Paul and the Depths of Jewish Hermeneutics

Typologica lectio inexhaustum Veteris Testamenti ostendit contentum.

—Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 129

The combination of Acts 17:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 has the Apostle Paul arguing that, according to the Scriptures, the Messiah was to suffer, die for the sins of others, and rise from the dead on the third day. Some have objected that, if by “the Scriptures,” one means the extant Hebrew Bible (i.e. the Rabbinic TaN”aKh), they find no references to such therein. So this begs the question, what Scriptures did Paul have in mind?

Unfortunately, there is no extant text recording Paul explaining it, or saying precisely what texts he had in mind. But this raises another question: even if an explanation from Paul did exist, should one expect such to necessarily make sense to all modern minds? It is worth noting that ancient Jews (especially those within the Pharisaical paradigm) approached the Hebrew Bible differently from the way, for example, some 21st century low church Evangelicals do, so, if Paul’s approach was similar at times to that of the former, modern minds whose approach is more like the latter may at times find Paul’s reasoning hard to grasp.

An Ancient Jewish Approach to Scripture

Consider an analogy in this regard: we know from the Babylonian Talmud[1] that there were ancient Jews who interpreted parshat Huqat (i.e. the Torah portion comprising Numbers 19:1-22:1) as teaching that the death of a righteous person can provide atonement for sin. The relevant text reads as follows:

Bavli-Mo3ed-Qatan-28A

Translation: Rabbi Ami said, why is the death of Miriam joined to the Torah portion of the red heifer? To teach you that just as the red heifer atones, so too the deaths of righteous persons atone.

It is unknown to what extent Paul might have agreed with that particular interpretation, but with the analogy in mind, it is fair to ask: how many modern minds requiring the text to teach only that which is explicit and on the surface would have seen a reference to a human’s death playing a role in atonement in the 19th and 20th chapters of the book of Numbers? The point of the analogy is this: Paul was an ancient Jew, and when ancient Jews said “the Scriptures teach [X],” or “according to the Scriptures, [X],” that did not necessarily mean “the Scriptures explicitly declare [X].”

Whatever the case, while one can only speculate as to what verses Paul might have had in mind, this blog entry will seek to offer a thought experiment of sorts, floating a few ideas (though there cannot be any guarantee that they’d be what Paul would have referenced).

A Messiah Slain, a Messiah Suffering for the Sins of Others

Consider Zechariah 12:12, for starters. If one were to read that verse now, they will not find any explicit reference to the points mentioned above, but, curiously, the Babylonian Talmud[2] records a tradition that the verse refers indirectly to a certain Messiah, son of Joseph, being killed (on a related note, John 19:37 and Revelation 1:7 show that there were New Testament writers who saw the nearby verse at Zechariah 12:10 as referring to Christ).

At this point, some might note that large swaths of Jewish tradition distinguish the Messiah, son of Joseph, from the Messiah, son of David (with the former possibly being an Ephramite?). Interestingly, however, the Zohar[3] states that when Genesis 49:10 refers to a certain m’Hoqeq which comes from between the legs (or feet) of Judah, it refers to the Messiah son of Joseph, thus raising a question: might the Messiah ben Yosef descend from Judah after all?

This raises another question: is it possible that some NT writers (who called Christ the son of Joseph) saw them as a single person? Interestingly, one orthodox Rabbi, Jacob Immanuel Schochet, noted[4] that it is possible a text seemingly referring to an Ephraimite Messiah, like the Pesiqta Rabati, is actually referring to the Davidic Messiah. That’s especially fascinating since the Pesiqta Rabati says this Messianic figure would suffer for the sins of others (and that the 22nd Psalm even alluded to such!).[5]

Also worthy of note, the Talmud[6] records a tradition which applies Isaiah 53 to the Messiah. The collective picture from all this is that, within the paradigm of Jewish interpretation, Scriptural allusions to a dying Messiah, and a Messiah who suffers for the sins of others, are not absurd.

A Question of Timeframes

Beyond that, there are New Testament texts that claim Christ Himself taught that the story of Jonah somehow foreshadowed what would happen to Himself. It’s interesting, therefore, that the Talmud[7] claims Jonah went to Gehinom while physically in the ocean or whale, arguing that the reference to sh’ol in Jonah 2:3 alludes to such. The Septuagint has Jonah praying from Hades, while Acts 2 has Christ going to, but not remaining in, Hades, in between His death and resurrection (moreover, 1 Peter 3:18-20 says Christ went to a place where the souls of those who died in the time of Noah were imprisoned, presumably Hades in light of the text in Acts). All this is worth pondering, as it seems to raise the question of whether Paul himself understood the text in Jonah as containing an allusion to Christ’s death and resurrection (and thus the corresponding timeframes).

One last point worthy of note is that the 6th chapter of Hosea might be plausibly understood as Messianic in scope, when viewed through a Jewish lens. To understand how, one might begin with this interesting question: is the returning of the people in Hosea 3:5 the same as the returning of the people in Hosea 6:1? The same verb is employed, with the only difference being that the former verse has it in the 3rd person, while the latter has it in the 1st person. If those two verses are referring to the same event, it then becomes worth noting that Targum Yonatan treats Hosea 3:5 as referring to the Messiah (ergo, if one verse might be Messianic in scope, so too might the other).

A second, related question could be: is the healing mentioned in Hosea 6:1 related to the healing in Isaiah 53:5? It was already noted that there are ancient Jewish traditions which treat Isaiah 53 as Messianic in scope, therefore, if the healing in Isaiah can be connected to the healing in Hosea, the latter may likewise be open to being considered Messianic in scope.

In short, Hosea 6 having a Messianic application does not seem absurd within the paradigm of ancient Jewish tradition. With that in mind, it is interesting that Targum Yonatan treats the third day in Hosea 6:2 as referring to a yom aHayut, a day of resurrection.[8]

Returning to the New Testament, it should here be noted that Matthew 9:12-13 quotes Jesus as applying Hosea 6 to His own healing of sinners. Such is of interest, again, because Hosea 6:2 contains a cryptic reference to “the third day” (that is to say, if Hosea 6 is Messianic in scope, perhaps the second verse is included within that scope).

Closing Thoughts

Now, admittedly, one cannot be certain which, if any, of the relevant Jewish traditions explored in this entry were also held to by Paul (or how he understood the Biblical texts explored within those traditions). This is, after all, a mere thought experiment. Nonetheless, at this point one should be able to see the following points:

(a) In ancient Jewish thought, it is possible for the TaN”aKh to contain less than obvious references to a Messianic figure suffering for the sins of others.

(b) In ancient Jewish thought, it is possible for the TaN”aKh to contain less than obvious references to a Messianic figure being killed.

(c) In Rabbinic literature (and the Septuagint) Jonah can be understood as going to Sheol/Hades [i.e. the realm of the dead] and then coming back, which is precisely what the New Testament says Jesus did, and the NT also treats the Jonah story’s timeframe as roughly paralleling that of Christ’s time between death and resurrection (i.e. a three day period).

(d) The reference to “the third day” in Hosea 6 can be understood as falling within the context of a Messianic reference (both within the paradigm of Rabbinic thought and Jesus’ own teachings).

In short, if one is reading the OT like a modern hyperliteralist, insisting on only what is explicit and on the surface, then one is not going to find references to what is referred to in Acts 17:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. However, on the other hand, as was noted, Paul did not necessarily handle Scripture in that way.[9] Paul was an ancient Jew, and thus it is worth noting that within the paradigm of Jewish tradition, the Scriptures cryptically or indirectly referring to things like those listed in Acts and 1 Corinthians is neither absurd nor impossible.

__

NOTES:

(1) Cf. Talmud Bavli, tractate Mo`ed Qatan 28A.

(2) Cf. Talmud Bavli, tractate Sukah 52A.

(3) Zohar, vol. I, 25B, or parshat B’reshit A, para. 234, in the Sulam. See pages 202-203 of the following PDF: http://www.ashlagbaroch.org/Zohar/bereshit_1.pdf

(4) Jacob Immanuel Schochet, Mashiach: The Principle of Mashiach and the Messianic Era in Jewish Law and Tradition, (New York: Sichos in English, 1992), pp. 93-94, no. 2.

(5) The 37th chapter of the Pesiqta Rabati reads as follows:

pesiqta-rabati-37

TRANSLATION: It is taught that in the future the patriarchs of the world will stand in the month of Nisan, and they will say to him, “our righteous Messiah Ephraim, even though we are your fathers, you are better than us, because you suffered for the sins of our children. […] Your strength was dried like pottery. And all this happened to you because of the sins of our children.

Where I have an ellipsis, the text goes through a list of afflictions mentioned in different parts of the Bible. The last affliction in the list, the one I included after the ellipsis, is from Psalm 22:15. In short, if the claim of Schochet (himself a an anit-Christian individual) is accepted, it leads logically to the conclusion that the afflictions in Psalm 22 alluded to the Davidic Messiah (i.e. THE Messiah) suffering for the sins of others.

(6) Cf. Talmud Bavli, tractate Sanhedrin 98B.

(7) Cf. Talmud Bavli, tractate `Eyrubin 19A.

(8) Targum Yonatan to Hosea 6:2 refers to the raising of mitaya, dead in the plural (i.e. multiple persons). While some might be tempted to invoke Matthew 27:52, an alternative approach is to simply note that a Christian is not required to believe all of Rabbinic tradition is required to be accurate. Rather, one can simply engage in the exercise of filtering parts of Rabbinic tradition through a presupposition of Christianity, while assuming that some portions therein can be wrong, and subsequently noting the potential points of contact and agreement. Under such an approach, it is interesting simply that the “third day” of this text, which could plausibly have a Messianic application, was understood to be a day of resurrection (and it may be worth noting that no definite article is employed).

