Thursday, December 10, 2015

Different Manifestations, Same G-d: How the Rabbinic Midrash Resolves the Different Incarnations of HaShem





Discussing the Divinity of Yeshua with an Orthodox Jew often goes like this:

Messianic:  "I believe that HaShem is the only G-d.  And I believe that Yeshua is a manifestation of HaShem."

Orthodox Jew:  "So then you believe in different gods."

Messianic:  "No, I believe in One G-d who is capable of making different manifestations."

Orthodox Jew:  "Judaism teaches that G-d does not manifest in physical form--much less different manifestations!"

But is that really true that Judaism uniformly teaches that G-d does not make different manifestations?

So let's look and see if that's the case.  We'll particularly be looking at G-d as a "man of war" (Exodus 15:3), G-d as an "Old Man" (Daniel 7:9) as interpreted in a midrash from Mekhilta De-Rabbi Ishmael, Tractate Bahodesh.


Note that in the following midrash it says that G-d "appeared" variously as a "mighty hero" (i.e. a young man) and as an "old man" (note:  the old man reference is taken from the phrases "Ancient of Days" and "the hair of his head like the pure [white] wool" in Daniel 7):

“I am the Lord, you God (ADONAI Elohekha)” (Ex. 20:2).
Why is this said?
     For this reason.  At the sea he [God] appeared (to them) as a mighty hero (gibbor) doing battle, as it is said:  ‘The Lord is a man of war” (Ex. 15:3).
     At Sinai he appeared (to them) as an old man (zaqen) full of mercy, as it is said:  “And they saw the God of Israel, etc.” (Ex. 24:10).  And of the time after they had been redeemed, what does it say?  “And the like of the very heaven for clearness” (ibid.).  Again it says:  “I beheld till thrones were placed” (Dan. 7:9).  And it also says:  “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him, etc.” (Dan. 7:10).
     (Scripture, therefore,) would not let the nations of the world have an excuse for saying that there are two powers (shetei rashuyyot), but declares:  “I am the Lord, your God” (Ex. 20:2) –
     I am he who was in Egypt and I am he who was at the sea.
     I am he who was at Sinai.
     I am he who was in the past and I am he who will be in the future.
     I am he who is in this world and I am he who will be in the world to come, as it is said:  “See now that I, even I, am he, etc.” (Deut. 32:39).  And it says:  “Even to old age I am the same”  (Isa. 46:4).  And it says:  “Thus said the Lord, the King of Israel, and his redeemer, the Lord of Hosts (ADONAI tzeva’ot):  I am the first, and I am the last” (Isa. 44:6).  And it says:  “Who has wrought and done it?  He that called the generations from the beginning.  I, the Lord, who am the first, etc. [and with the last I am as well]” (Isa. 41:4).
     R. Nathan says:  “From here one can give an answer to the heretics (minim) who say: ‘There are two powers (shetei rashuyyot).’  For when the Holy One, blessed be he, stood up and exclaimed:  ‘I am the Lord, your God’ (Ex. 20:2), was there any one who stood up to protest against him?
     If you should say that it was done in secret—has it not been said:  “I have not spoken in secret, etc.” (Isa. 45:19)?  “I said not to the seed of Jacob” (ibid.), (that is), to these (alone) will I give it.  Rather, “they sought me in the desert” (ibid.).  Did I not give it in broad daylight (pangas)?  And thus it says:  “I the Lord  speak righteousness, I declare things that are right” (ibid.),” Schafer, The Jewish Jesus, pg. 57, quoting from Mekhilta De-Rabbi Ishmael, Tractate Bahodesh

So what's the point of this midrash?  The point is that no matter how differently G-d may manifest--whether He were to appear as a young man or as an old man--He is still the same.  Different manifestations, same G-d!




59 comments:

  1. I think you are confusing midrashim (rabbinic sermons and stories) with scripture and prophetic imagery and biblical allegory with reality.

    Also, mainstream Christianity doesn't simply believe in different "manifestations" of the same G-d (as in Sabellianism or Modalism "heresies") - but that G-d is Three Persons, each with their own personalities and even wills, having a relationship of a "family".

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    1. Gene,

      RE: "I think you are confusing midrashim (rabbinic sermons and stories) with scripture and prophetic imagery and biblical allegory with reality."

      I wrote "Exodus 15:3 and Daniel 7:9...as interpreted in a midrash", clearly differentiating between Scripture and its interpretation.

