Friday, November 20, 2015

Responding to David Negley

When it comes to the Divinity of Yeshua, the stakes are really high.  The Scriptures affirm that not only was a perfect sacrifice needed to take away sin but also that this perfect Sacrifice had to be G-d Himself, the One who is able to withstand the power of death (otherwise the covenant with Israel would've been a failure, resulting in the destruction of one of the parties and the dissolution of the familial bond).  So if you deny the Divinity of Yeshua then you deny the power of His forgiveness and you deny HaShem Himself.  Furthermore, if you affirm Jewish Law (which rightly prohibits worship of created beings) and you affirm that Yeshua is not HaShem but merely a created being then this is what happens:  worship of Yeshua is outlawed!

So the stakes couldn't be higher for our existence as Messianics.

And yesterday David Negley attacked Messianic Judaism on an existential level--attacked the very heart of our faith--by claiming that believing in Yeshua as HaShem is a lie of Christianity.  So the following contains both David's assertion and my response.

David Negley to me:


It seems to me that deifying the Messiah is only a priority if one carries such a doctrine over from church theosophy. Judaism has always had room for a variety of expression regarding the nature and character of Mashiach. Christianity, on the other hand, has made trinitarian doctrine a watershed, a definition for whether one is inside or outside of "the camp".

I believe Tehillim/Psalms 89 contains the key to understanding the nature of Mashiach. Everything in that psalm applies equally to David, to Solomon, and also to Yeshua. Once we wrap our heads around that idea, we are on our way to a Biblical perspective.

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Me to David Negley:


David,

First, you'll notice by surveying all the 1st Century Jewish literature that one thing was universal: Jews believed, based on Torah, that Creatorship was unique to HaShem (see notes below). Second, the Apostolic writers not only attributed Creatorship to Yeshua (see notes below) but they believed salvation was impossible unless G-d Himself was providing the atonement. Third, the Torah itself says that the Messiah is Divine and therefore to reject the nature of the Messiah is to reject HaShem (see notes below).

NOTES 1: CREATORSHIP UNIQUE TO HASHEM

G-d says He made all things in the universe alone–by Himself (“I am the Lord maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself” Isaiah 44:24).

The Apostolic Writings affirm that Yeshua made all things (“…there is one Lord, Yeshua HaMoshiach, through whom all things were created” 1 Corinthians 8:6 and “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made,” John 1:3. Moreover, the text says that Yeshua is G-d ("...the Word was God," John 1:1).

Here's Bauckham on how strict monotheism of 1st Century Judaism was identifiable based on the criteria that HaShem was the sole Creator of all things:

"In my view high Christology was possible within a Jewish monotheistic context, not by applying to Jesus a Jewish category of semi-divine intermediary status, but by identifying Jesus directly with the one God of Israel, including Jesus in the unique identity of this one God. I use the term 'unique identity' as the best way of speaking of the uniqueness of God as generally conceived in early Judaism."

"The one God of Second Temple Jewish belief was identifiable as unique by two kinds of identifying features. The first concerns his covenant relationship with Israel. He is the God of Israel, known from the recital of his acts in Israel's history and from the revelation of his character to Israel (Exod 34:6). He has revealed to Israel his name [Adonai], which was of great importance to Jews of the Second Temple period because it names precisely the unique identity of their God."

"...this God was also characterized as unique by his relationships to the whole of reality: especially that he is the only Creator of all things and that he is the sole sovereign Ruler of all things. Such identifications of [Adonai] are extremely common in Second Temple Jewish literature. Such identifications of [Adonai] are extremely common in Second Temple Jewish literature. They were the simplest and clearest way of answering the question: What distinguishes [Adonai], the only true God, from all other reality? In what does his uniqueness consist? These characteristics make a clear and absolute distinction between the true God and all other reality. God alone created all things; all other things, including beings worshipped as gods by Gentiles, are created by him....However diverse Judaism may have been in many other respects, this was common: only the God of Israel is worthy of worship because he is the sole Creator of all things and sole Ruler of all things. Other beings who might otherwise be thought divine are by these criteria God's creatures and subjects. (Thus so-called intermediary figures either belong to the unique identity of God or else were created by and remain subject to the one God, as his worshippers and servants, however exalted.)"

And here Bauckham provides references from 1st Century Jewish literature that show this strict monotheism based on HaShem's unique Creatorship was the predominant belief:

“However diverse Judaism may have been in many other respects, this was common: only the God of Israel is worthy of worship because he is sole Creator of all things and sole Ruler of all things. Other beings who might otherwise be thought divine are by these criteria God’s creatures and subjects,” Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel, pg. 9. And he writes, “…again and again, in a wide variety of Second Temple Jewish literature, [it is written that Adonai] is sole Creator of all things…”

He’s talking not just about numerous passages in Torah but also extra-biblical Jewish sources such as 2 Macc. 1:24; Sir. 43:33; Bel 5; Jub. 12:3-5; sib. Or. 3:20-35; 8:375-76; Sib. Or. frg. 1:5-6; Sib. Or. frg. 3; Sib. Or. frg. 5; 2 En. 47:3-4; 66:4 Apoc. Ab. 7:10; Ps-Sophocles; Jos. Asen. 12:1-2; T. Job 2:4.

