Sunday 10 November 2013

Examination of some arguments raised by "Supplement to Contra Brown" 4

Here is another article taking a look at some more arguments raised within Supplement to Contra Brown. Let's take a look at some more shall we.

"II. 15. Page 131
Missionaries quote Psalm 45:7 as a proof that the Messiah is to be divine. The Psalmist literally addresses the king with the words “Your throne God forever”. The Jewish response to this missionary argument points out that the word used for “God” does not necessarily have to be translated that way. The same word could refer to a human judge. Furthermore, in context of the complete scripture we understand that the verse cannot be calling a human divine. Brown responds to this objection by advising his readers; “Try this simple test: Write out the verse in Hebrew by itself, give it to anyone who is fluent in biblical Hebrew and ask him or her to translate the verse.”
In the same vein I would suggest that the readers take Jesus’ statement to the Jewish people in John 8:44, 45: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth ye believe me not.” Ask them if the man who spoke these words was or was not a racist anti-Semite."

Psalm 45:7 is used by many to show the Divinity of Christ, including me. However, I am willing to set up a page where one can talk about this Psalm in particular on request. But Blumenthal's challenge about the subject of the anti-Semitic charge supposedly utter by Jesus is to be honest, a red herring, even in it's context it doesn't suggest Anti Semiticism. Psalm 102:25-27 and Hebrews 1:10-12 together both teach the divinity of the Messiah, but Psalm 45:7, can probably be discussed in a forum or even on a page on the blog here.

"III. 16. Page 133
Brown pontificates “we do best to take the scriptures in their most obvious basic sense, allowing the Bible to dictate our theology, rather than imposing our own theology on the word of God.” This remonstration is directed to the Jewish commentators who understand that a man cannot be God and interpret the Bible accordingly. Is Brown not aware that this is not “our own theology” but is firmly rooted in the words of the Bible? Furthermore, in volume two, Brown reinterprets every scriptural passage that explicitly declares the efficacy of repentance to cleanse from sin, in a manner that fits his own theology. It seems that “imposing our own theology on the word of God” is OK for Christians, but not for Jews. "

Brown's whole point regarding repentance is that IN AND OF ITSELF, it is isn't enough to atone, much the same with offering a sacrifice devoid of repentance isn't enough. Every person on the planet can be guilty of projecting their own bias into the Bible and we both, Rabbinic Jews, Messianic Jews and Christians need to step back and think carefully what the scriptures were saying. But it does come back to who is right.

"III. 11. Page 61
Here Brown quotes Origen’s reply to those who argues that Isaiah 53 is a reference to Israel. His argument focuses on verse 8 where the servant is smitten for the sins of “my people”. It is safe to assume that the phrase “my people” is a reference to Israel, so the servant must be someone else. It seems that Origen, like Brown cannot understand that the servant is the righteous remnant. Thus the righteous remnant is smitten for the sins of Israel. In Isaiah 51:12-16 we see clearly how the prophet speaks to the righteous remnant and commissions them to declare to Israel – “you are My nation”.

Another point to consider here is the fact that Brown is contradicting himself. Here he insists that the speakers of this passage must be the people of Israel. Yet when he speaks of the healing brought about through the servant’s suffering, Brown speaks of “a sinning world” (page 52). We challenge Brown to identify the speaker of the passage. Is it specifically Israel, or is it the world at large?

When we focus on the “healing” that Jesus brought to Israel, we see the crusades, the inquisition, and the holocaust. None of these would have occurred had Jesus not been born.

Even when we focus on the nations that put their faith in Jesus, it is hard to find the “healing” that he brought them. The guilt of 2000 years of a deep hatred of God’s firstborn son (Israel) was brought upon the European people through Jesus and his followers. Had Jesus not been born, Europe would have been spared from this scourge. When one steps back and looks at the full scope of history, it becomes clear that Jesus did NOT bring healing to the world or to the Jewish people."

Or has Blumenthal considered the possiblity of the Messiah suffering on behalf of the rightous remnant? Now in my paper to Erano on Isaiah 53 I have said the following:

"Let's look at Isaiah 53:1
"53 Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
In this first passage, It is referring to the present time of Isaiah, his report being dismissed, as was also the case with Jesus when the Pharisees in John 12. It is referring to the messages of Messiah and Isaiah being rejected by the people. There is actually first century evidence that Isaiah 53 is referring to the Messiah, although the interpretation differs from Christian one tremendously."

