homes. Some, like Avner Valer, also have mental health issues (he is diagnosed with psychosis and schizophrenia). Many were drug users (Valer and Michael Brown). Almost all had little to no religion as teens (Michael Brown, Avner Valer, Moshe Rosen - founder of Jews for Jesus). . .
Why is it that missionaries think that "testimonies" by various formerly secular Jews (some with issues such as Avner Valer and Michael Brown) would be persuasive in convincing Jews that they "know something" hidden from the rest of us Jews? The opposite is true when one simply researches their backgrounds!
As the prophet Hosea wrote "My people has been eliminated for lack of knowledge; for you have spurned knowledge and I will spurn you from serving Me; and as you have forgotten the Torah of your G-d, I too, will forget your children." Hosea 4:6.
Those people are cutting themselves off from G-d and the Jewish people. A Jew cannot be a Christian (messianic "Jew" or any other term) and be part of the Jewish people. . .
Contrast that type of person with the Christian who chooses to convert to Judaism. Most are highly educated. They are former ministers, priests, nuns, messinaic "rabbis" and such -- who as they searched came to realize the truth -- that Jesus was not the messiah let alone a god. . .
Here is a list of people who made their way through Christianity and went on to find the beauty and truth within Judaism. The image (above) is a book by world reknowned Dead Sea Scrolls scholar and former priest, Geza Vermes. . . Vermes family were Jews who converted to Catholicism when he was 7 years old (an attempt to avoid the Holocaust). His parents perished in the Holocaust.
1) Asher Wade, former Methodist pastor; he converted in 1978 to Orthodox Judaism.
2) Ole Brunell, former Lutheran minister from Finland and Australia. Along with him, his wife Ruth (formerly Runa), two adult daughters, two teenage daughters, and a former son-in-law also converted to Orthodox Judaism.
3) Geza Vermes, expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls and former Catholic priest, he reverted to Judaism.
4) JoAnn Fay, a nun converted to Orthodox Judaism in 1980.
5) John David Scalamonti, a former Roman Catholic priest, he converted in 1972 to Orthodox Judaism
6) John Hove, a former Lutheran pastor, he converted to Orthodox Judaism in 1988.
7) Sheldon Christopher Smith, a former Pentecostal Pastor converted to Judaism in 1987
8 ) Thomas Roper, a former Baptist minister, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.
9) Gavriel Sanders, former Pentecostal minister and missionary in Israel, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.
10) Tonica Marlow, a former female evangelical minister and daughter of a Pentecostal preacher. She converted to Orthodox Judaism.
11) Aharón Calderón, a former monk of a Catholic monastery in South America, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.
12) Armando Quiros, a former catholic priest, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.
13) Julie Galambush, holds a Ph.D. in Old Testament studies from Emory University and a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. Formerly an ordained American Baptist minister, she converted to Judaism.
14) Michael Flanagan, a former Baptist minister, and son of a Minister, his mother-in-law, wife and their two adult sons, grandchildren, daughter-in-law also converted to Orthodox Judaism.
15) Ahuva Gray, served as a Christian minister in the African American community both in Chicago and Los Angeles for fourteen years. She left that world in 1996 to fulfill her spiritual yearnings and become an Orthodox Jew.
16) Nobutaka Hattori, a former Protestant Minister of Japan, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.[http://www.ou.org/pdf/ja/5766/summer66/24_27.pdf]
17) Carlos Samuel Salas, a former Methodist minister, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.
18) David N. Weiss, Former Presbyterian lay minister David Weiss (born Jewish) embraced Orthodox Judaism and is now a successful writer living in Los Angeles.
19) Abraham Carmel, born Kenneth Cox, a former Anglican and Roman Catholic priest, he converted to Orthodox Judaism
20) Mariano Otero, a former Assemblies of G-d minister is now a counter-missionary
21)Carole Le Faivre-Rochester, a former Dominican nun, she converted to Judaism in 1989
22) Yaakov Ephraim Parisi, former Pentecostal minister
23) Ary'el Tsion, formerly known as Bert Woudwijk, a Messianic pastor from Holland
24) Leon Fundo, former Seventh Day Adventist preacher
25) Moriya Webster, former Worldwide Church of God pastor
26) Dov Heller, former Minister and missionary
27) Benjamin Klugger, former Pentecostal missionary, now Orthodox Jew and head of counter-missionary organization
28) Paul H Goodley, former Messianic "rabbi"
29) Efraim Uba, was raised Catholic, later became a Pentecostal preacher then became a Messianic in Nigeria, and then later left that Christian sect to convert to Judaism
No where does the Jewish bible state we have to be perfect or keep the mitzvot "perfectly." G-d MADE us imperfect just as He created good and evil -- so that we could choose the right path and learn. If we do not sin (if we were perfect) we would not grow -- and G-d would not even have made us!
From a post quoting R' Yisroel Blumenthal (in response to a missionary named Michael Brown):
No where does the Jewish bible state we have to be perfect or keep the mitzvot "perfectly." G-d MADE us imperfect just as He created good and evil -- so that we could choose the right path and learn. If we do not sin (if we were perfect) we would not grow -- and G-d would not even have made us!
The missionary assumption is that unless one attains absolute perfection (which he cannot), all is lost. Brown should read the verse again. It says,
"There is no RIGHTEOUS person..who never sins."
The person who does a sin is still righteous!
One of the verses most devastating to Original Sin is Genesis 4:7, where G-d tells Cain that he can overcome temptation. Cain is envious of Abel because G-d accepts only Abel's sacrifice. Cain is tempted to murder Abel. G-d says, "if you do not do good, sin crouches at the entrance. Its desire is for you, but you can rule over it."
G-d's majestic statement of man's ability to overcome evil is brushed aside by Dr. Brown, and his answer is terrible: "But it is one thing to overcome a particular sin. It is another to be free from the grip of sin in general" (p. 193).
If Cain can free himself from this sin, why can't he free himself from any sin? Also, what is meant by "the grip of sin in general"? If he means that no one is 51% righteous, this is manifestly not true. Must one be 70% righteous (or 80%, or 90%) to transcend "the grip." Perhaps Dr. Brown believes that a 99% righteous person is under "the grip of sin", but would he justify a teacher who failed a student with a 99 average?
This belief that absolute perfection is required is the real backbone of Original Sin, as Dr. Brown admits that people can do much good. What is the Scriptural proof that only perfection earns G-d's favor? There is none whatsoever. It can be asserted only by a faulty reading of Deuteronomy 27:26. It says, "Cursed is one who does not uphold (yakeem) the words of this Torah to do them."
Since no one fulfills Torah with total perfection, all are damned and require "salvation." This missionary interpretation cannot make sense of the eleven curses (applied to eleven specific sins) that appear before this verse. If Deuteronomy 27:26 sets a curse for any single violation of Torah, the eleven prior curses are totally superfluous (Samuel Levine).
Missionaries also make a subtle but devastating grammatical error. While y'kayaim means to fulfill, yakeem is a different construct meaning "cause to stand up", "confirm", "uphold". This verse is not saying that unless one fulfills Torah flawlessly, he is cursed. One who does not accept the mitzvot, in whole or in part, fails to "uphold" the Torah, but the commission of a specific sin is not the subject here. This reading is faithful to the grammar and is totally consistent with Torah's frequent injunctions to choose good and make amends for wrong behavior. The missionary viewpoint paints G-d as an anti-Semite who curses Israel with commandments they cannot obey (Samuel Levine).