      Once again your attack has no merit whatsoever.

      RE: "Also, mainstream Christianity...."

      This post isn't about what Christians believe but rather what Judaism teaches.

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    2. "This post isn't about what Christians believe but rather what Judaism teaches."

      Excuse me - your post starts with an argument between a Christian and a Jew, about Christian beliefs and Jewish beliefs.

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    3. Gene,

      No, it began with a conversation between 2 people from 2 different branches of Judaism.

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    4. Peter, you are only deceiving yourself. As someone who has been deeply involved in both, I can tell you that "Messianic Judaism" is mainstream Protestant Christianity with only a very thin veneer of "Jewishness" crudely fastened unto (mostly Charismatic) Evangelicalism.

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    5. Gene,

      You're confusing missionary Christian efforts like Jews for Jesus (which teach that the Torah is abolished) with ACTUAL Messianic Judaism (which teaches that Torah is valid).

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    6. Peter, I am confusing nothing. Throughout the history of Christianity and to this day there have always been Christian denominations (almost invariably Protestant) which believed in validity of at least some aspects of Torah, e.g. dietary laws (WCOG), Shabbat (Seventh Day Adventists), Jewish holy days (many charismatic and Hebrew Roots churches) - many of them set up and sponsor their own offshoot "messianic" congregations. You don't practice Judaism of any kind, even if you believe that Torah is still valid because "Jesus didn't actually nail it to the cross" - despite the fact that Paul claimed that he himself was not under the Law - but does it really translate into true and consistent observance in your actual life?)

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    7. Hi Peter, my messianic congregation teaches that the law is no longer binding. They are not affiliated with JFJ, but have a connection with Chosen People Ministry.

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    8. Gene,

      Let me break it down for everyone reading this conversation. We're discussing the right/wrong way to classify Christianity vs. Judaism. This is so far then a discussion about description (i.e. a scientific study of religion).

      So my premise was that Christianity is differentiated from Judaism in that Christianity is anti-Torah. What's the empirical data for this premise? The data would be that both classical Christianities and modern Christianities are characterized by a hostility to the Torah of Moses. By and large, it is understood that Christians do not see the Torah of Moses as legally normative (i.e. they don't view it as law).

      Gene then comes back and says that Christianity DOES teach that the Torah of Moses is legally normative and he cites to the empirical evidence of WCOG and Seventh Day Adventists, fringe movements that many consider to be cults, and the fact that they sometimes advocate certain commands from Scripture (e.g. Sabbath observance). But Gene fails to show that even these fringe cults view the Torah of Moses as legally normative. They may pick out some things to follow (as all Christians do) but they don't consider the Torah of Moses as law (i.e. legally normative). They look at it more as a set of suggestions (and not even always that).

      So Gene failed to cite evidence that would force one to conclude that Christians view the Torah of Moses as legally binding/normative.

      Therefore, since Gene was unable to muddy the waters and say that Christianity is identical to Judaism when it comes to the Torah (which is really an absurd thing to advocate), we're left with my perfectly viable distinction between Christianity and Messianic Judaism on the basis of each religious systems approach to the legal normativity of the Torah of Moses.

      Messianic Judaism which advocates the legal normativity of the Torah of Moses is therefore NOT the same thing as Christianity which says that the Torah of Moses contains perhaps some suggestions but not much that is legally binding.







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    9. "my messianic congregation teaches that the law is no longer binding. "

      I think that most messianic congregations teach some variation of the above. Law hasn't been really cancelled, they would say, but "Yeshua's death removed the consequences" (that is punishment) for non-observance. This effectively makes Torah optional and a nice thing to do (but G-d won't really be too upset if you don't since you are covered by the "blood of Jesus"). This attitude, of course, reflects the overall level of observance (if one even dares to call it that) in the messianic world even among those who claim to be "zealous".

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    10. "fringe movements that many consider to be cults"

      Mainstream Christianity considers them "cults" and "fringe" precisely because those movements insist on observing some aspects of Torah, which Christians view as "legalism".

      "So Gene failed to cite evidence that would force one to conclude that Christians view the Torah of Moses as legally binding/normative."

      I believe I made a very strong case that some Christians groups (which are viewed as "fringe" by the mainstream Christianity precisely because of their so called "Judaizing" practices) do view Torah as binding (as they interpret Torah observance, of course).

      My case is strong, yours is exceedingly weak, Peter. Not that you are about to admit it (that would be very un-lawyer of you).

