Monday 4 November 2013

Response to Uri Yosef on Isaiah 53 2

This second article is taking look at some NT texts and the other Isaiah 53 texts I didn't cover in a previous article, and I hope to cover them here. Let's take a look.

Mr Yosef raised this point with respect to Isaiah 53:5:
"As can be seen from the number of cross-referenced verses to it, the authors 
of the New Testament quite fond of this verse in their efforts to design and. 
promote the notion that the death of Jesus effected the atonement of the sins 
of others. Yet, aside of the mistranslations in the KJV, human vicarious 
atonement is strictly prohibited according to the Hebrew Bible (e.g., Exodus 
32:31-33; Numbers 35:33; Deuteronomy 24:16; 2Kings 14:6; Jeremiah 
31:29[30]; Ezekiel 18:4,20; Psalms 49:7-9."

I want to take a look at these texts and examine them quickly.
Exodus 32:31-33, Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18 are easy to address. They do not refer to vicarious atonement. The latter two simply point out that we are responsible to God for our own sins. I touch upon Exodus briefly in my response to Eli Cohen:

Although not mentioned in my article, Jeremiah 31:29 follows the same principle, as does Ezekiel 18:4.
As for Psalm 49, let's read it.
Psalm 49:1 Hear this, all you peoples;
    listen, all who live in this world,
2 both low and high,
    rich and poor alike:
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
    the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
4 I will turn my ear to a proverb;
    with the harp I will expound my riddle:
5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
    when wicked deceivers surround me—
6 those who trust in their wealth
    and boast of their great riches?
7 No one can redeem the life of another
    or give to God a ransom for them—
8 the ransom for a life is costly,
    no payment is ever enough—
9 so that they should live on forever
    and not see decay.
10 For all can see that the wise die,
    that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
    leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses[b] forever,
    their dwellings for endless generations,
    though they had[c] named lands after themselves.

The subject of the ransom here in the initial context is in referrence to wealth, rather than dealing with the subject of vicarious atonement, However if it were to do with a man ransoming another by his death, the Psalm would not pose a problem. Psalm 47:9 shows that one is incapable of ransoming another, I can't and Uri can't. Yet Jesus claims to be able to ransom MANY lives, because if he is rightous, which I am convinced he is, then he is able to redeem us because he is the God-Man.

Now I want to spent this next part looking at Isaiah 53:9, but I want to look at the New Testament questions in the article in particular. Let's go.
"There are two cross-referenced passages in the New Testament that point to 
portions of this verse. The first, Matthew 27:57-60, describes a wealthy man, 
Joseph of Arimathaea, who placed the body of Jesus in his own grave, which 
was most likely located in an exclusive section where the deceased rich 
people were entombed. Yet, just a few verses earlier Jesus is described as 
having died among the wicked: 
Matthew 27:38(KJV) – Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the 
right hand, and another on the left. [See also Mark 15:27.] 
So, aside from the problem created by the fact that the servant is a group, not 
an individual, it appears that the circumstances described in the New 
Testament were reversed from those stated in the literal sense of the verse in 
the Hebrew Bible. "

Arnold Fructhenbaum has suggested the following regarding this subject of Jesus and the grave:

"In verse 9, the burial of the Servant is described. After His death, those who executed Him assigned a criminal's grave for Him along with other criminals. A criminal is what they considered Him to be, and that is the way He was executed. Yet He would be buried in a rich man's tomb! This is true poetic justice since, in actuality, the Servant had done nothing wrong nor was there anything wrong in His character. The fulfillment of this is found in all four Gospels (Mat. 27:57-60; Mk. 15:42-46; Lk. 23:50-54; Jn. 19:38-42)."

As for the subject of Isaiah 53 containing a group, on a side note, it can be argued that the Messiah can suffer on behalf of the rightous remnant.

"The second reference, 1Peter 2:22, points to the last two phrases in the 
verse, alleging that Jesus committed no violence and did not speak a lie. 
The accounts in the New Testament belie these claims. 

Did Jesus engage in any activities that could be described as violent? Noting 
that violence, whether or not it is justified, is still violence, consider the 
following account in New Testament: 
John 2:15(KJV) – So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple 
area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and 
overturned their tables. [See also Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15; Luke 19:45.] 
If this account is true, Jesus committed acts of violence when he attacked the 
merchants, dispersed their coins, and overturned the furniture in the Temple. 

Would the following be words of a peaceful and non-violent person? 
Matthew 10:34-36(KJV) – (34) Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I 
came not to send peace, but a sword. (35) For I am come to set a man at variance 
against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law 
against her mother in law. (36) And a man's foes shall be they of his own 
household. [See also Luke 12:51-53.] 
Luke 19:27(KJV) – But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign 
over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."

In the actual context of Luke 12:49-53, Jesus is speaking about a metaphorical sword of division within families that will occur if someone chooses to follow him. he says the same thing in Matthew 10:34 but expands on it and is saying in essence if you don't love me more than your family, don't follow me because by doing so you will have opposition.

Here is what he says:
"34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[c]
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."