At no point does Dr. (Michael) Brown attempt to integrate the verses he cites with the many hundreds of verses that stress free will, the opportunity to do good and amend wrongs, and descriptions of righteous people who earned G-d's favor. Let us cite only one of them: "It is not in heaven, to say 'Who will go up for us to heaven, and acquire it for us, and teach it to us, and we will do it?' Nor is it across the sea, to say Who will cross the sea, and acquire it for us and teach it to us, and we will do it?' For the matter is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it ('varim / Deuteronomy 30:11)."
Dr. Brown provides not a single verse to support Original Sin. There is also no support that one must be a perfect individual to earn G-d's favor. Original Sin was unknown before Christianity, not because ancient Jews did not read carefully but because Original Sin is not in the Hebrew Bible at all.
Rabbi Blumenthal's original post and many other excellent thoughts may be found on his blog "Your Pharisee Friend."
Signs and wonders do not prove that Jesus is divine, a messiah or part of a triune god. Signs and wonders (miracles as well) are worthless. All religions claim them, just do a search on the internet for Muslim or Buddhist miralces and you will see this is true.
Just because someone can produce a "miracle" does not make them a god or worthy of even being "followed." G-d allows fakers (magicians) and false religions to produce miracles to test their faith in Him. See for yourself: do a quick internet search on Muslim miracles or Buddhist miracles. . . you will find just as many as for Christians or (fill in the blank). . .
Someone asked me "without signs and wonders how will you know the messiah from his birth?"
No one will know who the messiah is from his birth -- because in every generation there lives a man who COULD be the messiah if we were ready for him. The messiah will be a servant of G-d (as was Moses), the glory is G-d's. . .not the messiah's!
As Torah tells us people can fake both signs and wonders -- and even when they are not faked they are often tests from G-d to see if we can be faithful to His Torah. Reread D'varim / Deuteronomy 13 where G-d tells us that He lets false religions have miracles and such to test your faith in Him. Every religion on the planet can claim miracles and "firsthand saving power" including pagans.
The Rambam wrote "the signs that Moses performed and why he performed them, and that he did not do so to make the people believe in him.
1) The Children of Israel did not believe in Moses [solely] because of the signs he presented, for someone who believes [in a prophet solely] because of the signs he presents is tainted, for it could be that his signs are performed by means of spells and witchcraft.
All the signs that Moses performed in the wilderness were done so according to the needs of the moment, and not to bring proof to his prophecies. There was a need to sink the Egyptians, so Moses split the sea and drowned them in it; the Children of Israel needed food, so Moses brought down the manna for them; they needed water, so Moses split the rock for them; Korah and his followers rebelled, so Moses opened up the ground and they were swallowed up.
The same principle applies with all the other signs. It was the assembly at Mount Sinai that made them believe in Moses, when our eyes, and no-one else's, saw, and our ears, and no-one else's, heard, and Moses drew near to the darkness, and the voice spoke to him, and we heard it saying to Moses, "Moses, Moses, go tell them such-and-such". In connection with this it is written, "The L-rd talked with you face to face", and it is also written, "The L-rd did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us". From where is it known that the assembly at Mount Sinai was the proof that the prophecy of Moses was true and that he was not speaking basely? It is derived from the verse, "Lo, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you for ever". From this we see that prior to the assembly at Mount Sinai their belief in Moses was not one that would have lasted for ever, but it was a belief that left room for discussion and thought.
2) It would transpire that those people to whom a prophet is sent are witnesses that his prophecy is true, and he need not perform any other sign, for them and they combine to form one unit with respect to this matter, in the same way that two people who saw the same thing together combine as witnesses, for each of them is a witness that the other is speaking the truth, and need not bring [additional] proof to back him up.
So it was with Moses our Teacher, that all of the Children of Israel were his witnesses after the assembly at Mount Sinai, and he didn't have to perform for them any signs.
This is what G-d said to him at the time when his prophecy started, when He showed him what signs to perform in Egypt: "And they shall listen to your voice". Moses knew that anyone who believes [solely] because of signs is tainted and will be doubtful, and expressed a reluctance to go by saying, "But behold they will not believe me"4. G-d told him that these signs will [continue to be performed and] applied only until they had left Egypt and assembled at Mount Sinai, whereupon any doubt will vanish, and also assured him that [at Mount Sinai] He will give signs that Moses had been sent by G-d in truth from the [very] beginning, and that no doubt will remain.
This is what Scripture says: "...and this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you; when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall G-d upon this mountain". From this we learn that any Prophet that came after Moses is not believed solely because of his signs to make us think that if he makes a sign we should listen to everything he says, but [is believed] because of the commandment of Moses in the Torah: "...to him you shall listen", if he gives a sign. Just as we have been commanded to decide a matter according to the testimony of two witnesses, even though we do not know if his sign is Divine or achieved by spells and witchcraft.
3) Therefore, if a prophet arose and performed great signs and wonders, and tells us to deny the prophecy of Moses our Teacher, we do not listen to him, and we [will] know for sure that his signs are the result of spells and witchcraft. The prophecy of Moses was not dependent upon signs, so the signs of this prophet cannot outweigh the signs of Moses, for we saw and heard them, just as he did. This is similar to two witnesses who bear testimony that a particular person did a particular thing in front of them, but he is not like they say he is, so we do not listen to them and we know for sure that they are false witnesses. Therefore, the Torah said that if a prophet comes with signs and wonders, we do not listen to him, for he is coming to deny that what we saw with our eyes. Since we believe in wonders only because of a commandment of Moses, how can we accept a sign that is brought to deny the prophecy of Moses which we saw and heard?!"
My intent here is not bash the Christian bible, but it is important for religious people to take a look at the accuracy of the T'nach (Jewish bible) as well as the accuracy of the Christian bibles of today. I will discuss the methods Jews have used for thousands of years to maintain Torah accuracy (and they are amazingly the same as even ancient archeological discoveries atest) to the Christian bibles which have more differences than they have similarities.
If you are a Christian are you really following the teachings of Jesus (if he ever lived?). Why do you suppose the "Jesus Seminar" was founded as an attempt to discern what Jesus really said versus what other later writers inserted into manuscripts -- often reversing earlier papyri? In fact it is impossible (with what we know today) to prove that Jesus even existed. Don't get upset -- I am not saying Jesus is fictional, I'm simply saying it is impossible to prove one way or the other, let alone is there a way to know what Jesus might have said based on the current Christian bible.
Why do I say "current Christian bible"? Isn't it 2000 years old?
Nope, not hardly. Most modern Christian bibles actually date to the 20th century. Eberhard Nestle produced the first edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece in 1898. The Textus Receptus was first edited in 1516 by the Catholic Reformer Desiderius Erasmus. The King James translation was primarily from the Textus Receptus although they did "glean" about a 300 plus variances from other Greek sources. Most modern Christian translations are based on an edition of the Nestle-Aland/United Bible Society (NA/UBS) text (a variation of the Nestle text).
Committees decide which text to use gleaned from various sources. The King James translators did this, and the KJV varies from the Textus Receptus in 287 places. The King James was actually based more on the 3rd edition of the Greek New Testament issued by Stephanus (of Paris) than from the Textus Receptus.
The Novum Testamentum Graece on which the Nestle is based was also decided by committee who gleaned through a large number of manuscripts to decide which texts they thought were more "true." Most modern Christian translations are based on the Novum Testamentum (Nestle). Wikipedia has an article listing many of the differences between them (link).
Wikipedia also has an article entitled "Textual variants in the New Testament" which states "John Mill's 1707 Greek New Testament was estimated to contain some 30,000 variants in its accompanying textual apparatus which was based on "nearly 100 [Greek] manuscripts." Ebehard Nestle estimated this number in 1897 as 150,000–200,000 variants. Bart D. Ehrman has estimated that there are "between 200,000–400,000 variants [in] several million pages of manuscripts," and in 2014 Eldon J. Epp raised the estimate as high as 750,000. Still, Epp says that there is "no reliable estimate of the total number of variants found in our extant witnesses."
