Sunday, 27 October 2013

Examination of some arguments raised by "Supplement to Contra Brown" 3

Hello again, this another article looking at some of the objections that Yisroel Blumenthal, the owner of has presented in his treatise Supplement to Contra Brown.

"II. 29. Objection 3:24
Brown addresses the Christian doctrine of a “second coming” of the Messiah. From a Biblical standpoint, the only argument he has presented is the seeming contradiction between Zechariah 9:9, where the Messiah is to come riding on a donkey, and Daniel 7:13, which has the Messiah riding on the clouds. Brown’s solution for this “problem” is that messiah will come twice. Once as a suffering Messiah, in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy, the second time he will come on the clouds in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. The problem with Brown’s “problem” is that Daniel 7:13 says nothing about the Messiah riding on the clouds. The angel himself told Daniel that this was a symbolic image of Israel acquiring the kingdom in the Messianic age (Daniel 7:18,27)."

Yet Rashi himself interprets Daniel 7:13 as a referrence to King Messiah although to preface this Rashi doesn't believe in the Deity of Christ nor does he interpret the Son of Man as divine, that's important to remember. He also doesn't interpret Isaiah 9:6 as Messianic in nature and issues a challenge to Christians on this subject, but that is another story. Point is, Rashi's commentary says the following which can be found here:
I have highlighted Rashi's points in italics.

"13. I saw in the visions of the night, and behold with the clouds of the heaven, one like a man was coming, and he came up to the Ancient of Days and was brought before Him. יג. חָזֵה הֲוֵית בְּחֶזְוֵי לֵילְיָא וַאֲרוּ עִם עֲנָנֵי שְׁמַיָּא כְּבַר אֱנָשׁ אָתֵה הֲוָא וְעַד עַתִּיק יוֹמַיָּא מְטָה וּקְדָמוֹהִי הַקְרְבוּהִי:
one like a man was coming: That is the King Messiah.
and… up to the Ancient of Days: Who was sitting in judgment and judging the nations.
came: arrived, reached.
14. And He gave him dominion and glory and a kingdom, and all peoples, nations, and tongues shall serve him; his dominion is an eternal dominion, which will not be removed, and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. יד. וְלֵהּ יְהִב שָׁלְטָן וִיקָר וּמַלְכוּ וְכֹל עַמְמַיָּא אֻמַּיָּא וְלִשָּׁנַיָּא לֵהּ יִפְלְחוּן שָׁלְטָנֵהּ שָׁלְטַן עָלַם דִּי לָא יֶעְדֵּה וּמַלְכוּתֵהּ דִּי לָא תִתְחַבַּל:
And He gave him dominion: And to that man He gave dominion over the nations, for the heathens he likens to beasts, and Israel he likens to a man because they are humble and innocent.
which will not be removed: [as translated,] will not be removed."

Now the Rabbis are not my authority, Let's make that clear and of course the Rabbis interpretation is not always accepted by all Jews, but according to Blumenthal's criteria, Why does Rashi say it's about the Messiah when Blumenthal says "The angel himself told Daniel that this was a symbolic image of Israel acquiring the kingdom in the Messianic age (Daniel 7:18,27)."? Is Rashi mistaken? I won't dispute Israel aquiring the Kingdom in Daniel 7:18, 27 mainly because I have written on the subject of Daniel 7 in this article here:

Scroll down to the section with Daniel 7:15-28 to see what I have said about it.
In light of this, Brown's point still stands.

"II. 30. Objection 3.25
Brown claims that Christianity does more than any other religion in humanitarian aid and charity. Perhaps he is technically right. But when judged proportionately, Judaism surpasses Christianity in every area. When you throw history on the balance (before it was fashionable for the Church to help the masses, while the Jews were always charitable) plus the crimes of Christianity, there is no contest. Many of the achievements that Brown lists were opposed or suppressed by the establishmentChurch. Why was the world plunged into the dark ages with the rise of Christianity? Up until the renaissance, Christian Europe was by and large illiterate – thanks to the Church’s fear of knowledge. Despite the fact that the Jews had their hands tied behind their backs (- thanks again to the “compassionate” Church), Jews played a prominent role in developing civilization. When the Church discouraged the practice of medicine (such as at the Council of Rheims 1135), it was the Jew who kept this knowledge alive. A cursory study of history reveals that only when the power of the Church was tempered with a questioning mind (something the Church tried very hard to eradicate), did mankind move towards progress.
Brown’s argument that Christians did more for humanity than adherents of all other religions combined is mitigated by the simple fact that more people were killed in the name of Christianity than in the name of all other religions combined."