(9) Galatians 4:22-26 makes clear that Paul was willing to go beyond a surface reading of a text. Moreover, the Synoptic Gospels have Christ referring to Scriptural allusions to His betrayal (Mark 14:18-21), arrest (Mark 14:27), death and resurrection (Luke 24:45-46, Matthew 12:40). Perhaps Jesus’ understanding of the Scriptures provide insight into Paul’s own approach to interpreting the Hebrew Bible?



Categories: Bible, Christianity, Judaism

44 replies

  1. Denis, your article illustrates just how lacking in clear scriptural foundations the gospel taught by Paul was.

    Paul writes in 1 Cor 15:

    ‘of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures’

    In Acts Paul traveled from city to city proclaiming this gospel to the Jews. Repeatedly they were mostly unpersuaded by his claims as they could not find any clear reference to the messiah dying and raising on the third day. The Torah in fact has a very different understanding of the Jewish messiah and his vocation. You ignore this dominant (and clear!) strand of Torah teaching about the coming messiah and how incongruous it is with Christian claims.

    Unlike nearly all the Christians I speak to Denis you have the intellectual honesty to admit that a straightforward reading of the Torah will fail to show anywhere ‘that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures’.

    Indeed it is so.

    The weakness of your case is that one must fall back on ‘Scriptures cryptically or indirectly’ teaching Paul’s claims. And as we have seen from the repeated Jewish rejection of Paul’s scriptural claims, this is a very weak argument. Much can be ‘proven’ from esoteric and occult readings of scripture. Muslims see in Shia claims about Ali being referenced in the Qur’an a similar fanciful eisegesis.

    The New Testament writers frequently quote the Jewish scriptures in ways that to us seem to ignore the plain meaning of a text; or they actually misquote a verse to make a point; or take verses out of their original context without regard for the meaning of the words; or even make up scriptural texts that do not even exist in the Bible. (We can discuss examples if you wish).

    Is this honest and acceptable? The fact that some Jewish writers at the time of Paul or later similarly took liberties with the Bible does not make it an authentic or legitimate practice. As Shakespeare put it:

    “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
    An evil soul producing holy witness
    Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
    A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
    O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!”

    ― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

    Liked by 3 people

    • Greetings Paul, and thank you for your reply.

      I would not call what was put forth “weak,” though I realize that it can strike a modern mind used to insisting on only that which is explicit as quite different. As was noted in the final endnote of the entry, the Synoptics depict Jesus Himself as treating the Scriptures as referring to events in His ministry and Passion, which are neither explicit nor on the surface of the Hebrew Bible. If neither ancient Jews, nor Jesus, nor Paul, limited the meanings of Scripture to only that which is explicit and on the surface, why should a Christian limit the scope of Scripture in such a way? Surely not simply because modern hyperliteralists insist on such, right?

      Now, that’s not to say every verse must be unclear or limited to some esoteric meaning. Nor would I think everyone is qualified to speak on such matters. But I see no reason to deny the possibility of Scripture having aspects which are not immediately accessible to every reader. Moreover, from a Christian perspective, the New Testament is precisely the lens via which one explores the Old Testament and discovers such gems.

      I would ask you to consider your own religious paradigm, as an analogy. Permit me to offer three different senses or layers:

      At the most basic level, if Scripture can only mean that which it mentions explicitly, what would the point be of the varaious tafasir upon the Qur’an? On a related note, would surat al-Isra’ 17:1 be required to explicitly mention Muhammad, Buraq and Jerusalem, in order for to it be referring to Muhammad traveling to Jerusalem on a creature called Buraq?

      On another level, would you agree that attempts to understand Qur’anic statements in light of developments in modern science fly in the face of the idea of the Qur’an only referring to that which Muslims in a given time period understand it to be explicitly referring to? With surat Al `Imran 3:7 in mind, wouldn’t it be your position that Scripture can have (a) clear verses, (b) other verses that require some other explanation, (c) still other verses which become more clear over time, and (d) verses which no one but God understands?

      And on a still deeper level, consider the Huruf muqaTa`at (i.e. the letters at the start of certain suwar in the Qur’an, like alif lam mim). Various Muslims throughout history have speculated about their meaning, and some even said that only God knows what they mean. Think about the implication there: if those letters have meaning, then they are referring to something, but that would entail the Qur’an referring to things which are neither explicit nor understood by Muslims. That seems to clearly run contrary to the idea that Scripture must necessarily only refer to that which regular readers understand it to be explicitly mentioning.

      You went on to appeal to Jewish rejection of Paul, but I think we would both agree that the truth of a position (even a position immediately relevant to the Jewish people) need not necessarily be measured by its popularity among Jews. For example, it seems clear the majority of Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah, or that Jesus was born of a virgin, yet I imagine you would not want me to therefore reject those positions. Moreover, as I have attempted to convey before, whether Jews agreed with Paul, on the one hand, and whether Scriptural teaching is only limited to that which is explicitly stated, on the other, are two somewhat different questions. Appealing to such rejection in a vacuum will give one impression, but viewing it against the backdrop of what is possible within the diverse spectrum of Jewish thought and tradition can give a different impression.

      Now, I would agree with you that an approach to Scripture does not automatically become validated simply because Rabbinic authorities employed it. But, echoing a sentiment shared in the first paragraph of this comment, I would ask how we determine what is appropriate? If ancient Jews, the New Testament authors, and Jesus Himself all agreed that the Hebrew Scriptures are only limited to surface meanings, should Christians really be expected to reject all of that and side with folks far removed from the time, culture, and linguistic paradigm, instead?

      Like

      • Part of the challenge confronting someone in the quest for the historical Jesus is to know what he is likely to have said, historically. We have four gospels that present quite different portraits of who he was and what he taught.

        There are numerous discrepancies and contradictions. And Jesus is presented as teaching widely different and irreconcilable things about himself, the Torah, the obligation (or not!) to obey the commandments of the law, and so forth. There are passages which are widely considered by responsible modern historians to be made up and legendary.

        Therefore in my view, we can’t just cite a gospel passage (as you do) and say this is what Jesus said. Maybe he did. But given the historical problems we should not assume authenticity.

        For example. I think it is highly unlikely that Jesus made the detailed predictions of his death, crucifiction, and resurrection attributed to him in the synoptics. This is not some anti-supernaturalist bias but a sober historian’s eye for what is euphemistically called ‘secondary material’. We can discuss the reasons in detail if you wish.

        What is missing from your discussion is an acknowledgement that when we read the gospels we are reading as much (or more) of the beliefs about Jesus in the evangelists’ communities in the late 1st century as we are of the historical Jesus in the 30s.

        The sayings of Jesus were transmitted orally for many years before being written down. They were altered by speakers and scribes to fit new contexts. Some sayings were undoubtedly made up on route. The gospel writers used traditions inherited from the first generation of believers and framed the stories according to their own theological tendencies, editing, omitting and creating material as they wrote. This explains the theological diversity amongst the gospels.

        I go back to my earlier points:

        The New Testament writers frequently quote the Jewish scriptures in ways that to us seem to ignore the plain meaning of a text; or they actually misquote a verse to make a point; or take verses out of their original context without regard for the meaning of the words; or even make up scriptural texts that do not even exist in the Bible.

        *is it acceptable to make up alleged scriptural citations to prove a point (as Matthew 2:23 does)? I say no.

        *Is it acceptable to misquote and twist a verse to make a theological point (as Paul does all over the place in his letters)? I say no.

        *Is it acceptable to completely ignore the plain meaning of the words of a scriptural quotation to make a totally unrelated point? I say no.

        Your argument appears to be that because some people in the ancient Jewish world did these things then it is normative and legitimate behaviour.

        I question your assumption.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Greetings again, Paul

        To set the tone, permit me to first note that a central focus of my entry and my first reply to you was the question of whether the meaning of Scripture is limited to only that which is explicit and on the surface. I’ll be circling back to this theme multiple times in this reply, as it is my hope that we do not lose sight of this question.

        You appealed to alleged contradictions in the Gospels, but on the question of whether Christ saw Scripture as alluding to His ministry and Passion, the Gospels certainly do not contradict. Or, to put this another way, it is not as though one Gospel depicts Christ as treating the meaning of Scripture as extending beyond what is explicitly stated, and another Gospel depicts Christ as teaching that Scripture can only ever refer to that which is explicitly stated. But I’d like to ask you: irrespective of whether you think Christ predicted specifically elements of the Passion, do you think the historical Jesus approached Scripture more like an ancient Jew or more like a modern hyperliteralist?

        You stated that you “think it is highly unlikely that Jesus made the detailed predictions of his death, crucifiction,” et cetera, but this raises a question: do you have a sound argument for rejecting any particular statement? Take, for example, one of the previously cited statements in Mark, which is allegedly the earliest Gospel. Do you have a methodology for determining which statements therein were or were not uttered by Jesus? If not, would you understand if Christians preferred to side with the depiction in Mark rather than the speculations of modern critics? Moreover, would it be fair to say that, modern doubts aside, the purportedly earliest Gospel depicts Jesus as similar to other ancient Jews in His approach to Scripture (insofar that the meaning of Scripture was not limited to only the surface reading)?

        Now, permit me to attempt to answer the questions you asked (though I suspect you may have intended them somewhat rhetorically?):

        is it acceptable to make up alleged scriptural citations to prove a point (as Matthew 2:23 does)?