There is no Greek manuscript that agrees exactly with either the Textus Receptus or the Nestle. . . Both of them combine text from various earlier Greek sources. Men on these committees decide which to pick and choose, and which to reject. This is why there is no Christian bible of today that one can point to as the "truth" of the early Christians, let alone what Jesus might have said if he lived and is quoted properly. . .(the earliest papyri date to, at the earliest, 50 years after Jesus death and possibly quite a bit later. . . how many quotes do you think are remembered 50 years after the fact?).
This just goes to show that the Christians have a serious problem when it comes to piecing together bibles. The early Greek papyri contradicted each other to an enormous amount. “What do survive are copies of the copies some 5,366 of them in the Greek language alone, that date from the second century down to the sixteenth. Strikingly, with the exception of the smallest fragments, no two of these copies are exactly alike in all their particulars. No one knows how many differences, or variant readings, occur among the surviving witnesses, but they must number in the hundreds of thousands.” (The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, page 27).
The Nestle is very close to the text of Westcott-Hort which in turn is taken from the Codex Vaticanus (4th century). There are variations of the Nestle as well!. The Gospels "do not go back to the first century of the Christian era" (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. vi, p. 137, pp. 655-6). "the earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century (CE)" (Catholic Encyclopedia, op. cit., pp. 656-7).
“The differences among the manuscripts have become great, either through the negligence of some copyists or through the perverse audacity of others; they either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please.” Origen (circa 235 CE) early church father in “Commentary on Matthew.”
Codex Sinaticus and Vaticanus both date to the 4th century CE. Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are not word-for-word with today’s Christian bible, but they don’t even include the same books in the Christian bible canon as today’s RCC and Protestant version. Sinaiticus adds Hermas and Barnabas. Vaticanus omits 1-2 Timothy, Titus, James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude, and Revelation. The inclusion or omission of these works do change the CHRISTIAN BIBLE theology significantly.
Vaticanus is missing over 1,491 words and clauses. It is also missing everything after Hebrews 9:14.
Sinaticus was not, but it also has lots of gaps – due probably to careless scribes who left out 10 to 40 words in various places. Just sloppy. Then there is the Codex Alexandrinus – likewise from the 5th century. It is missing 40 pages -- including Matthew 1:1-25:6, John 6:50-8:52, and II Corinthians 4:13-12:6. Now we come to the Codes Bezae, from the fifth or sixth century, It has the gospels (lots of omissions) and the Acts (missing from 29:22 onwards) in Greek and Latin. . .
Codex Sinaticus omits the following verses (which are in Codex Vaticanus):
Matthew 24:35 - "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away";
John 21:25; and
I Corinthians 13:2.
Next note that Vaticainus leaves out the following verses while Sinaiticus keeps them:
BTW. this verse is left out in B and the NASB, NIV but it is in Sinaiticus and the Majority of all Greek texts "For of necessity he must release on onto them at the feast."
Again B omits Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" while it is retained in Sinaiticus and this time kept in the NASB, NIV. Go figure.
In the gospels alone, both Vaticainus and Sinaticus leave out the following verses.
The NASB of 1972 omitted these verses, but in 1977 put them back [in brackets]. The NIV continues to omit these verses entirely.
Just to help you out a little bit, here is a list of scriptures in the Christian bible that have been archeologically proven to be forgeries, which is to say, they do not appear in the oldest COMPLETE manuscripts:
Matt. 5:23 without a cause
Matt. 6:13 For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Matt. 6:25 or what ye shall drink*
Matt. 16:2 When it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
Matt. 16:3 This entire verse
Matt. 17:21 and fasting
Matt. 18:12 into the mountains
Matt. 2O:7 and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive
Matt. 22:13 and take him away
Matt. 23:35 son of Barachias*
Matt. 24:10 and shall hate one another*
Matt. 24:31 sound of a*
Matt. 24:41 women shall be
Matt. 25:6 cometh
Matt. 27:52 and the graves were opened*
Matt. 27: 53 and went*
Matt. 28:19 therefore
Mark 4:37 so that it was now full*
Mark 6:51 beyond measure and wondered
Mark 7:8 For as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things as ye do
Mark 7:14 unto me every one of you
Mark 9:24 with tears
Mark 9:29 and fasting
Mark 9:44 This entire verse
Mark 9:45 into the fire that shall never be quenched
Mark 9:46 This entire verse
Mark 9:47 fire
Mark 9:49 and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt
Mark 10:24 for them that trust in riches
Mark 10:30 houses and brethren and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions*
Mark 14:30 twice*
Mark 14:68 and the @#%$ crew
Mark 14:72 the second time*
Mark 16:9-20 All these verses
Luke 2: 40 in spirit
Luke 8:45 and sayest thou, Who touched me?
Luke 16:16 and every man presseth into it
Luke 17:12 which stood afar off*
Luke 18:11 with himself*
Luke 22:43 This entire verse
Luke 22:44 This entire verse
Luke 22:68 me, nor let me go
Luke 23:5 teaching*
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do
Luke 24:42 and of an honeycomb
John 1:25 asked him, and*
John 3:13 which is in heaven
John 4:9 for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans
John 5:3 waiting for the moving of the water
John 5:4 This entire verse
John 5:25 and now is*
John 8:1-11 all these verses
John 8:59 going through the midst of them and so passed by
John 16:16 because I go to the Father
John 19:23 and also his coat*
John 21:25 This entire verse
Acts 6:3 Holy Ghost and (should read "spirit of")
Acts 6:8 faith (should read "grace")
Acts 8:37 This entire verse
Acts 9:31 churches (should read "church")
were (should read "was")
Acts 15:32 and confirmed them*
Acts 18:5 pressed in the spirit (should read "earnestly occupied with the Word")
Acts 18:21 I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but
Rom. 3:22 and upon all
Rom. 6:12 it in
Rom. 7:6 that being dead (should read "being dead to that")
Rom. 8:26 for us
Rom. 11:6 But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work
Rom. 14:6 and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it
1 Cor. 2:1 testimony (should read "mystery")
1 Cor. 6:20 and in your spirit, which are God's
1 Cor. 7:5 fasting and
1 Cor. 10:28 for the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof
1 Cor. 15:24 cometh
2 Cor. 4:14 by (should read "with")
Gal. 3:1 that ye should not obey the truth
Gal. 3:17 in Christ
Gal. 5:19 adultery
Gal. 5:21 murders
Eph. 5:9 Spirit (should read "light")
Eph. 5:30 of his flesh, and of his bones
2 Thess. 2:9 Even him
1 Tim. 3:16 God (should read "who")*
1 Tim. 4:12 in spirit*
1 Tim. 6:5 from such withdraw thyself*
2 Tim. 3:3 without natural affection*
Heb. 12:18 mount that might be touched and that burned with fire (should read "fire that might be touched and burned")*
Heb. 12:20 or thrust through with a dart*
James 5:16 Confess your faults (should read "Therefore confess your sins")*
1 Pet. 2:5 spiritual (before the word "sacrifices")
1 Pet. 3:8 courteous (should read "humble")
2 Pet. 1:1 God and our (should read "our Lord and")*
1 John 3:16 of God
1 John 5:7 in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one
1 John 5:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth
1 John 5:13 and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God
Rev. 1:17 unto me, Fear not*
Rev. 2:22 their (should read "her")*
Rev. 5:3 neither under the earth*
Rev. 5:9 us (omitted by the Alexandrian Ms., one of the three oldest Mss. known)
Rev. 5:10 us (should read "them")
we (should read "they")
Rev. 5:13 and under the earth*
Rev. 6:2 to conquer (should read "he conquered")*
Rev. 9:4 neither any green thing*
Rev. 9:13 the four horns of*
Rev. 10:6 and the sea, and the things which are therein*
Rev. 11:17 and art to come*
Rev. 12:12 inhabiters of* of (before the words "the sea")
Rev. 14:5 before the throne of God*
Rev. 14:12 here are they*
Rev. 16:5 and shalt be (should read "the holy")*
Rev. 16:7 another out of*
Rev. 16:11 and their sores*
of their deeds*
Rev. 16:17 from the throne*
Rev. 18:22 of whatsoever craft he be*
and the stone of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee*
Rev. 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished*
Rev. 21:24 of them which are saved*
Rev. 21:26 and honor*
Rev. 22:3 more*
The ones marked with an asterisk (*) do not appear in the Codex Sinaiticus. The ones without (*) do not appear, as they are written in contempory Christian Bibles, in either the Codex Sinaiticus, or the Codex Vaticanus. These are the two oldest complete, or nearly complete Greek Manuscripts of the Christian bible. Granted there are portions of the C.V. that are missing.