NOTES 2: THE APOSTOLIC WRITERS EQUATED YESHUA WITH HASHEM

Here are some places where Paul applies HaShem passages to Yeshua:

"(1) [Adonai] texts with Jesus Christ as referent:

(1a) Five quotations including kurio
Rom 10:13-----Joel 2:32
1 Cor 1:31------Jer 9:24
1 Cor 2:16------Isa 40:13
1 Cor 10:26----Ps 23(24):1
2 Cor 10:17----Jer 9:24

(1b) One quotation to which Paul adds legei kurio
Rom 14:11----Isa 45:23

(1c) One quotation not including kurio
Rom 9:33----Isa 8:14

(1d) Nine allusions including kurio
1 Cor 8:6----Deut 6:4
1 Cor 10:22----Deut 32:21
2 Cor 8:21----Prov 3:4
Phil 2:10-11----Isa 45:23
1 Thes 3:13----Zech 14:5
2 Thes 1:7----Isa 66:15
2 Thes 1:9----Isa 2:10, 19, 21
2 Thes 1:12----Isa 66:5
2 Thes 3:16----Num 6:26

(1e) Six stereotyped OT phrases including kurio

'to call on the name of the Lord'

1 Cor 1:2 (cf. Rom 10:13)----Joel 2:23; Zeph 3:9; Zech 13:9; Jer 10:25 etc.

'the day of the Lord'

1 Cor 1:8; 5:5; 2 Cor 1:14; 1 Thes 5:2; 2 Thes 2:2 Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; Amos 5:18; Isa 13:6, 9 etc.

'to serve the Lord' Rom 12:11; 16:18 1 Kdms 12:20; Pss 2:11; 99(100):2; 101(102):22 etc.

'the word of the Lord' 1 Thes 1:8; 2 Thes 3:1 Isa 2:3 etc.

'the Lord be with you' 2 Thes 3:16 Ruth 2:4; 1 Kdms 17:37; 20:13 etc.

'the fear of the Lord' 2 Cor 5:11 Isa 2:10, 19, 21 etc.

(2) YHWH texts with God as referent:

(2a) Nine quotations including kurio"
Rom 4:7-8----Ps 31(32):1-2
Rom 9:27-28----Hos 2:1 + Isa 10:22-2316
Rom 9:29----Isa 1:9 (kuvrio" sabawvq)
Rom 10:16----Isa 53:1 (kuvrio" in LXX, no equivalent in MT)17 Rom 11:3 3----Kdms 19:10 (kuvrio" not in LXX, no equivalent in MT)
Rom 11:34----Isa 40:13
Rom 15:11----Ps 116(117):1
1 Cor 3:20----Ps 93(94):11
2 Cor 6:18 2----Kdms 7:14, 8 (kuvrio" pantokravtwr)

(2b) Three quotations to which Paul adds legei kurio"
Rom 12:1919----Deut 32:35
1 Cor 14:21----Isa 28:11-12
2 Cor 6:17----Isa 52:11 + Ezek 20:34

(2c) Twelve quotations in which the speaker ('I') is identified as YHWH in the OT context

Rom 4:17----Gen 17:5
Rom 9:9----Gen 18:14
Rom 9:13----Mal 1:2-3
Rom 9:14----Exod 33:19
Rom 9:17-----Exod 9:16
Rom 9:25----Hos 2:25
Rom 9:33-----Isa 28:16
Rom 10:19-----Deut 32:2120
Rom 10:20-----Isa 65:1
Rom 10:21-----Isa 65:2
Rom 11:26-27----Isa 59:20-21
2 Cor 6:2----- Isa 49:8"

NOTES 3: THE TORAH SAYS THE MESSIAH IS DIVINE

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn," Zechariah 12:10


Non-Messianic Jews, when they read Zechariah 12:10, are faced with a problem: here is a passage where G-d is the speaker and He seems to be saying that He was rejected and pierced by His own People.

Zech. 12:10 says that they will look unto "me"---the one who was [previously, at some other time] slain. The passage literally says they will accept the Messiah that they had previously rejected! It's talking not about 2 different Messiahs but about a single Messiah!

By the way, the grammar in this passage is not contested by the Talmudic Rabbis nor is it contested by Jewish scholars:

"...the translation 'look to Me whom they have pierced' is correct. The relative clause 'whom they have pierced' in in apposition to 'Me,' the spokesman of the passage. 'Et, the Hebrew word introducing the clause marks it as the object of the verb 'look to'; the Hebrew word 'asher is always a relative pronoun in that context, and never the conjunction 'because.' It should also be noted that in the Hebrew clause 'they have pierced' lacks the pronominal suffix 'him,'" Gerald Sigal, Trinity Doctrine Error: A Jewish Analysis.