This issue comes down to whether Christians in Europe were actually doing what Jesus says, Remember, a council is not infallible and must be checked in light of the scriptures, both TANAKH and the New Testament. Not to mention there is no NT mandate that other people are to be killed in the name of Christ. I should tremble at Jesus' warning in Matthew 7:21-23 considering the number of Christians are in that category.

"II. 31. Page 240
Brown quotes a book entitled “What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?” I want to answer that question. On the whole the world would be a much better place. The Jews, who were always in the forefront of enhancing civilization, would have played a more prominent role in the development of society. They would not have been locked into ghettoes, tens of million more of them would be alive today. The secular sciences would not have been suppressed during the dark ages.
To sum it up: It is only the Judaism within Christianity which brings good to the world. Anything that is originally Christian is evil. It just so happens to be, that because humans are created in the image of God, that the Judaism within Christianity is the part that attracts people to Christianity, and guides people in their quest for holiness."

It is a harsh statement to suggest that "anything that is originally Christian is evil". Despite my rejection of the Talmud, There are things in there that are of good merit, such as the phrase "Great is the power of repentance". Just because of bad eggs in Christianity, you shouldn't throw out the baby with the bath water and should not judge the religion based on it's adherents, but on the basis of their sacred texts.

If Jesus had never been born, I would not hesitate to be influenced by the Jewish people in my thinking, provided they point out to me and demonstrate that being a Celtic Pagan or Druid or whatever the Brits were is wrong. In fact, Considering the fact that Jesus exists, I still would not dismiss what the Jews would say regarding the societies development and that idolatry needs to be purged.

David Pawson, a prominent evangelical in England, has often spoken of the church departing from it's Jewish roots and has encouraged Christians to return to Hebraic thinking. The question shouldn't be "What if Jesus had never been born", the better question should be, "What if the church did not depart from it's Jewish Roots?". That I think is the better question that Blumenthal and Brown should be asking.

"II. 33. Objection 3.28
Brown addresses a serious objection that is raised against Christianity. Brown words the objection this way; “But I find it impossible to believe in a religion that condemns all people to hell – including many moral, good, kind and sensitive people, not to mention countless millions of religious Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists – simply because they don’t believe in Jesus. I can’t follow a religion whose God tortures people in flames forever for not believing in someone they never even heard of.”
Brown does not answer this weighty objection. Brown is not willing to say that God is fair, and that He will not hold anyone accountable for that which they were not capable of doing, or for that which they were not capable of knowing. The Jewish scriptures teach, and Judaism affirms, that God judges every action, both good and bad (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Even the idolater’s positive actions are rewarded by God. But according to Christianity, a person who lived a moral life is condemned to hell if they did not believe in Jesus."

There is no question God judges us by our works, whether we are pagans or not. The problem with Blumenthal's point is that even a prayer of the wicked is abhorrent to God (unless it's a prayer of asking for mercy and wanting to change). An idolater may be a good upstanding person, but if he is not in a relationship with the God of Israel, that goodness will be USELESS. There are cases where a pagan does what is right in God's eyes in the TANAKH but that wouldn't justify their rebellion.
Jesus paid a debt that you and I cannot pay to the Father, the debt of sin. Jesus pays that ransom to the Father to free us from sin and put us into reconciliation with God. Sadly there are so called Christians who reject this and go the way of their church traditions. Without Christ, there is no salvation. Rabbinic Judaism believes that idolaters will acknowledge they have inherited lies and vanities and sadly they apply this to Christians, but putting that aside there is an interesting principle here. A person who does not know the God of Israel be they Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sorcerer, New Ager or any person in a false system that doesn't submit to him will learn they have been deceived and be judged, Even Daniel speaks of men rising to everlasting shame and contempt in Daniel 12:2.