Many Christians believe in “progressive revelation.” A dictionary definition says “Progressive revelation is the teaching that G-d has revealed himself and His will through the Scriptures with an increasing clarity as more and more of the Scriptures were written. In other words, the later the writing the more information is given.” Thus Christians would say the “new” bible is better than the “old.” This is false. By that notion all Christians should now be Mormons since the Book of Mormon claims to be a later revelation than the Christian bible.
Yet, I don’t see the 2 billion Christians making a huge move to Mormonism simply because it claims to be a progressive revelation revealed as an improvement to the Christian bible. . .
I would hazard a guess that most Christians are not Mormons because they would say Mormonism changed Christian teachings, rather than progressively revealing more information.
Jews would say the same about both Christianity and Islam – both change things we are told are eternal and unchanging, thus it is not a progression of revelation.
In the Torah G-d spoke to the entire nation of Israel (Jews) at Sinai. This national revelation never happened before or since. G-d told us that such a revelation would never again happen – national revelation is the death knell to the idea of “progressive revelation.”
“These words HaShem (G-d) spoke to your entire congregation (the entire nation of Israel – 3 million) on the mountain (Sinai), from the midst of the fire, the cloud and the thick cloud – a great voice, NEVER TO BE REPEATED – and He inscribed them on two stone tablets and gave them to me (Moses).” D’varim / Deuteronomy 5:19. Artscroll Stone Edition translation.
NEVER TO BE REPEATED = no progressive revelation.
Do not alter the Torah. Do not change its teachings. It is clear – and Torah tells us it is clear:
“Obey the L-rd, your G-d, to observe His commandments and His statutes written in this Torah scroll, [and] when you return to the L-rd, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul. For this commandment (mitzvot) which I command you this day, is not concealed from you, nor is it far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will go up to heaven for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, "Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?" D’varim / Deuteronomy 30:10-14.
It isn’t hard, and it is perfectly clear (it is not concealed). . .
The covenant that G-d made with Abraham, which he renewed with Isaac, renewed with Jacob and renewed with the entire Jewish nation at Sinai will never be ended. There are no changes in the mizvot of Moses compared and contrasted to the New Covenant (really “renewed” covenant) spoken of by Jeremiah. The Noah still stands, so does the covenant made with Abraham, renewed with Jacob and renewed with Isaac. . . each covenant builds on the previous – none of them have been replaced. The so-called “new” covenant is actually a renewal of the covenants that went before it. It is a fundamental principle of Mosaic covenant is eternal – indeed all of the covenants are forever. The covenant G-d made with Judaism that the Torah received at Sinai will never be changed nor become obsolete. This concept is mentioned in the Torah no less than 24 times, with the words: "This is an eternal law for all generations" (Sh’mot / Exodus 12:14, 12:17, 12:43, 27:21, 28:43, Vayikra / Leviticus 3:17, 7:36, 10:9, 16:29, 16:31, 16:34, 17:7, 23:14, 23:21, 23:31, 23:41, 24:3, Bamidbar / Numbers 10:8, 15:15, 19:10, 19:21, 18:23, 35:29, D’varim / Deuteronomy29:28).
The Torah is eternal. Each of the prophets who came after Torah taught its messages. None of the prophets changed the mitzvot of the Torah. "You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor shall you subtract from it, to observe the commandments of HaShem, your G-d, that I command you." D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:2.
At Sinai we are told that “You might inquire about times long past, going back to the time G-d created man on earth [exploring] one end of the heavens to the other. See if anything as great as this has ever happened, or if the like has ever been heard. Has any nation ever heard G-d speaking out of fire, as you have, and still survived?” (D’varim / Deuteronomy 4:32–33).
At Sinai G-d made eternal promises to the Jewish nation. Those promises will never be changed. G-d has told us that He is not a man, and He also told us that He does not change (Bamidbar / Numbers 23:19). Those are truths, and they will not be altered either.
He also told us at Sinai that we are not to pray to any "god" our fathers did not know (at Sinai). This is the absolute death knell to the missionary claim that Jesus IS G-d. If we did not "know" Jesus at Sinai he is a false god. Read D’varim 11 and D’varim 13 (Deuteronomy). Anyone claiming that something which came after Sinai (progressive anyone?) is false. . .
Christianity and Islam both try to justify their religions based on the Jewish bible. Christianity claims to be a “fulfillment” of the T’nach. However, both Christianity and Islam changed things Torah tell us should not be changed. Shabbat is for Jews, but both “claim” the Sabbath. Both also changed the day of the Sabbath – the Christians to Sunday and the Muslims to Friday. Yet Torah says NOT to change the mitzvot. . . (this is just one of many changes). . . The fact that both religions change the teachings of the Torah show that they are false and not a revelation at all.
In today's earlier post I said I'd "get around" to discussing "lucifer." A few people have messaged me today asking for the answer, so I decided to post it here, too. The prophet Y'shayahu / Isaiah is merely saying that with the fall of the King of Babylon so fall his false gods.
That is IT.
“Lucifer” is an English corruption of the Latin lucem ferre (bringer, or bearer, of light.). Over time this became distorted to "lucifer" and most thought it was a name of a devil.
The term lucem ferre was Latin for the planet Venus. Venus is very bright when it first appears in the morning sky in the east around sunrise.
Venus (lucem ferre) was mistaken for a bright star in ancient times. Many pagans worshiped the planet (which they thought was a star) as a god or goddess (the planet Venus was worshiped as a godess by the ancient Romans). The Babylonians worshiped Inanna, a goddess associated with the planet Venus which at that time was regarded as two stars, the "morning star" and the "evening star."
As such, the prophet is saying that as the Babylonian leader is defeated so too are his gods defeated (including the morning star). In Hebrew the word הֵילֵל heilél (morning star) that Y'shayahu / Isaiah uses in 14:12 as a bitingly sarcastic reference to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II and his fall:
אֵ֛יךְ נָפַ֥לְתָּ מִשָּׁמַ֖יִם הֵילֵ֣ל בֶּן־שָׁ֑חַר נִגְדַּ֣עְתָּ לָאָ֔רֶץ חוֹלֵ֖שׁ עַל־גּוֹיִֽם׃
"How you have fallen from heaven, O (Helel which is translated as morning star), (Shahar translated as son of the dawn)! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!" (Y'shayahu / Isaaih 14:12)
The word "lucifer" didn't creep into Christian translations for 400 years, but thanks to translators using that word instead of "morning star" many Christians (and far too many Jews) think it is "lucifer the devil." It is in the King James Version, but more recent Christian translations are abandoning "lucifer" for the more correct "morning star."