NOTES 4: YESHUA HIMSELF STATED THAT HE WAS HASHEM AND HIS FIRST-CENTURY JEWISH AUDIENCE UNDERSTOOD WHAT HE WAS SAYING

"56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”[d] 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple," John 8:56-59

Here we see Yeshua referring to Himself as HaShem in such a way that leaves no doubt. Even the Jews listening to Him say it perfectly understood that He was identifying as HaShem. And, not believing that He was HaShem, they picked up stones to stone Him for what they believed to be blasphemy. Here's a note about the unmistakable way Yeshua identified Himself:

"Jesus uses the ego eimi formula in three different ways in the Fourth Gospel: (1) With a predicate....(2) With an implied predicate....(3) As an absolute...certainly in 8:58: 'before Abraham was born, I am!' The last of these uses needs furhter comment, for in this case ego eimi represents the divine name. In Exodus 3:14 God says to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' The 'I AM WHO I AM' is translated as ego eimi ho on in the LXX. In Isaiah 43:25; 51:12 ego eimi on its own functions as the divine name. Thus when Jesus said to 'the Jews', 'before Abraham was born, I am', he was identifying himself with God. He was not only pronouncing the name of God...he was claiming to be God," Colin Kruse, The Gospel According to John, pg. 138

49 comments:

  1. Peter,

    I hope all is well. During reading your post you made a disturbing comment that stated, "The Scriptures affirm that not only was a perfect sacrifice needed to take away sin but also that this perfect Sacrifice had to be G-d Himself!" My Friend your asserting the HaShem had to sacrifice himself. My Gosh. How do you manage to say that so easily? That's anti - Torah. That statement is so problematic. I encourage you to take your time with statements like that. I also notice within your discussion you aren't hearing the other side. While I understand we all take a bias approach, however I think your position is overly bias. David made a statement referring to Tehillim 89 you didn't address. I think you also grossly overlook his statement when he stated "Judaism has always had room for a variety of expression regarding the nature and character of Mashiach. Christianity, on the other hand, has made trinitarian doctrine a watershed, a definition for whether one is inside or outside of "the camp." When you replied you didn't address Tehillim 89 or the historical comment of Judaism & Christianity. You responded with an email asserting your views while dismissing the prior statements. This indicate your overlooking information and your not open to other thoughts. Lastly, David made a very important statement that its actually Christian thought to shut one out because of this issue. Entertain that for me please. When Kefa was ask by Yeshua who he was, he clearly indicated who he was. Yet, we change what Kefa said and try to make it fit. You notice if You assert that Yeshua is HaShem we don't disfellowship or discourse. Have compassion in your writing. Typically you have compassion when writing; however, this time you tip the iceberg. By the way, in Judaic thought there are 7 things that was created before the world was. The name of the Mashiach was one of them. So, when you use Yochannon writings "logos" you must understand a Hebraic mindset & take that into account. It's essentially saying in the beginning was the "spoken plan" of HaShem. The logos then came in to the world. Give credit to the creator for the created.

    Shalom!!

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    Replies
    1. Gifted,

      I have a child who will be growing up in the Messianic movement. So you could say I have a vested interested in the safety of the movement. Holding leaders accountable to the foundational teachings of Yeshua is how I show compassion--to the movement and to my daughter.

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    2. Todah, Gifted. I appreciate that contributuon to the discussion

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    3. >> I have a child who will be growing up in the Messianic movement. So you could say I have a vested interested in the safety of the movement. <<

      Been there, done that... Got THREE t-shirts. Three adult children, ranging 21-25.

      >> Holding leaders accountable to the foundational teachings of Yeshua is how I show compassion--to the movement and to my daughter. <<

      I understand your motivation. But before you can presume to hold others accountable, you have to understand and appreciate their position. Failing to do so is just hubris. Do you hold similarly accountable those who taught you the trinitarian position?

      Shabbat shalom, chaver!

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  2. Hi Peter... decided to stop by and see what you've been up to.

    Regarding your Zechariah 12:10 take:

    The most accurate translation I believe is as follows: "they will look to Me [G-d] [concerning - because of the "et asher" ] who (there's no second "me" there, only "et asher" which has no English equivalent!) they [that is others] have pierced and they will mourn for him (that is for those who were killed or them who were stabbed - in battle as the context shows]) as for a firstborn child."

    Notice the switch from "me" in the beginning of the verse to "him" in the second part of the sentence. It's obvious that the text of the whole sentence is not speaking about the same person!

    Not only that, it's easy to forget that those doing the "looking" in Zechariah 12:10 didn't do the actual "piercing" in the NT - Jews didn't stab Jesus - the Romans soldiers did!

    It's all about context in which the verse appears. The city has been overrun by enemies and Jews have been killed and are being mourned by the Jewish people who are looking to G-d for comfort.

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    1. Gene,

      Always good to hear from you. Regarding Zech 12:10, the Rabbis say: "...it shall be accounted as if Israel had pierced Him..." (Sukah 52a)

      RE: "Not only that, it's easy to forget that those doing the "looking" in Zechariah 12:10 didn't do the actual "piercing" in the NT - Jews didn't stab Jesus - the Romans soldiers did!"

      It's not easy for me, a Roman, to forget who actually did the piercing. However, the guilt lies upon all of Torah-following humanity embodied in Israel--we are all guilty for the death of Messiah because He did for the sins of all of Israel. And so the rabbis are correct when they say "...it shall be accounted as if Israel had pierced Him..."

      On a side note, if you are still planning aliyah, may you have a safe journey and may you find many blessings in the Land of your Fathers.