I acknowledge that in the historical context that Israel is the one suffering, however this acknowledgement on my part would not refute the Messianic application. Considering the way the Rabbis had said it referred to the Messiah and that the NT applies such to Christ. However, there are obvious differences in our interpretations which I won't get into this paper. Now, as for those who have had a deep hatred for Israel, God's firstborn son, Were they acting in accordance with Jesus' teaching? The answer is NO.
In fact there is a saying outside the Bible that goes like this this:

"How odd of God to choose the Jews"
and also
"But not so odd, as those who choose, A Jewish God, but spurn the Jews".

Anti-Semitism is foreign to the New Testament and I hope to provide an article in the future on the subject of Anti-Semitism if the Lord Wills.

The healing brought to the world by Jesus' death was the forgiveness of sins of those who would believe on him. Obviously those who killed in the name of Jesus were certainly NOT of his flock.

"III. 17. Page 143-145
Brown is in his lecturing mode again. Here he lectures the Jewish commentators for failing to take note of the priestly role of the Messiah. Brown argues that the scriptures speak of the Messiah and the priest as one person and he upbraids the Rabbis for failing to take note of this. The two scriptural references that Brown provides for his theory are Psalm 110 and Zechariah 6. As it relates to Psalm 110 the Rabbis had no problem acknowledging that this spoke of the Messiah as Brown himself points out on the previous page (142). So Brown’s accusation is simply false. The Rabbis did acknowledge that the Messiah is in some sense a priest. When it comes to the second reference (Zechariah 6) Brown tells us that the Rabbis interpreted the passage as a reference to two separate Messianic figures, a king and a priest. Brown then ridicules this interpretation and informs us that the only correct interpretation is that there is one figure that is both priestly and royal. What Brown fails to tell his readers is that the text in Zechariah explicitly makes reference to “the two of them”- obviously talking about two separate individuals.
My question to Dr. Brown is: Why do the Christian commentators fail to take note of the plurality of the redeemers mentioned explicitly several times in scripture (Obadiah 1:21, Micha 5:4, Zechariah 2:3, 4:14)?"

I have looked at the two texts in Zechariah and I have made note of the two angels mentioned. I speak on Zechariah 3 referring to the angel of the Lord that Christians believe is Jesus but Zechariah 2 which I haven't mentioned and have looked at again, though he is spoken as "the" rather than "a", I am inclined to think that is a different angel from the one mentioned, though he does deliver a message like the other one. However, the angel in chapter 2 who leaves doesn't have the authority to forgive sins like the one found in Zechariah 3.

You can read on the subject of the angel forgiving sins here:

Obadiah 1:21 speaks of a group of deliverers that is certain, But I don't see any connection to the Messianic era as such, forgive me Mr Blumenthal if I misunderstood your point. But still, interesting point raised by Blumenthal nonetheless. Granted that Zechariah 6 speaks of 2 anointed ones, it is possible that Christ would carry the functions of those anointed ones.

There is one objection that caught my eye regarding Matthew which I want to address here:

" IV. 7. Objection 5.18
In this objection Brown focuses on Matthew’s fantastic story of many dead people rising from their graves on the occasion of Jesus’ crucifixion and alleged resurrection. Brown addresses those who do not believe this account and responds by pointing to miracles recorded in the Jewish Scriptures and other sacred writings. Brown argues that no miracle is too difficult for an omnipotent God. The only question is: is if Matthew is a trustworthy reporter or not.
As we pointed out in the previous section, there is no reason to believe that Matthew was a trustworthy person. Furthermore, the fact that the other gospel writers said nothing of this extraordinary occurrence should raise some questions even for a Christian. But I think that there is a deeper question that Matthew’s account brings to light.
The entire faith of Christianity (I should say: post-crucifixion Christianity) is built upon the alleged resurrection of Jesus. The claim of Jesus’ resurrection is pointed to as a unique and unparalleled occurrence in the history of mankind. But according to Matthew, a resurrection is no big deal. Matthew claims that many people were resurrected. How then does Matthew know which of these resurrections was the central event and which served as backdrops? It is only the human interpretation of the events that separates one resurrection from the other. Matthew’s incredible account devaluates the resurrection claim. According to Matthew, the resurrection of the dead is not the unique occurrence that the Christian apologists assert it to be."

On that last point, Blumenthal doesn't realise that those who were resurrected were not given glorified bodies at the time. Jesus however has been risen with a GLORIFIED BODY, that is why his resurrection is singled out as central to the Christian faith. Also, The other gospels only record what is relevant to the point that they are trying to make, hence why they don't record the virgin birth either. John is the only one who records the I AM statements of Jesus, and doesn't even record the parables of Jesus either. Does that mean those parables and I AM statements are false because Matthew, Mark and Luke don't record them? No.