As an interesting aside, the Christian bible refers to Jesus as the "morning star" in Revelations 22:16, yet I can't think of one Christian who thinks that Jesus = Lucifer.
There is no devil. There are no demi-gods. There is only One G-d and He creates everything -- including good and evil.
The word "lucifer" is a latin word for Helel. Nothing more and nothing less. The 4th century Christians translated Helel (Hebrew) into lucifer (latin) and then folks began to misinterpret lucifer as being a fallen angel instead of a fallen false Babylonian god. Why over time didn't people translate this latin word (lucifer) either into English (son of the morning) or into Hebrew "Helel?" While I can't read the minds of others it seems safe to assume that they did so because it served as "proof" of their devil, so why correct the error?
The Torah, the Jewish People and even G-d Himself speak a different language than Christians – even when we use the same words the meaning is usually quite different. Take the Hebrew word שָׂטָן / “satan.”
To Christians the word "satan" is the chief evil spirit; the great adversary of humanity; the devil. 2 Corinthians 4:4 calls him a god (the 4th Christian god with the big 3 of the trinity). "Satan, who is the god of this world." Further Christians are taught that Satan / Devil runs a mythical hell. Jesus is tempted by satan (Matthew 4:1) -- how a god tempts another god?? The devil and his minions are in hell -- a place of eternal torment for those who do not believe in Jesus (Matthew 25:41).
Christians are taught that "the devil" (aka "satan") is a fallen angel. This is also untrue. Angels are bound to do G-d's will. They have no free will of their own. Heavenly angels have only one mission, and this means that their names denote that mission. Most do not exist long enough for any name to be noted, but some have important enough missions to warrant their name being known.
Jew and Christian use the word "satan" but have totally different meanings for that one word. In Judaism we do not see it as there being a conflict between good and evil. Some ancient religions believed that there are two forces in the universe, one good and one evil, and that they are constantly warring with each other. This was common to Mthraism, Zroastrianism, Chritianity, and later to Mnichaeism. Chrstianity, however, made the devil less powerful than G-d, but still made him a rebel against G-d.
Judaism sees it differently, and we have always seen it differently. Satan is not a rebellious angel. G-d created both good and evil.
There is no devil in Judaism. There are no "demi-gods." There is only one G-d and He created good and evil. "Forming 'Light' and creating 'Darkness', making 'Peace' and creating 'Evil' - I am HaShem and I do ALL these things" Isaiah 45:7.
G-d created evil.
There is no devil.
The word שָׂטָן / "satan" does appear in the Jewish bible. The word means "adversary" and it is used to speak of humans as well. Satan (with a capital "S") which is the name of the Chrstian devil does not exist in the T'nach or in Judaism.
The word "satan" IS NOT A PROPER NOUN (personal name). שָׂטָן / satan simply means "an opponent / opposer."
G-d has no opponents or opposition -- fallen angels do not exist. Humans DO have opponents.
Let's look at some instances of the use of "satan" in the T'nach:
"But G-d became angry because he was going, so [one] of HaShem's angels (messengers) stationed itself in his way as an opponent (satan) to him." (B'midbar / Numbers 22:22);
"Then HaShem's angel (messengers) said to him, "Why have you struck your she-donkey these three times? See, I came out as an opponent (satan) because you were hurrying on the way [to act] against me; but the she-donkey saw me and turned away these three times; if she had not turned away to avoid me, by now for sure I would have killed you, but I would have kept her alive!" (B'midbar / Numbers 22:32-33);
". . .he should not join us in the battle in case he becomes an opponent (satan) to us in the battle! (Sh'muél Alef / 1 Samuel 29:4-5);
"David said, "What is [the disagreement] between me and you, Tz'ruyah's sons, that you have become opponents (satans) to me today??" (Sh'muél Beit / 2 Samuel 19:23).
Why did G-d create evil? Is G-d cruel? Is it some sort of punishment?
Evil is not a punishment -- it is a learning tool. G-d created the universe because G-d wanted to do good. So there had to be people to receive that good.
G-d does not want to just give away good as a present. G-d wants people to appreciate it. Something you get for free you do not appreciate. And in fact, if you got something amazingly good for free, and you were allowed to enjoy it for all eternity, you would be embarrassed by it. You didn't work for it, you don't deserve it.
So G-d decided that people would have to work for it, and receive the ultimate goodness as a reward for work.
What is that work? Well, G-d created the Evil Inclination, the angel called Satan, whose job it is to tempt us to do evil. If we ignore the Evil Inclination, then we get closer to G-d, and become more holy. By doing so, we merit the reward of the ultimate goodness. G-d also gave us Commandments, and the Tempting Angel tempts us to find reasons not to keep those Commandments. By ignoring the temptations, and fulfilling G-d's Commandments, we become more spiritual, and our souls gain more power over ourselves.
So we see our lives in this world as an opportunity. We have been granted the glorious opportunity to attain holiness and ultimate goodness.
G-d has given us a CHOICE between life and good on one side and death and evil on the other.
CHOICE. This is all about choice. Free will.
When G-d created man He did so in His image. G-d is the only entity in the universe, aside from man, who can CHOOSE. When everything is "good" where is the choice? If you knew that to touch fire would burn you, would you put your hand in the fire?
But what if you didn't know (like a baby?). You are drawn to the fire's beauty. You are drawn to its warmth. Fire cooks your food. Yet fire can be misused -- it can burn people even to death. It can destroy our homes. Fire can be good AND bad.
The fire can't choose - - it simply exists, but WE can choose.
And our inclination is to choose poorly. G-d wants us to learn and rise above our evil inclination and become holy people -- but how can we become improved and better if we can't learn and grow? If we only have good we simply exist. We just "are." With evil we can choose life and good. We can CHOOSE the blesing.
So remember, satan means "opponent" or "adversary." People have opponents, G-d has none. There is only one G-d. There is no devil, no hell. Same word -- totally different meaning! As for the word "lucifer" which I will look at more closely in a later post -- it is not found in the bible at all.
Although missionaries claim that there are many "prophecies" about Jesus in the T'nach it often seems that Isaiah 53 is often the #1 missionary "go to" proof that Jesus was the messiah.
Traditionally Judaism states that Isaiah 53's suffering servant is the Jewish nation, referred to in the singular. Missionaries try to find any "proof" that some Jew somewhere pointed to Isaiah 53's servant as the messiah (or someone else) as if this "proves" that Jesus was the suffering servant.
We will discuss Isaiah 53 in my other blog, 365 Prophecies, and point out that Jesus did not have a long physical life, did not admit guilt, did not have children, etc. as the servant will. There are also places in Isaiah 53 where the servant is referred to in the plural (which doesn't fit Jesus either).
My intention here is to simply address the missionary contention about Isaiah 53 and what Jewish sources have to say about it. The internet has site after site “quoting” early Jewish sources who recognize that the suffering servant was the messiah. The only problem is that this is not the truth.
Go back to early Christianity. An early church father, Origen, in 248 CE, speaks of Jews telling him the servant was Israel and not the messiah.
"Now I remember that, on one occasion, at a disputation held with certain Jews, who were reckoned wise men, I quoted these prophecies; to which my Jewish opponent replied, that these predictions bore reference to the whole people, regarded as one individual, and as being in a state of dispersion and suffering, in order that many proselytes might be gained, on account of the dispersion of the Jews among numerous heathen nations." Origen, Contra Celsum, Book 1.Chapter 55.