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    11. Gene,

      You can't even show us one Christian in the world who teaches that the Torah of Moses is legally binding much less show us that this is a fundamental teaching in Christianity.

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    12. Peter, I already showed you that the words "Torah of Moses is legally binding" are meaningless in the Messianic world you live. Notice that the "legally binding" are your words, no mine. Like the parts of the Christian world I noted as ubscribing to selected observances, you too believe in "validity of at least some aspects of Torah". Ultimately, with the theology that teaches that Jesus died for you so that you won't have to be accountable for not observing Torah, one can't speak about any "legally binding" observance. (You conveniently keep forgetting that pesky Paul you venerate and his "I am not under the law" - he clearly didn't see himself as "legally bound" to Torah).

      In other words, it's a nonsensical mockery of what the real Judaism represents.

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  2. What's the diference with "Oneness" and Modalism if I may ask?

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    1. Remi,

      You'd have to ask a Christian.

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    2. Peter, don't you know the history of your faith?

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    3. A path to truth can only be actualized when one is honest with oneself. Your religion is Protestant Christianity mixed with an appreciation for the "Jewish roots" of your faith.

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    4. Maybe he is not following the faith of the disciples and Paul?

      The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. Acts 11:26

      Gene, I have many messianic friends that go to Anglican, pentecostal or brethren on Sunday. It does not look that they are bother to go to a messianic Kehila on Shabbat and on a church on Sunday. Most messianics consider themselves christians, because it is just the Greek translational of messianic! Maybe, to help Peter, you may say "I am not a catholic", or I don't fully agree with all the tenets of the protestant doctrine, but still... mesianic Judaism is really a branch of the baptist church.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messianic_Judaism

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    5. Gene & Remi,

      RE: "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. Acts 11:26"

      It says of the first Believers: "many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law" (Acts 21:20)

      How many Christians do you know who are zealous for the Torah of Moses?

      You guys keep falsely equating Christianity (which rejects Torah) with Messianic Judaism (which proclaims the validity of Torah).

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    6. Hi Peter, we are not denying you are Jew (if your mother was Jewish). But you also believe in Jesus. And those who believe in Jesus are usually called Christians, because the disciples were called Christians. Now in your defence you may say "not all tree bear good fruits, and those christians who don't follow the Torah are not real christians, but I am" If you arrive and talk with a orthodox Jew and you say that you are also an orthodox Jew, then this would not be honest. You may call yourself Messianic jew (if your mother is a Jew) or a Christian, and that would be the honest answer.

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    7. "How many Christians do you know who are zealous for the Torah of Moses? "

      What does it even mean? Have warm and fuzzy feelings about Torah? I know of almost NO MESSIANIC JEWS who can be described as "zealous for the Torah of Moses" (one comes close, but he rejects Jesus' divinity) - I've attended UMJC conferences and didn't meet there a single MJ (except for me and a friend who came with me), including those who were supposedly very strong advocates for Torah, who cared about not driving on Shabbat, about not eating whatever was sold in the hotel or outside, about not paying on Shabbat for gas and food, about not writing on Shabbat, carrying things outside of domain or doing most the other prohibited things that truly Torah-observant Jews are "zealous" about. And I am talking about the "rabbis" especially. Don't talk to me about Messianics being "zealous for Torah" - tell it to someone who doesn't have a clue about what really goes on.

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    8. Gene,

      I hate to break it to you but the UMJC is a liberal movement of Judaism, analogous to the Reform movement. I'm also familiar with them.

      Zealous for the Torah of Moses if it is to mean ANYTHING must mean that the Torah is legally normative (see my comment above). This means that the Torah cannot be a set of suggestions from which we may pick and choose which suggestions we like and which we want to modify. No, legally normative means that you view the Torah as legally binding. And that's precisely what was meant in Acts 21.

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    9. "I hate to break it to you but the UMJC is a liberal movement of Judaism, analogous to the Reform movement. I'm also familiar with them. "

      Peter, I am very well familiar with the so called "Orthodox Messianics". You recently introduced your readers to one of them when you went looking for "Orthodox Messianics" - remember the Gentile "high priest" and "rebbe"? It looks like you yourself have no clue about the "Orthodox Messianics".

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    10. Gene,

      I expected this post to get you riled up. But it's not my fault that I can support everything I say with Scripture and even the writings of Rabbinic Judaism.