Now obviously I am not saying Christians are the ones who have inherited lies and vanities, that I would disagree with the Rabbinic Jews on obviously. The only ones in Christian circles who have inherited lies and vanity will be heretics and apostates, certainly they would be in that category.

"III. 2. Page 13
“There is nothing in Genesis 49:10 that would rule out Yeshua.”
This prophecy tells us that the Messiah will come from the tribe of Judah. This clearly eliminates the Christian Jesus as a viable candidate for the title of the Jewish Messiah. The Christian scriptures admit that Jesus did not have a Jewish father from the tribe of Judah. That claim is incompatible with the Jewish scriptures description of the Messiah. In order to qualify for the position of the Messiah according to this passage in Genesis you need a human father from the tribe of Judah."

I contend that the virgin birth would not disqualify Jesus. Although Blumenthal doesn't raise Jeconiah's curse as an argument, I would recommend taking a look at the following articles here where I speak of possible inheritance by adoption:

I will leave you guys to judge my words.

"III. 3. Page 23
Here Brown addresses the “virgin birth” prophecy of Isaiah 7:14. Brown acknowledges that the word the prophet used (“alma”) does not mean “virgin”, rather the word refers to a young maiden, whether a virgin or not. Brown puts forth the argument that the Hebrew word “betula” also does not necessarily refer to a virgin, therefore when Isaiah wanted to refer to a virgin the Hebrew word “alma” was just as good as the word “betula”. Brown fails to tell his readers that when the Bible wants to refer to virginity it always uses the Hebrew word “betula” or a grammatical derivative of that word. (See Deuteronomy 22, and Judges 11:37). If the point Isaiah was making was a point about the virginity of the maiden he would have used “betula” and not “alma”.
Furthermore, this simple Hebraic point (the fact that “alma” means a “young maiden”), seems to have escaped the authors of the Christian scriptures. Both Matthew and Luke fail to tell us that Mary was young."

Regarding the last point about Matthew and Luke, Is this supposed to be an argument? It is obvious that Mary certainly would of been young and give birth to Christ at a young age. Some have proposed that Mary was 16 at the time of her pregnancy. What ever the case, the NT writers quoted mostly from the Septuigant and Parthenos was the word utilised in Isaiah 7:14.

"III. 7. Page 43
Brown points to the passage in Isaiah 49 where God’s servant is called “Israel” yet is sent to redeem Israel. Brown argues that this can only be referring to an individual within the nation. According to Brown this individual can only be the Messiah. Brown seems to have forgotten Isaiah 51:12-16 where Israel is being addressed in plural terminology, yet they are sent to declare to Zion that they are God’s nation. It is obvious that the servant who is sent to Israel is not an individual but rather a plural entity. It is the righteous of Israel as Rashi affirms.
It is also interesting to note that this interpretation is supported by the Christian scriptures. Acts 13:47 interprets Isaiah 49:6, which speaks of the individual servant, as a reference to the righteous community."

The NT application of Isaiah 49 wouldn't refute the Messianic application given by Christians. On the contrary, Rabbinic Jews today claim that the Messiah and Israel are found collectively in Isaiah 53, So the same thing would be the case in Isaiah 49. The Messiah is made a light to the nations and so will also those who put their trust in the Messiah. Not to mention the Messiah in Isaiah 53 suffers on behalf of the rightous remnant, as well as the nations who put their trust in him.*

We'll continue the response in another article if the Lord Wills.

Answering Judaism.

*PS. I was informed that Isaiah 53 is interpreted midrashincally by Rabbinic Jews to be the Messiah. HOWEVER, Isaiah 49 is not read in that way. But considering the fact Isaiah 53 is a viable messianic text, it is possible that Isaiah 49 could be a referrence to the Messiah. I still don't dismiss the interpretation that Isaiah 53 is about Israel.

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