        With all due respect, I fear this may be a bit of a loaded question. We do not agree that the relevant citation is “made up”. It seems to me that your question imports the assumption that if we cannot find the relevant statement in the TaN”aKh, then it could not have been uttered by any prophets. But I see no reason to start from such an assumption. However, if that is not an assumption of yours, then how does one reach the conclusion that the reference is “made up”?

        [A point worthy of note: it is not even a requirement of Judaism or Islam that all statements uttered by, or transmitted through, prophets be found in a single corpus. See, for example, past discussion on the doxological portion of the Rabbinic Sh’ma` and the ayatur-rajm, respectively.]

        Is it acceptable to misquote and twist a verse to make a theological point (as Paul does all over the place in his letters)?

        Here too, I do not agree with the underlying assumption of the question. Accusations of twisting Scripture seem to relate directly to the central question of whether the meaning of Scripture is limited to only what is on the surface. The Catholic Church does not place such a limitation on Scripture, ancient Jews often did not hold to such a limitation, Paul and other New Testament writers did not hold to such a limitation, and what might be the earliest text to mention Jesus depicts Him as likewise not holding to such a limitation, so I am left to wonder: why should I?

        Is it acceptable to completely ignore the plain meaning of the words of a scriptural quotation to make a totally unrelated point?

        I certainly would not be in favor of ignoring a meaning in Scripture, though if the meaning of Scripture is not limited to what is on the surface, then there should be room for moments to touch on those less explicit meanings (and exploring one layer of meaning at a specific point need not entail a willful perpetual ignorance of another layer of meaning).

        Now, as I have attempted to answer the questions you have posed to me, permit me to request that you answer some of the questions I have posed to you.

        For example, regarding your own religious paradigm, I wish to ask again: do you agree that in the Qur’an are clear verses, as well as other verses that require some explanation, as well as still other verses which become more clear over time, and even verses which no one but God understands? And if you do agree to that, do you consider the Huruf muqaTa`at (i.e. the letters at the start of certain suwar in the Qur’an, like alif lam mim) to be among the content with meanings known only to God?

        I consider these questions relevant because, honestly, if I were a Muslim, I would not hold to the assumptions which seem to undergird some of the criticisms of the New Testament being put forth in this correspondence.

        In closing, you summed up my position thusly:

        Your argument appears to be that because some people in the ancient Jewish world did these things then it is normative and legitimate behaviour.

        I would put it somewhat differently: at the heart of the criticism of Paul’s positions, as recorded in Acts 17:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, seems to be an assumption that Scripture can only refer to that which is explicit and on the surface. However, this assumption was not held to by ancient Jews, it was not held to by the authors of the New Testament, and according to our earliest depiction of Jesus it was not held to by Christ. I am left to wonder: is this limitation an artificial one? Why should a Christian hold to it?

        Like

  2. Shalom Denis,

    I understand that you offer a case for a christian perception to resolve an apparent misapprehension of the TaNaKH in Pauline gospels that he might draw from talmudic description of a slain messiah.

    Your post is quite a technical and I wish I had time to check all your sources but allow me share with you briefly what struck me as one interesting aspect when reading one of the source you have provided. From Talmud Bavli, tractate Sukkah 52A. you argue that it points to slain Messiah who can be referred to Jesus, however the general theme was more about Messiah ben David’s  asking of his life being spared rather than voluntarily see it as an act of merit.

    Talmud Bavli Sukkah 52A

    Ve kheivan sheraah mashiach ben yosef sheneh’erag, omer l’fanayv rabesh’ eyni m’vakesh mimekh’ ela chaim

    “And seeing that Messiah, the son of Joseph, who was killed, he says to master of universe, I seek nothing but life from you”

    Omer lo chaim ad shelo amar’ta k’var hit’nabe aleykha david abikh’ shene’emar

    “says to him, life, Until you said, (it) has already Prophesized  (by) David your father  about you as it is said”

    This is antithetical to Christianity’s claim for the messiahship of Jesus and more befitting to Islamic narration of the Messiah whose life was spared and granted life till the end of times.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Greetings Eric, and thank you for your reply.

      As a preliminary disclaimer, with reference to your opening paragraph, permit me to state that I certainly was not claiming that Paul “might draw from [a] Talmudic description of a slain Messiah.” I do not believe Paul referenced the Talmud (however, I would see the New Testament as reflecting true Jewish tradition, and the Talmudayim, along with other Rabbinic corpora, as comprising a mix of true Jewish tradition and some error [for an analogy, the way you perceive the Bible somewhat parallels how I see the vast spectrum of Rabbinic tradition). My intention was only to show what was possible in ancient Jewish thought, as Paul was an ancient Jew, and ancient Jewish approaches to Scripture were not limited to only what was explicitly stated therein.

      As for the distinction between the MeshiaH ben Yosef and the MeshiaH ben David, note that my entry argued that, contrary to the approach in this portion of Bavli Sukah, the New Testament writers might have understood these figures to actually be the same single person. The tacit line of thought there is that I am obviously not endorsing the Rabbinic picture in toto (a point which became more explicit in the eighth endnote of my entry).

      As for the idea that the relevant text fits better with the orthodox Islamic view, I appreciate that sentiment, and, in that regard, you might find RaSh”Y’s commentary on Daniel 12 particularly interesting.

      In the case of this text of Bavli Sukah, however, I suspect the full picture might remain an ill fit even for Islam. Note that the quote from the 21st Psalm, though truncated, ends with “v’go'” (וגו’), et cetera treating the rest of the verse as tacitly relevant. That last unquoted portion refers to days (and thus life) going on eternally. It seems to me the contrast is between a Messianic figure who is killed and a Messianic figure who will never die. The latter would be at odds with the Qur’an, which does affirm the death of the Messiah (even if orthodox Muslims interpret that to mean a yet to occur future event).

      Whatever the case, as was also alluded to in Ken’s comment below, I suspect non-Christian Jews struggled with traditions which pointed to a dying Messiah and traditions which pointed to a Messiah who would reign forever, and this may have been at the root of dividing the signifiers into two distinct persons.

      Like

      • //My intention was only to show what was possible in ancient Jewish thought, as Paul was an ancient Jew, and ancient Jewish approaches to Scripture were not limited to only what was explicitly stated therein.//

        Suppose it is plausible that Paul could have deliberately written crypto message in his gospels, things are described but not explained,  intended for rabbinic circles or at least jewish readers with knowledge in talmudic culture ….but my problem is why was it written in greek?  if Paul was truly an ancient Jew with ancient Jewish approaches to Scripture why would he write something in a language completely absent from Talmudic literature in hebraic (which includes Aramaic and Syriac) Palestine.

        //As for the distinction between the MeshiaH ben Yosef and the MeshiaH ben David, note that my entry argued that, contrary to the approach in this portion of Bavli Sukah, the New Testament writers might have understood these figures to actually be the same single person…//

        Interestingly Moshiach ben Yosef as depicted in the Bavli compares him to the יצר הרע Yetzer Hara, a sinner who lead people astray who then fell…. how then such a figure associated with Nevi Eesa?

        //Note that the quote from the 21st Psalm, though truncated, ends with “v’go’” (וגו’), et cetera treating the rest of the verse as tacitly relevant. That last unquoted portion refers to days (and thus life) going on eternally. It seems to me the contrast is between a Messianic figure who is killed and a Messianic figure who will never die. The latter would be at odds with the Qur’an, which does affirm the death of the Messiah (even if orthodox Muslims interpret that to mean a yet to occur future event).//

        Im surprised that you seem oblivious that the tern לעלם  “forever” is  common salutation of a king: (1Kings 1:31; Nehemiah 2:3; Daniel 3:9.) Biblical commentators referenced Ps 21 to Ps 61:6 and Ps 91:16 . Here “forever” signify that God may grant the King with long life and that his years may span many generations..

        What I find it interesting the point is the messiah asked God for life in prayer in the situation which implies that his life were in danger. And God answered the prayer. This is in perfect harmony  with the Qur’an which does affirm that God saved the Messiah from his ordeal in the cross and prolong his life.

        Like

      • Greetings again, Eric.

        Just to be clear, I was not arguing that Paul’s own writing was necessarily itself cryptic, but rather proposing that the way he understood the Hebrew Bible may have paralleled the way various other ancient Jews understood various texts (insofar that he did not limit the meaning to only that which is explicit, rather he understood texts in light of certain traditions, as referring to something not explicitly stated therein).

        As for why he wrote in Greek, presumably because he was writing to a Greek speaking audience. There are parallels, today, where a Hasidic Jew might address a group in New York, in English, and say “according to the Torah,” and then proceed to describe something not explicit in the text of the Torah, but rather something filtered through Jewish tradition (I personally have seen this happen many times). A Jew addressing a crowd in a European language need not short circuit that Jew’s understanding of the Hebrew Bible.

        As for MashiaH ben Yosef and the Yetser ha-Ra³, I would separate the two out as ultimately these represented starkly different interpretations (differences of opinion, “divisions,” פליגי) among different camps (though Jewish history provides fascinating attempts to reconcile seemingly disparate lines of thought). As I alluded to in my entry, and my first reply to you, I do not see a requirement to reconcile all of Rabbinic tradition with Christianity. Rather I see the literature of the two faiths as signifying that there were a swirl of traditions available, and the Christian faith would go on to affirm, refine or clarify some (not all) of those lines of understanding.