Most missionaries try to claim that Jews before Rashi (1040 - 1105 CE) said the servant in Isaiah 53 was the messiah and "Rashi changed it to the Jews." How do they explain Origen's quote from the 3rd century CE? How do they explain these sources (all pre-Rashi) which all state that the servant in Isaiah 53 is the Jewish people (Israel):
Eliyahu Rabbah (3 citations)
Yalkut Shimoni II 476
Bamidbar Rabbah chapter 13.2
Zohar (numerous places)
Poems by R. Shlomo Ibn Gavriel
The answers to missionaries trying to prove that Jesus was not (and could not have been) the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 haven’t changed in the 2000 years that Jews have been trying to educate Christians. You can read the same answers (about Isaiah 53 for example) in the Disputation of Barcelona where the Ramban debated a Christian in front of the King of Spain in 1263 CE.
”Friar Paul (the Christian) claimed: “Behold the passage in Isaiah, chapter 53, tells of the death of the messiah and how he was to fall into the hands of his enemies and how he was placed alongside the wicked, as happened to Jesus. Do you believe that this section speaks of the messiah?
(The Ramban) said to him: “In terms of the true meaning of the section, it speaks only of the people of Israel, which the prophets regularly call ‘Israel My servant’ or ‘Jacob My servant.’ ”
Friar Paul said: “I shall prove from the words of your sages that it speaks of the messiah.”
(The Ramban) said to him: “It is true that the rabbis in the aggadah (stories not meant to be taken literally) explain it as referring to the messiah. However, they never said that he would be killed at the hands of his enemies. For you will find in no book of the Jews, neither in the Talmud nor in the Midrash, that the messiah, the descendant of David, would be killed or would be turned over to his enemies or would be buried among the wicked. Indeed even the messiah whom you made for yourself was not buried. I shall explain for you this section properly and clearly, if you wish. There is no indication that the messiah would be killed, as happened to your messiah. They, however, did not wish to hear.”
The truth is the truth. It doesn’t change — and it may seem “tired” when one hears the same truths over and over again.
Friar Paul, the Christian, (in the debate with the Ramban in front of the King) then cited a (Midrash) aggadah (stories not meant to be taken literally). . . The Ramban told the King
"This is analogous to the bishop standing and giving a sermon, with one of the listeners deciding to write it. In regard to this book, those who believe it well and good, but those who do not believe it do no harm.”
Midrash aggadot are like sermons — not meant to be taken literally, yet the missionaries quote from aggadot on Isaiah 53 as if it WERE literal. The 19th century book called “The Fifty-third chapter of Isaiah according to the Jewish Interpreters” by Driver and Neubauer (Christians) began this missionary myth which is repeated by so many missionaries. This untruth is found all over the internet, because they simply do not understand (or if they do understand, they don’t explain to their readers) what Midrash Aggadot really is about. That book also quoted Karaites (considered apostates!), obscure poets and such are quoted in that book as if they were Jewish sages. . . and no sources are given so it is very difficult to trace what is a bad mistranslation versus an outright fable. . .
As the Ramban said to the King of Spain
“We also call this book aggadah, that is, stories, meaning that these are only things which one person tells another.”
And yet these stories are repeated by missionary after missionary as “proof.”
Proof like a castle built out of sand.
My answer is the same as that of the Ramban, 800 years ago. It is old. It is tired. I dearly wish I did not have to repeat it.
But the truth does not change.
The original idea that Jews USED to say that Isaiah 52-53 was about the messiah but "changed" it to the nation of Israel because of the threat of Christianity during the time of Rashi (12th century CE) popped up in the 19th century. It was the brainchild of a Chrstian named E. B. Pusey. He came up with the idea for a book entitled The 53rd Chapter of Isaiah According to Jewish Interpreters. He wrote a VERY long introduction which in itself contains many, many errors.
Two fellow Oxford men did the translations -- which are very selective (as we will see in future posts) and often mistranslated. The translations were courtesy of Driver and Neubauer. These supposed Jewish "proofs" now rebound all over the internet. (usually uncredited).
Although the title speaks of Isaiah 53, the misquotes often ignore that chapter, and often Isaiah itself, to glean misquotes and distortions from various sources. Missionaries quote all the old standards that come from the Driver and Neubauer book and are found all over the internet. E. B. Pusey was a Christian theologian who lived in the 19th century. So he wasn't Jewish and his knowledge of "Jewish interpretation" of anything was limited (to be kind). Pusey read Hebrew, German, Aramaic and Arabic - but he was not learned in Judaism.
Read the introduction to the book itself and you will see that Neubauer DID NOT want to include the passages that appear from Martini as they are forgeries. However Pusey insisted that they appear (as he states in his introduction) and so there now appears a text that is claimed to come from the talmud Sanhedrin, which disagrees with all texts of Sanhedrin, and is IN FACT taken from Martini.
This issue of falsification and distortion is a common one. The targum Jonathan is quoted for verse 52:13 but usually not 52:14 or 53:1.
Why because that destroys the premise that the servant in Isaiah is the messiah!
The Zohar (II 212) is quoted in part but NEVER in full where it would contradict what the quoter is trying to prove. The Zohar is mysticism -- allegory not literal meaning so quoting it for "facts" is a total distortion. It shouldn't be used to "prove" anything -- but they do use it to try to prove that Jesus could be the messiah, and then they misquote it ignoring the parts that disprove their contention (dishonest at best).
The same could be said for their quotes from the Ramban (Nachmanides, who says that the simple meaning of the passage is that it is about Israel),or the Alsheich who mentions the messiah, but says that the messiah he means is King David. etc etc.
This 19th century book, then, is the source that "proves" we Jews changed the meaning of the servant from the messiah to Israel. Hardly bullet-proof and yet time and again we must refute it. Quotes from it are found all over the internet (usually without crediting the original source).
Over time I may discuss a number of the sources used by missionaries, most taken from Driver and Neubauer -- sources including Sanhedrin 98, the Zohar, Targum Yonathan (Jonathan), Sefer Gilgulim, etc. For now -- consider the source! In the meantime I suggest reading the article "The Lies and Distortions of Driver in The Fifty Third Chapter of Isaiah according to the Jewish Interpreters" by Rabbi Moshe Shulman.
In the Christian bible Hebrews 9:22 says “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” This is clearly false -- and many missionaries tie this mistake to Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 which they claim says "it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul." This is further distorted to somehow mean that ONLY blood atones and further that blood atones for the immortal soul.
This paves the way for Jesus as the blood sacrifice to atone for the immortal soul (thus "saving" people from sin).
The idea that you need blood for the remission of sins is based on mistranslating Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 and ignoring quote after quote in the T'nach (Jewish bible) which clealry says that only the blood of certain kosher animals, sacrificed properly in the Temple, can atone for some very minor mistakes and errors -- and they have nothing at all to do with the immortal soul (which comes from G-d, is perfect and does not sin).
The word in Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 is not soul. The word is נפש / nefesh which translates to life force, not immortal soul. Yet almost all English translations will use the word “soul” for נפש / nefesh – misleading readers into thinking that atonement is for your immortal soul, when in reality it is for your life-force -- the thing that keeps an animal or human body alive -- the very blood which courses through your veins. . .
R' Aryeh Kaplan's "The Living Torah" translation of Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 says "to atone for your lives” – rather than "soul."
The message of Vayikra / Leviticus 17 (read the WHOLE chapter) is not to eat blood. Jews are forbidden from eating blood since it contains the life force. Far from saying ONLY blood atones, Leviticus 17 is saying that blood should be thrown away into the dirt (and not eaten). The only use for blood at all is in some sacrifices.