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    11. "But it's not my fault that I can support everything I say with Scripture and even the writings of Rabbinic Judaism. "

      But misusing them IS your fault, Peter.

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    12. I have a question for you Peter. What about gentiles, should they go to your "Messianic" synagogue? What should they be called if they go to you synagogue?

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    13. Remi, Peter is not Jewish. (seems like you had that impression).

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    14. What! Gene, my great-great-great Grandmother could have been Jewish in her previous life. Also, I could also have come form one of the lost tribe of Israel, so I must be Jewish in a way or another! My father was adopted, so, like Jesus I could have come from David's line without knowing it!

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    15. One thing that I appreciate about Peter is that he doesn't try to pretend that he is Jewish in any way... apart from the time long ago when he still believed in the Two Stick theology.

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    16. Ok, thanks Gene for the info. :) I misunderstood you comment, I thought you say I was not Jewish... lol

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Remi,

      If you disagree with the post, you should respond with a substantive comment. Otherwise, people will be forced to conclude that your position lacks merit.

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  4. " apart from the time long ago when he still believed in the Two Stick theology."

    He still does, but he learned how to hide it.....

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    1. Dan, if that's true, you must have shamed him back into the Two Stick closet then:)

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  5. It is true...All of the HR movement is....

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  6. Peter, I expected you to know better, especially since I pointed out that mistake you made about something written in the Zohar, on another post. To which you didn't reply. Maybe you didn't see it.

    The same Sages who relayed to us the Midrashim, the Zohar, and agada also relayed halakha about idolatry and how the Torah is based upon serving God who we proclaim as one, not a man, as the written Torah plainly states, and that there is no other besides Him. If you take their words out of their own context of the fact that HaShem is one, incorporeal, etc, then you'd have to be intentionally misconstruing their words unless you just didn't know any better.

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    1. Torah says G-d walked in the garden (Genesis), took a seat on a throne (Daniel 7), appeared to Abraham as the Judge of All the Earth (Genesis), made man according to His form, "seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance...Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord" (Ezekiel 1), etc, etc.

      Rambam surely disagreed that G-d could take form but MANY Jewish scholars disagreed with Rambam (see chapter 3 of Marc Shapiro's The Limits of Orthodox Theology: Maimonidies' Thirteen Principles Reappraised).

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    2. Cite me Hakhamim who disagree that God is incorporeal, and cite exactly what they say.

      When it says God sits on His throne in Heaven, or He hears something, or He sees something, it doesn't mean he isn't sitting, hearing, or seeing. He is, but He is doing it on a non physical, non-human level. Since HaShem is infinite, there is no containing Him, there is no giving Him a body or specific form whatsoever. These actions ascribed to HaShem don't mean He is a man sitting in some alternate universe. The higher spiritual planes are indescribable; they're not physical and time, space, and matter do not exist in them as they exist here. The higher you go up, the less time, space, and matter there is, until you reach Ein Sof (meaning infinity, HaShem Himself), which has no time, form, shape, and there is no duplicity of anything there, there is only HaShem forever with no measure of time, space, or matter. You cannot think of this because the human mind wasn't made to think of it. Therefore, we can say "God sits in judgment", "God hears our prayers", "God etc, etc, etc", but unless you're a brainless Greek philosopher or some pagan who has no understanding and knowledge of God, you'll think it is literal and physical. I don't think you are that stupid, at all. I think you're just arguing to try to defend a belief you know and feel is leaving you.

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    3. "I think you're just arguing to try to defend a belief you know and feel is leaving you."

      Ain't that the truth. With messianics, the harder they try to use rabbinic arguments to defends their trinitarian beliefs (oxymoronic in of itself), the faster they are approaching the realization of the foolishness of what they are arguing for.