        Regarding the parallel with Islam, I would say that I still think that, in this context, the distinction was between one who dies and one who is spared such a fate. I realize the text more specifically says killed (neherag), but I don’t think it would have been satisfactory for him to be spared being murdered only to die of a heart attack (and history has certainly given rise to Jews who think the Messiah wont die, which is at the heart of the controversy with Lubavitchers [though the latter rightly point out that Jewish tradition, including the Talmud, make room for the possibility of the Messiah dying]).

        Whatever the case, thank you for your comments, which are very much appreciated.

        Like

  3. Paul Williams and I have discussed this issue many times before.

    If you look at what Jews today (who reject Jesus as Messiah) view as Messianic passages in the OT (TaNaKh): תנכ
    None of those passages have the word “Messiah” (Moshiach, משיח) in them.

    https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/will-real-messiah-please-stand/

    But they leave out 2 great passages that do have that term and point to Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah:
    Psalm 2:1-12
    Daniel 9:24-27

    Jesus claimed He was the Messiah, and that the suffering servant of Isaiah 52:13-15 to 53:1-12 is about Him and His atoning death.

    Jonah 1:17 and the whole book, was also a fulfillment of the verses in 1 Cor. 15 and Acts 17 (that Denis mentions at beginning of article)

    Psalm 16 (verse 10 is about the resurrection)
    and
    Psalm 110 are also powerful verses about the Messiah to come.

    Zechariah 12:10
    Micah 5:2-5
    Isaiah 7:14
    Isaiah 9:1-6
    Isaiah 61:1-4
    Zechariah 9:9

    The issue is the fact that the Jewish leadership rejected the verses about the Messiah’s humility and suffering and death, and wanted political and military victory over the Romans and then there would be the peace and welfare of the Messianic age. The proper understanding is that the Messiah comes twice, the second time is future to us. Even Muslims believe in a second coming of Jesus the Messiah.

    Like

  4. Paul Williams wrote:
    *is it acceptable to make up alleged scriptural citations to prove a point (as Matthew 2:23 does)? I say no.

    Matthew did not “make up” anything. You have to study deeper:

    23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:23, NASB)

    Muslims ask about Matthew 2:23 – “where is it written in the prophets that Messiah would be called a Nazarene?”

    First, notice it says, “through the prophets” – plural. So he is speaking of a general concept that is in more than one prophet. “that what was spoken through the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23) “Nararene” – a Nazer – נצר – nzr – a rejected branch. Nazareth was a rejected city in the North, in “Galilee of the Gentiles”; it was rejected by the Jews in the south and around Jerusalem, since it was a Galilean town. (northern, Gentile, defiled by non-Jews). “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46; see also John 7:41 and 7:52)

    So, “Nazareth” describes Jesus being rejected by the Jews. Isaiah 14:19 – “like a rejected branch” = כְּנֵצֶר נִתְעָב כ = like נצר = NZR, Nazer, branch נתעב = rejected, despised Isaiah 11:1 – “then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse (father of David); and a branch (Nazer – נצר ) from his roots will bear fruit.” (see rest of Isaiah 11:1-10 – a very Messianic passage in the Jews minds. This is referred to in Acts 13:22-23; and Isaiah 11:10 is quoted in Romans 15:12)

    Isaiah 53:1-3 – concept of rejection, tender shoot, root out of dry ground

    Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:1-3)

    There is another word for the Messiah as a “branch” צמח used often, combined with the concepts of a shoot (of a plant), root, sprout, and despised, shows that Matthew had many passages in mind when he wrote, “as it is spoken through the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene” = despised, rejected. Jeremiah 23:5 – Messiah will be a righteous branch. (צמח) Jeremiah 33:15 – a righteous branch (צמח )of David will spring forth Isaiah 4:2 – “branch of the Lord” (צמח) Zechariah 3:8 – “they are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the branch.” (צמח) Zechariah 6:12 – the one whose name is “Branch” (צמח) There are several words for “branch”(צמח is used more often) with root and shoot (Isaiah 53:1-3; 11:1) and “Nezer” (נצר) is not always used in every passage. But the concept of a branch, with the concepts of “shoot” and “root” and “rejected”; and the concept of being rejected combines all these passages as demonstrating what Matthew 2:23 was referring to.

    https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/answer-for-matthew-223/

    Like

    • Another load of BS from Kenny! This is the typical Christian nonsense about Matthew’s fake prophecy about the “Nazarene”. Allan Ruhl tried this same garbage and was soundly refuted:

      https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/04/jesus-the-nazarene-matthews-fake-prophecy-and-allan-ruhls-worst-nightmare/

      Actually, the specific word used for “branch” in a Messianic context is only found in Isaiah 11:1. The word is “netser” (pronounced “nay’-tser).[5] Other words that have been translated as “branch” with a Messianic context are also used but “netser” is only used in Isaiah 11:1. For example, Jeremiah 23:5 states:

      “’The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.’”

      But The word used here is “tsemach”,[6] not “netser”. But it is clear that both verses are referring to the Messiah. The only difference is the word that is used. This is an important point which we will revisit shortly.

      Ruhl continues to build his argument and makes the following claim:

      “[t]he term for “branch” here in Hebrew is very interesting. It’s the word “netser”. Netser – Nazarene? See the connection?”

      Um, most people would probably say “no, I don’t see the connection” but then Ruhl is a Christian apologist, so perhaps it is not surprising that he would make such a fanciful claim based on a non-sequitur. However, this is one of the more popular explanations for Matthew’s aberrant prophecy. The problem for Rul is that not all scholars (whether liberal or conservative) are convinced. Here, I will present the views of conservative Christian scholars (since Ruhl, like most biased Christians, will only accept the opinions of Christian scholars) who find the supposed link between Matthew 2:23 and Isaiah 11:1 to be tenuous at best. First and foremost, there is no agreement even among Christians as to the correct explanation for Matthew’s bizarre “prophecy”. Adam Clarke wrote in his commentary (emphasis ours):

      “[i]t is difficult to ascertain by what prophets this was spoken. The margin usually refers to Judges 13:5, where the angel, foretelling the birth of Samson, says, No razor shall come upon his head; for the child shall be a Nazarite (נזיר nezir ) unto God from the womb. The second passage usually referred to is Isaiah 11:1; : There shall come forth a rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch (נצר netser ) shall grow out of his roots. That this refers to Christ, there is no doubt. Jeremiah, Jeremiah 23:5, is supposed to speak in the same language – I will raise unto David a righteous Branch: but here the word is צמח tsemach, not נצר netser ; and it is the same in the parallel place, Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12; therefore, these two prophets cannot be referred to; but the passages in Judges and Isaiah may have been in the eye of the evangelist, as well as the whole institution relative to the Nazarite (נזיר nezir ) delivered at large…”[7]

      So Clarke included Isaiah 11:1 among a few possible sources for Matthew 2:23, but left the matter undecided. Similarly, Albert Barnes explained that (emphasis ours):

      “[t]he words here are not found in any of the books of the Old Testament, and there has been much difficulty in ascertaining the meaning of this passage. Some have supposed that Matthew meant to refer to Judges 13:5, to Samson as a type of Christ; others that he refers to Isaiah 11:1, where the descendant of Jesse is called “a Branch;” in the Hebrew נצר Nêtzer. Some have supposed that he refers to some prophecy which was not recorded, but handed down by tradition. But these suppositions are not satisfactory. It is much more probable that Matthew refers not to any particular place, but to the leading characteristics of the prophecies respecting him.”[8]

      So unlike Clarke, Barnes was not convinced by the “netser” theory.

      But others, like John Gill, were convinced that “Matthew” had Isaiah 11:1 in mind.[9] The point is that there is no agreement among Christian scholars. This issue has been debated for centuries!

      But even those who propose the Isaiah-Matthew connection inevitably have to admit that “Matthew” was merely resorting to “wordplay”,[10] which implies that there really was no “Nazarene” prophecy and that “Matthew” just used a “common theme” (the Messiah as a “branch”) and linked it to the town of Nazareth. So how does that refute the obvious fact that “what was said through the prophets” wasn’t really said through the prophets?

      This brings us back to the issue of different words being used for “branch”. As previously noted, only Isaiah used the word “netser”, whereas Jeremiah used the word “tsemach”. No amount of mental gymnastics could succeed in finding a linguistic similarity between “tsemach” and “Nazarene”. But then why did “Matthew” use the phrase “what was said through the prophets”, if only one particular prophet used the Hebrew word that “Matthew” allegedly used in his “wordplay”? “Matthew” clearly referred to Isaiah by name in many places when appealing to specific alleged “prophecies” about the Messiah.[11] Wouldn’t it make sense to mention Isaiah when pointing to the alleged “Nazarene” prophecy? Why did “Matthew” muddy the water by referring to multiple prophets instead? This conundrum is not lost on many Christians. In his senior thesis at Liberty University, Dylan West noted the inconsistency and “weakness” of the Isaiah-Matthew connection:

      “[o]ne weakness is the use of “nēser” throughout the rest of the Old Testament. This word “occurs only four times in the Hebrew Bible,” with the other three passages not being Messianic. While there are other Messianic passages translated as “branch” into English, they do not use the word “nēser . ” The Hebrew word “semah” translated “branch” is used messianically, such as in the previously stated Jeremiah 23:5 passage. Therefore, while the branch theme may span multiple books in the Old Testament, the word “nēser” does not remain consistent with this theme. Additionally, the Septuagint translates the Hebrew for “nēser” to “ ἄνθος ” thus terminating “the linguistic connection for Greek speakers” which Matthew’s context primarily was.”[12]

      Echoing this sentiment and summarizing the conundrum, H. Daniel Zacharias writes:

      “[s]cholars of every stripe admit that there is no neat and tidy answer to Matthew’s quotation in 2:23. Every option has weaknesses and in this case it seems the argument with the most cumulative weight should be given priority.”[13]

      Zacharias also admits that if “Matthew” had Isaiah 11:1 in mind, then he was simply “making a play” on the word “netser”.[14] Based on this, he also admits that:

      “[in] this regard, Isa 11:1 as the origin suffers from the same pitfall as all of the other options – there is no one-to-one correspondence.”[15]

      So, this brings us back to the main point which I raised in my previous response to Ruhl. There is simply no such “prophecy” about the Messiah being called “Nazarene” anywhere in the Tanakh. Appealing to the author’s “wordplay” only shows that he was appealing to the “theme” (as Ruhl also admitted), but there is no evidence that Isaiah had the same theme in mind! Ruhl will be hard-pressed to prove that Isaiah was speaking about the town of Nazareth when prophesying about the “branch” from the line of Jesse!