The Jastrow Dictionary says that it is our נַפְשׁוֹת nafshot (plural of נֶֽפֶשׁ nefesh) and this always refers to life force. Look up נַפְשׁוֹת in a translator (like Google Translate) and it is translated as "people." When you read the T'nach you'll see that even plants and animals possess a נֶֽפֶשׁ nefesh -- see B'reshit / Genesis 1:30 and 6:17 -- this is NOT the immortal soul. The immortal soul is from the ru'ah that G-d breathed into man (B'reshit / Genesis 2:7). Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 SHOULD be translated as "life force" and not soul.
Some translate nefesh as "the soul of the FLESH" -- meaning not the immortal soul, but (yet again) the "life force."
There is only ONE Christian translation I've ever seen that renders נֶֽפֶשׁ הַבָּשָׂר in Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 as "the soul of the flesh" (others mistranslate it as "soul of a creature") -- and this is J. N. Darby's 1890 mis-translation.
It helps to remember that all translations are as much interpretation as translation -- and the editors have to turn a profit. If their translations veer too far from the familiar -- particularly with "proof texts" like Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 people won't buy their translations!
The problem hangs on bad translations like the KJV and then distortion by Hebrews 9:22. Based on blindly believing the Christian bible rather than checking the facts for themselves the missionaries insists that there is no remission of sins without blood and without a Temple. This is absolutely the opposite of what the Jewish bible teachs. This mistake that atonement of sin requires a blood sacrifice comes from a mis-reading of Vayikra / Leviticus 17 where Jews are forbidden from EATING blood and told its only purpose is on the altar or to be thrown away into the dirt (Vayikra / Leviticus 17:13).
The T'nach uses the exactly the same wording in Sh'mot / Exodus to tell us that money atones for the life force USING EXACTLY THE SAME WORDS as when it tells us in Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 that blood atones -- and yet missionaries do not insist that Jesus was a money sacrifice!
"You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before HaShem, to make atonement for נפש / nefesh / life force (soul)." Sh'mot / Exodus 30:16.
So money atones for the same thing that Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 tells us blood atones for. . . and there is another!
Jewelry atones for the נפש / nefesh / life force (soul) the same way blood and money atones for them.
Just as with blood and money it is the exact same wording, although the translators do NOT translate it the same way (misleading translations -- it should give you pause to wonder how else they are misleading you!).
"We therefore want to bring an offering to G-d. Every man who found any gold article [such as] and anklet, a bracelet, a finger ring, and earring, or a body ornament [wishes to bring it] to kafar (atone) for our נפש / nefesh / life force (soul) before G-d.'” Bamidbar / Numbers 31:50.
The Torah does say that blood atones -- it doesn't say that ONLY blood atones. This concept was added by the Christian bible to explain the need for Jesus to die for them. It is like saying "pizza is food -- ergo the only food in the world is pizza."
Many, many things atone. Blood is only one thing that atones for only a very few (and minor) individual sins. Most blood sacrifices had nothing to do with sin, they were for thanking G-d and even to celebrate -- but never for the immortal soul, for "saving" that immortal soul either. There are things (other than blood, Hebrews 9:22 was wrong) which atone for worse sins -- including:
repentance (II Samuel 12:13-14, Jonah 3:10, Lev. 26:40-42, Ezek. 18:21-32, 33:11-16)
kindness (Prov. 16:6, Daniel 4:24)
prayer (Hos. 14:2-3,I Kings 8:46-50, Daniel 9:19)
removal of idolatry (Is. 27:9)
punishment (Is. 40:1, Lam. 4:22),
death (Is. 22:14)
flour offerings (Lev. 5:11-13)
money (Ex. 30:15)
jewelry (Num. 31:50)
and incense (Num. 17:11-12).
Turning to G-d (teshuvah), and communicating with G-d (tefillah) have always been a REQUIREMENT for the forgiveness of sins -- with or without a Temple.
Perhaps the missionaries forget that Abraham didn't have a Temple. Neither did Jacob. Or Isaac. The Jews in Egypt didn't have a Temple. There were no sacrifices prior to the giving of the Torah at Sinai. . .
Here is what G-d has always required: "seek the L-rd your G-d, then you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (30) When you are in distress, and these words will find their way to you; in the end of days, you will return to the L-rd your G-d, and you will obey him; (31) For the L-rd your G-d is a merciful G-d, He will not forsake you and will not destroy you; and He will not forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them." D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:27-31.
Daniel 9 is not about the messianic age. It is not a messianic prophecy. And, "no," "the" messiah did not have to arrive before the destruction of the second Temple.
Daniel is seeing a vision about the return of the Jews from the exile in Babylon. In his vision he sees that a messiah (not "the") will give the word to rebuild Jerusalem. The word "messiah" in Hebrew means "anointed one" and it is used to speak of anointed kings and Jewish priests.
In Daniel 9 the first ruler (messiah) comes after 49 years after the destruction of the Temple a ruler will come and give the order to rebuild Jerusalem:
"Know and comprehend: From the emergence of the word to return and to build Jerusalem until the anointment of the prince will be seven septets, and fir sixty-two shavuim (weeks / septets) it will be rebuilt, street and moat but in troubled times." Daniel 9:25.
The messiah is Cyrus the Great of Persia. He was the king who gave the order to rebuild Jerusalem. From the time the order is given the Jews have nearly 500 years to return to observance and avoid a second exile. If they do, then they will avoid a second exile. (All negative prophecies are warnings that can be averted if one listens to the warning). Missionaries will claim that it was not Cyrus who gave the word mentioned in Daniel 9, but the prophet Ezra tells us:
"And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the HaShem by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the HaShem stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he issued a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing." Ezra 1:1
In case you were not sure that it this word was fulfilled by Cyrus, we can recap all of the above verses with this synopsis in Chronicles.
"To fulfill the word of HaShem by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths; for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, so that the word of HaShem spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, HaShem stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, and he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying: Thus said Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth has the HaShem G-d of heaven given me; and He has charged me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, HaShem his G-d be with him, and let him go up!" 2nd Chronicles 36:21-23.
This indeed happened -- just as Daniel had been told. Cyrus gave the decree to rebuild Jerusalem.
"Know and comprehend: From the emergence of the word to return and to build Jerusalem until the anointment of the prince will be seven shavuim (weeks / septets), and for sixty-two shavuim (weeks / septets) it will be rebuilt, street and moat but in troubled times." Daniel 9:25.
For 490 years (from when the first Temple was destroyed to the destruction of the second Temple) the Jews need to be purified of their sins such as not properly observing the sabbatical years. The angel says the second Temple period will be troubled.
All negative visions can be avoided. If the people used the time correctly they can receive the positive vision mentioned in Daniel 9:24 "to terminate transgression, to end sin, to wipe away iniquity, to bring everlasting righteousness, to confirm the visions and prophets and to anoint the Holy of Holies." If they do not turn away from their transgressions and stop doing the evil things moving them away from Torah they will have a different ending -- and a second (and evil) messiah will come to destroy Jerusalem yet again, and exile the Jews again as well.
The Jews did not heed the warning — indeed the Second Temple period was one of great strife. The Jews actually invited the Romans in! Some Jews became very Hellenized (Romanized). There were many splinter groups, one of whom actually torched the food within the walls of Jerusalem — destroying their fellow Jews. The Talmud (Yoma 9b) says: “Why was the Second Temple destroyed? Because of sinat chinam, senseless hatred of one Jew for another.”
Hence the second exile was not avoided. The Temple was destroyed in 68 CE and around 135 CE the Jews were exiled from Judah — most of us for 2000 years.
"Then, after the sixty-two septets , the anointed one will be cut off and will exist no longer; the people of the prince will come and will destroy the city and the Sanctuary; but his end will be (to be swept away as) in a flood. Then, until the end of the war, desolation is decreed." Daniel 9:26.