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    4. Breslov,

      http://seforim.blogspot.com/2007/07/marc-b-shapiro-response-to-rabbi-zev.html

      Sanhedrei Gedolah le-Masekhet Sanhedrin (Jerusalem, 1972), volume 5, section 2, p. 118. On the previous page, in direct contradiction to Rambam, he writes:
      מי שיטעה בכך ולא ירד לעמקו של דבר, ומבין המקראות כפשוטן וסבור שהקדוש ברוך הוא בעל תמונה, לא נקרא מין, שאם כן הוא הדבר, איך לא פרסמה תורה על דבר זה ולא גילו חכמי התלמוד להודיע דבר זה בגלוי, ולהזהיר נשים ועמי הארץ שלא יהוא מינים ויאבדו עולמן. הלא כמה איסורים קלים כגון איסור מוקצה וכיוצא בו, חיברו חכמים כמה הלכות והרבו כמה דקדוקין להעמיד כל דבר על מכונו, ועל דבר זה שכל האמונה תלויה בו ויש בו כרת בעולם הזה ובעולם הבא, איך לא הורו חכמים על דבר זה בגלוי. אלא ודאי לא הקפידו לכך, אלא יאמין אדם [את] הייחוד כפי שכלו, ואפילו הנשים כפי מיעוט שכלן . . . שלא צותה תורה להורות על אלה הדברים

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    5. Also see:

      http://download.yutorah.org/1993/905/704648.pdf

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    6. Peter, thanks for the quote above. As I read it, it is clear what this Sage, whoever he is, stated. He is saying that HaShem ISN'T a ba`al tmuna, He doesn't have a form or image; however, since the Torah goes in depth about many subjects, why wouldn't it blatantly state that HaShem doesn't have a form or image, which is true, given there is much language in Tanakh about HaShem having a "hand", "back", "face". For the women and `amei ha-aretz (i.e. those who have limited or underdeveloped intellect), this isn't an issue because they can only perceive HaShem according to their limited intellects; rather as the Sage writes: "a person should believe in the oneness [of HaShem] according to [how much] his intellect [grasps]". For those who can understand that there's something beyond what the human mind can grasp, they obviously know that HaShem is intangible, omnipresent, infinite, etc.

      Notice the Sage says women and `amei ha-aretz must believe in the oneness of HaShem, "Hear, O Israel, HaShem is our God, HaShem is one". This is obvious. There's a reason we recite the Shema` twice daily. He's just saying that when the Torah offers so much symbolism of HaShem supposedly having an eye, ear, mouth, etc, those with little understanding aren't held as heretics for thinking of HaShem in a physical sense, because they can't perceive it any other way and the Torah doesn't go out of the way to warn people not to think of HaShem as literally having a body.

      The Torah likely doesn't warn of this, first because it should be obvious to anyone with a real connection to HaShem via Torah and tefilla, to know and 'get' that HaShem is above time, space, and this whole physical world while still being present in it. His whole nature is beyond our comprehension. Therefore, it is a non issue. Secondly, the Torah indicates by not warning the small in understanding that HaShem doesn't have a body, that it isn't an important issue for them.

      So we learn that HaShem doesn't have a form, and that people of limited intellect who think he does aren't considered heretics, on the condition that they believe HaShem is one, and everything else in the Torah about Him, like "God is not a man...nor a human being" as it states in Exodus.

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  7. Dan and Gene,

    Regarding the Lost Tribes, the Jewish expectation has always been that they will be found one day:

    http://orthodoxmessianic.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-10-lost-tribes-and-messianic.html

    http://orthodoxmessianic.blogspot.com/2015/03/is-intermingling-of-lost-tribes-new.html

    As for me, I don't think I'm a descendant of any lost tribes. I consider myself a non-tribally affiliated member of Israel, joined to Israel by the blood of Yeshua. No tribal status, no land rights, just a desire to help Jews return to the Land, a willingness to die for Israel if necessary.

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    1. Here you are an educated lawyer, and you base your theology on fantasy....Very unbecoming....

      Sambatyon?

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    2. Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised.

      Gene, your out... Your uncircumcised.

      if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised?

      Peter, your hear is circumcised, you are in.

      A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly,

      Sorry Gene, you need to believe in Jesus!

      nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. (that's only mutilation "Philippians 3:2")

      29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly (true Israel!)

      But that's not replacement theology!

      Is that what non-tribal Jew means?



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    3. Yes, that's true, Remi, according to Paul, Peter is more Jewish than I.

      I am only a Jew "outwardly" (which means "not a Jew" at all per Paul), because I willfully rejected the idolatry of worshiping a man as god. Peter, on the other hand, is a true Israelite, according to the same Paul, because he accepted Jesus as his god and savior.

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    4. Don't despair, it's way easier to become a "complete" jew than converting to Judaism... Just pray after me in the name of the dead-man-god.

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  8. Hi Peter

    Christianity teaches a trinity of god, jesus and holy ghost: Judaism doesn't teach a trinity, but one single God.