      This leads us to the alternate theory posited by some Christians, who are obviously not intellectually satisfied by the appeal to Isaiah 11:1. In short, this theory appeals to a “spoken” prophecy (i.e. an oral tradition). In this regard, Anastasios Kioulachoglou states (emphasis in the original):

      “[s]ome prophecies were spoken and not written. Some others were not spoken but only written, while some others were both spoken and written. When we read a quotation that says “as it is written”, we will find it 100% in the Scripture, since it is guaranteed that it is WRITTEN. However, when what is quoted is said that it was simply SPOKEN, then we may find it written but we may also not find it written. The Word does not guarantee that it was written. What it guarantees is that it was SPOKEN.”[16]

      Similarly, the failure of the “wordplay” argument has led some scholars to simply assume some form of “prophetic” significance to the title “Nazarene” without explaining what that significance is. Thus, in the entry under “Nazareth”, the “Compact Bible Dictionary” explains that “[t]here is prophetic significance” to Jesus’ title but the entry ends without a reference to any specific “prophecy”.[17] Moreover, the word “Nazareth” is linked to the Aramaic word for “watchtower”, not for “branch”.[18] Similarly, under the entry “Jesse”, the dictionary refers to Isaiah 11:1 but does not discuss any link with Matthew 2:23, though it mentions Romans 15:12 and Paul’s belief that the “root of Jesse…was a prophecy fulfilled in Jesus Christ.”[19] So it seems that many Christian scholars are not as naively impressed by the alleged “beautiful connection” between Isaiah 11:1 and Matthew 2:23!

      To finish off his apologetic gymnastics, Ruhl appealed to linguistic similarities between the Hebrew spelling for “Nazareth” and “netser”. He points out that the two words have identical root letters, namely:

      נצר

      But if that is the argument, then it is equally acceptable and likely that the word “Nazareth” is related to “watchtower”, since it has the same root. Take as an example 2 Kings 17:9 (emphasis mine):

      “[t]he Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns.”

      The spelling of the word “watchtower” is:[20]

      נוֹצְרִ֖ים

      More importantly, the root of the word is none other than:[21]

      נצר

      And indeed, many “conservative” (i.e. non-liberal) Christian scholars believe that “Nazareth” was derived not from “netser” but from “natsar” (pronounced “naw-tsar”). Thus, as previously mentioned, the “Compact Bible Dictionary” links Nazareth with “watchtower” and not “branch”, even though the root is the same.[22] So it seems the usual Ruhlian “logic” has failed miserably yet again!

      Liked by 2 people

    • As you said Ken, your post obviously fell on deaf ears since nothing in the alleged “response” to you even came close to refuting your point. This is the problem with debates on comments sections. It always the charlatan to get away with fluff.

      However, let’s help keep these Muslims honest and consistent, shall we? We will do so by insisting that they employ equal weights and measures in their criticisms.

      According to the Quran, there is a prophesy about an unlettered prophet, i.e. one ignorant and unlearned about the previous Scriptures, that is referred to in the Torah and the Gospel which was in the possession of the Jews and Christians at the time of Muhammad:

      those who follow the Messenger, ‘the Prophet of the common folk, whom they find written down WITH THEM IN THE TORAH AND THE GOSPEL, bidding them to honour, and forbidding them dishonour, making lawful for them the good things and making unlawful for them the corrupt things, and relieving them of their loads, and the fetters that were upon them. Those who believe in him and succour him and help him, and follow the light that has been sent down with him — they are the prosperers.’S. 7:157

      Since on historical, textual and archaeological grounds we know for a fact that the Scriptures that the Jews and Christians had were basically identical to what we possess today, this means that it is not hard to find such a prophesy in our modern day Bibles. However, since these Muslims keep insisting that the Torah is not identical to the OT, or even with the Pentateuch, and the Gospel is not identical the fourfold Gospels of the NT, this means that they cannot appeal to these sources to show us where such a prophesy is to be found.

      Therefore Ken, please have them answer the following questions for us.

      1. Show us a single verse in the Quran which says the Torah was given to Moses.
      2. Show us what the Torah and the Gospel were at the time of Muhammad, which the Jews and Christians had with them, as the verse claims, and do so by pointing to the historical, textual and/or archaeological data to prove your point.
      3. If you concede that the Torah and the Gospel refer to the Pentateuch and the fourfold Gospels, or at least to material found therein, then please quote the verses from the Pentateuch and the fourfold Gospels that do not simply mention a prophet like Moses or the Comforter whom Jesus was going to send. Rather you must show verses from both the Pentateuch and the fourfold Gospels which explicitly mention an illiterate, unlettered prophet/apostle that would be sent after Moses and Jesus.
      4. If you claim that these prophecies were removed then please point to the pre-Islamic biblical manuscripts where such a prophesy appears in the Pentateuch and fourfold Gospels. After all, no Jew or Christian would have thought to remove such passages prior to the coming of Muhammad since they would have no reason to do so, especially when they didn’t even know that Muhammad would arise to challenge them and contradict their Scriptures.

      Now Ken, watch the tap dance that is about to take place.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL, isn’t it sweet you guys? Sam and Kenny are now buddies after being at each other’s throats! It’s so adorable!

        Now Sam, as it turns out, the whole point of my article addressing Allan Ruhl’s rubbish was to point out his hypocrisy in asking for actual prophecies about Muhammad (the only difference was that he was referring to Surah 61:6). I pointed out that the “Nazarene” prophecy was most likely based on an oral tradition, just as Jesus’ earliest teachings were mostly oral. Therefore, I argued, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Jesus did utter a prophecy about another prophet to come. See? Had you bothered to read a little, instead of always thumping your chest like King Kong, you wouldn’t make such a fool out of yourself.

        So when your little buddy Kenny opened his mouth and ranted about the “branch”, it was appropriate to respond by showing how the Hebrew word has no relation to “Nazareth”. It is simply another made up Christian answer to a persistent problem.

        Like

      • By the way Sam, not to change the subject, but I was wondering if I could pick your brain for a second. I have been talking with Christians about Leviticus 11:6, which says that rabbits “chew the cud”. Of course, the problem is that rabbits don’t chew the cud, because they are not ruminants like cows. So why did the Bible say that? What is your take on this?

        Like

      • Greetings Faiz

        I know your question was not posed to me, but permit me to say that, while the subject of Leviticus 11:6 is indeed off topic, I have a nearly seven and a half year old correspondence on the subject (though I think one needs to be logged into FaceBook to see the relevant comments). The gist is that, English translations aside, the Hebrew phrase ma³aleh gerah (which I proposed might be rendered “take up the morsel”) could be expansive enough to encompass rumination, pseudo-rumination and caecotrophy (with Torah usage not necessarily intending all forms of coprophagy).

        Like

      • Now speaking of chewing cuds:

        “The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you.” Leviticus 11:6
        Rabbits do not regurgitate food (i.e. cud). Hence, this seems to imply an error. Yet, when we look at the original Hebrew words we discover an entirely different picture.

        The term for cud is gerah, a word that is never used elsewhere in Scripture besides here and in Deuteronomy. Gerah can mean, “grain, berry,” even “a 20th of a shekel”. Hence, gerah can imply something of little value. Rabbits go through a process called refection wherein they take their dung and chew on it in order to get at the remaining partially digested food. In this way, rabbits are able to get the most nutrients possible from the food they digest.

        The term “gerah” conveys the fact that what rabbits chew has some value. Yet, the Hebrew word for “dung” is used in Scripture to imply something defiled, unclean or useless and would not be suitable in describing what rabbits eat.

        Secondly, the term used for “chew” is alah and literally means to “bring up.” Here are some passages highlighting this point:

        “It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt…” Joshua 24:17
        “While Samuel was offering up the burnt offering…” 1 Samuel 7:10

        “… while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.” 2 Samuel 6:15

        “… therefore the Lord is about to bring (up) against them the mighty floodwaters of the River…” Isaiah 8:7

        “He makes clouds rise (up) from the ends of the earth…” Psalm 135:7

        These few examples sufficiently demonstrate that the term does not necessarily imply regurgitation, but can refer generally to any type of movement such as lifting or bringing up an object. Hence, Leviticus 11:6 is completely acceptable and poses no serious problem with what we know of rabbits.

