"Stranger still, the ancient religion of the Jews survives, when all the religions of every ancient race of the pre-Christian world have disappeared. Again it is strange that the living religions of the world all build on the religious ideas derived from the Jews" - The Ancient World, Professor T.R. Glover

"According to the materialistic and positivist criterion, this people ought to have perished long ago. It's survival is a mysterious and wonderful phenomenon demonstrating that the life of this people is governed by a special predetermination..."
- The Meaning of History, Professor Nicholas Berdkilaev of the Moscow Academy of Spiritual Culture

"It was Judaism that brought the concept of a God-given universal moral law into the world...the Jew carries the burden of God in history and for this he has never been forgiven" - Distinguished Catholic Scholar Edward H. Flannery

Fact: Judaism is the only religion in the world that lost its holy land and has regained it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Conclusion of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 - Part 5

The Gentile / Christian interpretation of Isaiah 53 denotes the Jesus-accepting "New Israel" (Galatians 6:13) as holy and righteous while depicting the true physical nation of Israel as a Jesus-denying evil people. Many Gentile Christians became persecutors and many Jews were persecuted based upon the Christian interpretation of this chapter. On the other side of the coin, the Jewish interpretation concludes Israel the nation is venerated at the End of Days which is an undeniable theme that is consistent with the rest of the Hebrew scriptures. One must spiritually travel outside this very biblical theme in order to take up the Gentile interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures.
I would challenge the Christian /Gentile concept of Isaiah 53 with not only the Hebrew text itself, but with all the other Gentile concepts found within Christianity that are foreign with the Jewish scriptures as well such as:
Man-deity: "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent" -Numbers 23:19 (see also I Samuel 15:29)
Human sacrifice: "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire....For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD." -Deuteronomy 18:10,12 (see also Jeremiah 32:35)
Vicarious atonement: "
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin." - Deuteronomy 24:16 (see also Ezekiel 18:20)
The Trinity: :Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.... Is there a God beside me yea, there is no God; I know not any....I
am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself" - Isaiah 44:6,8,24
(Did you notice all 7 single personal pronouns in these verses? See also Deuteronomy 32:39)
Many Christian apologists try to use Jewish rabbinical sources such as Targum in order to try to prove their interpretation. This only demonstrates their weakness by having something that they must "prove" outside their own sources. There is a spiritual reason why you don't see Jewish rabbis trying to use Christians commentary sources against Christians to prove their Jewish case. That is, Jews don't use deception in purposely misapplying or purposely mistranslating a Christian commentary to prove to the Christians the Jewish belief for the purpose of converting Gentiles to Judaism.
Christian apologists end up doing the same thing with rabbinical sources as they do with the Hebrew scriptures, which is the usage of partial quotes and an outright changing its meaning and context to fit their predrawn conclusions. They cleverly try to make rabbinical Judaism to appear as believing that Isaiah 53 was speaking strictly of the End of Day messiah and not the nation of Israel. Because the Christian apologists have such a hard time proving the Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53 to be wrong, they seek out rabbinical sources (of which they personally don't place any spiritual value) that they can misrepresent the source to try and prove their Gentile interpretation. They do this knowing darn well that if they could ask that same rabbi who gave the source whether or not Isaiah 53 is speaking about the messiah or Israel, what the rabbi's answer would be!
Deception concerning Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki 1040-1105 C. E.)
is also prevalent among Christian apologists. Because Rashi is so revered among religious Jews he is a special targeted of Christian missionaries and apologists. Their claim is that it wasn't until Rashi that the Jewish world changed their view of Isaiah 53 from speaking of the messiah to the nation of Israel. As Outreach Judaism points out
http://www.outreachjudaism.org/sin.html this Christian deception is blasted into smithereens by the 3rd. century church father Origen in his writings "Origen Contra Celsum" in which he stated concerning Isaiah 53: "I remember that once in a discussion with some whom the Jews regard as learned I used these (Isaiah 53) prophesies. At this the Jew said that these prophesies referred to the whole people as though of a single individual."
The learned Jew that Origen was talking about who believe Isaiah 53 was speaking of the whole nation of Israel wasn't Rashi, since Origen (185 - 254 C.E.) died 786 years before Rashi was born. Yet, this Christian deception that Rashi was the culprit in guiding the wayward Jews to misapply Isaiah 53 away from its messianic meaning is wide spread among Christian missionaries and messianics. Go figure.
Not all Christian theologians disagree with the Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53. This is remarkable since there are no Jewish sources (non-messianics) who agree the Christians on Isaiah 53. Again, as Outreach Judaism points out, The New English Bible - Oxford Study Edition (with a big Crusader cross on the front cover) has footnotes pertaining to Isaiah 52-53 that totally (and I do mean totally) agree of the Jewish view. In fact, as one who has studied much on this subject as well as these footnotes, I can truthfully say, that these footnotes given by Gentile Christian theologians with doctorate degrees are the best that I have ever seen. They make points from other biblical scriptures as to the regard to the nation of Israel that I hadn't seen coming even from Jewish scholars! Hey, chalk one up for the Gentile Christian theologians who don't look through an interpretation-window of the New Testament in order to understand what Isaiah 53 is talking about.