"IV. 13. Page 205
Brown quotes Jesus as saying: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets”.
What the historical Jesus said or meant is not the subject of this discussion. What interests us here is the Jesus that lives in the minds and hearts of Christians. Perhaps the historical Jesus intended that his followers remain loyal to the Law. It is also entirely possible that the first several generations of his Jewish followers were indeed obedient to the Law. But the fact remains that over the centuries, Jews who joined Jesus gave up their observance of the Law of Moses. So the historical Jesus may not have meant to abolish the Law, but the Jesus of Christianity certainly did.
On the basis of Jesus’ statement quoted above, Brown comes to the conclusion (page 206) that: “any interpretation of his (Jesus’) words that effectively abolishes the Torah must be rejected”.
My question to Brown is: how do you measure or define the concept: “effectively abolish the Torah”? Is non-observance not enough? Do YOU advocate that Jews observe the Mosaic Law?"

Again, If we read the NT as a whole, even Acts 15 shows Gentiles need not keep the Torah. What Paul condemned in his letters especially Galatians was the observance of the Law to try and justify oneself before God. A Jewish person is allowed to observe Torah if he believes it honors the Messiah and some Jews may probably choose not to keep certain ordinances. But this doesn't mean the Torah is done away with, More like fulfilled in him, considering Christ is described as the telos or fulfillment of the Torah.

"IV. 14. Page 207
Brown argues that Jesus presents himself – as the sole authoritative interpreter of the Jewish Scriptures.
One question that this strange statement brings to mind is: Who is the authoritative interpreter of Jesus’ words and teachings? On whose authority should we accept this interpretation of his words?
Another question that comes to mind is: who was interpreting the Torah before Jesus arrived on the scene? By what authority were these people interpreting the Torah? And who took this authority away from the Judges of Israel authorized by the Law of Moses as interpreters? And if this is not an effective abolishment of the Law then what is? Imagine if one were to present themselves up as the sole interpreter of the Constitution of the United States, ignoring the Supreme Court. Would this not be an effective abolishment of the Constitution?"

The Pharisees where the ones who interpreted the Torah, but the judges were NOT given the authority to interpret the scriptures, they were only allowed to tackle legal disputes which Deuteronomy 17:8-13 deals with. Jesus was disgusted with the Pharisee's interpretation of the Torah considering the Manmade tradtions they added to the Torah itself.

Blumenthal asks who should be the ultimate interpreter of Jesus words, Well, the apostles were the ultimate interpreters of Jesus words, INCLUDING Paul, which I pointed out in the following papers was a true apostle of Jesus:

"IV. 21. Page 214
Brown condemns the decision of the rabbis to discontinue the capital punishments dictated by the Bible once crime became rampant. It is interesting to note that the spiritual reasoning behind this decision is echoed in the Christian Scriptures (John 8:7). In that case, I am sure that Brown is bowled over by the depth of the spiritual insight “revealed” by Jesus, but when the rabbis say the same thing, Brown sees a misapplication of Scripture.
There are two fundamental differences between the statement of Jesus and the position of the rabbis. First of all, Jesus had no authority as a judge of God’s Law. The community of Eternal Israel does not recognize Jesus as any authority for the Law that was entrusted to them (Deuteronomy 33:4). The rabbis on the other hand were and are the judges recognized by the chosen people to arbitrate and to apply God’s Law.
The second difference between the position of the rabbis and that of Jesus, relates to their attitude towards the Law of Moses. The Christian Scriptures make a point of presenting the Law of Moses as simplistic and inadequate (Matthew 5:21). Jesus is portrayed as the one who presents the sophisticated and refined Law. The rabbis on the other hand highlighted the perfection of God’s Law. They were careful to demonstrate how their spiritual insight was drawn from the Scriptures, and that all they were doing was to apply God’s perfect Law as was their responsibility."

In John 8:7, Jesus was pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, They were not keeping the laws about stoning adulterers, because they only brought the woman to him, not both offenders. Even Deuteronomy 22 makes this point:

"Deuteronomy 22:22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel."

If Jesus went to stone the adulteress, he would of been guilty of violating the Law. I don't get where Blumenthal makes the point about the scriptures seeing the Mosaic Law as inadequate. The TANAKH as a whole would condemn thought crime but have no punishment for it. Jesus was pointing out "You may not do these things, but by even thinking or considering doing them means you are that". If I have hatred towards my fellow man, I am murderer or if I lusted after someone and thought "I am going to get into bed with them", they are adulterous. This doesn't mean sex is wrong, but that sexual sin is not evil in action only, but by continued thoughts about them too.

I may continue if the Lord Wills responding to more objections raised by the Rabbi in the future.

Answering Judaism.

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