Also, I hardly think that casting people out with whips is remotely a violent act, considering no one was hurt. Jesus only used the whip to send them out of the temple and cleanse it. If he stood by and let the house get defiled and do nothing about it, then he would of sinned.
"Jesus appears to be coming not to bring peace but strife to humanity, and  orders to have his foes brought before him and slain. 
The New Testament describes other examples of behavior by Jesus which 
can be characterized as violent acts. For example, Jesus caused the 
drowning death of a herd of swine by having demons possess them (Matthew 8:32, Mark 5:13, Luke 8:33); and he destroyed a fig tree for not bearing fruit 
out of season (Matthew 21:18-21, Mark 11:13-14)."
I am not sure how these would classify as violent acts, they are miracles being performed.

"Concerning deceit in the servant's mouth, did Jesus ever speak a lie or 
deceive someone? The New Testament includes accounts which testify to 
the fact that Jesus was guilty of lying and deceiving: 

Matthew 16:27-28(KJV) – (27) For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his 
Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 
(28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of 
death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. 
Are any of those whom Jesus allegedly addressed with these words still alive 
today awaiting his (second) coming? After all, Jesus (the Son of man) has 
not yet returned to establish his kingdom. Similarly, Jesus did not speak the 
truth when he assured his disciples that the end of the world order and his 
own triumphant return to judge all men would occur before the generation 
then living had passed away: 

Matthew 24:34(KJV) – Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all 
these things be fulfilled. [See also Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32.] 

In fact, in the era following the alleged resurrection of Jesus, the author of the 
Book of Revelation, the last book in the New Testament, still quotes him as 
promising to return in the near future and reward all his followers: 

Revelation 22:7,12,20(KJV) – (7) Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth 
the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 
(12) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man 
according as his work shall be. 
(20) He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, 
come, Lord Jesus. 
What does “quickly” mean? After nearly two millennia beyond the days when 
those words were allegedly spoken, Jesus has still not returned. "

Generation can be understood as this nation or people or group will not pass away rather than refering to the generation he was in. It could simply mean the Jews will not pass away. Also, When it says Behold I am coming quickly, it doesn't mean he will return immediately, it means his return will be quick, that is all it means.
"Are there any followers of Jesus alive today who can safely drink poison, and 
heal the sick without medical knowledge? 

Then there is the following promise by Jesus: 
John 14:12-14(KJV) – (12) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the 
works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because 
I go unto my Father. (13) And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, 
that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If ye shall ask any thing in my 
name, I will do it.
Does someone know of any Christians who have had all of their wishes 
granted? Why are not all Christians healthy, wealthy, and in charge of the 
world? This passage is reminiscent of the story about the genie inside a 
bottle who grants an endless number of wishes to its owner."

Jesus is claiming in this context that he is able to grant our requests and we will be answered no matter where we are. However, the catch is we need to pray in God's will in order for our prayers to be answered, which is mentioned in 1 John. Jesus is not saying he'll grant EVERY request on the planet, that would be unhealthy if he did.

As for the subject of poison being consumed. Sam Shamoun has written a good response on this issue. I will underline his keypoints:
"If the Christian backs down from the challenge this is then taken to mean that the Christian speaker lacks true faith in Christ.
The Muslim is guilty of misinterpreting Jesus' meaning in this passage since a sound rule of exegesis is to interpret scripture in light of scripture. Once this is done, we discover the true meaning of Jesus' words:
"The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 'If you are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down from here. For it is written: "He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."' Jesus answered, 'It says: "Do not put the Lord your God to the test."'" Luke 4:9-12
In light of this passage, Jesus was not telling his followers to go around picking up snakes or drinking poison. Christ's point was that no matter what the enemy tries to do in thwarting the efforts of the believers, he will never succeed. This is based solely on the promises of Christ that his authority rests upon all true believers to accomplish his will in our lives:
"'The seventy-two returned with joy and said, 'Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.' He replied, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.'" Luke 10:17-20"

I am not accusing Uri of doing what some of the Muslims are doing, I am simply pointing out that Jesus was not lying regarding the snake issue. That's my point.

"The New Testament contains other examples of deceitful behavior by Jesus: 
He deceived his disciples by promising a hundredfold of material possessions in 
this life to those who left everything in order to follow him (Mark 10:28-30), which 
has not happened!"
He is promising them wealth in heaven, not earthly wealth. That is essentially what Jesus is saying in the context. In exchange also, the disciples will have each other and those who will believe Jesus message to be their new family because their old ones may revile them because of their faith.
"He claims to have spoken openly to everyone when he was questioned by the 
Jewish authorities (John 18:19-21). Yet, several accounts describe instances when 
Jesus demanded secrecy of those to whom he spoke (Matthew 16:20; Mark 8:30; 
Luke 9:21)."