The bottom line of Isaiah 53 is simply this:
  • When examined, the Christian version is deceptive concerning the original Hebrew, its context, and how it is presented by Christian apologists and missionaries, especially when it comes to Jews.
  • The Jewish interpretation is inline and even dove-tails with the rest of the Hebrew scriptures especially the Torah by which the Jews have maintained since the text of Isaiah 53 was first written and given to the Jews!
Who can better explain the American Bill of Rights, an American civics teacher from Des Miones, Iowa or a foreign political student from Beijing, China? Likewise, Who stands more suited to explain the Hebrew scriptures such as Isaiah 53, a Jewish rabbi from Jerusalem whose past generations of two millenia are connected to Jerusalem, or a Gentile religious leader from America bent on destroying Judaiasm, the Jewish people as a people, and Israel as a Jewish state through conversion to their Gentile faith?
Who can speak the American English language better, an native born American from Utah or a an Asian who has taken English 101 in Korea?1 Likewise, who is more qualified in the Hebrew Biblical language, a Jew whose name and prayers are in that very language, and to whom the text of Isaiah 53 was originally given, or a religious Westerner with predrawn Gentile conclusions who has studied Hebrew under another non-Jewish teacher, who also has predrawn Gentile conclusions of the Hebrew text?2
I really don't mind the Christian interpretation of Isaiah 53 as long as it stays among the Gentiles. It's when Isaiah 53 is used to attack the Jewish nation for the purpose of assimilating them to be like the other Christian nations (contrary to Deuteronomy 14:2) that I have a real problem of which has inspired this five-part blog.
1. In 1985, I worked with a German man in Tucson, Arizona who had grown up and lived in Germany during the Nazi era and carried a heavy German accent. The place we worked at was on Broadway Blvd. While on the telephone he began trying to relay the street "Broadway" to the person on the other end of the line. He keep saying, "Vradvay", "Vradvay". The person on the other end never could understand him. He finally got very irritated yelling in a load voice, "Vrad-Vay" before hanging up. Afterward, I began to poke fun at him about his English as did others who also heard the conversation. He ask me how old I was which at the time I was 20. He informed me that he had been speaking English longer that I had been born. I ask him, then why can't you say "Broadway" I've been able to say "Broadway" since I was about three or four? This all goes to show that you can't the Germany out of the German no matter how Americanized he becomes, and in like manner, you can't get the Gentile out of Gentiles who learn and teach Hebrew for a Gentile cause.
2. I can always tell by looking at the Hebrew translation whether or not a Hebrew-Biblical dictionary or lexicon has been edited by Christian or Jewish scholars. Aside from the English dead give-away introduction of the "Old Testament" which means it's coming from Christians, the translation of two certain Hebrew words (one is not even an actual word) tells me a Christian has been here. The word "alma" spelled "ayin-lamed-mem-hay" means "young maiden" but Christians will learn and teach it as to mean "virgin". There is a Isaiah 7:14 reason as to why this is. Even though the Hebrew word for virgin is "betulah" (bet-tav-vav-lamed-hay) is used in close proximity of Isaiah 7:14 (Isaiah 23:4,12) and from which its root is used as the sign of virginity "batulim" (see Deuteronomy 22:15) Christians still must stick with "alma" to mean virgin. Many Christian Bibles will have a footnote number beside their translation that will indicate in real small letters at the bottom of the page, 'young maiden'. Perhaps, they mean that the little Emanuel that is connected with the two kings Pekah and Rezin in the very next verses 15 and 16 (compared with II Kings 16:5, 9 / II Kings 15:29-30) are indeed from a non-virgin young women, but because of a "duel prophecy" of which somehow excludes verses 15 and 16 from the prophecy, the Emanuel to come 700 years later would be from a virgin, adding an all new meaning to the word alma?
The second Hebrew word found in a Christian dictionary is not even that, a word. There is a reason why Paul or any other New Testament writter had never jumped all over the KJV Psalms 22:17 "pierced hands and feet" as a "proof text" for their new faith. The reason is simple, it wasn't originally there and had not been yet been tampered with during the first century CE. The Hebrew word for pierced is, "dakar" or "ratza". Whomever, tampered with Psalms 22:17 (probably a 3rd. century Christian monk) was skillful in changing the words of David, "like a lion" (of which "lion" is mentioned throughout the 22nd. Psalm) to mean pierced. They took the Hebrew word "kar" meaning "to dig" or "excavate" disregarded the letter aleph in the word, and passed it off as "pierced". As a result, the Christian Hebrew dictionary has at least one extra word that the Jewish dictionary don't have. Of course, there is only one single place in all the Hebrew scriptures that their new word for pierced can be found. Go figure.