      Shalom,

      Peter

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  3. "Regarding Zech 12:10, the Rabbis say: "...it shall be accounted as if Israel had pierced Him..." (Sukah 52a)"

    Peter, I was not able to find what you quoted above in any Jewish sources (it seems to be only cited in missionary books, starting with some really old Christian books). Can you help me find it?

    "On a side note, if you are still planning aliyah, may you have a safe journey and may you find many blessings in the Land of your Fathers. "

    Thanks:)

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    1. Gene,

      Here's the source for the quote from Rabbi Alshech:

      http://www.hadavar.org/critical-issues/anti-missionary-arguments/tampering-with-the-text/zechariah-1210/

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    2. Peter, you provided a messianic link - but there's no evidence of the actual quote in any Jewish text. It appears to be a Christian invention that have been passed from site to site, without anyone looking whether the quote itself is true. So, I take it you can't actually prove the quote outside of a Christian source?

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    3. And the source of the quote according to hadavar.org is.... the Christian missionary publication titled "How to Recognise the Messiah, (Johannesburg: Good News Society, 2000), p. 16"

      So, they are just passing around made up "quotes from rabbis". In fact, this is such a common practice, if I had a dollar for every time I came across made up quotes that came from nowhere, I could probably buy an old set of complete Talmud. Does the end (conversion of Jews to Christianity) justify the means (misquoting rabbis and making up quotes), where is the morality of these publications that they don't bother to check their sources for truth?

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    4. Gene,

      I'm happy to find a Jewish (non-Christian) source for the Rabbi Alshech quote. So when I obtain it, will that persuade you? : )

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    5. "So when I obtain it, will that persuade you? : )"

      Yes, it will certainly persuade me that you used the quote correctly (or rather the original missionary publication where the quote appeared) and that Rabbi Alshech actually believed that it was Jews are the ones who pieced / stabbed (whoever) in Zech 12:10.

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    6. Gene,

      This is most likely the commentary in which the quote occurs:

      http://www.amazon.com/Torat-Moshe-Commentary-Chayim-Alshech/dp/B000WTPIZG

      also here:

      http://seforimcenter.com/Torat-Moshe-al-haTorah---Rabbi-Moshe-Alshich-New-Menukad-Edition---2-vol.__p-4812.aspx

      I'm trying to access a copy of it...

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    7. Peter, a commentary on Torah of Moses is not very likely to contain explanations of Zechariah. Why would you think it would?

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    8. Gene,

      Because it seems like some of Alshich's smaller commentaries on the Prophets might be included in appendices. Even if not, I can still track them down.

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    9. "Even if not, I can still track them down."

      You can try, or you can give up and say that you can't be held responsible for what some missionaries made up:)

      In many cases, it seems to be a case of "broken telephone" - one missionary publication quotes some rabbi using a completely different quote, another picks and elaborates, yet another "clarifies" some more, until it ends up on some blog. Then, it gets copied from blog to blog - a false quote at this point, untraceable to any source, but who's actually going to check some rabbi's work before posting it, right? Right:)

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    10. Gene,

      Nice try, Gene. I think you're sweating because you know that this quote is not at all made up and you know that I can track it down sooner or later. By the way, Rabbi Alshich's commentary on the Prophets is called: Mar'ot haTzov'ot on the Early and the Later Prophets. Getting closer...

      Are you getting nervous? : )

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    11. Peter, I've seen so many fake "rabbinic" quotes in the Christian / messianic world that at this point I get more incredulous than nervous. Besides, I investigate things for myself before I get into any arguments I don't intend to easily lose. My search so far came up short. Hope you have better luck backing up your quotes:)

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    12. Gene,

      This point--that the Messiah ben Yoseph (aka "Ephraim the Messiah") had to be sacrificed (i.e. suffer death) for the sins of Israel--is supported in many rabbinic writings. So its unclear why you think Alshich wouldn't also have said it. For example, let's look at Midrash:

      Notice that this midrash says that Messiah ben Yoseph (aka Messiah Ephraim) went to the place of the dead and that this suffering was because of the sins of Israel:

      "The fifth house [in the heavenly Paradise] is built of onyx and jasper stones, and inlaid stones, and silver and gold, and good pure gold. And round it are rivers of balsam, and before its door flows the River Gihon. And [it has] a canopy of all trees of incense and good scent. And [in it are] beds of gold and silver, and embroidered garments. And there sit Messiah ben David and Elijah and Messiah ben Ephraim. And there is a canopy of incense trees as in the Sanctuary which Moses made in the desert. And all its vessels and pillars are of silver, its covering is gold, its seat is purple. And in it is Messiah ben David who loves Jerusalem. Elijah of blessed memory takes hold of his head, places it in his lap and holds it, and says to him: 'Endure the sufferings and the sentence of your Master who makes you suffer because of the sin of Israel.' And thus it is written: He was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities (Isa. 53:5)--until the time when the end comes.
      And every Monday and Thursday, and every Sabbath and holiday, the Fathers of the World [i.e. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] and Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, and the prophets, and the pious come and visit him, and weep with him. And he weeps with them. And they give him thanks and say to him: 'Endure the sentence of your Master, for the end is near to come, and the chains which are on your neck will be broken, and you will go out into freedom,'
      And even Korah and all his company entreat him every Wednesday and say to him: 'How long until the miraculous end? When will you bring us back to life and bring us up again from the depths of the earth (Ps. 71:20)?
      And he says to them: 'Go and ask the Fathers of the World.' And they are ashamed and return to their place.' (Mid. Konen, BhM 2:29-30)" Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts, pgs 114-115