Jesus in the context of John 18:19-21 is certainly not lying in that context. This is why and Gill's exposition says the following:

"Jesus answered him,.... Not to the first of these questions, concerning his disciples; not because they had all now forsaken him, and one was denying him; nor because he would not betray them; nor because he would suffer alone; but because if his doctrine was good; it could not be blameworthy to have disciples, and to teach them: and the charge of sedition, blasphemy, and idolatry, they wanted to fasten on him, would sufficiently appear to be groundless by the doctrine he preached; and as to that he answers not directly what he taught, but declares the manner in which he delivered it, and which was such, that they that heard him could not be strangers to it. 
I spake openly to the world; with all plainness, freedom, and boldness, without any reserve or ambiguity; and that not to a few persons only, to his own particular disciples, but to all the people of the Jews, who crowded in great numbers to hear him; insomuch that it was said by his enemies, that the world was gone after him. 
I ever taught in the synagogue; the Arabic, "the synagogues"; the places of public worship in all parts of the nation, where the Jews met to pray, and read, and hear the word: 
and in the temple; at Jerusalem, whenever he was in that city; 
whither the Jews always resort; for prayer, and to offer sacrifice, and particularly at the three grand festivals of the year, the passover, Pentecost, and feast of tabernacles, when all the males from all parts appeared before the Lord. Accordingly, the Alexandrian copy, and some others, read, "whither all the Jews resort"; and so read the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions. "
The next point that is raised by Uri is the following on his article.

"And in secret have I said nothing; not but that our Lord taught in other places than what are here mentioned, as on mountains, in deserts, by the sea shore, and in private houses, yet generally to great multitudes; and though he sometimes conversed alone, and in secret with his disciples, yet what he taught them was either an explanation of what he had said in public, or was perfectly agreeable to it."
"He admonished his disciples not to divulge the fact that he was the Messiah. 
He demanded of the devils he exorcised to keep his deeds a secret (Mark 1:34, 
3:11-12; Luke 4:41)"

For a reason, it was not time to reveal himself as the Messiah in those contexts. The time had not yet come to pass for him to do so. No deception at all.

"Of those who he healed, he demanded that they not tell he cured them (Matthew 
8:3-4, 12:15-16; Mark 1:44, 5:43, 7:36; Luke 5:14, 8:56). 
Do these actions describe works of an upright person? Quite to the contrary, 
they testify that Jesus acted violently and deceptively. "

Here are some commentaries that deal with this subject.

Pulpit Commentary:
"Verse 4. - And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; i.e. of those who were not present (Bengel). The command may have been given 
(1) to save the man from temptation to self-importance; or 
(2) to prevent any rumour of the miracle coming to the ears of the recognized authorities, and thus prejudicing them in their verdict upon his case; or, and more probably, 
(3) for the Lord's sake, for this seems to be the reason for the command in all the other occasions when it is given (Matthew 9:30; Matthew 12:16; Matthew 17:9; Mark 5:43; Mark 7:36; Mark 8:26; cf. Mark 1:34; Mark 3:12). The Lord did not desire to be thronged with multitudes who came only to see his miracles; he would work in quiet (cf. the quotation from Isaiah in Matthew 12:18-21). But go thy way, show thyself to the priest. The latter clause belongs verbally to Leviticus 13:49, but the thought is that of Leviticus 14:2, sqq. Without the official verdict, the man could not be restored to communal privileges (so also Luke 17:14)."

And on Matthew 12:16:
"Verse 16. - And charged them that they should not make him known. Publicity as such was rather hindering to his work than otherwise. Only those who had no spiritual affinity with him (John 7:3-5), or at most but little (Matthew 9:31), desired him to have it. "

Also Luke 5:14:
"Verse 14. - And he charged him to tell no man. We find this desire of Jesus to check publicity after he had worked one of his great works, especially in the earlier part of his ministry. Chrysostom attributes this to the Master's regard for the one who had been healed, desiring that his gratitude to God for the mercy vouchsafed to him should not be frittered away in words, in idle talk with curious persons. It is, however, more likely that the Master wished to stem rather than to fan the tide of popularity which such mighty works would be sure to excite among the people. What he determined to check was a false and mistaken desire among the people to make him king. "

Here is Jamieson-Fausset-Brown's Bible Commentary. This is what he says regarding Mark 5:43:
"43. And he charged them straitly—strictly.
that no man should know it—The only reason we can assign for this is His desire not to let the public feeling regarding Him come too precipitately to a crisis.
and commanded that something should be given her to eat—in token of perfect restoration. "

Lastly Gill's Exposition on the Entire Bible where he says:
" And her parents were astonished,.... At the miracle that was wrought, to see their child restored to life; to see her arise, walk, and eat, being in perfect health and strength, and no disorder attending her; 
but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done. The Ethiopic version reads, "what he had done, nor any thing that was done" not that the thing itself could be concealed, but the way and manner in which, and the means by which it was done, and the circumstances of it; how that by taking her by the hand, and commanding her to arise, she forthwith arose, and walked and ate: Christ's meaning is, that he would not have them take any pains to publish this affair, or to make it more known than was necessary; not to acquaint any person with the particulars of it, but keep them as private as they could: his reasons for this; see Gill on Mark 5:43."

Hopefully this covers the points that have been raised. I shall continue my response if the Lord wills in another article

Answering Judaism.

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