        There are some that actually do not believe Leviticus is actually speaking about rabbits. They rather feel that the verse is speaking of an animal that is no longer in existence:

        “11:6 cheweth the cud. This is one of the classic ‘mistakes of’ the Bible, since it is well known that the hare does not chew the cud. In fact, this would also have been known to the ancient Israelites, so that they would make no such mistake. The problem is simply the mis-translation of the Hebrew arnebeth. This animal was not a hare, but is an unknown animal. Modern translators seem constrained to equate all the ancient animals of the Bible with modern animals. They overlook the fact that many animals have become extinct in the last four thousand years, especially during the traumatic centuries of climactic upheaval immediately following the great flood, the period known to evolutionists as the Pleistocene Epoch, or Ice Age. There is no reason whatsoever to equate the arnebeth with the hare. The identities of several of the other animals listed in this chapter are equally uncertain.” (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defenders Study Bible King James Version [World Publishing; Grand Rapids, MI 1995], p. 145)
        Either way, there is no error in the Holy Bible.

        For more on this subject please read the following:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sam,
        Yes, Faiz is a good tap dancer around the issues.

        Many of the issues and verses you brought out I also mention in my article. Thanks for the Isaiah 9 and 55 connection also.

        I even pointed out the different Hebrew words in other verses, for Branch; but it seems Faiz did not even read the article.

        Like

      • Gerah = Jerah in Arabic which means cud.

        “when we look at the original Hebrew words we discover an entirely different picture.”
        How ironic when it comes form a christian.

        Like

    • Ken,

      Let me further help you refute the Muslim commenter who pretended to be responding to your points by simply stating the obvious, i.e., we do not know for certain what Matthew was referring to since the wording “what was SPOKEN by the PROPHETS,” indicates he didn’t have a single prophecy in mind, but what the prophets taught as a whole. I will do so by obloterating the following claim for you Ken:

      BEGIN
      Zacharias also admits that if “Matthew” had Isaiah 11:1 in mind, then he was simply “making a play” on the word “netser”.[14] Based on this, he also admits that:

      “[in] this regard, Isa 11:1 as the origin suffers from the same pitfall as all of the other options – there is no one-to-one correspondence.”[15]

      So, this brings us back to the main point which I raised in my previous response to Ruhl. There is simply no such “prophecy” about the Messiah being called “Nazarene” anywhere in the Tanakh. Appealing to the author’s “wordplay” only shows that he was appealing to the “theme” (as Ruhl also admitted), but there is no evidence that Isaiah had the same theme in mind! Ruhl will be hard-pressed to prove that Isaiah was speaking about the town of Nazareth when prophesying about the “branch” from the line of Jesse!
      END

      Let’s have fun at this Muslim’s expense shall we?

      He claims that Isaiah did not have the same “theme” in mind, which I take to mean that the prophet didn’t view the Messiah’s being rejected and looked down upon by others due to what appeared to be his unassuming and humble circumstances, which is the point you were making about Jesus being a Nazarene, namely, that the people could not accept Jesus as the long awaited Messiah because of his background and upbringing. Let’s see if this is the case.

      In the first place, we are told that the branch of Isaiah is from the line of Jesse, a clear Messianic prophecy since this connects him with the promises given to David:

      “And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD SHALL REST UPON HIM, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.He shall delight in the fear of the LORD, and he shall not judge by what his eyes see, nor reprove by what his ears hear; BUT WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS HE SHALL JUDGE the poor, and REPROVE WITH FAIRNESS for the meek of the earth. He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his loins, and faithfulness the belt about his waist. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. In that day there shall be a ROOT (sheresh) of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the peoples. For him shall the nations seek. And his rest shall be glorious. In that day the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, who shall be left, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” Isaiah 11:1-10

      Therefore, in order to properly understand the promises of Isaiah 11 we need to connect with all that Isaiah says about the Davidic heir:

      “Nevertheless there shall be no more gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time He contemptuously treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen A GREAT LIGHT; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them THE LIGHT HAS SHINED… For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID AND OVER HIS KINGDOM, to order it and to establish it with justice and with righteousness, from now until forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

      “In mercy THE THRONE shall be established; and one who judges and seeks justice and is diligent in righteousness shall sit on it in truth IN THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID, judging” Isaiah 16:5

      “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Listen, so that your soul may live, and I will make an EVERLASTING COVENANT with you, EVEN THE SURE MERCIES OF DAVID. See, I have given HIM AS A WITNESS TO THE PEOPLE, A LEADER AND COMMANDER TO THE PEOPLE. Surely you shall call a nation that you do not know, and nations that did not know you SHALL RUN TO YOU because of the LORD your God, even the Holy One of Israel; for He has GLORIFIED YOU. Seek the LORD while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:1-7

      So far what we see is that the root of Jesse is the child who is born and the son given to reign over David’s throne forever as the Mighty God, being the great light that shines forth from Galilee, the One whom the nations are to enter into a covenant with in order to experience salvation.

      Secondly, Isaiah identifies the Davidic heir as the Root (sheresh), a word which connects this same King with the Arm/Servant of the Lord of Isaiah 53. We’ll start with 52:13 for context:

      “See, MY SERVANT shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, HIS VUSAGE WAS SO MARRED, MORE THAN ANY MAN, AND HIS FORM MORE THAN THE SONS OF MEN; so he shall sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall consider. Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before Him as a tender plant and as A ROOT (sheresh) out of a dry ground. HE HAS NO FORM OR MAJESTY THAT WE SHOULD LOOK UPON HIM NOR APPEARANCE THAT WE SHOULD DESIRE HIM. HE WAS DESPISED AND REJECTED OF MEN, A MAN OF SORROWS AND ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF. AND AS WE HID, AS IT WERE, OUR FSACES FROM HIM; HE WAS DESIPSED, AND WE DID NOT ESTEEM HIM. Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way, but the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was struck. His grave was assigned with the wicked, yet with the rich in his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; He has put him to grief. If he made himself as an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the good pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the anguish of his soul and be satisfied. By his knowledge MY RIGHTEOUS SERVANT shall justify the many, for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, thus he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 52:13-53:12

      Did you catch it Ken? The Branch of Isaiah 11, the Root of Jesse, is the same Arm/Root whom Isaiah says had no beauty that attracted him to the people, but was one who was despised and acquainted with sorrows, deemed to be God-stricken and forsaken by those that saw him. Sure sounds like Isaiah had the same theme that Matthew had in view!

      There are further ties between the Davidic heir and Isaiah’s Servant. Recall that Isaiah said that the child born to rule over David’s throne was to be the great light that shines upon those living in darkness in 9:1-2, and the One through whom God establishes his everlasting covenant. Compare that with the following texts:

      “Here is MY SERVANT, whom I uphold, My chosen one, in whom My soul delights. I have put MY SPIRIT UPON HIM; he shall bring forth justice to the nations. He shall not cry out, nor lift up his voice, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and the smoking flax he shall not quench; HE SHALL BRING FORTH JUSTICE FAITHFULLY. He shall not be disheartened nor be discouraged, UNTIL HE HAS SET JUSTICE IN THE EARTH; and the coastlands shall wait for his law. Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes out of it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk in it: I the LORD have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand, and will keep You and appoint You FOR A COVENANT OF THE PEOPLE, FOR A LIGHT OF THE NATIONS, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, AND THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS out of the prison house.” Isaiah 42:1-7

      “Listen to me, O coastlands, and pay attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb; from the body of my mother He named me. He has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He has hidden me and made me a select arrow; in His quiver He has hidden me. He said to me, ‘You are MY SERVANT, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’ Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity, yet surely the justice due to me is with the LORD, and my reward with my God.’ Now says the LORD, who formed me from the womb to be HIS SERVANT, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (yet I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God is my strength), He says, ‘It is a light thing that you should be MY SERVANT to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make you A LIGHT TO THE NATIONS SO THAT MY SALVATION MAY REACH TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.’ Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, TO THE DESPISED ONE, TO THE ONE WHOM THE NATIONS ABHORS, to the servant of rulers: ‘Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD who is faithful and the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.’ Thus says the LORD: In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you; and I will preserve you, and give you as A COVENANT OF THE PEOPLE, TO RESTORE THE EARTH, to make them inherit the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ to those WHO ARE IN DARKNESS, ‘Show yourselves.’ They shall feed along the paths, and their pastures shall be in all desolate heights; they shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor sun strike them; for He who has mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water He shall guide them.” Isaiah 49:1-10

      Note the theme of the Servant being despised and abhorred again.

      Now compare this with the following:

      “The people who walked IN DARKNESS have seen A GREAT LIGHT; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them THE LIGHT HAS SHINED.” Isaiah 9:2

      “… In that day there shall be a ROOT (sheresh) of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to THE PEOPLES. FOR HIM SHALL THE NATIONS SEEK. And his rest shall be glorious. ” Isaiah 11:10

      So the Branch of Jesse who is endowed with God’s Spirit, the child born is the light that draws in the Gentiles to a saving knowledge of God, thereby connecting him with the Servant of Isaiah.

      So what we have here is Isaiah identifying the Branch as the Servant of Jehovah who is the child born to rule on David’s throne as the Mighty God, that is first despised and rejected by men, beaten beyond human semblance, and killed for the sins of mankind, and then raised and exalted by God to reign forever.

      If you ask me this sure sounds exactly like what Matthew had in mind, and yet none of this agrees with Muhammad. In fact, Matthew even quotes Isaiah 53: and 42:1-4 in the following verses:

      “When the evening came, they brought to Him many who were possessed with demons. And He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all who were sick, to fulfill what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.'” Matthew 8:16-17

      “But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great crowds followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them that they should not make Him known, to fulfill what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘Here is My Servant, whom I have chosen, My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will render judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not struggle nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench, until He renders judgment unto victory; and in His name will the Gentiles trust.'” Matthew 12:15-21

      Therefore, the testimony of Isaiah and Matthew condemns Muhammad as a false prophet and antichrist.