The term “messiah” is used 39 times in the T’nach. It means “anointed one” and it refers to kings and priests. In the case of Cyrus it refers to a non-Jewish king. The evil messiah who is cut off from G-d at the end of the 490 years (as mentioned in Daniel 9:26) could have been Herod Agrippa, or even Titus (who became the anointed emperor of Rome). How do we know this second messiah was evil? Because Daniel tells us that he will be כרת / kareit -- cut off. The term כרת / kareit means someone who has done something so evil that he is cut off from G-d and from the Jewish people. Missionaries who wish to insist that Daniel 9 is speaking of Jesus (as at least one of the messiahs) should ask themselves "was Jesus so evil that G-d would have cut him off from knowing Him?" If not, Daniel 9:26 cannot be speaking of Jesus.
When Daniel 9 uses the term "messiah" there is no definite article (the word "the") used at all, even though some Christain translations including the King James Version say "the messiah."
The lack of a definitive article (messiah but not “the” messiah) indicates that this second anointed one (messiah) could refer to several different anointed subjects. King Herod Agrippa the last King of Judah (Kings are considered anointed as it says in 1 Chronicles 11:3). He was killed during this time (around 44 CE). Messiah could also refer to the last High priest (priests are anointed as seen in Vayikra / Leviticus 4). There was also Titus (Emperor) who made a treaty with the Jewish nation for seven years, but for the second half of the term the Romans would violate that covenant and impede the Temple service. He eventually became the Roman emperor and died around 81 CE.
My point being Daniel 9 has nothing to do with “the” messiah or the messianic age. David was a messiah. Aaron was a messiah. Saul was a messiah. Cyrus was a messiah. Solomon was a messiah. . . none of them were “the” messiah. There are two messiahs (plural) in Daniel 9 -- neither of which was "the" messiah. This is not a messianic prophecy. (Actually the book of Daniel is not prophecy at all -- it is found in Ketuvim, Writings, in the T'nach). To better understand why Sefer Daniel is not prophecy refer to the 365 Prophecies tab and read the post explaining prophecy. Link.
“You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor shall you subtract from it, to observe the commandments of HaShem, your G-d, that I command you.” D’varim / Deuteronomy 4:2.
What does that mean?
Some missionaries seem to think it means that if something isn’t mentioned in the Torah it is forbidden. But that doesn’t make sense – after all the Torah tells us "And you shall observe all that they shall instruct you" (D’varim / Deuteronomy 17:10).
Observe all that they instruct you (who is “they”?) – but don’t add to the word or subtract from it. . .
If we could understand everything Sola Scriptura (by reading the bible) there would not be the command to listen to our instructors and observe all they tell us to do.
There are 613 mitzvot in the Torah for Jews (and 7 for non-Jews). When D’varim (Deuteronomy) tells us not to add or subtract from those mitzvot it means DO NOT CHANGE THEM.
If the Torah tells you “do not steal” then do not steal.
It doesn’t mean “you can steal a colt and donkey” (Matthew 21:7) but don’t steal anything else. Or “if you think you are the messiah you can steal stuff.” No, “do not steal” means DO NOT STEAL.
Another example. The Torah tells us it is a mitzvah to marry. “To marry a wife by means of ketubah and kiddushin.” D’varim / Deuteronomy 22:13. Ergo one should marry. (Jesus failed to fulfill this mitzvah).
Does it say “marry only one woman”? No it does not. It simply says to marry. The Torah is silent on whether marriage should be monogamous or polygamous – so neither one is commanded. That choice is left open, one is not adding to or subtracting from the mitzvah to marriage by marrying one person or more than one – the Torah is silent on the subject.
However, since the Torah also tells us to listen to our judges and their instructions they may build a fence around a mitzvah to protect it. Again, if the mitzvah is silent on an aspect this is not adding to or subtracting from the mitzvah – as the mitzvah itself has not been changed.
Read Sh’mot (Exodus) chapter 18: “But you must [also] seek out from among all the people capable, G-d-fearing men - men of truth, who hate injustice. You must then appoint them over [the people] as leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens. 'Let them administer justice for the people on a regular basis. Of course, they will have to bring every major case to you, but they can judge the minor cases by themselves. They will then share the burden, making things easier for you. 18:23 If you agree to this, and G-d concurs, you will be able to survive. This entire nation will then also be able to attain its goal of peace.'” Sh’mot / Exodus 18:21-23.
Now we know who the "they" is -- the judges. The learned men from all of the tribes who instruct us and interpret the mitzvot to new situations and problems. Another word for judge is "rabbi." Rabbis sit in Beit Din (courts of law) and adjudicate cases (including conversions) even today. The higher courts (the 23 judge and 70 judge Sanhedrins) do not currently exist, but will in the messianic era.
From the time of Moses to today there have been Rabbis (teachers / judges) from all the tribes who teach and mete out justice. They apply the mitzvot to various legal problems (this is what much of the Talmud is doing – describing the rules in a given situation). . . and it is ALL biblical. Rabbinical courts do not “change the law” the rabbis are doing exactly what G-d instructed them to do – follow the rules and apply them using the Torah as their guide. (The word "rabbi" / רב (rav) is derived from the word רַבִּי rabi (my master).
While we are forbidden from changing the 613 mitzvot in the Torah, there is nothing wrong with adding a new rule (such as the observance of Purim or Chanukah). We simply are forbidden from changing the 613!
Consider the weekly blessing over the Shabbat candles. This is not a mitzvah given in the Torah -- instead it is a mitzvot d'rabbanan (rabbinical instruction). Other rabbinical instructions include celebrating Chanukah and the holiday of Purim, along with praying three times a day, reciting kaddish after the dead, making a blessing before eating, and washing of the hands. . . none are in the written Torah, but the fact that we do them is not “adding to or subtracting from” the 613 mitzvot. The 613 mitzvot have not been changed!
One reason there is an oral "how to" perform the mitzvot is because people are not blocks of stone -- never moving or changing. Life is constantly evolving and with new conditions must be someone who can interpret and safeguard His mitzvot and legislate Jewish life. G-d imparted the authority to his judges -- and this is in the WRITTEN Torah.
Adding to or subtracting from the Torah mitzvot would be having the written Torah say "Shabbat is on Saturday" (the 7th day, Sh'mot / Exodus 20:10) and having someone come along and say "let's make Shabbat Sunday."
Torah tells us (for example) to observe the Shabbat and keep it holy. We are told "no melachot" (what to do and not do -- like light a fire is a no-no). The Rabbis said "let's have everyone light candles just before sundown and say a "thank you to G-d" and that will bring the family together and make everyone realize that Shabbat is beginning. It will 'set the tone.' Now how exactly does that CHANGE what G-d told us for Shabbat?
Every one of the mitzvot d'rabbanan begins with the blessing "Blessed are you HaShem our G-d who has commanded. . ." The lighting of the Shabbat candles, Purim, Chanukah, etc. av Nehemiah says: From 'Ask your father and he will tell you, your grand-parents, and they will say to you' (D'varim / Deuteronomy 32:7)'" (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 23a).
This authority comes straight from the Torah: “You shall act according to the law they shall teach you and according to the judgment that they shall tell you; do not deviate from the judgment that they announce to you either to the right or to the left." (D’varim / Deuteronomy 17:11).
And just who are the “judges” who have the training, the knowledge, the experience and the authority to decide matters of Torah-law? The Rabbis (who are both instructors and judges).
The Being Jewish website has excellent articles entitled Haven't Rabbis Changed the Laws, Why Can't Jewish Law be Altered and How Do We Know Our Tradition is Correct.
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.