      CONTINUED IN NEXT COMMENT

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    13. Notice that this same Messiah had to fulfill the same function as the sacrifice in the Temple:

      "The souls which are in the Garden of Eden of Below roam about on every New Moon and Sabbath, and go to that place which is called Walls of Jerusalem, where there are many officers and detachments which watch-over those walls....And they go to that place, but do not enter it until they are purified. And there they prostrate themselves, and enjoy that radiance, and then return to the Garden. [And again] they go forth from there and roam about in the world, and they see the bodies of the sinful suffering their punishment....And then they [continue to] roam and view those afflicted with sufferings and disease, and those who suffer for the Oneness of their Master, and then they return and tell [all this] to the Messiah. In the hour in which they tell the Messiah about the sufferings of Israel in exile, and [about] the sinful among them who seek not the knowledge of their Master, the Messiah lifts up his voice and weeps over those sinful among them. This is what is written: He was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities (Isa. 53:5). Those souls then return to their places. In the Garden of Eden there is a hall which is called the Hall of the Sons of Illness. The Messiah enters that hall and summons all the diseases and all the pains and all the sufferings of Israel that they should come upon him, and all of them come upon him. And would he not thus bring ease to Israel and take their sufferings upon himself, no man could endure the sufferings Israel has to undergo because they neglected the Tora...As long as Israel dwelt in the Holy Land, the rituals and the sacrifices they performed [in the Temple] removed all those diseases from the world, now the Messiah removes them from the children of the world....' (Zohar 2:212a)" Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts, pgs 115-116

      CONTINUED IN NEXT COMMENT

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    14. Again and again in Midrash we read that Messiah ben Yoseph died for the sins of Israel ("...their sins will in the future force you into an iron yoke..." Pes. Rab. & "...'Ephraim, our True Messiah!...Do you want that our children should enjoy the happiness that this happiness the Holy One, blessed be He, allotted to Israel, or perhaps, because of the great sufferings that have come upon you on their account, and because they imprisoned you in the jailhouse, your mind is not reconciled with them?'" Pes. Rab. ch 36).

      So if this belief that the Messiah ben Yoseph had to die for the sins of Israel is commonplace in Rabbinic thought, why would you think that Alshich wouldn't have stated this same view?

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    15. "So its unclear why you think Alshich wouldn't also have said it. "

      Peter, I am still waiting for that quote from Rabbi Alshich.

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    16. Gene,

      Hey, if you don't accept the texts I just provided then you certainly won't be happy with Alshich. The texts I just provided are far more authoritative than Alshich.

      : )

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    17. Peter... first of all, midrash, much less some obscure "midrash", is not authoritative or determinate of mainstream Judaism or of Jewish eschatology. Opinion of this or that rabbi is that rabbi's personal opinion, and again, it is not determinate of mainstream Judaism. What's more, Jews are very much aware - and I've seen this over and over myself - how Christians have historically grossly misused Jewish texts in attempts to "prove" the opposite of what the Jewish authors actually believed. This is grasping at straws in futile attempts to prop-up faith in an idol - all while using Jews to prove Christians beliefs that overwhelming majority of Jews themselves found antithetical to Judaism!

      So, for example, Judaism has long rejected any notion of "man-god", but Christians still work hard trying to wrest from Jewish writings "proofs" of supposed Jewish acceptance of this idolatry, scouring rejected ancient arguments, mystical works like Zohar, midrashim or works of liberal scholars of religion. If I've not done this myself as a messianic, I would have been shocked at this exercise.

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    18. Gene,

      So you're telling me the Jewish People preserved all these different sources for over a thousand years because it teaches something they DON'T believe?

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    19. No, Peter - I am telling you that 1) minority opinions or personal opinions of this or that rabbi, this or that quote from obscure mystical writings, or a research paper of some liberal theologian do not reflect mainstream Jewish views 2) No, it's not a tenet of Judaism that messiah will die for our sins and no, we don't believe in a man-god.

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  4. Wow, Peter! I didn't expect to rate my own personal book in response to my innocent suggestions. And certainly not the very next day! Be sure to send me a share of the royalties when you get it published. A 10% "catalyst fee" should be sufficient.

    Please realize this is not my first rodeo. I started out in the standard Christian traditions (Catholic, Church of Christ, Baptist) almost 40 years ago, as a teenager. Between 1985 and 2001, I earned my BP (Bachelor of Parroting) at Washington Bible College, a bastion of dispensational theology. There isn't much in your presentation I haven't read and considered already.

    As Gifted mentioned, I am a bit disappointed by your knee-jerk response, which failed to address anything I said. I would have preferred to see less text, and more thought.

    I wish you well. Shabbat shalom to all!

