Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Radio Replies Second Volume - Jewish Rejection of Christ
Celledoor.com ^ | 1940 | Fathers Rumble & Carty

Posted on 04/19/2010 8:32:47 AM PDT by GonzoII

Jewish Rejection of Christ



152. Christianity spread because it contained phases of Judaism which commended themselves to the pagan world.

It would be difficult to indicate those particular phases. However, if there is one thing certain, it is that Christianity had no appeal for the pagan world, which greeted the new religion with centuries of violent hatred and persecution. It was war to the death, and either Christianity or the pagan world had to go under. Christianity wounded the pride of cultured pagans by asking them to worship a crucified Jew. It attacked pagan morals, demanding of men that they should hate what they had previously loved, and love those things against which nature rebelled. The obstacles were immense, and the means at the disposal of Christianity ludicrously inadequate from a human point of view. The only force which can account for this expansion is that correctly given in the Acts of the Apostles. It was the power of the Holy Spirit, promised and sent by Christ. It was the Holy Spirit who strengthened the Apostles, and who enlightened the minds of multiludes who heard them, besides moving their obstinate wills to embrace the lofty doctrines and moral obligations binding upon Christians.

153. You have said that Christianity is the continuation and fulfillment of the Jewish religion.

That is so. The Christian religion really rests on a co-ordinated series of facts from Adam to Pope Pius XII, or to any Pope who may succeed him in the future. This series of facts is spread, therefore, over thousands of years, and embraces events, words, declarations of principles, doctrines, and precepts, whether in Jewish or Christian times. The Jewish religion was really preparatory Christianity, its whole genius being a looking forward to the coining of Christ. Christianity is but Judaism fulfilled.

154. Why, then, is there opposition between the Jewish and the Christian religions?

From the historical point of view there is opposition insofar as Judaism denies that the real Messiah has come, while the Christian religion affirms that he has come in the person of Christ. As a preparatory religion, Judaism was the true religion of God until such time as the Messiah should come. But it was abrogated when all that it foreshadowed was realized. The shadow gave way to the substance. And a religion which still claims to be awaiting the Redeemer of the human race after that Redeemer has come is obviously wrong, and could not retain God's sanction. But apart from the question of time and fulfillment, there is an opposition between the preparatory Jewish religion and Christianity. Literal Judaism was imperfect, and embodied much that was temporal and fleshly, while the religion of Christ is perfect, and elevated to the spiritual and eternal plane. Of course, even under the old regime, the true Jew was not one who merely submitted to external rites, but he who loved God, and was united in spirit with the Savior to come. But many of the Jews had fallen short of this to a very great extent, and were absorbed by worldly and merely human considerations.

155. Was not Jesus Himself a product of Judaism?

By birth He was of the Jews. But Judaism could never have produced His character. The character of Christ, as depicted by the Gospels, not only differs from every type of moral perfection which the Jewish mind could conceive. It expressly opposes those types. We have in the writings of the Jews ample material to construct the model Jewish teacher. We have the sayings and actions of Hillel, Gamaliel, Rabbi Samuel, and others — all possessing the impress of national ideas; and descriptions of them are based on ideas most widely apart from the personality and teachings of Christ. Christ was a complete departure from the national type, and from those features which custom, education, patriotism, religion, and nature alike, had consecrated as being the Jewish ideal. In this sense, Jesus Christ was not the product of Judaism. Christ came, not to receive from the Jews, but to give to them that which He gave to the Gentiles, and to such Jews as did accept Him.

156. Jesus was guided by Jewish principles throughout His life.

It was the conflict between the principles of Christ and the guiding principles of the Jewish teachers at that time which ended in the crucifixion of Christ. The Jews wanted a temporal king, while Christ came as a spiritual Messiah. The High Priests opposed the teaching and conduct of Christ on every possible occasion.

157. Jesus merely put greater emphasis on the individual and the next life.

He rejected the idea of the absorption of the individual in a nation-religion, taking a universal view which included every individual soul. Likewise, He rejected material and temporal ideals in favor of spiritual and eternal values.

158. If Christ proved His claims so clearly, why did the Jews reject Him?

Not all of them did. Great numbers of Jews were converted in the first years of Christianity. Still, the religious leaders of the Jews, and most of the Jews were not. The first reason for this was the general corruption of moral standards amongst them. Josephus tells us of the prevailing spirit of dishonesty and depravity amongst them. The pride of the Pharisee was not much impressed by the doctrine of meekness and humility preached by Jesus. Nor did the prevailing sensuality respond to a teaching requiring mortification and self-denial. A second reason lies in the distorted idea of the Messiah to be expected. The promise of a spiritual Redeemer had been transformed into an expectation of some mighty temporal prince who would liberate the Jews from Caesar. They did not want a ''kingdom not of this world." The chief priests had personal motives also because Jesus denounced their vices and hypocrisy. It is certain that the Jews did not reject Christ for want of evidence.

Evidence alone accounts for those who were converted to Him. Those who rejected Him did so for personal reasons based upon their own evil dispositions.

159. It is strange that His claims were so unacceptable to men of light and learning at the time.

It is not strange when one realizes that acceptance of Christ required supernatural faith. Jesus demanded faith in Himself as God. He said to His disciples, "Whom do men say that I am?" They replied, "Some, John the Baptist: others, Elijah; others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." But when He asked, '"Whom do you say that I am?" Peter replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus replied, "Blessed art thou, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this to thee, but My Father in heaven." On another occasion Christ said, "No man can come to Me unless the Father draw him." Mt 16:13-17. Faith in Christ and salvation through Him cannot be made to depend upon natural gifts of education and learning. The intelligent and the educated are not going to have a better chance of salvation than those less fortunate. We can't fill heaven with the intellectuals, and hell with the dull-witted. The men of light and learning who refused to accept Christ may have had some degrees of natural light, but they shut their minds against supernatural light. They may have had natural learning, but they had not spiritual wisdom and insight. If you ask why they lacked such supernatural gifts, I must reply that they rejected such graces as were offered to them through lack of good will and through hardened obstinacy. It was their own fault.

160. For example Caiaphas was a man of great learning, and also at least something of a man of God.

We cannot presume that Caiaphas was a man of deep learning. The office of High Priest had been sadly degraded. Josephus complains that some who were chosen were too ignorant to know the dignity of their position; while the Mishna had to include the rubric: "If the High Priest cannot read, let someone read to him." Again, since the High Priests were closely associated with, and at times drawn from the Sadducees, such learning as they did possess was gravely infected by rationalism and materialism. Nor was Caiaphas a man of God save by external profession. The High Priesthood had become subject to Roman political authority. Annas had been deposed by the Roman Governor Valerius Gratus in the year 15 A. D. He was succeeded by Eleazar, and again, after a year's break, by Caiaphas, who was a political time-server, who had a longer run of office than most High Priests, and was determined to keep it. That required, of course, the retaining of Roman patronage.

161. Caiaphas was of the Jews to whom a Messiah had been promised.

That is true. But his religious convictions had been subordinated to political expediency. Richelieu was a Catholic Cardinal who professed that the Catholic Church was the true religion; yet we know how politics dominated him. The case of Caiaphas is no more mysterious.

162. Since the Messiah was then due Jesus did not make such an absurd claim.

The Jews knew that the time of the Messiah was at hand. They had built up quite wrong ideas as to the true character and work of the Messiah, however, and entertained the notion that somehow or other He would be a temporal deliverer of their nation. Even that idea was not welcome to the politically-minded Caiaphas. And when Christ claimed, not only to be the Messiah, but to be God Himself, Caiaphas was overjoyed. He could get rid of one who might disturb his peaceful relations with Rome, and satisfy the religious susceptibilities of the Jews by the charge of blasphemy. The mere claim to Messiahship would not have seemed absurd or blasphemous to the Jews. But they were not prepared to accept a claim to absolute equality with God. Caiaphas knew this, and traded on it. He worked to one end, to get Christ to say that He was God. And seeing Jesus silent under the various accusations, he at last cried, "I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us if thou be the Christ, the Son of God." Mt 26:63. The last words were uppermost in his mind. No one was ignorant of the fact that Jesus had spoken and acted as if He were more than a mere man, and as if He were in a unique sense the Son of God. Caiaphas intended his question in this sense. And Christ replied, "Thou hast said it." Then, with pretended horror, but really in triumph, Caiaphas cried blasphemy, and got the verdict he wanted.

Encoding copyright 2009 by Frederick Manligas Nacino. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0
http://www.celledoor.com/cpdv-ebe/


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Judaism; Theology
KEYWORDS: radiorepliesvoltwo

Preface To Volume One of "Radio Replies"


By RT. REV. MSGR. FULTON J. SHEEN, D.D

 

There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics "adore statues"; because they "put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God"; because they say "indulgence is a permission to commit sin"; because the Pope "is a Fascist"; because the "Church is the defender of Capitalism." If the Church taught or believed any one of these things it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.

If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church which is accused of being behind the times, as Our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusion of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine.

If then, the hatred of the Church is founded on erroneous beliefs, it follows that basic need of the day is instruction. Love depends on knowledge for we cannot aspire nor desire the unknown. Our great country is filled with what might be called marginal Christians, i.e., those who live on the fringe of religion and who are descendants of Christian living parents, but who now are Christians only in name. They retain a few of its ideals out of indolence and force of habit; they knew the glorious history of Christianity only through certain emasculated forms of it, which have married the spirit of the age and are now dying with it. Of Catholicism and its sacraments, its pardon, its grace, its certitude and its peace, they know nothing except a few inherited prejudices. And yet they are good people who want to do the right thing, but who have no definite philosophy concerning it. They educate their children without religion, and yet they resent the compromising morals of their children. They would be angry if you told them they were not Christian, and yet they do not believe that Christ is God. They resent being called pagans and yet they never take a practical cognizance of the existence of God. There is only one thing of which they are certain and that is that things are not right as they are. It is just that single certitude which makes them what might be called the great "potentials," for they are ready to be pulled in either of two directions. Within a short time they must take sides; they must either gather with Christ or they must scatter; they must either be with Him or against Him; they must either be on the cross as other Christs, or under it as other executioners. Which way will these marginal Christians tend? The answer depends upon those who have the faith. Like the multitudes who followed Our Lord into the desert, they are as sheep without a shepherd. They are waiting to be shepherded either with the sheep or goats. Only this much is certain. Being human and having hearts they want more than class struggle and economics; they want Life, they want Truth, and they want Love. In a word, they want Christ.

It is to these millions who believe wrong things about the Church and to these marginal Christians, that this little book is sent. It is not to prove that they are "wrong"; it is not to prove that we are "right"; it is merely to present the truth in order that the truth may conquer through the grace of God. When men are starving, one need not go to them and tell them to avoid poison; nor to eat bread because there are vitamins in bread. One need only go to them and tell them that they are starving and here is bread, and the laws of nature will do the rest. This book of "Radio Replies" with 1,588 questions and answers goes out on a similar mission. Its primary task is not to humble the erroneous; not to glorify the Catholic Church as intellectual and self-righteous, but to present the truth in a calm, clear manner in order that with the grace of God souls may come to the blessed embrace of Christ.

It is not only the point of "Radio Replies" to prove that the Church is the only completely soul-satisfying Church in existence at the present day; it is also to suggest that the Catholic Church is the only Church existing today which goes back to the time of Christ. History is so very clear on this point, it is curious how many minds miss its obviousness. When therefore you, the readers of "Radio Replies" in the twentieth century, wish to know about Christ and about His early Church, and about His mysteries, we ask you to go not only to the written records but to the living Church which began with Christ Himself. That Church or that Mystical Person which has been living all these centuries is the basis of our faith and to us Catholics it speaks this way: "I live with Christ. I saw His Mother and I know her to be a Virgin and the loveliest and purest of all women in heaven or on earth; I saw Christ at Caesarea-Philippi, when, after changing Simon's name to Rock, He told him he was the rock upon which the Church would be built and that it would endure unto the consummation of the world. I saw Christ hanging on a cross and I saw Him rise from His tomb; I saw Magdalene rush to His feet; I saw the angels clad in white beside the great stone; I was in the Cenacle room when doubting Thomas put fingers into His hands; I was on Olivet when He ascended into heaven and promised to send His Spirit to the apostles to make them the foundation of His new Mystical Body on earth. I was at the stoning of Stephen, saw Saul hold the garments of those who slew him, and later I heard Saul, as Paul, preach Christ and Him crucified; I witnessed the beheading of Peter and Paul in Rome, and with my very eyes saw tens of thousands of martyrs crimson the sands with their blood, rather than deny the faith Peter and Paul had preached unto them; I was living when Boniface was sent to Germany, when Augustine when to England, Cyril and Methodius to the Poles, and Patrick to Ireland; at the beginning of the ninth century I recall seeing Charlemagne crowned as king in matters temporal as Peter's vicar was recognized as supreme in matters spiritual; in the thirteenth century I saw the great stones cry out in tribute to me, and burst into Gothic Cathedrals; in the shadows of those same walls I saw great Cathedrals of thought arise in the prose of Aquinas and Bonaventure, and in the poetry of Dante; in the sixteenth century I saw my children softened by the spirit of the world leave the Father's house and reform the faith instead of reforming discipline which would have brought them back again into my embrace; in the last century and at the beginning of this I heard the world say it could not accept me because I was behind the times. I am not behind the times, I am only behind the scenes. I have adapted myself to every form of government the world has ever known; I have lived with Caesars and kings, tyrants and dictators, parliaments and presidents, monarchies and republics. I have welcomed every advance of science, and were it not for me the great records of the pagan world would not have been preserved. It is true I have not changed my doctrine, but that is because the ‘doctrine is not mine but His who sent Me.’ I change my garments which belong to time, but not my Spirit which belongs to eternity. In the course of my long life I have seen so many modern ideas become unmodern, that I know I shall live to chant a requiem over the modern ideas of this day, as I chanted it over the modern ideas of the last century. I celebrated the nineteen-hundredth anniversary of the death of my Redeemer and yet I am no older now than then, for my Spirit is Eternal, and the Eternal never ages. I am the abiding Personage of the centuries. I am the contemporary of all civilizations. I am never out of date, because the dateless; never out of time, because the timeless. I have four great marks: I am One, because I have the same Soul I had in the beginning; I am Holy, because that Soul is the Spirit of Holiness; I am Catholic, because that Spirit pervades every living cell of my Body; I am Apostolic, because my origin is identical with Nazareth, Galilee and Jerusalem. I shall grow weak when my members become rich and cease to pray, but I shall never die. I shall be persecuted as I am persecuted now in Mexico and Russia; I shall be crucified as I was on Calvary, but I shall rise again, and finally when time shall be no more, and I shall have grown to my full stature, then shall I be taken into heaven as the bride of my Head, Christ, where the celestial nuptials shall be celebrated, and God shall be all in all, because His Spirit is Love and Love is Heaven."

 

 

 

Introduction To The American Edition Of "Radio Replies" Vol One

 

"Radio Replies" by Rev. Dr. Rumble, M.S.C., is the result of five years of answering questions during a one-hour Question Box Program over Radio Station 2SM Sydney, N.S.W. The revision of "Radio Replies" for American readers was prompted by the widespread interest the Australian edition created among Protestants and Catholics during the summer of 1937, when I was carrying on as a Catholic Campaigner for Christ, the Apostolate to the man in the street through the medium of my trailer and loud-speaking system. In the distribution of pamphlets and books on Catholicism "Radio Replies" proved the most talked of book carried in my trailer display of Catholic literature. The clergy and laymen engaged in Street Preaching agree that it is not so much what you say over the microphone in answer to questions from open air listeners but what you GET INTO THEIR HANDS TO READ.

My many converts of the highways and parks throughout the Archdiocese of St. Paul have embraced the faith as a result of studying this book. Whole families have come into the Church through reading the book by this renowned convert from Anglicanism. The delay in getting copies from Sydney and the prohibitive cost of the book on this side of the universe led me to petition the author to have published a CHEAP AMERICAN EDITION in order to get this Encyclopaedia of Catholic Doctrine into the hands of fellow citizens. Because of the author's genius for brevity, preciseness, fearlessness and keen logic that avoids the usually long Scriptural and Traditional arguments of the average question and answer book, which is beyond the capacity of the man in the street, this manual of 1,588 questions and replies has already attracted readers throughout Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India, England, Ireland, Canada and now the United States.

The questions he answers are the questions I had to answer before friendly and hostile audiences throughout my summer campaign. The piquant and provocative subject matter of this book makes it a fascinating assembly of 300 or more worth-while pamphlet tracts, a dictionary of doctrine for the desk of the FAMILY, the STUDENT, the SHOP HAND, the OFFICE WORKER, the ATTORNEY, the DOCTOR, the TEACHER, and the PREACHER. It is a handy standard reference book of excellence for popular questions which are more than ever being asked by restless and bewildered multitudes. It is a textbook for the Confraternities of Christian Doctrine Classes and Study Clubs.

A non-Catholic Professor after reading the book stated that, "If the Catholic Church could defend herself so logically as 'Radio Replies' demonstrates, then I do not see why you don't get more converts." Members of the Knights of Columbus, the Holy Name Societies and numerous women's societies have written in that they no longer have to apologetically say, "I can't answer that one." Catholic students in non-sectarian colleges and universities write in that they now walk the campus with this book under their arms, ready for all challenges and that this manual of ready reference has cured their INFERIORITY COMPLEX ON EXPOSITION OF CATHOLIC CLAIMS. Lapsed Catholics have come into my trailer-office to confess that the reading of "Radio Replies" has brought them back to the Church.

I am grateful to His Excellency Archbishop John G. Murray, D.D. for his approval of this compendium of dogmatic and moral theology for readers of the American Commonwealth and I am deeply appreciative to Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen, D.D. for writing the Preface to this American edition.

From my experience on the Catholic Radio Hour, on the lecture platform, and in the pulpit, I do not hesitate to say that HERE AT LAST is the book that has something for everybody, the book for the UNINFORMED CATHOLIC, THE UNEDUCATED AND EDUCATED LAPSED CATHOLIC, and the PROSPECTIVE CONVERT.

Rev. Charles MortimerCarty

Source

 

 

 Who is like unto God?........ Lk:10:18:
 And he said to them: I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven.

 

Historical Context of "Radio Replies"


By markomalley

If one recalls the time frame from which Radio Replies emerged, it can explain some of the frankness and lack of tact in the nature of the responses provided.

It was during this timeframe that a considerable amount of anti-Catholic rhetoric came to the forefront, particularly in this country. Much of this developed during the Presidential campaign of Al Smith in 1928, but had its roots in the publication of Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons, originally published in book form in 1919 and also published in pamphlet form in 1853.

While in Britain (and consequently Australia), the other fellow would surely have experienced the effects of the Popery Act, the Act of Settlement, the Disenfranchising Act, the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, and many others since the reformation (that basically boiled down to saying, "We won't kill you if you just be good, quiet little Catholics"). Even the so-called Catholic Relief Acts (1778, 1791, 1829, 1851, 1871) still had huge barriers placed in the way.

And of course, they'd both remember the American Protective Association, "Guy Fawkes Days" (which included burning the Pontiff in effigy), the positions of the Whigs and Ultra-Torries, and so on.

A strong degree of "in your face" from people in the position of authoritativeness was required back in the 1930s, as there was a large contingent of the populations of both the US and the British Empire who were not at all shy about being "in your face" toward Catholics in the first place (in other words, a particularly contentious day on Free Republic would be considered a mild day in some circles back then). Sure, in polite, educated circles, contention was avoided (thus the little ditty about it not being polite to discuss religion in public, along with sex and politics), but it would be naive to assume that we all got along, or anything resembling that, back in the day.

Having said all of the above, reading the articles from the modern mindset and without the historical context that I tried to briefly summarize above, they make challenging reading, due to their bluntness.

The reader should also keep in mind that the official teaching of the Church takes a completely different tone, best summed up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271

818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers .... All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272

819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324

269 UR 3 § 1.
270 Cf. CIC, can. 751.
271 Origen, Hom. in Ezech. 9,1:PG 13,732.
272 UR 3 § 1.
273 LG 8 § 2.
274 UR 3 § 2; cf. LG 15.
275 Cf. UR 3.
276 Cf. LG 8.
322 LG 15.
323 UR 3.
324 Paul VI, Discourse, December 14, 1975; cf. UR 13-18.


1 posted on 04/19/2010 8:32:48 AM PDT by GonzoII
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: fidelis; Atomic Vomit; MI; Sir_Humphrey; dsc; annalex; Citizen Soldier; bdeaner; CatQuilt; ...
 Radio Replies

Radio Replies Ping

FReep-mail me to get on or off

“The Radio Replies Ping-List”

ON / OFF


2 posted on 04/19/2010 8:33:31 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All

The Radio Replies Series: Volume One

The Radio Replies Series: Volume Two

Chapter One: God

Radio Replies Volume Two: Proof of God's Existence
Radio Replies Volume Two: God's Nature
Radio Replies Volume Two: Supreme Control Over All Things and the Problem of Suffering and Evil

Chapter Two: Man

Radio Replies Volume Two: Destiny of Man/Death
Radio Replies Volume Two: Immortality of Man's Soul & Pre-existence Denied
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Human Free Will
Radio Replies Volume Two: Determinism Absurd

Chapter Three: Religion

Radio Replies Volume Two: Necessity of Religion
Radio Replies Volume Two: Salvation of the Soul
Radio Replies Volume Two: Voice of Science
Radio Replies Volume Two: Religious Racketeers
Radio Replies Volume Two: Divine Revelation

Radio Replies Volume Two: Revealed Mysteries
Radio Replies Volume Two: Existence of Miracles

Chapter Four: The Religion of the Bible

Radio Replies Volume Two: Gospels Historical
Radio Replies Volume Two: Missing Books of the Bible
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Bible Inspired
Radio Replies Volume Two: Biblical Account of Creation
Radio Replies Volume Two: New Testament Problems

Radio Replies Volume Two: Supposed Contradictions in Sacred Scripture

Chapter Five: The Christian Faith

Radio Replies Volume Two: Source of Christian Teaching
Radio Replies Volume Two: Jewish Rejecton of Christ

3 posted on 04/19/2010 8:35:26 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GonzoII

Reads like a bunch of Papist propaganda to me.


4 posted on 04/19/2010 9:04:46 AM PDT by Gurn (Remember Mountain Meadows.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gurn

Vee hav been propogating
for tsoo tausen years...

5 posted on 04/19/2010 9:15:31 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: GonzoII

Wow. This is insulting to Jews.


7 posted on 04/19/2010 10:00:31 AM PDT by avoth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: avoth

Wow. This is insulting to Jews.

How do you figure..


8 posted on 04/19/2010 10:13:17 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: GonzoII

Let’s just take 154 as an example, shall we?

“As a preparatory religion, Judaism was the true religion of God until such time as the Messiah should come. But it was abrogated when all that it foreshadowed was realized.”

This presumes that “all that Judaism forshadowed was realized” and that Judaism is no longer the “true religion”. I realize that you believe this to be true for your faith; however, as a Jew I find it insulting that the author dares to declare that “Judaism is no longer the true faith”. It’s true for me and millions of others.

“And a religion which still claims to be awaiting the Redeemer of the human race after that Redeemer has come is obviously wrong, and could not retain God’s sanction.”

Calling my faith “wrong” is insulting - I hope even you would see that. Moreover, that we “could not retain G-D’s sanction” is arrogant presumption. How dare this person speak for G-D!

“there is an opposition between the preparatory Jewish religion and Christianity.”

The notion that my faith is “prepatory” is insulting to me. It belittles my faith by stating quite plainly that anyone who observes it cannot possibly be complete. Again, while you believe this to be the case, can you not see how I would find this offensive?

“Literal Judaism was imperfect, and embodied much that was temporal and fleshly, while the religion of Christ is perfect, and elevated to the spiritual and eternal plane.”

Given the Inquisition, the Crusades, the pogroms throughout Europe, the forced expulsions, burning of Jewish religious texts, etc., this “perfect religion” of yours is certainly bloody.

“the true Jew was not one who merely submitted to external rites, but he who loved God, and was united in spirit with the Savior to come. But many of the Jews had fallen short of this to a very great extent, and were absorbed by worldly and merely human considerations.”

Whereas no Christians “fell short” of loving G-D, etc.? This states that “many Jews” are flawed, but presumes that followers of your messiah are not. You are free to believe that but don’t think it’s insulting to Jews?

I do not intend to disparage your faith or the practitioners of it; however, I hope this brief explanation allows you to recognize that the statements, while you believe them to be absolutely true, are, in fact, insulting to Jews.

There is something else that I’d like you to consider: Jews continue to exist in spite of all that Christianity has done to them throughout the last two thousand years. The practitioners of your faith have done their utmost to try and exterminate us, but we have not only survived, but actually thrived. Now, despite all that you have done and will continue to do, the State of Israel has come into existance, the “wandering Jew” has stopped wandering, and the ingathering of exiles has begun. Perhaps, in view of these circumstances, you should start modifying your catachism to recognize that there are many true paths to G-D, and yours may be perfect for you, but there are others. Do you really need to disparage them in order to promote your own?


9 posted on 04/19/2010 10:59:48 AM PDT by avoth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: GonzoII

Question:

Dear Rabbi Singer,

A mutual friend of ours introduced me to your site. I work with Michael Flanigan (see related article) of Palestine, TX. I am a gentile Christian who has many questions. I have found a lot of fascinating reading on your site. Michael and I have been discussing atonement and sacrifice as of late. Now bear in mind that I am by no means a biblical scholar, so, I apologize if my questions seem silly. Would it not be possible for the death of Y’shua to apply as an unintentional sin sacrifice with His death applying when an individual asks Him into his/her life initially? Thereafter, sins would be forgiven as intentional sins through repentance. I hope you are able to make sense of my question. I am learning much through my conversations with Michael and listening to your tapes. I will continue to visit your website in the future.

Thank you for your time.

Answer:

Your question is not silly at all. I will first explain your question more clearly so that visitors to our website who are unfamiliar with this subject will have a better understanding of what you are asking.

Missionaries contend that the blood sacrificial system is man’s only conduit to atonement and insist that there can be no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood. They maintain that the Bible sets forth only blood atonement to expiate sin. Evangelical Christians assert that for the past nineteen centuries, since the destruction of the second Temple in 70 C.E., Jews have lacked the essential and indispensable animal sacrificial system for atonement. Consequently, they maintain, God must have provided a blood atonement in place of the animal sacrifices of the past. This sacrifice, they insist, is the death of Jesus on the cross.

In support of their claim that atonement can only be achieved through the shedding of blood, missionaries cite Leviticus 17:11, which reads,

This is because the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.

They conclude from this verse that only by being covered in the blood of the cross can man have any hope of being forgiven by God for his sins.

In response to this argument, I have explained that contrary to the missionary claim that blood sacrifice is the only method of atonement in the Bible, there are three methods of atonement clearly defined in the Jewish scriptures: the sin sacrifice, repentance, and charity. Moreover, the sin sacrifice (known in the Jewish scriptures as korban chatat) did not atone for all types of sin, but rather, only for man’s most insignificant iniquity: unintentional sins. The sin sacrifice was inadequate to atone for a transgression committed intentionally. The brazen sinner was barred from the sanctuary, and had to bear his own iniquity because of his rebellious intent to sin against God. The Torah teaches this fundamental principle in Numbers 15:27-31.

If a person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one-year-old female goat for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven . . . . The person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people, because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be on him.

Your question is excellent: “If the sin sacrifice was necessary in order to atone for unintentional sin, didn’t Jesus then have to die for those sins committed unwittingly?”

The answer to your question is simple. Jesus could not die for anyone’s sins, whether they were committed intentionally or accidentally. To begin with, the Jewish people were strictly prohibited from offering human sacrifices under any circumstances. There is not one place throughout the entire corpus of the Jewish scriptures where human sacrifices are condoned. In fact, over and over again the Bible warns the Jewish people that it is a grave sin to bring a human being as a sacrifice. In the Book of Leviticus, only distinct species of animals are permitted for use in blood sacrifices.

The ancient pagan religions promoted the same idea about atonement as Christendom continues to preach today (e.g. Molech). They would joyfully offer a child into the fires of their sacrificial offering in order to expiate their sins and appease the gods. Why would a child sacrifice be used in this pagan ritual rather than an adult? The reason is because a child is thoroughly innocent of sin. A child, they reasoned, could not have committed iniquity and thus mirrored the animal sacrifice which also had to be unblemished. The Torah therefore admonishes the children of Israel never to offer human sacrifices, and forewarned Jewish people of terrible consequences if this commandment were violated.

This message was carefully communicated at Mt. Moriah where Abraham was prepared to offer up his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice. At that crucial juncture in history when Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac, the Almighty admonished him that He did not want the human sacrifice, and directed Abraham to sacrifice the ram caught in the thicket instead. The Almighty’s directive — that he only wanted animal sacrifices rather than human sacrifices — was immediately understood. This teaching has never departed from the mind and soul of the faithful children of Israel.

Moreover, if missionaries want to use Leviticus 17:11 to bolster their position that blood sacrifices are indispensable for procuring an atonement, they must use all of the verse, not just a part of it. Leviticus 17:11 specifically says that the blood of the sacrifice must be placed “upon the altar to make atonement for your souls.” That is to say, Leviticus 17:11 explicitly declares that blood can only effect atonement if it is placed on the altar. Jesus’ blood, however, was never placed on the altar. If the church is going to take the “blood” part of the verse literally, they must also take the “altar” part literally as well. Jesus’ blood was never sprinkled on the altar, and therefore his death could not provide atonement for anyone.

Finally, the prophets loudly declared to the Jewish people that the contrite prayer of the penitent sinner replaces the sacrificial system. Therefore, atonement for unintentional sins today is expiated through devotional supplication to the Merciful One.

In fact, in Hosea 3:4-5, the prophet foretold with divine exactness that the nation of Israel would not have a sacrificial system during the last segment of Jewish history until the messianic age. Hosea 3:4-5 reads,

. . . for the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.

In the words of the Bible, this period of time would last for many days. Yet, despite the repeated proclamations of the church that the crucifixion of Jesus serves as a sin sacrifice today, the words of Hosea were meticulously fulfilled, and we are without an animal sacrificial system today.

Given the spiritual magnitude of this remarkable prophecy, Hosea was compelled to reveal how the ecclesiastical Temple functions were to be replaced. In essence, if the prophet is testifying that the nation of Israel will indeed be without a sacrificial system during their long exile until the messianic age, what are we to use instead? How are the Jewish people to atone for unintentional sin without a blood sacrifice during their bitter exile? What about all the animal sacrifices prescribed in the Book of Leviticus? Can the Jewish people get along without animal offerings? Missionaries claim they cannot. The Bible disagrees.

For this reason, the statement in Hosea 14:2-3 is crucial. In these two verses, Hosea reveals to his beloved nation how they are to replace the sacrificial system during their protracted exile. The prophet declares that the Almighty wants us to “render for bulls the offering of our lips.” Prayer is to replace the sacrificial system. Hosea 14:2-3 states,

Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will render for bulls the offering of our lips.”

The prophets never instruct the Jews to worship any crucified messiah or demigod; nor does scripture ever tell us that an innocent man can die as an atonement for the sins of the wicked. Such a message is utterly antithetical to the teachings of the Jewish scriptures. Rather, it is the prayers of the sinner that would become as bulls of the sin offerings.

King Solomon echoes this sentiment as well. In I Kings 8:46-50, King Solomon delivers a startling prophetic message as he inaugurates the first Temple that had just been completed. In his inauguration sermon, King Solomon forewarns that one day the Jewish people would be driven out of the land of Israel, and be banished to the land of their enemies, near and far. During their exile they would fervently desire to repent of their sins. King Solomon then declares that they would face Jerusalem from their exile, confess their sins, “and God will hear their prayers in heaven, and forgive them for all their transgressions.”

There was no mention of a cross or a dead messiah in King Solomon’s prophetic message. Only the contrite and repentant prayer of the remorseful sinner can bring about a complete atonement. Although King Solomon’s timeless message stands out as a theological impossibility in Christian terms, it remains the centerpiece of the Jew’s system of atonement throughout his long and bitter exile.

Best wishes for a happy Passover.

Sincerely yours,

Rabbi Tovia Singer


10 posted on 04/19/2010 11:04:57 AM PDT by blasater1960 ( Dt 30, Ps 111, The Torah is perfect, attainable, now and forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GonzoII

Who is God’s Suffering Servant? The Rabbinic interpretation of Isaiah 53

Despite strong objections from conservative Christian apologists, the prevailing rabbinic interpretation of Isaiah 53 ascribes the “servant” to the nation of Israel who silently endured unimaginable suffering at the hands of its gentile oppressors. The speakers in this most-debated chapter are the stunned kings of nations who will bear witness to the messianic age and the final vindication of the Jewish people following their long and bitter exile. “Who would have believed our report?,” the astonished and contrite world leaders wonder aloud in their dazed bewilderment (53:1)1.

The stimulus for the world’s baffled response contained in this famed cluster of chapters at the end of the Book of Isaiah is the unexpected salvation of Israel. The redemption of God’s people is the central theme in the preceding verse (52:12) where the “you” signifies the Jewish people who are sheltered and delivered by God. Moreover, the “afflicted barren woman” in the following chapter who is protected and saved by God is also universally recognized as the nation of Israel2 (54:1).

The well-worn claim frequently advanced by Christian apologists which argues that the noted Jewish commentator Rashi (1040 CE - 1105) was the first to identify the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 with the nation of Israel is inaccurate and misleading. In fact, Origen, a prominent and influential church father, conceded in the year 248 CE — many centuries before Rashi was born — that the consensus among the Jews in his time was that Isaiah 53 “bore reference to the whole [Jewish] people, regarded as one individual, and as being in a state of dispersion and suffering, in order that many proselytes might be gained, on account of the dispersion of the Jews among numerous heathen nations.”3

The broad consensus among Jewish, and even some Christian commentators, that the “servant” in Isaiah 52-53 refers to the nation of Israel is understandable. Isaiah 53, which is the fourth of four renowned Servant Songs, is umbilically connected to its preceding chapters. The “servant” in each of the three previous Servant Songs is plainly and repeatedly identified as the nation of Israel.

Isaiah 41:8-9
But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off.”

Isaiah 44:1
But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!

Isaiah 44:21
Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.

Isaiah 45:4
For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I called you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me.

Isaiah 48:20
Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”

Isaiah 49:3
And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

According to this widespread rabbinic opinion, Isaiah 53 contains a deeply moving narrative which world leaders will cry aloud in the messianic age. The humbled kings of nations (52: 15) will confess that Jewish suffering occurred as a direct result of “our own iniquity,” (53:5) i.e., depraved Jew-hatred, rather than, as they previously thought, the stubborn blindness of the Jews.

The stunned reaction of the world’s nations to the unexpected vindication and redemption of the Jewish nation in the messianic age is a reoccurring theme throughout the Hebrew Scriptures4. Israel’s neighbors will be amazed when their age-old assessment of the Jew is finally proved wrong. Throughout Israel’s long and bitter exile the nations mistakenly attributed the miserable predicament of the Jew to his stubborn rejection of the world’s religions. In the End of Days, however, the gentiles will discover what was until then unimaginable: The unwavering Jew was, in fact, all this time faithful to the true God. On the other hand, “We despised and held him of no account” (53:3).

In essence, the final and complete redemption of the Jews to which the stunned nations will bear witness contradicts everything Israel’s gentile neighbors had ever previously anticipated, heard, or considered (52:15). “Who would have believed our report?” the kings will ask with their mouths wide open in amazement (53:1). The curtain of blindness is finally lifted when the “holy Arm of the Lord before the eyes of all the nations, all the ends of the earth will witness the salvation of His people.” (52:10)

The unanticipated vindication of the Jews in the End of Days, however, will raise nagging, introspective questions for Israel’s neighbors: How then can we explain the Jews’ long-enduring suffering at our own hands? After all, the age-old reasons we contrived to explain away Israel’s agony are clearly no longer valid. Who is to blame for Israel’s miserable existence in exile? In short, why did the servant of God seem to suffer without measure or cause?

Therefore, Isaiah 53:8 concludes with their stunning confession, “for the transgressions of my people [the gentile nations] they [the Jews] were stricken.” The fact that the servant is spoken of in the third person, plural (wml) illustrates beyond doubt that the servant is a nation rather than a single individual.

The rabbinic interpretation of Isaiah 53 fits in seamlessly with its surrounding chapters which all clearly depict the nation of Israel as “despised, afflicted” (54:6-11), and oppressed “without cause” (52:4) at the hands of the gentile nations.”

According to the most ancient rabbinic commentaries, the identification of Israel as God’s servant is evident throughout the four Servant Songs. As such, rabbinic sources from the Talmudic period identify the servant of Isaiah 53 in the plain sense as the Jewish people, consistent with the previous three Servant Songs5.

For example, commenting on Isaiah 53 the Talmud Berachos 5a states:

Rava said in the name of Rav Sachorah who said it in the name of Rav Huna: Whomever the Holy One, blessed is He, desires, He crushes with afflictions as it is stated “And the one whom Hashem desires He crushed with sickness (Isaiah 53:10). Now, one might have thought that this applies even if he does not accept [the afflictions] with love. Scripture therefore states in the continuation of the verse “if his soul acknowledges his guilt” (ibid.)…

And if he accepts [the afflictions with love] what is his reward? He will see offspring and live long days. Moreover, he will retain his studies, as it is stated “and the desire of Hashem will succeed in his hand” (ibid.).
The ancient Midrash Rabba on Numbers 23 likewise attests that Isaiah 53 refers to the nation of Israel:

“I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey” (Song of Songs 5:1): because the Israelites poured out their soul to die in captivity, as it is said, “Because he poured out his soul to die” (Isaiah 53:12).

Interestingly, the traditional Church did not completely satisfy the Christian mind with their stock interpretation of Isaiah 53. There is, therefore, a consensus among many modern, liberal Christian commentators which is in accord with this prevailing rabbinic exegesis on this most debated chapter. For example, the commentary of the 11th century Rashi and the 20th century Christian Oxford New English Bible6 are strikingly similar. Both clearly identify the “suffering servant” in Isaiah 53 as the nation of Israel, who suffered as a humiliated individual at the hands of the gentile nations.

Conservative Christians, on the other hand, strongly argue against the Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53 for a number of expected reasons. Historically, the church relentlessly used Isaiah 53 as its most important proof-text in order to demonstrate the veracity of the Gospels. They argue that this chapter proves that Jesus’ death was explicitly prophesized in the Hebrew Scriptures. In fact, the author of the Book of Acts claims that Philip converted an Ethiopian eunuch using Isaiah 537, and the author of Luke8, John9, and I Peter10 associate Isaiah 53 with Jesus as well. While evangelicals routinely claim that Jesus is alluded to in several hundred verses throughout the Hebrew Bible, there is only a handful of passages in Tanach that the church insists irrefutably identify Jesus alone as the messiah; Isaiah 53 is chief among these polemical texts.

Consequently, since time immemorial, missionaries fervently used Isaiah 53 to proclaim that the Hebrew prophet Isaiah predicted the advent of Christianity centuries before the birth of Jesus. Accordingly, the traditional Church recoils at the rabbinic interpretation of the fourth Servant Song. Such a monumental concession would require Christendom to abandon one of its most cherished polemical chapters used to defend its own teachings, and a vital part of its textual arsenal used against its elder rival, Judaism.

Besides, the systemic suffering of the Jews plays no essential role in Christian theology. The suffering of Jesus, on the other hand, is the cornerstone of Church doctrine. In fact, widespread Christian teachings throughout history concluded that the suffering of the Jews illustrates the wrongness of their beliefs, while the suffering of Jesus and his followers illustrates the truth and veracity of the Cross. As a result, conservative Christians are unyielding in their rejection of the Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53.

Liberal Christian scholars, on the other hand, are frequently in accord with the classic rabbinic commentaries on Isaiah 53. Unlike their conservative coreligionists, liberal Christians do not use or depend on Church dogma or creedal statements to interpret the Bible. In other words, liberal Christian Bible commentators tend to interpret scripture without any preconceived notion of the correctness of Church teaching. Instead, they apply the same modern hermeneutics used to understand any ancient writings to their interpretation of the Bible. Given that Isaiah’s first three Servant Songs clearly identify Israel as God’s servant, and, moreover, the surrounding chapters of Isaiah 53 clearly speak of Israel vicariously suffering as a humiliated individual, liberal Christian scholarship frequently ascribes the servant in Isaiah’s fourth Servant Song to the nation of Israel.11

Rabbinic commentaries which state that Isaiah 53 refers to the messiah

According to rabbinic thought, however, when Isaiah speaks of the “servant,” the prophet is not speaking of all the Jewish people. Rather, the “servant” in these uplifting prophetic hymns refers to the righteous remnant of Israel, the most pious of the nation. The faithful members of Israel who willingly suffer for Heaven’s sake are identified in Tanach as God’s servant. These are the devout that call upon the name of the Lord (43:7), bear witness to His unity (43:11), and are therefore charged to bring back the rest of Jacob (49:5).

“You are my witnesses declares the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen” (43:10).

In essence, God’s “servant” are the cherished few – the faithful who walk in the footsteps of Abraham, whom the Almighty called “My friend.”

“But you, O Israel, My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you, descendants of Abraham My friend” (Isaiah 41:8)

Simply put, the Servant Songs address only the believers of Israel who emulate the first patriarch of the Jewish people. As Abraham endured challenging trials and adversity in his walk with God, so too would His servant, the righteous remnant of Israel, endure trying ordeals and affliction in its sacred path. (Isaiah 49:3; 51:21; 54:11; Psalm 44:11-15)

The Hebrew prophet Zephaniah vividly describes in two seminal verses this cherished remnant in the following manner:

And I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall take refuge in the name of the Lord. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. (Zephaniah 3:12-13)

In rabbinic thought, all of God’s faithful, gentiles included (Zechariah 13:8-9), endure suffering on behalf of God (Isaiah 40:2; Zechariah 1:15). Thus, Jewish leaders of the past, such as Moses12 and Jeremiah13, Rabbi Akiva14, as well as future eschatological figures, such as the messiah ben Joseph and the messiah ben David, are held up in rabbinic literature as individuals who exemplify the “servant” who willingly suffers on behalf of Heaven.

Therefore, when the Talmud describes the predicament of the messiah as he is waiting to be summoned by God, the rabbis cast him “sitting among other paupers, all of them afflicted with disease. Yet, while all the rest of them tie and untie their bandages all at once, the messiah changes his bandages one at a time, lest he is summoned for the redemption at a moments notice” (Sanhedrin 98a). While this story may be understood allegorically, its jarring message is clear: The messiah, like other afflicted members of Israel, endure the agony and trials assigned to the faithful. However, unlike the other suffering saints who completely remove all their bandages before patiently replacing them with a fresh dressing, the messiah must methodically replace each bandage, one at a time. In other words, the messiah does not suffer more or less than other servants of God. Rather, according to the Talmud, the messiah is different from other men of God because he must be ready at a moment’s notice to usher in the deliverance of his beleaguered people. Because he is prepared to be summoned for the redemption at all times, he is never in a predicament where his bandages are fully removed.

When Isaiah speaks of the suffering remnant of Israel, the messianic king is, therefore, included. The final heir of David’s throne is an integral member of the pious of Israel. This is, according to rabbinic interpretation, the pshat, or the plain meaning of the text in Isaiah 52:12 – 53:12. Therefore, when both ancient and modern rabbinic commentators expound on the clear meaning of the text, they ascribe the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 to the nation of Israel.

Moreover, while Ezekiel warned that the righteous can never suffer or die as a sacrificial atonement for the wicked15, the Talmud teaches that “Whosoever weeps over the [suffering] of the righteous man, all his sins are forgiven16.”

In order to shed much needed light on the famed Servant Songs, numerous rabbinic commentators hold up Jewish heroes as a paradigm of Isaiah 53’s “servant.” Accordingly, while on one hand the Talmud, Zohar, and other ancient rabbinic texts state explicitly that the “servant” of Isaiah 53 refers to the faithful of corporate Jewry17, the same sources frequently point to renowned saints of Israel as an archetype of the Suffering Servant. These virtuous individuals include saints such as Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, the messiah the son of Joseph and David – each of them embody perfect examples of God’s servant, the righteous remnant of Israel.

Bear in mind that the rabbinic commentary on Isaiah 53 is not dualistic or multilateral. Meaning, the sages of old did not suggest that Isaiah 53 refers to either the righteous remnant of Israel, Moses, Jeremiah, or an anointed leader. Rather, the servant in all four Servant Songs are the faithful descendants of Abraham. As will be discussed below, because Isaiah 53 attests to an unprecedented worldwide repentance of all of mankind, which will be a redemptive achievement accomplished by no other saint in history, rabbinic commentators lift up the messiah’s name more frequently than the names of other faithful servants of God.

While the bulk of rabbinic commentary seeks to provide the pshat — the principal analysis which illuminates the plain meaning of sacred literature — there is, broadly speaking, a second, distinct stream of rabbinic commentary which explores the drash. In general terms, the drash delves into the deeply profound, yet often less precise homiletic method of exegesis used to interpret the Hebrew Scriptures. This sacred material is often referred to as midrashic, literally “derived from a drash.”

In Jewish thought, the pshat conveys the foundational understanding of any text in Tanach; this is the commentary which elucidates the clear and basic meaning of a verse. As the sages declare in the Talmud, “A verse cannot depart from its plain meaning.” (Shabbat 63a; Yev. 11b, 24a). Accordingly, the midrashic interpretation of a biblical verse is never intended to nullify, contradict, or injure the natural sense of a text. On the contrary, the pshat always supplies the primary meaning of a passage. Moreover, it is impossible to fully grasp the inspirational midrashic commentary without first comprehending the simple meaning of a text.

On the other hand, without the sublime illumination of the Midrash, seminal, seemingly-disconnected principles throughout various regions of Tanach can be challenging to harmonize and fully comprehend. In other words, with only the pshat commentary, Biblical principles when studied independently can only be understood on a fundamental level. Yet the separate, straightforward commentaries of the pshat may appear incompatible and disjointed from other regions of scripture without the midrashic commentary. Midrashic literature, generally speaking, weaves together and painstakingly merges Judaism’s Written and Oral tradition into a transcendent revelation. Because the Midrash illuminates rabbinic thought in its fullest holistic expression, it stands out as a vital tool for the student of sacred literature.

Few chapters in Tanach better illustrate the vital role the Midrash plays in expounding Biblical texts than Isaiah 53. The straightforward rabbinic approach to elucidate Isaiah 53 begins by identifying the astonished speakers in Isaiah 53:1-9 and the “Servant” in Isaiah 52:13 and 53:11. The rabbinic commentaries which convey the clear and essential commentary, the pshat, reveal that the contrite kings of nations are speaking in their astonishment when they discover that the faithful members of Israel are God’s true servant. As mentioned above, the identity of the speakers and the servant are evident from the surrounding chapters of Isaiah 53.

The Midrash, however, illuminates a most profound yet often overlooked central theme of Isaiah 53: Never before in history has any servant of God brought about the mass repentance of the gentiles. Whereas the patriarch Abraham redeemed only 70 souls in Haran, the future scion of the House of David will usher in the unprecedented epoch when the gentile kings of nations will repent, as vividly displayed in the fourth Servant Song. In other words, the messiah will bring about an age when the most important feature of Isaiah 53 will materialize: the worldwide repentance of the gentiles.

Whereas Moses drew only a single nation from Egypt into the service of God, the messianic king will redeem the other nations as well. At this crucial, redemptive moment in the future all the nations will grasp that Judaism is the only true faith, as it is written “For then I will make the peoples pure of speech, so that they all invoke the name of the Lord and serve Him with one accord” (Zephaniah 3:9). Thus, in the messianic age the gentiles will cry aloud the remorseful and repentant words sketched in Isaiah 53. In essence, the sequence of events outlined in the fourth Servant Song will be an unparalleled occasion in history. Never before throughout the annals of time have “the gentiles come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:3).

Consequently, although various rabbinic literature highlights numerous Biblical saints whose lives exemplify the Suffering Servant of Israel in Isaiah 53, the future messiah is held up more frequently and prominently than any other pious Jew in this startling context. For the future anointed Davidic king will usher in the epoch which marks the dramatic repentance of the gentiles outlined in Isaiah 53. In other words, the stunning narrative outlined in the fourth Servant Song will be made possible by the reign of the messiah, the foremost member of God’s Suffering Servant Israel. Abraham, Moses, and Jeremiah were unable to usher in the unprecedented event which is outlined in Isaiah 53. Only the messiah will accomplish this global achievement in the final redemption. Only the messianic age will spawn worldwide repentance of the nations. Therefore, the rabbis teach regarding Isaiah 52:13: “‘My servant shall be high, and lifted up, and lofty exceedingly’ – he will be higher than Abraham, more exalted than Moses, loftier than the angels18’” In short, the messiah will ignite the contrition of Israel’s neighbors as outlined in Isaiah’s fourth Servant Song.

Because of the deeply esoteric and widely elastic nature of midrashic writings, these millennia-old texts are vulnerable to misuse by opponents of the Jewish faith; Isaiah 53 – the chapter in the Bible which has for ages formed one of the principal battlefields between Jews and their Christian opponents — is no exception to this rule.

Under ordinary circumstances, traditional Church apologists regard rabbinic commentaries with sneering derision, seeing them at best as damaging to spiritual enlightenment. However, ancient midrashic annotations on Isaiah 53 which can be ripped out of context and portrayed as supportive of Christian teachings are wildly quoted and cheerfully paraded by missionaries with the hope of winning more unclaimed souls to the Cross. The fact that the Christian interpretation of Isaiah 53 is not supported by the chapters that surround it, only adds to the Church’s desperate feeding frenzy on these ancient rabbinic texts. It is astonishing that missionaries would use rabbinic texts to support Christian doctrines given that each and every one of the rabbis that they zealously quote utterly rejected the teaching of Christianity.

The most quoted rabbinic text in Christian literature is, without doubt, the second-century Targum Yonatan ben Uziel on Isaiah 53. Although the word “Targum” literally means a “Translation,” the Targum Yonatan ben Uziel is not at all a word-for-word translation of Tanach. Rather, this unique, highly-regarded Aramaic annotation on the Hebrew Scriptures fuses together both drash and the pshat – the homiletic and plain meaning of a text – in its running, dynamic commentary on the Prophets. Accordingly, it is the messiah who is raised up as God’s ideal servant in the Targum Yonatan ben Uziel on Isaiah 52:13, yet in the same commentary it is the faithful of the Jewish nation who vicariously suffer in Isaiah 52:14.

As expected, missionaries selectively quote the Targum Yonatan ben Uziel on Isaiah 52:13, which identifies God’s servant as the messiah.

The Targum’s rendering of Isaiah 52:13 is as followes:

“Behold my servant Messiah shall prosper; he shall be high, and increase, and be exceeding strong.”

Yet the Targum’s commentary on the following verse, Isaiah 52:14, identifies Israel as the long-suffering and humiliated servant:

“As the house of Israel looked to him during many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peoples, and their complexion (darkened) beyond the sons of men.”

As expected, the commentary of Targum Yonatan ben Uziel on Isaiah 52:14 is nowhere to be found in Christian missionary material. There is not a single church apologist who quotes the Targum’s elucidation on Isaiah 53:10. For it is upon these words of Isaiah “He is crushed and made ill” where the Targum identifies the suffering servant as the nation of Israel who suffers unbearable chastisement with the following commentary:

“But it is the Lord’s good pleasure to refine and cleanse the remnant of His people in order to purify their souls from sin; they shall see the kingdom of the messiah, they shall increase their sons and daughters, they shall prolong their days; and those who perform the Law of the Lord shall prosper in good pleasure.”

Although the above quotation from Targum Yonatan ben Uziel on Isaiah 53:10 is ignored by Christendom’s missionaries, this two-millennia-old declaration remains immortal. The nation of Israel, God’s servant, suffered unimaginable torment at the hands of her gentile neighbors so that her sins would be washed away.

“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and declare to her: Her term of service is over, her iniquity is expiated; for she has received at the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:2)

Simply put, there are 15 verses in the Targum’s annotation on Isaiah 53 (52:13-15 and 53:1-12); yet with surgical precision, missionary conversionist tracts selectively and deliberately ignore almost all of them with the exception of the first verse on Isaiah 52:13. This is a well-worn technique of wielding rabbinic literature as an evangelical sledgehammer to drive home the well-crafted message to unlettered Jews that ancient rabbis concealed that Isaiah 53 is speaking of the messiah and not the nation of Israel. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.

1 Midrash Rabbah (Numbers XXIII.2), Zohar (Genesis, & Leviticus), Talmud (Brochos 5a), Rashi, Joseph Kara, Ibn Ezra, Joseph Kimchi, David Kimchi, Nachmanadies, Abarbinbanel, et all

2 Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 53

3 Origen, Contra Celsum, Chadwick, Henry; Cambridge Press, book 1, chapter 55, page 50

4 Isaiah 41:11; Micah 7:15-16; Jeremiah 16:19-20;

5 Isaiah 41:8-9; 43:10; 44:1; 44:21; 45;4; 48:20; 49:3

6 The New English Bible, Oxford Study Edition, page 788-789. See also the Revised Standard Bible, Oxford Study Edition, page 889.

7 Acts 8:28-34

8 Luke 22:37

9 John 12:38

10 I Peter 2:22

11 The Christian New English Bible, Oxford Study Edition, annotation on Isaiah 52:13-53:12 explains that in the “fourth Servant Song, the Suffering Servant, Israel, the servant of God, has suffered as a humiliated individual. However, the servant endured without complain because it was vicarious suffering (suffering for others). 52:13-15: Nations and kings will be surprised to see the servant exalted. 53:1: The crowds, pagan nations, among whom the servant (Israel) lived, speak here (through verse 9), saying that the significance of Israel’s humiliation and exaltation is hard to believe (page 788-789). See also the Revised Standard Bible, Oxford Study Edition, page 889.
Walter Brueggemann Ph.D., Isaiah 40 - 66 (Louisville: Kentucky, 1998), p. 143, states: “There is no doubt that Isaiah 53 is to be understood in the context of the Isaiah tradition. Insofar as the servant is Israel - a common assumption of Jewish interpretation - we see that the theme of humiliation and exaltation serves the Isaiah rendering of Israel, for Israel in this literature is exactly the humiliated (exiled) people who by the powerful intervention of Yahweh is about to become the exalted (restored) people of Zion. Thus the drama is the drama of Israel and more specifically of Jerusalem, the characteristic subject of this poetry.
Second, although it is clear that this poetry does not have Jesus in any first instance on its horizon, it is equally clear that the church, from the outset, has found the poetry a poignant and generative way to consider Jesus, wherein humiliation equals crucifixion and exaltation equals resurrection and ascension.”

12 Talmud, Sotah 14a and the Sifri on Deuteronomy 355 applies Isaiah 53:12 to Moses

13 Rabbi Sadyah Gaon (tenth century), Oxford Ms. (Poc 32)

14 Jerusalem Talmud, Shkalim V.I.

15 Ezekiel 18:20-23

16 Sabbath 105b

17 Midrash Rabbah (Numbers XXIII.2), Zohar (Genesis, & Leviticus), Talmud (Brochos 5a),

18 Yalkut, ii, 571 on Zechariah 4:7

Midrash Rabbah (Numbers XXIII.2), Zohar (Genesis, & Leviticus), Talmud (Brochos 5a), Rashi, Joseph Kara, Ibn Ezra, Joseph Kimchi, David Kimchi, Nachmanadies, Abarbinbanel, et all
Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 53
Origen, Contra Celsum, Chadwick, Henry; Cambridge Press, book 1, chapter 55, page 50
Isaiah 41:11; Micah 7:15-16; Jeremiah 16:19-20;
Isaiah 41:8-9; 43:10; 44:1; 44:21; 45;4; 48:20; 49:3
The New English Bible, Oxford Study Edition, page 788-789. See also the Revised Standard Bible, Oxford Study Edition, page 889.
Acts 8:28-34

Luke 22:37
John 12:38
I Peter 2:22

The Christian New English Bible, Oxford Study Edition, annotation on Isaiah 52:13-53:12 explains that in the “fourth Servant Song, the Suffering Servant, Israel, the servant of God, has suffered as a humiliated individual. However, the servant endured without complain because it was vicarious suffering (suffering for others). 52:13-15: Nations and kings will be surprised to see the servant exalted. 53:1: The crowds, pagan nations, among whom the servant (Israel) lived, speak here (through verse 9), saying that the significance of Israel’s humiliation and exaltation is hard to believe (page 788-789). See also the Revised Standard Bible, Oxford Study Edition, page 889.

Walter Brueggemann Ph.D., Isaiah 40 - 66 (Louisville: Kentucky, 1998), p. 143, states: “There is no doubt that Isaiah 53 is to be understood in the context of the Isaiah tradition. Insofar as the servant is Israel - a common assumption of Jewish interpretation - we see that the theme of humiliation and exaltation serves the Isaiah rendering of Israel, for Israel in this literature is exactly the humiliated (exiled) people who by the powerful intervention of Yahweh is about to become the exalted (restored) people of Zion. Thus the drama is the drama of Israel and more specifically of Jerusalem, the characteristic subject of this poetry.

Second, although it is clear that this poetry does not have Jesus in any first instance on its horizon, it is equally clear that the church, from the outset, has found the poetry a poignant and generative way to consider Jesus, wherein humiliation equals crucifixion and exaltation equals resurrection and ascension.”

Talmud, Sotah 14a and the Sifri on Deuteronomy 355 applies Isaiah 53:12 to Moses

Rabbi Sadyah Gaon (tenth century), Oxford Ms. (Poc 32)
Jerusalem Talmud, Shkalim V.I.

Ezekiel 18:20-23

Sabbath 105b

Midrash Rabbah (Numbers XXIII.2), Zohar (Genesis, & Leviticus), Talmud (Brochos 5a),

Yalkut, ii, 571 on Zechariah 4:7


11 posted on 04/19/2010 11:07:45 AM PDT by blasater1960 ( Dt 30, Ps 111, The Torah is perfect, attainable, now and forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: GonzoII

As a Jew I thank you for your thoughtful post....

and Sir:

This crap is what gets the world to light their torches and go kill some Jews.

Sleep well.


12 posted on 04/19/2010 11:10:46 AM PDT by papabrody (HaShem reigns forever,,......,Deuteronomy 13:7-12)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: papabrody

This crap is what gets the world to light their torches and go kill some Jews.

Spare me the nonsense.


13 posted on 04/19/2010 11:16:35 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: avoth
"I realize that you believe this to be true for your faith"

"I find it insulting that the author dares to declare that “Judaism is no longer the true faith”.

"It’s true for me and millions of others."

I'm not insulted though you imply my Faith is not the true faith .

14 posted on 04/19/2010 11:21:49 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: GonzoII

I find your response to be a bit puzzling.

“I’m not insulted though you imply my Faith is not the true faith .”

First, are you the author of the article? My criticism was against the author’s article, not you personally. More importantly, I did not imply your faith was not the true faith; just that it wasn’t the only true faith. Again, I understand you feel yours is the true faith for you. When you feel yours is the true faith for me, while that is one of the requirements for your faith, it is insulting to me. That was the whole point; you asked how was the article insulting to Jews. I tried to explain. Did I succeed? Do you now understand how it’s insulting to Jews?

Note that I’m not saying you should stop believing or saying these things; nor that insulting others is your goal; I just hope that you now understand that others might become offended and that from their point of view that feeling is justified.

If I have failed to make you understand, I apologize for wasting your time.


15 posted on 04/19/2010 11:46:00 AM PDT by avoth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: avoth; GonzoII
All Christians believe (by definition) that Jesus of Nazareth was and is (a) God and (b) the Messiah promised by the Prophets.

These are factual assertions; they are objectively either true or false.

If they are false, any faith which asserts them is a false faith.

If they are true, any faith which denies them is a false faith.

To assert that Jesus of Nazareth IS NOT God and IS NOT the Messiah promised by the Prophets is absolutely and identically to assert that Christianity is a false faith. (False by way of asserting falsehood.)

To assert that Jesus of Nazareth IS God and IS the Messiah promised by the Prophets is absolutely and identically to assert that Judaism is a false faith. (False by way of denying particular truths.)

To assert that Jesus of Nazareth both IS and IS NOT God, or both IS and IS NOT the Messiah promised by the Prophets is insane, incoherent, contradictory absurdity.

16 posted on 04/19/2010 12:00:33 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: ArrogantBustard

“All Christians believe (by definition) that Jesus of Nazareth was and is (a) God and (b) the Messiah promised by the Prophets.”

OK

“These are factual assertions; they are objectively either true or false.”

How so? Isn’t it possible that they are subjectively either true or false?


17 posted on 04/19/2010 12:17:32 PM PDT by avoth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: avoth
Isn’t it possible that they are subjectively either true or false?

No. "A" and "NOT-A" cannot both be true; they are contradictions. To assert one is to deny the other.

18 posted on 04/19/2010 1:03:22 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: avoth
Some are factual: God can not lie. Jesus lied.

John 18:20 "I spoke openly to the world, I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing."

Matthew 16:20 "Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ."

He clearly taught many things in secret and then lied to the High Priest about it.

19 posted on 04/19/2010 2:22:27 PM PDT by blasater1960 ( Dt 30, Ps 111, The Torah is perfect, attainable, now and forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: ArrogantBustard

One of us is missing the point. Let’s leave it at that.


20 posted on 04/19/2010 2:47:54 PM PDT by avoth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: ArrogantBustard

Not a bad exercise in logic, up to a point. But you will have to agree that it is a two way street. Christianity has asserted that Judaism is either false, evil or at least, superfluous for 2,000 years.

Look, this ends up being pointless, because, in the end, almost every assertion of faith in a particular belief system leads to the conclusion that the other systems are wrong or inferior in some way. Where does that get you? Anger, hostility, division, resentment and worse.

I have tried in the years I’ve posted here to simply say that I respect people for their faith, in the sense
that they are trying to put real meaning into their lives, trying to improve the world, raise good children, live peacefully and so on. Why is it important to engage in a battle of the religions. I believe mine is the right one, so I do mine. If you believe differently, do yours. Everyone wins.

Have a nice day.


21 posted on 04/19/2010 5:29:29 PM PDT by JewishRighter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: GonzoII

Nothing like a dose of arrogant replacement theology.


22 posted on 04/20/2010 12:24:41 PM PDT by Invincibly Ignorant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson