Responding to www.AISH.com regarding Jesus of Nazareth

 

The information that I will refer to in this posting comes from the internet:

http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/jewishsociety/why_jews_dont_believe_in_jesus.asp

This is a website that champions the Orthodox Jewish point of view. Their issue is with Jesus, his immediate followers, the New Covenant scriptures, Christian interpretation of the Jewish Bible, behavior of professing Christians, and Christian doctrine. One of the reasons most Orthodox Jews want nothing or very little to do with Christians is because of Christianity. As they understand it they feel that it is their duty to ensure that Jews do not entertain any ideas of seeing the claims of Jesus as an alternative to rabbinical faith. Why? Jesus cannot be the Son of God, his followers falsified their testimony, the New Covenant is a distortion of traditional Jewish understanding regarding the messiah, the application of messianic prophecies to Jesus are inaccurate, through the ages professing Christians promoted anti-Semitism, persecuted and murdered unknown numbers of Jews for non-conformity.  The rabbis also claim the doctrines of original sin, Trinity, redemption only through the shedding of blood, and salvation through grace do not abrogate strict adherence to the Torah. In short, the Orthodox Jews are right about all these issues and the Christians are wrong or at least misguided.

Orthodox Rabbinical Jews have no reason to listen to Christians. They do not listen to anyone who does not accept their authority. They view Christians as their most dangerous enemies, deceivers who have “tried to steal the Tenakh from us.” Their ancestors, the Pharisees, asserted that Yeshua did miracles and prophesied by Baal-Zebub [that is, Satan, the deceiver]!  They do not accept ANY of Jesus’ teaching as detailed in the New Covenant. Therefore, the lesson of the Good Samaritan is not accepted, and they do not view ANY non-Sabbath observant/non-Kosher person [including lax/lapsed Jews] as worthy of a hearing.

It is important to state at this point that the purpose of this post is to accurately illustrate the Orthodox point of view and Biblical responses to their positions. Christians must understand that scriptural arguments will not bring anyone to faith in Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah. If a Jewish person has reached the point where they feel the emptiness and/or futility of Rabbinical Judaism or of a life without God–meaning they have no relationship with God and the rituals become unsatisfying or meaningless, they may develop a heartache that nothing in traditional Judaism will comfort.  At this point Christian friends need to be responsive and a loving witness to them. The purpose here is not to argue religion. Annoying Jewish people is not the purpose of this website.  There is no benefit for any Gentile Christians to argue about/from the Talmud. The Rabbis have their own interpretation of the Torah and Tenakh they have developed over more than 1500 years, starting with Gamaliel and ending in the 17th century, that is internally self-validating.

As for the AISH site, in addition to espousing the traditional Jewish point of view, they must also obey the Torah and answer questions concerning their authority. Exodus 20:16 states, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”. This begs the question: Who is one’s neighbor? Are Christians the neighbors of Jews or are we to be considered enemies? Most Jews believe that a truthful representation of facts should be presented. If one holds the truth, then there is really no reason not to put all the cards on the table. The worst that can happen is that we disagree, but we should not argue. A good starting point in this discourse would be rabbinical responses to these questions:

(1) Who gave ANY rabbi the authority to edit the Torah?

(2) Who gave the rabbis the authority to assert that prayer, fasting, and charitable gifts were an acceptable atonement for sin?

(3) Who gave them the authority to make ANY changes to accepted teaching on adherence to Torah that had developed before the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem?

Since the rabbis have not been granted authority to perform miracles or predict future events like the Prophets, how could they (rabbis descendent of Judah or Benjamin) take upon themselves the authority to amend Torah on the most basic of issues: Abandoning the Levitical sacrifices and diminishing the role of the Kohanim and Levites in favor of elevating themselves to the position of supreme authority for Judaism?

If their answers to these questions do not have a biblical basis, then how can they deny the authority of Yeshua of Nazareth-who did foretell the future accurately and did perform miracles which is why the people followed Him. For the next 40 years after the passion, the rabbis convinced most of the Jewish people that doing so would lead the Romans to destroy the Temple and scatter the Jews the way the Assyrians had scattered the Israelites of the northern tribes. In fact, this is exactly what happened, but it was instead because of what the rabbis did and condoned both in 66 AD and again in 135 AD.

Jesus Did Not Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies

“Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the Bible no concept of a second coming exists.”

This statement is either true or false so let us examine what the Jewish Bible states:

Micah 5:1 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall one come forth unto me that is to be your ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting.”

Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

In the first example, the ruler of Israel comes from Bethlehem in Judah and he comes from everlasting. He who is born in Bethlehem is associated with the everlasting.

Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice, greatly O daughter of Zion: shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold your king comes to you: he is just, and having victory; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

This scripture is tied to the first scripture because it mentions the King, who is a just person and meek coming to Jerusalem on an ass. The King of Israel is born in Bethlehem and rides into Jerusalem on an ass-Yeshua ha Moshiakh. Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem and rode into Jerusalem on an ass.

In the second example, one in human form is seen descending from the heavens and he is also a King for it states his kingdom is everlasting and shall not be destroyed. In Micah, the King who is born comes from everlasting and the King who descends from heaven will have an everlasting dominion. How can a descendent of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David descend from heaven?

http://www.AISH.com states, “God will be King over all the world ― on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).

Further clarity comes from Zechariah 14:3-4 “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations as when he fought in the day of battle.  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem…” Jeremiah 23:5-6 brings more clarity. “Behold the days come says the Lord, I will raise unto David a righteous sprout, and he shall reign as King…and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness.”

In these scriptures, the King of Israel, who looks like a son of man, descends from the heavens. He is God for he will rule the world for he, the Lord, will go forth and his feet will stand upon the Mount of Olives.According to the Jewish Bible the rabbinical assertions in http://www.AISH.com concerning this issue are not true.

Jesus Did Not Embody the Personal Qualifications of Messiah

Maimonides – Yad Teshuva 9:2 “Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry, a situation which has not existed since 300 BCE. During the time of Ezra, when the majority of Jews remained in Babylon, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophet’s ― Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended, and thus could not be a prophet.”

Moses Maimonidies lived 1000 years ago and created the Mishna Torah which can be found in the back of the Talmud. He is a Jewish sage and certainly by his own words he is not a Prophet. He is giving an opinion. If his opinion is true, then Yeshua did not behave like a prophet. Let’s see.

Daniel 9:26 “After 62 weeks shall the anointed [Messiah] be cut off [killed], and there shall be none to succeed him: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary… .” The Prophet Daniel predicted that the Messiah would come, die and after his death the city of Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed. In Luke 18: 31:33, Yeshua also predicted he would be rejected, tortured, murdered by the gentiles, and that he would resurrect in Jerusalem. In Luke 19:41-44, Yeshua predicted that Jerusalem would be destroyed and the people would be killed. In Luke 21:5-6, Yeshua predicted the destruction of the Second Temple. In Luke 21:12-19, Yeshua predicted that he would have followers and they would be persecuted. In Luke 21:24, Yeshua predicted that the Jews would be scattered into all nations and that Jerusalem would be controlled by Gentiles until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled, i.e., 1967.

Yeshua was correct concerning his death, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, the persecution of his followers and the eventual end of gentile control over Jerusalem. The accuracy of these fulfilled predictions proves that Yeshua was a prophet. There can be no doubt that Maimonides was wrong.

Descendant of David

“According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people: (1) He will not be a demi-god (2) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.”

‘According to Jewish sources’ does not mean according to the Tenakh. The Jewish sources referred to have already rejected Yeshua. The Tenakh does not reject him. It proves he is the salvation of the world. As far as he will not be a demi-god and will not possess supernatural qualities…behold:

Psalm 2:7 “I will declare the decree: the Lord has said unto me, You are my son; this day I have begotten you”.

Prov 30:4 “Who has ascended up into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name and what is his son’s name if you can tell?”

Isaiah 7: 14 “The Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold the Young Woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name “God with us”.

Isaiah 9:5 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…and his name shall be called…Mighty God of the Everlasting Father…”

The Messiah of God is not like other people. The scriptures point to a heavenly persona from a Godly origin yet born through God’s chosen people. In terms of not possessing supernatural qualities:

Isaiah 35: 3-5 “You strengthen the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees…your God will come…he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap…and the tongue of the dumb sing…”

Psalm 16:10 “For you will not commit my soul to the grave; neither will you suffer your pious one to see corruption.”

Psalm 30:4 “Oh Lord you have brought up my soul from the grave: you have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.”

Yeshua healed all that wanted to be healed. There were no meaningless miracles as previously insinuated. All were made well or fed by him. There has never been a rabbinical retort to the empty tomb. Jewish Temple guards were positioned at the tomb because Caiaphas was aware of Yeshua’s predictions of resurrection (Matthew 27:62-66). We know these guards were Jewish because they ran to Caiaphas to tell him, not to Pilate. They were bribed by the Chief Priests to say they were asleep and the disciples stole Yeshua’s body (Matthew 28:11-15). What did they experience? An Earthquake, an angel in white rolling back the stone and with this they fell down as dead men in fear. (Matthew 28:1-4).

In terms of a descendent of David, Matthew’s genealogy was written for two reasons. It proved that Joseph was a descendent of David (1:6) and that Joseph could not be the biological father of Yeshua (1:11). This was because the promises made to Solomon were conditional (1 Chronicles 28:7). Solomon sinned greatly and the Kingdom was taken from his descendents (1 Kings 11:11). Furthermore, his descendent Jeconiah was cursed (Jeremiah 22:30; 36:30-31).  Luke’s genealogy is at variance with Matthew and it is therefore the genealogy of Mary. Mary is a descendent of David (3:31) and David’s son Nathan who was born in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 3:5), who was free of any curse.

Torah Observance

“Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), ‘He does not observe Shabbat!’ “

In Matthew 5:17, Yeshua said, “Think not that I have come to abolish the Torah and the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. In Matthew 19:17-19 “Yeshua said, if you would enter life keep the commandments.” Yeshua then went on to name the commandments. Since the rabbi mentions John 9:14-16, I will address that. Jesus violated the rabbinical rules of the Sabbath. The making of clay with the spittle and sand was an infringement of the rule (‘Shabbath,’ 24:3). It was preserved in Jerusalem Gemara on ‘Shabbath,’ 14 that while “wine could by way of remedy be applied to the eyelid, on the grounds that this might be treated as washing, it was sinful to apply it to the inside of the eye” (Edersheim). It was positively forbidden in the Gemara to apply saliva to the eyelid, because this would be the application of a remedy. All medicinal appliances, unless in cases of danger to life or limb, were likewise forbidden. Yeshua addresses this and other perceived violations of rabbinical law by quoting from the Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 29:13. “…this people draw near to me with their lips and with their mouth they honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.”

According to the Prophet Isaiah, one does not sin if one violates a religious law given by men. Yeshua clearly violated rabbinical law. This was a sin according to the Pharisees but not according to the Sadducees who did not believe in the oral torah. What is quoted above comes from the Talmud, not the Tenakh. Therefore, Yeshua did not violate the Torah. He violated the Orthodox interpretation of the Torah. A man was healed and they wanted to call this a sin.

Virgin Birth

“The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an “alma” as giving birth. The word “alma” has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as “virgin.” This accords Jesus’ birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.”

In every instance where the word “alma” is used, the young woman is always a virgin. The scripture does not insinuate a wayward woman. And for only a young woman to give birth would have been a normal happening and could not be considered a sign.

Suffering Servant

“When read correctly, Isaiah 53 clearly [and ironically] refers to the Jewish people being ‘bruised, crushed and as sheep brought to slaughter’ at the hands of the nations of the world. These descriptions are used throughout Jewish scripture to graphically describe the suffering of the Jewish people (see Psalm 44). 

Isaiah 53 concludes that when the Jewish people are redeemed, the nations will recognize and accept responsibility for the inordinate suffering and death of the Jews.”

In this retort, I will only respond as to why this chapter could NEVER refer to the Jewish people.

Isaiah 53:2 “There is no beauty that we should desire him” Who is ‘we’? Isaiah is writing to the people of Israel.  There is no beauty in the Jewish people? Jews see no beauty in Yeshua. Verse 3 “he was despised and we esteemed him not.” Jewish people cannot despise and not esteem themselves. The Jewish leadership despised Yeshua and gave him no esteem. Verse 4 “Surely he has borne griefs inflicted by us, and suffered sorrows we have caused; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.” How can Israel bear grief inflicted by Jews? Yeshua bore the sins of Israel and suffered for them and was considered cursed by them. Verse 5 “But he was wounded through our transgressions, bruised through our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his wounds we were healed.” Israel was bruised? The chastisement of our peace was upon Israel? We are healed through Israel’s wounds? How can anyone be healed through Israel when all the Jews have sinned? Verse 6 “…and the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon him.” Israel has often suffered for its own sins. All our sins fall on Israel? Verse 7 “He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: as a lamb which is brought to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.” Israel NEVER kept quite during times of trial. They fought back when they could. Verse 8 “…for he was cut off out of the land of the living; through the transgressions of my people he was stricken.” The Servant was killed because of the sins of the Jews. My people are the Jews and ‘he’ is Yeshua. Verse 9 “…his grave among the wicked, and his tomb among the rich; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” Israel still lives. Israel has done violence and Israel has in its past been deceitful. Verse 10 “It pleased the Lord to bruise him” Israel has suffered for its sins. The Lord took no pleasure in Jewish suffering, but it pleased the Lord that Yeshua was bruised as atonement for sin. Verse 11 “…by his knowledge shall my servant justify the righteous before many, and he shall bear their iniquities.” How can Israel who sinned justify righteous people? How can the Jewish people bear their sins? Verse 12 “…he has laid open his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; and he took off the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” The Servant Yeshua died and was considered a sinner. The Jewish people could not take off the sin of many or make intercession since Israel also needs redemption for its sins.

Jewish Belief is Based Solely on National Revelation

Of the thousands of religions in human history, only Judaism bases its belief on national revelation, i.e. God speaking to the entire nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense He’ll tell everyone, not just one person.

Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8): “The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the miracles he performed. Whenever anyone’s belief is based on seeing miracles, he has lingering doubts, because it is possible the miracles were performed through magic or sorcery. All of the miracles performed by Moses in the desert were because they were necessary, and not as proof of his prophecy.”

Judaism is not miracles. It is the personal eyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago.

Although God chose the Jewish people to be his covenant people, the Jewish people have failed to live up to their end of the Covenant. In Exodus 32:9-10, although the Israelites were a party to what God did for them through numerous miracles of deliverance they continued to disobey. God proclaims them stiff-necked and considered destroying them for their unfaithfulness. Later, in Deuteronomy 1:34-35, God was so angered by the Israelites that he kept them in the desert until the entire generation that left Egypt died except for Joshua and Caleb. Israel’s disobedience was repeated throughout the Tenakh. The Covenant was declared broken by the Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34). All of the laws created in the world cannot reform a sinful heart. So the Lord, through Jeremiah, announced the coming of a New Covenant. Yeshua came with healing power and revealed himself to the Jewish nation. All of Israel knew of him at that time. His mission was to deal with the sinful heart as displayed throughout the Tenakh. The religious of his day could only see themselves as righteous. Unable to come to terms with their sinfulness and fearful of a Roman oppressor, Yeshua was handed over to the Romans. In the passion that followed, he became atonement for his people and a light to the Gentiles.

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “Responding to www.AISH.com regarding Jesus of Nazareth

  1. SteveD

    Well done! Note that Yeshua Himself countered the rabbis’ objection to His healing on the Sabbath, by noting that the Law of Moses requires that if someone, or even a beast, has fallen into a pit on the Sabbath, it is lawful to pull them out. Similarly, if someone is seriously ill, it is lawful to heal them on the Sabbath. God’s great creation was complete in six days, and then He rested, but His Word sustains the world “24/7.” Similarly, in the Epistle to the Hebrews it is pointed out that priests in Biblical times worked EVERY Sabbath, but it was not considered sin because they were worshipping God in obedience to His direction. The rabbis had no answer to these rebuttals — which made them all the more embarrassed, fearful, and angry.

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