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  5. The human flesh of Yeshua developed in his mother's womb like the rest of us. Yeshua the human (flesh) was not pre-existent. Hashem spoke to man through Yeshua, and man responded, sometimes negatively, to Hashem through Yeshua.

    Go back to Moses and the burning bush:

    [Exo 3:2-6 NET] [2] The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from within a bush. He looked - and the bush was ablaze with fire, but it was not being consumed! [3] So Moses thought, "I will turn aside to see this amazing sight. Why does the bush not burn up?" [4] When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him from within the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." [5] God said, "Do not approach any closer! Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." [6] He added, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

    Was the ground holy because of the bush? Was Moses afraid to look at the bush? No, the bush was a vessel through which Hashem acted.

    Go back to your scripture references and think of them in this way. You'll see it fits perfectly. Then you can also understand all of those scriptures that you didn't mention where Yeshua clearly illustrates he is NOT Hashem, such as:

    [Jhn 7:16 NET] [16] So Jesus replied, "My teaching is not from me, but from the one who sent me.

    [Jhn 17:1-3 NET] [1] When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said, "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you - [2] just as you have given him authority over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. [3] Now this is eternal life - that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.

    Hashem is eternal. He cannot die. If you understand Yeshua as a vessel through which Hashem acted, you can also then understand this at Yeshua's death:

    [Mat 27:46 NET] [46] At about three o'clock Jesus shouted with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

    Bottom line: Adonai Echad

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    1. Troy,

      The same Torah that says "Adonai echad" also says that the compound entity of husband + wife is "basar echad". Echad means compound oneness. I could say that if you attack my wife then you are attacking me directly. That might sound strange. But in Hebraic thought it makes perfect sense. Likewise it might sound strange that Yeshua says He comes from the Father--but that's exactly what a Word does, it comes from the speaker and yet is part of the speaker, indistinguishable from the will (essence) of the speaker.

      And, Troy, you're fond of quoting from the Book of John. It's in this book that it says "the Word was God." And it's in this book that Yeshua says "...before Abraham was born, I AM."

      It says "the Word was God" and that this same Word became flesh (Yeshua). Thus, Yeshua is G-d. Yeshua says "I AM" in a context without any predicate, in a context in which everyone listening understood exactly what He was saying--that He was claiming to be HaShem.

      You say it's clear that Yeshua was not claiming to be HaShem. Well, that's not how the first-century audience understood Yeshua's statements. To them it was abundantly clear He was claiming to be G-d.



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    2. I don't see a contradiction. Hashem spoke the universe into existence with His Word. His Word dwelt in Yeshua and acted through him. The Word did not literally transform into human flesh, for human flesh (as we currently know it anyway) has a beginning and an end, unlike Hashem. You seem to be wanting to attribute deity to his human flesh.

      Again, going back to the burning bush: He added, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."

      Was the bush God? No!

      In the same way, Yeshua saying "I AM" is Hashem speaking through him. "I AM" speak of eternal existence. Yeshua's flesh was not eternally pre-existent.

      You have to harmonize all scripture. If Yeshua on the cross cried out asking Hashem why he had forsaken him, how do you reconcile that with Yeshua = Hashem? You can't make it work. You can't just discard that--rather you have to come to an understanding that allows all of it to make sense AND not violate Torah.

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    3. One thing is for sure - it's IMPOSSIBLE to prove from NT that Jesus was either only a mortal man or also a deified man. Support for BOTH of these ideas can be readily found in the NT. In earliest strata he was only a man approved by G-d (see Acts 2:22), but in later, as Christianity developed and NT reducted, he becomes more and more deified, to the point that the book of Hebrews (1:6) corrupts Biblical text to say regarding Jesus "Let all God's angels worship him."

      From there - full deification was not that hard to accomplish. Idol.

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    4. Troy,

      RE: "The Word did not literally transform into human flesh"

      John the Apostle would disagree with you there: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." John 1:14

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    5. So you do believe that Yeshua's human flesh is Hashem? And in doing so you believe that when Yeshua died, Hashem died?

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    6. Troy,

      This is simple logic, you just don't want to accept Scripture. Here's the elements:

      (1) Scripture says G-d became flesh--became Yeshua the man( "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." John 1:14, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. 2:9);

      (2) Scripture says that Yeshua died for our sins and came back to life ("And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross!" Phil. 2:8 & "..that he was raised on the third day" 1 Cor. 15:4)

      Scripture says that G-d (Yeshua) died and was resurrected. Why are you so surprised as this basic, fundamental teaching of the Apostolic Writings?

      Don't act so shocked. This is a bedrock principle of the Messianic faith.

      Who do you think Yeshua was? Just an interesting story-teller? A nice guy?

      You can't avoid these passages.

      Now, it might sound strange to you that G-d would have to die. But it's only strange in our perception. To G-d, death is nothing--it has absolutely no power over Him.


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    7. Simple logic?? What you are saying is definitely NOT logical. Let's think about some of the illogical conclusion you're drawing:

      1. If in John 1 the Word literally became flesh--you have to believe that the Creator became the created. How is that logical?

      2. You believe Hashem died, but that death is nothing and has no power over him? Where is the logic in that? How does one die if death has no power over one?

      3. The apostles taught that Hashem raised Yeshua from the dead (Acts 2:24, 2:32, 3:15, 3:26, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30, 13:33-34, 17:31 and elsewhere in NT writings). If Yeshua's human flesh = Hashem, you've made Hashem into two, with one Hashem resurrecting the other dead Hashem.

      How is any of this logical?

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    8. Troy,

      So you're not going to accept John 1:1 "the Word was God" and 1:14 "The Word became flesh", 2 propositions from which it must follow, according to logic, that G-d became flesh.

      Let's move on then to another piece of evidence:

      Torah says angels are only permitted to worship HaShem. In the Book of Hebrews it says "And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, He says,'Let all God’s angels worship him,'" Hebrews 1:6.

      If G-d only permits angels to worship Him alone, why does He instruct the angels to worship Yeshua?

      It's idolatry to worship anyone but the Creator ("They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen" Romans 1:25). Yet G-d instructs the angels to worship Yeshua...

      So much for your theory that Yeshua is a created being.

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    9. So far you haven't really responded to some of my points--you just make new ones. Can you respond to the point of making Hashem two with one Hashem resurrecting the other dead one? How do you work that out in your mind?

      How is the human flesh of Yeshua, which grew in his mother's womb, not created exactly, and how then does his flesh being Hashem not clearly indicate the creator has become the created? Yeshua's human flesh was most certainly as created as your own flesh. Or are you saying he wasn't really human at all?

      As for worship, the word proskyneō is the equivalent of shachah in the Tanakh which was applied to both Hashem and king David at the same tiem in Deutoronomy 29.

      It was also used in the NT as reverence for a king by the wise men (Matt 2:2) and Herod (Matt 2:8), neither of which deemed the infant Yeshua to be God.

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    10. I'd also like a scripture reference for your statement that "Torah says angels are only permitted to worship HaShem." I don't seem to be able to find this in the Torah.

      What I do find in Torah are instructions against bowing down to other gods or idols. I find no instruction against bowing to human authority--rather I see shachah, which literally means to bow down, used in those terms relatively frequently beginning in Genesis in relation to Jacob in Isaac's blessing:

      [Gen 27:29 KJV] 29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed [be] every one that curseth thee, and blessed [be] he that blesseth thee.

      Thus bowing down to Yeshua does not require him to be Hashem.

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    11. Troy,

      I'm happy to dialogue with you. I'm happy to respond to each of your points. But when you disagree with my response don't say that I haven't responded. So I would ask that you be polite. I know you're upset regarding Hilbrant. But, as it turns out, I was correct to be wary of him given his track record.

      RE: "Can you respond to the point of making Hashem two"

      I did. I responded by discussing the meaning of echad. You did not accept this response.

      RE: "How is the human flesh of Yeshua, which grew in his mother's womb, not created exactly"

      I only know what the Bible says about G-d: that He became flesh. I never said I could explain the processes G-d used to accomplish this.

      RE: "I'd also like a scripture reference for your statement that "Torah says angels are only permitted to worship HaShem." I don't seem to be able to find this in the Torah."

      I'm happy to show you.

      First, let's examine why there is a prohibition against worship of created beings:

      "For you must not worship any other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous god," Exodus 34:14

      It turns out that G-d is jealous and will not allow anyone else to be worshipped as G-d. In fact, this is the mistake Satan made. Satan provoked G-d's wrath because Satan, a created being, desired to receive worship:

      "“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit," Isaiah 14:12-15

      And so the good angels are very careful about receiving worship:

      "But he said to me, "Don't do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!"" Revelation 22:9

      Here we see an angel explaining that angels are merely servants of HaShem and that only G-d should be worshipped.

      And yet we read in Hebrews chapter 1 that G-d requires the angels to worship Yeshua.

      In summary: angels may only worship G-d; and G-d requires angels to worship Yeshua.

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    12. There appears to be a misunderstanding of the Hebrew term shachah. I think having an understanding of that work will help. However, Troy gave an accurate description of how it's used.

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    13. Peter:

      Because you take John 1:14 literally, I assume you also believe the followers of Yeshua then literally ate Hashem, and that Yeshua requires you as well to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Hashem in order to abide in Yeshua?

      As for worship, again I will reiterate that shachah literally means "to bow down", and the same word used to denote worship of Hashem is also used to denote reverence for human authority throughout the Tanakh. Do a simple word study and see for yourself.

      The english word "worship" is, when you get right down to it, not a great translation, as it means "The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity."

      Hashem instructs us to NOT bow down to other gods and idols. He DOES NOT instruct us against bowing down to human authority, for example a King.

      The greek proskyneō is defined as "to do reverence, or homage by kissing the hand; in NT to do reverence or homage by prostration"

      Thus, by their very definitions, the words translated as worship (whether Hebrew or Greek) do not require the object to be Hashem.

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    14. Troy,

      Did you understand my point about G-d being Jealous? His jealousy is the rationale behind the prohibition of worship of created beings.

      Do you agree that G-d prohibits the worship of created beings?

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    15. The worship that makes G-d jealous is the worship in which the worshipper is communicating "yours are the Commandments, you are the Lawgiver." And Yeshua actually refers to the Commandments as "my Commandments." Because in the Torah the "Word" is the "Torah." Yeshua literally is the Torah, the Commandments.

      So when someone bows down to show respect to a mere mortal that's not such a problem. But when someone bows down to someone who claims that the authority of Torah comes directly from Him, that is the type of worship reserved exclusively for HaShem.

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    16. There is bowing to someone as God, and bowing to someone as an authority. The former is reserved for only Hashem. My point is that you cannot linguistically prove that Yeshua = Hashem by Hebrews 1:6 because Yeshua is the ultimate authority, (though not Hashem), sitting at the right hand of the Father (I suppose you would see this as him being beside himself), and thus the angels can bow down to his authority without worshipping him as Hashem.

      You want to take John 1:14 extremely literally and say that the eternal Hashem, separate from his creation, transformed himself into created human flesh. I say no way--in this you violate the precept that you state in the beginning of this article, that being "prohibition of worship of created beings". Can you not see how your reasoning is contradictory and illogical?

      If you are adamant that John 1:14 literally means Yeshua's human flesh is Hashem, then you must likewise agree that it is required of you to literally eat Hashem, as Yeshua says just a few chapters later in the same Gospel:

      [Jhn 6:53-56 ESV] [53] So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. [54] Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. [55] For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. [56] Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

      See--it's right there in black and white, and you must take this just as literally as you do 1:14, and agree with the Catholic doctrine of transsubstantiation. Because Yeshua's flesh = Hashem you must eat Hashem and drink his blood.

      You should also take these statements of Yeshua literally, again from the same Gospel:

      [Jhn 14:28 ESV] [28] You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

      Arguing from your understanding, one should read the above verse to say " I am going to myself, for I am greater than myself."

      I have enjoyed this discussion, and I thank you for the dialogue. If nothing else it has really helped me crystalize my understanding of the nature of Yeshua. I doubt I'm going to continue it, as we are simply going in circles at this point.

      I wish you the very best, but I must be off. You have my email address if at some point in the future you would like to dialogue further. I appreciate your zeal for protecting what you believe to be the truth, though I personally don't see our differences worth breaking fellowship over. It's a shame that you felt the need to unfriend both myself and the gentleman to whom I introduced you on Facebook--you never know what you could learn from us, and we from you, just by being loosely associated.

      And to clarify one more thing--earlier you mentioned me being "upset regarding Hilbrant". I have never actually met or had any sort of communication with the man. He is the rabbi of the gentleman who founded the chavurah where I currently study/fellowship, but does not reside anywhere nearby. My issue was primarily in the manner in which you discussed him on your blog, and I wasn't the only one to have the same reaction. Nevertheless, it's your blog--you are entitled to run it as you see fit.

      At any rate, Shalom!

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    17. One must not look hard for the unraveling of this way of thinking. On the one hand your saying Yeshua is HaShem in the flesh. Now we know the Messiah was to come and accurately live out the Torah. Even with all the temptation Yeshua received. Peter position advocate that Yeshua cheated. Now you may say why would I make such a statement. On one hand your saying Yeshua is HaShem, so what's the point of tempting Elohim (TORAH FORBIDS)? There is no losing with HaShem. Again, why tempt him? Many times Yeshua concedes he don't know. Are we to believe HaShem don't know? Yeshua continues to pray to his Elohim. Are we to conclude the flesh was speaking? Greek mythology advocates that position. I use to think that way. I'm only trying to point out the huge flaws & allow you to grasp the concept of agency. It's critical.

      Shalom.

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    18. Troy,

      I'll tell you exactly why I unfriended you on Facebook: I avoid cult-like command structures like the plague and I noticed that:

      (1) Hilbrant has all the hallmarks of a cult-leader (add to that: there are now reports that he has a track record of making advances at young men);
      (2) Your close friend and leader of your synagogue is the long-time pupil of Hilbrant.

      For these reasons, don't begrudge me the rational precaution of disallowing you access to my private life.

      Also, if I were you, I would be extremely nervous about accepting the veracity of any teachings learned from this group.

      You've made a lot of criticisms against me on my blog over the last few days. I welcome criticisms and have made myself available to dialogue with you. But ask yourself this: is Hilbrant open to criticism? is your close pal open to criticism?

      Speaking of your pal, did you know that he uses cult tactics? Yes, it's quite disturbing. I made a PDF of the conversation and then quickly unfriended both him and you. Nothing personal really. I just don't want someone who is actively trying to brainwash me to have access to my private life.

      Shalom,

      Peter

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    19. Gifted,

      See my latest comment to Troy. You really don't know the half of it.

      Shalom,

      Peter

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    20. Peter,

      Your last comment to Troy seems to be personal. Then you add another individual into the equation (Hilbrant). I don't know either gentleman, yet you referred me to the latest post that you sent to Troy. However, that didn't help me understand your resolve toward the statements and questions I made.

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  6. Well stated Troy!!

    Peter,

    I assume the thoughts that you have now we're not always the same. Growth has been essential for you as well as myself; nevertheless, I would encourage you not to be defensive toward other views that's isn't in line with your way of thinking. When you hold a position I know why you hold that position. I once held similar beliefs. I understand the line of thinking to draw that conclusion. You should ask yourself why do he or she hold to that view without getting on the defensive.

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