    In respect of the midrash, I'd say that it perfectly explains that God may be described in different ways or given various attributes and even titles, but is one , singular entity, not 3 or 100 separate -but equal- manifestations or incarnations rolled into one.

    In Judaism, Hashem doesn't , for example , chat with Adonai, in the sense of jesus communicating to god the father or god the holy ghost or whatever. Ancient of days, old man , young man , warrior, these are descriptions or titles to explain God and his actions. They are not meant to imply God is really an old man or young. Or both in a separate sense. In the same way, when the Hebrew bible says God has wings & feathers... (c.f. psalm chapter 91) .




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    1. "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." (Psalm 91:4)

      Hannah, funny and true. If Peter wants to be consistent, he should also apply the above Psalm to G-d to claim that G-d looks more like a bird, that is the same way he readily applies the various anthropomorphic verses to prove that he has a form of a man. On the other hand, since the New Testament says that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove, may be the authors of NT were way ahead of Peter.

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    2. Hannah,

      RE: "In Judaism, Hashem doesn't , for example , chat with Adonai,"

      That's not true. We read in Genesis:

      "Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..."

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    3. One other thing about "Let us make man in our image..."

      The verb "make" (na'aseh) is in the plural. But only G-d can create (Isaiah 44:24). We have G-d in plural form (Elohim) creating as a plurality (na'aseh). Yet only G-d alone can create, not the angels...

      This is very interesting, yes?

      And undeniable.

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    4. Peter, that's a foolish argument (to try to find Trinity in the Hebrew Bible) that even learned Christians who are familiar with Biblical Hebrew and conventions of the Bible no longer make. Here's example from NIV study Bible:

      "1:26 us . . . our . . . our. God speaks as the Creator-King, announcing his crowning work to the members of his heavenly court (see 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8; see also 1Ki 22:19–23; Job 15:8;"

      https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%201%3A26-31

      (To see the quote, expand on the STUDY THIS tab and select NIV Study Bible).

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    5. Gene,

      As I just demonstrated, the Hebrew grammar doesn't allow that possibility. The making of man was a plural effort according to the plural Hebrew verb. And, since we know that only G-d can create because Torah says there is only one Creator of everything, we must conclude that in the passage "Let us create man..." G-d was talking to Himself:

      "And God said, 'Let us create man.' With whom did He consult?...Rabbi Ammi said 'He consulted with His own heart. This may be compared to a king who had a palace built by an architect. When he saw the result, it did not please him. To whom could he complain? Surely to the architect! Similarly, the Torah says, 'He was grieved to His heart' (Genesis 6:6)," Genesis Rabba 8

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    6. "As I just demonstrated, the Hebrew grammar doesn't allow that possibility."

      Peter, please, what do you know about Hebrew grammar, no offense. Even Christians scholars, who in the "olden days" would have spouted the same stuff you're doing now, these days do not even attempt to insert the supposed conversation between a three-headed god into Genesis. That ship of ignorance has long sailed.

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    7. Hi Peter

      In respect of that verse Chazal and Rabbinical literature argue that God is talking to his heavenly court (sanhedrin 38b and indeed from the very same Midrash you've quoted to Gene).

      You could argue that God is having a brief soliloquy , as the quote from Midrash suggests . However there is a big , huge leap to be made here from God discussing something with himself using a royal we to there being a trinity in Torah. Interesting that Rashi writes the following :

      "Let us make man: Even though they [the angels] did not assist Him in His creation, and there is an opportunity for the heretics to rebel (to misconstrue the plural as a basis for their heresies), Scripture did not hesitate to teach proper conduct and the trait of humility, that a great person should consult with and receive permission from a smaller one. Had it been written: “I shall make man,” we would not have learned that He was speaking with His tribunal, but to Himself. And the refutation to the heretics is written alongside it [i. e., in the following verse:]“And God created (וַיִּבְרָא) ,” and it does not say,“and they created וַיִּבְרְאוּ.” "

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    8. Or you may say that Genesis 1:26 teaches polytheism... god told another god to make man in their images. Is that what you are implying Peter?

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    9. You could say that Remi... but good thing we have Christians to explain that this was a three-in-one god and not three gods. I mean some polytheists may take it a wrong way and misuse it for their purposes.

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  9. It's plural Gene, a three-in-one god (singular) would render that verse like that "Let me (singular) make man in our (plural) image" or "Let us (plural) make man in my (singular) image", two gods or more renders the verse properly... tada!

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