      So what do you think Ken?

      Liked by 1 person

      • So what do yo think, Ken?

        good stuff.
        Faiz is refuted.

        Did you catch it Ken? The Branch of Isaiah 11, the Root of Jesse, is the same Arm/Root whom Isaiah says had no beauty that attracted him to the people, but was one who was despised and acquainted with sorrows, deemed to be God-stricken and forsaken by those that saw him. Sure sounds like Isaiah had the same theme that Matthew had in view!

        Yes, I mentioned some of the same things as you did. You expanded it more and spelled it out more by fuller quotes and more from Isaiah 9 and Isaiah 55 and 42 and 49. (and Isaiah 16:5)

        Thanks.

        Like

  5. “Greetings Faiz

    I know your question was not posed to me, but permit me to say that, while the subject of Leviticus 11:6 is indeed off topic, I have a nearly seven and a half year old correspondence on the subject (though I think one needs to be logged into FaceBook to see the relevant comments). The gist is that, English translations aside, the Hebrew phrase ma³aleh gerah (which I proposed might be rendered “take up the morsel”) could be expansive enough to encompass rumination, pseudo-rumination and caecotrophy (with Torah usage not necessarily intending all forms of coprophagy).”

    Hi Denis. I will keep this short, because I will publish a formal response later. For now, I need some clarification. You say that the Hebrew phrase could mean “take up the morsel”, But every translation I have looked at uses “chews” (with the exception of Young’s Literal Translation , which uses “bringing up the cud”). So according to virtually all English translations, the “taking up” would include chewing. In this regard, the “International Standard Bible Enclyclopedia” states:

    “(ma`aleh gerah, literally “bringing up” (American Revised Versions margin), i.e. “chewing the cud,” from garar, “to roll,” “ruminate”): One of the marks of cleanliness, in the sense of fitness for food, of a quadruped, given in Leviticus 11:3 and Deuteronomy 14:6, is the chewing of the cud.”

    Do you agree with this assessment?

    Also, rabbits do not “take up” anything. “Taking up” in this context would imply regurgitation, which rabbits do not do. Or do you mean to say that “take up” can mean anything which is eaten again, whether partially chewed food, caecotrophes or feces?

    Like

    • Greetings Faiz

      I would note that the Hebrew language is not limited to what is found in English translations of the Bible or concordances for those translations. The word ma³aleh is simply a third person masculine singular rendering of the verb l’ha³alot, which itself is the ³ayn-lamed-heh root in the hif³īl verb stem or form. There is nothing limiting the verb to chewing or regurgitation (e.g. I could carry something up a ladder and use the verb to refer to that process). The verb most literally means to raise, lift, bring up, or cause to elevate (though in modern Israeli Hebrew it has also come to be associated with immigration to Palestine, as per the related word ³aliyah).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ok, so are you saying that “chewing the cud” can mean regurgitation, caecotrophy and coprophagy or any other similar process? It’s a broad term meaning many possible things? What about the fact that “garar” means to roll or ruminate?

        Like

      • Greetings Faiz

        Just to be clear, I was referring to the phrase ma³aleh gerah, not “chewing the cud”. The latter is a popular English interpretation of the former, and I am fine with the latter falling within the semantic range of the former. I just don’t think the former is restricted or limited to the latter.

        For an analogy, the Spanish word rubio could mean red, though it can also mean blond haired. When I say that rubio can mean red or blond haired, I am not saying the English word red means blond haired.

        As for gerah, it can refer to a grain, a carob, a bean, something like a berry. With Leviticus 27:25 in mind, think of it along the lines of a small bit, hence why I went with “morsel” (though I’d be happy to run with pellet, et cetera).

        Like

      • Ok, but you are not sneering my question. Do you think the Hebrew phrase encompasses everything from rumination, caecotrophy, coprophagy etc.?

        Like

      • Note that I wrote: “the Hebrew phrase ma³aleh gerah (which I proposed might be rendered “take up the morsel”) could be expansive enough to encompass rumination, pseudo-rumination and caecotrophy (with Torah usage not necessarily intending all forms of coprophagy).”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry for the questions. I just want to clarify your position before I write my response.

        Like

  6. Here’re some points which I think very important to be considered.

    1) Before we ask whether Paul was profound in his understanding for the Hebrew bible or not, we should ask, what makes Paul an authoritative man in the first place? So far, christians have failed to present any good evidence for that. We can say that many Rabbis had a deep understanding for the hebrew bible with different conclusions, would christians consider their explanations to be scriptures for them? Moreover, let’s not forget that Paul was not interested to write what Jesus himself had said while Paul had a great chance to do that ,which is very hard to understand. What we find, instead, that Paul was just expressing his frustration from Jesus’ disciples or we find him crying and whining from people just to accept him as true apostle! In fact, we find Paul had the courage to condemn someone like Peter whom Jesus said about “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” In sum, we need good evidences for what makes that man a prophet? Nothing so far.

    2) Denis said “My intention was only to show what was possible in ancient Jewish thought, as Paul was an ancient Jew, and ancient Jewish approaches to Scripture were not limited to only what was explicitly stated therein”
    The question though is what did Paul do in what was explicitly stated therein?
    For example,

    It’s obvious that a such corruption was not innocent!
    Paul said “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” However, Qur’an says “Therefore woe be unto those who write the Scripture with their hands and then say, “This is from Allah,” that they may purchase a small gain therewith. Woe unto them for that their hands have written, and woe unto them for that they earn thereby..” QT.

    3) Before christians rely on some jewish traditions, we need to understand Paul’s doctrine first because it’s not about atonement per se. What Paul was saying is that humanity had been doomed from the beginning of the creation and there’s no way to get salvation except by the cursing death of a particular messiah who’s in some extend divine, and what makes things worse is that God had given a shackling law whose job is just to heighten the sinful nature inside human beings, and that’s why we need to get released from it. This’s not found in the hebrew bible whatsoever. This’s not the same with “death of a righteous person can provide atonement for sin”
    Also, I want to remind christians that Paul said ” But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, ((for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory)).”

    In conclusion, it’s clear that christians would return with empty hands whether they rely on the jewish scripture or jewish traditions. Nothing supports Paul’s religion.

    Like

    • Just because the apostle Paul does not quote the full verse does not mean he “removed” it.

      The context of Deuteronomy shows the opposite of what you (and Paul Williams has been trying to use this verse for years to try to say that obeying God’s law is easy.)

      the context is about rebuking Israel for thinking in their hearts – “the will of God is too hard to figure out or know, it is beyond the sea and in heaven and out of reach to us” –

      God is holding them accountable for knowing the law. Don’t say you did not know it and that it is hidden from you. Don’t say, “who will go and get it for us?”

      Deuteronomy 30:11-14
      11 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.

      “in order that you may / might observe it” does not mean that they had the moral ability to actually obey God’s law. Rather God is saying He is holding them accountable.

      Deuteronomy 5:29
      Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!

      Deuteronomy 29:4
      Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.

      Deuteronomy 30:6
      “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

      Deuteronomy is the second giving of the law. God is showing humans are rebellious and stubborn and need a new heart to actually obey the law. Israel did not obey the law, even after the second giving of the law. See the resultant history of Judges, Samuel, and Kings and the amazing sins that they kept doing.

      But Ezekiel prophesied of giving the believers a new heart in the new covenant:

      Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
      Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
      Ezekiel 36:25-27

      This is why Jesus rebuked Nicodemus for not understanding about the necessity of being born again: “born of water and Spirit” and “born from above by the Holy Spirit” are references back to Ezekiel 36:25-27

      John 3:1-21
      Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

      4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

      9 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?

      11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12 If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

      16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

      Like

      • Ken,

        Let me strengthen your argument. If you read the very next chapter you will see God himself explicitly saying that the Israelites will fail to do the Law since they were incapable of performing it:

        “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Indeed, your days draw near when you must die. Call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, so that I may commission him.” So Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tent of meeting. The LORD appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood over the door of the tent. The LORD said to Moses, ‘You are about to lie down with your fathers, and this people will rise up AND BEGIN T PROSTITUTE THEMSELVES AFTER THE GODS OF THE FOREIGNERS OF THE LAND, where they are going to be among them, AND WILL FORSAKE ME AND BREAK MY COVENANT which I have made with them. Then My anger will burn against them on that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they will be devoured, and many disasters and troubles will befall them, so that they will say in that day, “Have not these disasters come upon us because our God is not among us?” And I will surely hide My face in that day for all the evil things which they shall have done, in that they turned to other gods. Now therefore write yourself this song and teach it to the children of Israel. Put it on their mouths, so that this song may be a witness for Me AGAINST the children of Israel. For when I have brought them into the land which I swore to their fathers, flowing with milk and honey, and they have eaten, and filled themselves, and become fat, THEN THEY WILL TURN TO OTHER GODS, and serve them, and provoke Me, AND BREAK MY COVENANT. Then when many disasters and troubles have fallen on them, this song will testifyAGAINST THEM as a witness, for it must not be forgotten from the mouths of their descendants. For I know their intention which they are developing even now, before I have brought them into the land which I promised.’ Therefore, Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the children of Israel. He gave Joshua, the son of Nun, an exhortation, and said, ‘Be strong and of a good courage, for you will bring the children of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.’ When Moses had finished writing the words of this law in a book, until they were completed, then Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, ‘Take this Book of the Law, and put it inside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, so that it may be there for a witness AGAINST YOU. For I know YOUR REBELLION AND YOU STIFF NECK. Even now, while I am yet alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD. How much more after my death? Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, so that I may speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them. For I know that AFTER MY DEATH YOU WILL UTTERLY CORRUPT YOURSELVES AND TURN ASIDE FROM THE WAY WHICH I HAVE COMMANDED YOU, and disaster will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.'” Deuteronomy 31:14-29

        Joshua makes the same precise point:

        “‘Now fear the LORD, and serve Him with sincerity and faithfulness. Put away the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD. If it is displeasing to you to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve, if it should be the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites’ land where you are now living. Yet as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.’ The people answered and said, ‘God forbid that we forsake the LORD and serve other gods! For it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers out from slavery in the land of Egypt and performed these great signs in our sight and guarded us all the way that we went and among all the peoples through whom we passed. The LORD drove out before us all the people, even the Amorites, who lived in the land. So we will indeed serve the LORD, for He is our God.’ Then Joshua said to the people, ‘YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO SERVE THE LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God, and He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn, bring disaster upon you, and finish you off, after having been good to you.’ The people said to Joshua, ‘No, we will serve the LORD!’ Joshua said to the people, ‘You are witnesses AGAINST YOURSELVES, that you have chosen the LORD, to serve Him.’ Then they said, ‘We are witnesses.’ ‘Now then,’ he said, ‘put away the foreign gods in your midst, and stretch out your hearts to the Lord God of Israel!’ The people said to Joshua, It is the LORD our God we will serve, and His voice that we will obey.’ So that day Joshua made a covenant for the people and established regulations and laws for them at Shechem. Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. He took a large stone and set it up under the oak by the sanctuary of the LORD. Joshua said to all the people, ‘See, this stone will be a witness for us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD that He spoke to us. It will be a witness for us, lest you deny your God.’ Then Joshua sent the people away, each man to his inheritance.” Joshua 24:14-28

        It is sad that these Muslims think they know the law better than Paul did. Yet when we read the context of the passages cited Paul, we see that he was truly blessed with such wisdom and understanding from the true God that even Muhammad could only dream of ever possessing.

        Therefore, Paul stands vindicated and Muhammad is exposed once again by the grace of the Lord Jesus.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, excellent.

        Especially Deuteronomy 31:29
        and Joshua 24:19

        For those that don’t read the whole passages:

        For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”
        Deuteronomy 31:29

        Joshua 24:19
        Then Joshua said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.

        Do you guys get that?
        They will not be able to obey God’s law.
        So all the mis-use of Deut. 30:11-13 by Muslims has been thoroughly refuted.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am not sure why christians think that uttering their nonsensical reading of the Hebrew bible would somehow change the facts which contradict their view. You know that you are not in a church, don’t you?

      “Just because the apostle Paul does not quote the full verse does not mean he “removed”
      He corrupted the text for a reason,and that reason is that it contradicts his nonsensical theology.
      This is a fact whether you like or not.

      The rest of the comment is just a preaching and nonsensical interpretations. The Hebrew bible puts a great deal on how perfect the law of God is and how Israelites have to follow it. The Hebrew Bible doesn’t say the law of God is defect, and it contradicts our sinful nature. Therefore, we can easily understand why the prophets expressed their frustration form those rebellious people. If the law cannot be kept in the first place, there’s no point from punishing them by God, and there’s no point for his prophets to get mad because of their people.
      Also, you followed the step of your prophet Paul by that interpretive corruption of the verse in Joshua! Joshua didn’t say the law cannot be observed! He was saying that they cannot serve God while they still have those strange gods because God is a jealous God. They have to throw away the foreign gods among them first!
      What happened next?
      “Israel SERVED the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the LORD did for Israel”

      Guys, the matter of God’s law in the Hebrew bible is not even a question among scholars. In fact, some books in the christian bible itself which are not with this invented notion of Paul have no difficulty to state that some people can observe and serve the Lord blamelessly such as (Luke 1:6) “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.” Also, I believe even Bart Ehrman made the same point regarding Jesus’ ministry as whole.

      Next time, I hope to save your time with these long comments because preaching doesn’t work here.

      Like

    • Greetings ³Abdullah, and thank you for your reply.

      Forgive me for expressing a small bit of concern (and please do not take this as targetting you in a vacuum), but I have noticed with some dismay at how much the comments have moved away from the topic (perhaps the most dramatic example being myself and others discussing Leviticus 11). I wanted to share this as I move forward with this reply.

      ³Abdullah wrote:
      we should ask, what makes Paul an authoritative man in the first place?

      While I think that is an interesting question, honestly, I don’t think such is required here. That is to say, Christian faith in Paul in particular, and the Scriptures in general, can be an interesting question, but I don’t think one is required to be a Christian to agree with the broad strokes of this particular blog entry. I say this because my own attempts to understand the New Testament within an ancient Jewish framework predate my conversion to Christianity. Even when I was an atheist, I had noticed that the way the New Testament authors referenced Scripture at times seemed to parallel the way Talmudic saged referenced Scripture, and I would attempt to convey this when other fellow non-Christians would say the NT authors were either straight liars or bumbling idiots.

      In short, the question of whether Paul’s interpretations reflect reality, or the question of Paul’s authority or guidance, can be separate from the question of whether Paul’s approach was just his own wild-eyed invention or if it arises out of a larger cultural framework (or even genre). One does not have to be a Christian to say that Paul’s approach to Scripture makes more sense when viewed against the backdrop of Rabbinic thought.

      Now, regarding the question of how Romans 10 and Deuteronomy 30 line up, I must confess that I see this as potentially off topic. Nonetheless, I will share that I honestly do not see a contradiction therein. Sam and Ken have already attempted to give detailed responses. I would only add that the unquoted portion of Deuteronomy does not preclude the possibility of aspects of the Law being abrogated at a later time (note that, despite how some interpret Paul’s writings, I do not believe he cast the Law away in toto, as for example he taught that unrepentant adulterers, murderers, et cetera, would not be saved, which seems to entail that aspects of the Law still applied, even if keeping the Law by itself could not save us). And honestly, even if I were a Muslim, I would maintain a somewhat similar position, as I understand surat Al ³Imran 3:50 as meaning that Christ brought abrogation of certain previously existing laws, and I understand surat Al ³Imran 3:56, sura Maryam 19:37, and especially surat an-Nisa’ 4:150-151 as meaning that even if one keeps a bunch of laws (like the Mosaic law), conscious rejection of Jesus would still result in them tasting torment in the hereafter (i.e. mere consistent lawkeeping wont spare them from punishment if they consciously reject Jesus).

      ³Abdullah wrote:
      This’s not the same with “death of a righteous person can provide atonement for sin”

      Just to be clear, I did not mean that the relevant Talmudic text lines up with the entirety of Paul’s view. Rather I cited as an example of how ancient Jews approached and referenced Scripture. My point was only that we have an example of ancient Jews proposing that Numbers 19-20 taught “the deaths of a righteous person atone,” but they surely did not mean those chapters explicitly stated that “the death of righteous persons atone”. The point of the analogy was only to set a rule of thumb: when ancient Jews said “according to the Scriptures [X],” they did not necessarily mean the Scriptures explicitly state [X] in a way which is accessible to every reader.

      Like

      • //Paul’s interpretations reflect reality, or the question of Paul’s authority or guidance, can be separate from the question of whether Paul’s approach was just his own wild-eyed invention or if it arises out of a larger cultural framework (or even genre)//

        I see your point, but I tried to draw your attention to something more important. Because if Paul had written what Jesus said during his ministry, it wouldn’t really matter if his view was wild or it’s lined up with larger cultural framework. Paul had the chance to write what actually Jesus had been saying through his ministry, yet oddly Paul was not interested at all to establish that, which is very difficult to understand why that was the case with him. Jesus rebuked many traditions of Jews such as their understanding how to observe the Sabbath, yet you don’t care about that larger cultural framework that jews had.

        //One does not have to be a Christian to say that Paul’s approach to Scripture makes more sense when viewed against the backdrop of Rabbinic thought.//
        I don’t think this’s the case, nor do I think you have proven this’s the case. In fact, Paul himself didn’t think this is the case “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, (for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”. Not to mention that Peter was not willing to accept this ” larger cultural framework ” when Jesus allegedly told him about what the messiah is really about!
        Scholarly, Paul was a real deviation from Judaism. No question about that.

        Regarding Romans 10, I think it’s related. If Paul managed to corrupt some verses to fit his view, and this corruption can be attested as we read whether christians deny that or not, then it’s very possible that he lied about the “scripture” which tells about the Messiah who would die for 3 days. After all, he was not writing for the jews.
        The rest of in your comment in this point is something which needs to be detailed because Paul’s view regarding the law and the sins are very clear regardless his inconsistency. Also, there’ no point of comparison between Jesus in Islam, and what Paul said about God’s law. I’m not sure how the concept of abrogation, which I think you got it wring, is related to God’ law leads to death only!

        //My point was only that we have an example of ancient Jews proposing that Numbers 19-20 taught “the deaths of a righteous person atone//
        I think these references need to be examined more. I’m not sure in which sense they said that.

        Like

Trackbacks

  1. My reply to ‘Paul and the Depths of Jewish Hermeneutics’ by Denis – Blogging Theology
  2. On Rabbits and Rumination: A Response to Christian Interpretations of Leviticus 11:5-6 – The Quran and Bible Blog
  3. On Rabbits and Rumination: A Response to Christian Interpretations of Leviticus 11:5-6 – Blogging Theology
  4. Paul and the Concept of a Dying and Rising Messiah – Answering Islam Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: