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So christians who claim that Jesus was and is God – fully God – would also declare that Isaiah 53 is about Jesus as well. Interesting, huh?
One characteristic that is revealed about God in the Jewish Bible is that he is not constrained or limited or affected by time or change. He is timeless, changeless and thus has no end in view. He can’t die. Another word for it is “eternal.”
Yet the christian ascribing divinity to Jesus says that this verse in Isaiah 53 applies to him.
And God desired to crush him, to make him weak/ill. If his soul makes restitution, he shall see offspring; he shall prolong his days … (Isaiah 53:10)
So let me get this straight. A “Jesus=God” believer would tell me that Jesus is fully God, having the fulness of what it means to be God, right? And God is timeless, eternal, right? And that christian would also tell me that Isaiah 53 is about Jesus, right? But that means that this “God” or “God the Son” would have his days prolonged? But eternity can’t be prolonged.
That would mean that this part of Isaiah 53 and the rest of it wouldn’t apply to the “fully-God” Jesus.
Let me just quote the writer of the first gospel. Again, we’ll pretend his name’s “Matthew” even though he does not claim this for himself. So just to give context, Judas betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, regrets it, throws it back to the priests who had paid him, kills himself in a field which the priests purchase with the same 30 pieces of silver. Then “Matt” says in chapter 27 verses 9 and 10.
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.
The word “Jeremy” is supposed to actually refer to the prophet, Jeremiah. There’s one significant problem with this supposed quote from Jeremiah: it’s nowhere in the book of Jeremiah. There’s a slightly more significant problem: it’s nowhere in the whole Jewish Bible.
That’s the simple fact.
Now I know what some will say that the anonymous writer of the first gospel that we call “Matt” right now, that he is quoting the prophet Zechariah. There are a number of problems with this idea. For example, I’ve looked at a number of translations of this verse that “Matt” writes. They all have “Matt” saying that he’s quoting Jeremiah. So “Matt” is saying “Hey! I’m quoting Jeremiah!” and his defenders are saying, “actually he’s quoting Zechariah.” Who do I believe? I’ll side with the writer on this one.
Another thing is that a lot that “Matt” says isn’t in Zechariah. I mean, just compare both quotes. I’ll give “Matt’s” first and then give a translation of Zechariah.
MATT’S VERSION: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.
What Zechariah actually said: And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the treasurer, a goodly price that I was valued at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the treasury in the house of the LORD. (Zechariah 11:12-13)
Note the differences.
Zechariah doesn’t say “they took the thirty pieces of silver” but rather “they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.” “Matt” has some unknown group taking thirty pieces of silver and using it to purchase a potter’s field. In the original, Zechariah himself takes his price of service and throwing them to the treasurer in the house of God. No
field is mentioned at all. There is no mention at all about the children of Israel in the verses in Zechariah. The subject and object of parable in Zechariah is clear. Zechariah is the one receiving the silver and putting to something that is not a field. “Matthew” refers to some entity called “they”.
So although there are some superficial similarities between “Matt’s” seeming quote and Zechariah, “Matt” doesn’t quote Zechariah, neither does he claim to as the vast majority of christian translations show. Oh, I know some say that in some old variant of a greek text has “Zechariah,” but that knowledge cannot be so firm if it is not in the main body of the translated texts, as if the main greek manuscripts they use only have “Matt” saying he’s quoting Jeremiah?
Now I know someone is going to push the fact that the anonymous “Matt” must be quoting Zechariah. And I don’t mind someone claiming that at all. Why? Again, look at all the differences between “Matt” and Zechariah. The amount of changes “Matt” makes shows that the simple recorded word of God through Zechariah was not good enough to be used as scriptural evidence to back up his messiah candidate … that is, not without major editing to God’s holy message. “Matt” adds to and takes away so much from Zechariah that the warning from Proverbs 30:5,6 comes into play: “Each word of God is pure, he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Don’t add to his word so the he don’t reprove you and you be found to be a liar.” I think that anyone who respects the word of God through Zechariah would see “Matt” as a liar.
To conclude, “Matt” doesn’t quote Zechariah because the word, message and context is different. And he doesn’t claim to. He’s making it up; fabricated evidence for his failed messiah candidate. But if his advocates speak above him, then they show him to be a liar. A no-win situation for “Matt.” A win-win situation for truth!
So we have the writer of the first gospel – let’s pretend his name is “Matthew,” even though the writer of the first gospel didn’t say this. And in his attempt to prove how much his favourite messiah candidate is so ensconced in the Jewish Bible, he “quotes” passages stating that Jesus or his life fulfilled them, whether those passages were messianic in content and context or not. Without going into all those others, he then says in chapter 2:23 the following:
“And [Jesus] came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”
Now looking at this, what is it saying? Simply that Jesus living in Nazareth fulfils what the prophets said! And the prophecy that was fulfilled by him living in Nazareth states that he shall be a Nazarene , which, according to a new testament Greek dictionary, simply means an inhabitant of Nazareth.
[This verse is not about a nazirite, which has nothing to do with living in Nazareth, although it should be noted that there is no prophecy that the promised anointed king would be an nazirite either. So it’s irrelevant.)
There are two things that can be drawn from this statement of Matthew when compared to the plain reading of the Jewish Bible:
1) There is no prophecy that states that living in Nazareth has anything to do with being the promised anointed king; and thus
2) “Matthew” did not get this prophecy from the Jewish Bible, the only means of determining who the promised anointed Davidic king will be.
Essentially, “Matthew” was wrong. He made a mistake, a boo-boo.
Now, I understand that there are theories (only theories, since no one can ask “Matthew” what he meant and he didn’t tell anyone) that try to explain away this problem. Some talk about the Hebrew word for “branch” and some talk about this being an indirect quote that comes from many prophets and thus people can only speculate about what it really means. But as I don’t already have the assumption that “Matthew” actually knew what he was talking about and thus don’t need to explain away the verse, I’ll just state the simple facts about this verse.
1) “Matthew” says that Jesus’ being an inhabitant of Nazareth, a Nazarene, fulfils what was said by the prophets.
2) Not one single prophet of the Jewish Bible stated that being an inhabitant of Nazareth or a Nazarene fulfils any messianic criteria.
3) Therefore “Matthew” is wrong.
There’s nothing to add to that.
I have a wife who is a christian. Because of this, I get to often see the practices of certain christians and compare it to the approaches demonstrated in the Jewish Bible. It shouldn’t surprise me how stark the differences are between what sects of Christianity teach compared to the standards set in the Jewish Bible and the Law of Moses. But sometimes it does.
I watched a christian movie called “The War Room” with my wife. Although there were some truly positive messages in the movie, there were also staggeringly bad ones there as well, and they exist only because of the christian context and foundation of the movie. And these bad messages are things that I’ve seen amongst christians as well, so they are not simply as fictional as the story in the movie, but are actual christian practices.
In the movie, there was a marriage in trouble with a young child involved. The wife happened upon a older christian woman who advised her that the main way to get the marriage fixed was to pray, to find a certain closet in the house and pray there. Now I’m not saying this was the only way proposed, but it was what was emphasised in the movie. The effects of prayer were almost “physical” to the point where a pastor walks into a “prayer closet,” walks out as if he’s sensed something, and then walks in again and makes a statement how this room feels “baked in.”
Now there is nothing wrong with prayer. It is something definitely talked about and done in Jewish tradition and history as recounted in the Jewish Bible. But the weight and focus of Torah isn’t prayer, but rather action and obedience. Proper behaviour isn’t grown by itself but by the study of God’s Law and the habitual practice of conduct in accordance to its truth.
Because generally there is no real law amongst christians but rather some vague “spiritual” notions, the Law of God having been, in a real and active sense, cast aside as carnal, a schoolmaster whose role had passed away with the coming of Jesus, the law only being for law-breakers and the law being the strength of sin itself, the conduct that many of them strive to emulate is that of something called “a prayer-warrior.” Fasting and prayer win battles for them. They want “the fruits of the spirit.”
Believe me, this is not simply fictional. Imagine going to a church where week after week there is gossip, division and intrigue, where you can sense bad feelings between certain members. And then, one service, one or a few of them get “caught up in the spirit” and “prophesy” about the divisions and gossiping. The remedy proposed? Prayer! That evening or day, they pray and cry. They cry and pray. A few weeks later, you look for a real change in the situation: there is none! Each year, on special occasions, they’ll go through the same ritual. Faces come and go but, for the most, the situation remains the same.
The problem is that what you’ve imagined in very close to the reality in what I’ve lived through and what, I infer, happens in many other places in christendom: the striving for “spiritual” values without any grounding or foundation in the sort of truths taught by the greats of old, Moses, Kings David and Solomon. These truths are encapsulated in words like, “Guard my judgements and statutes, and the man that shall do them shall live in them,” and “the Torah restores life (or the soul)” or “it is a tree of life.” Although prayer is as aspect of the life of a good person, what makes a person good and righteous, and what benefits them isn’t just prayer. No one in the Jewish Bible strove to be a prayer warrior, to build one’s life on fasting and prayer. Prayer is too much talking at times when it is the study and application of God’s Law and teaching that are the “listening” to God’s truths and thus the means to finding life and liberty. Psalm 119 is a testament to that.
So too many christians and christian sects have this wholly unbalanced on this point.
The old christian woman was counselling the younger one who was having marriage difficulties, and in counselling her told her that the real enemy was not the woman’s husband who had been written as treating her badly. The real enemy wasn’t even herself, that same younger woman. [I’m guessing that some of the readers of this article can “divine” who this christian woman claimed the “real” enemy was.] Yes, the “real” enemy was Satan, the devil, the one who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. These had such a supposed effect on this younger woman’s mind that, after praying, she walked into the living room and shouted declarations in the room at her “enemy” (it was an empty room, but, hey, a lot of christian life is supposed to be “spiritual”, right?) and commanded the devil to get out in Jesus’ name. She even continued the monologue through to outside her house, as if the unseen enemy had been successfully cast out and she was giving her parting words of faith and confidence and hatred at the enemy.
I remember and still see how much responsibility the christian devil is given for the bad things that happen in the lives of people and in the community of the church. There were many sermons and testimonies and encouragements and individual discussions about how the devil was taking away the joy of people, how he was sowing seeds of discord and doing everything he could to trip people up. It was taught that when a person got baptised that one of the first “people” to greet them would be the devil who would try to push them off from the “good path.” Why? Because the devil didn’t need to bother with the people of the world, people who were already his, according to their teaching (and that of Jesus and Paul, see John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11 (take careful note that the translation “prince” is from the Greek word archon which actually means “ruler”); 2 Corinthians 4:1-4). No, he wanted to have those who had given their lives to Jesus. I remember in the latter stages of my Christianity seeing that so many accusations were heaped upon the devil, that it seemed like someone or some people had done wrong in the church, they would then proceed to blame Satan, and he was somewhere out in the world, sitting down and having a cup of spiritual coffee, and his invisible ears would prick since someone was accusing and he would sigh in despair at someone else blaming him when he was nowhere in the vicinity of the crime.
And let’s not pretend here: this “devil” was not some symbolic reference to some inner human struggle that was only metaphorical. No, this was a real, invisible being, a powerful fallen spiritual entity that was malevolent towards man and God.
But let’s compare this to the approach of the Jewish Bible. How many times is the Hebrew word for “satan” used in the 5 books of Moses? Only once! And funnily enough, it was when an angel sent by God himself was to oppose Bilaam (Balaam in many English translations). In the Hebrew of Numbers 22:22, it says that an angel of God stationed itself in the way to be a “satan” against Bilaam. That’s the only time a “satan” is mentioned. And it was an angel of God being an opponent, an adversary, someone to withstand Bilaam. Even the word “satan” is a common noun only meaning obstruction, opponent, adversary with no inherent spiritual meaning in and of itself. So a devil or a satan is not given such a heavy responsibility of tripping people up in the Law of Moses. Even in Genesis 3, nobody can point to the text itself and say “hey, look there is Satan” only based on the text. There is only God, a snake, Adam and the woman. That’s it. The text says nothing about some devil.
No, in the written Torah, the books of Moses, responsibility for actions is given only to a person, the person doing the acting, the behaving. No spiritual or invisible foe is given any notice.
The trend continues throughout the Jewish Bible. When the psalmist asks, “how can a young man cleanse his ways before the Lord?” the answer given is not “shout at the devil” or “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It’s by paying attention to what God is saying in an active way. There is no devil in the Jewish Bible that matches the christian description. There is no ruler of this world other than God himself, which also highlights the idolatrous connotations in the mouth of Jesus and Paul. [Yes, I said it! The new testament depiction of Jesus has idolatrous words coming out of his mouth.] To suggest that some other being is in charge of, or the ruler of this world is to say someone other than God is in charge. To put someone in the place of God is one form of idolatry. Although a “satan” is mentioned that isn’t human (because there were humans that were opponents in the Jewish Bible, but not of the spiritual variety), the amount of times it actually comes up in scripture is a really low percentage, maybe having 4 or 5 mentions in the whole of the Jewish Bible. In Job where “ha-satan” or “the adversary” appears in the first two chapters of Job and is never mentioned again in Job, he is one of the sons of God (most likely angels) who goes about looking about the planet and only brings things up before God and acts on his permission. This is no enemy of God. And there is no evidence that he is some enemy of all mankind. And it is also especially relevant to point out that whenever the bad things happened to Job, not once did he say “oh Satan! Look at what you’ve done!” He never shouted around stating that the devil should leave him like some self-exorcist! He saw both good and evil coming from God himself (Job 2:10).
Now considering all the bad things that happened to Job, compare his approach to that of christians. These are two wholly different approaches. One is to blame evil as coming from some other entity, someone else who rules the world and sends these bad things. The approach of righteous Job is to understand that all things, good and bad, come from God. This is compounded by the words of the prophets and teachers of the Jewish Bible that a person is responsible for their own deeds, and in that light, a person should take responsibility and change their ways, their actions to live a life in accordance with God’s law and principles, the wisdom he has provided.
So this is another way in which christians have departed from God’s bedrock truths.
There were times throughout the movie where either the older christian woman, the younger christian, or even the husband who later reformed his behaviour would be written as to get some gift or see something miraculous or good happen. And when those times occurred, there was a name on their lips, a person to whom they would direct their gratitude. Also it was that same person who they prayed to when they would ask for divine help or guidance. It was Jesus! You’d repeatedly hear prayer, praise and gratitude being directed to Jesus. “Thank you, Jesus!” You’d hear each one say. There is not much more to add to that description of what went on.
This is a place where a deep, wide and impassable chasm exists between christians and the Jewish Bible. And it’s ironic that the Jewish Bible, in one form or another, is stapled onto their “new testament” with the innovative moniker “the old testament.” Yet what is preached and practiced in each era is worlds apart in this very central point.
Let me make this very clear: there is no place in the Jewish Bible where the name “Jesus” is given any worship, praise, prayer or adoration! It was a name that received no divine worship in the Jewish Bible. This is very, very important. In the Jewish Bible, if someone said “thank you, Jesus!” in such a way as to be giving divine worship to that name, it wouldn’t be seen as prophecy! It wouldn’t be seen as someone reaching into the future and telling the Jews, the Israelites, about a new name that God would put upon himself. If someone in the Jewish Bible said “Thank you, Jesus!” in a way to give divine worship or prayed to such a name as if it were to God, that would be classed as idolatry. If a time-misplaced christian were to describe their “god” to a Torah scholar from the Jewish Bible times – namely as God, the Word that became flesh and dwelt amongst us, born as a baby to a virgin, a man who walked around healing and teaching, as a man who ate, drank and slept, as one who was stripped, beaten, crucified and thus killed, and then resurrected to be at the right hand of someone called “God the father” – then the Torah scholar would have little choice but to call this “Jesus” a god whom his fathers never knew (Deuteronomy 13:7 (verse 6 in christian versions); 28:36,64; 32:17). It would have been taught that he should guard himself very carefully about what his fathers saw at Mt Sinai, that his fathers saw no form on that day, that they shouldn’t worship anything that has the form of human as well as the form of anything else (Deuteronomy 4:9-19). If a person came up to him and told him that God had taken up form in a tree that was cut down and then grew again and was then was transformed into a spiritual tree, by Torah standards, he would have to cast aside that notion as idolatry. In the same way if someone told him that God had taken on the form of a man that was killed and raised again and now rules invisibly in the heavens and that name of that man was Jesus, in the same way, by Torah standards, he would have to cast it aside as idolatry.
I’m not going to go into all the reasons that Jesus was not and is not God or god. That would make this article way too long. The main point is that the God of the Torah has no form, he is invisible and can not be killed or die. This God’s name is jealous, his name is not Jesus and he won’t allow his glory to be given any other (Exodus 34:14; Isaiah 42:8). The very fact that Jesus was a man disqualifies him, even if it was in the past, and any divine worship given to him, any prayer directed to him is idolatry, something that is against God’s most fundamental commandments. This is not just so for the Jews, but for every member of humanity.
If there were anything that would cut off christian practices from the root of God’s foundational revelation at Sinai, this would be it!
Just going through this article causes me to question fundamentally the sort of interactions I have with christians. This “war room” movie makes certain of their ways conspicuous. Their unbalanced approach to life, throwing too much weight on prayer to the neglect of actually actively paying attention to the teachings and commandments God has given in his Torah, only means that many issues in personality and behaviour will remain unresolved. Their irresponsibility for their own actions by putting responsibility on a devil only aids in the proliferation of hurt and evil practices rather than set them aside. God’s Law, his wisdom, is a tree of life for any who want to partake of it. And going through this article reinforces for me the fact that each time they pray and give thanks to Jesus, it is no better than saying “Thank you, Zeus” or “I pray to you, oh Horus.” That last point is a very significant one. For all their sincerity – I’m sure even Baal worshippers or Zeus worshippers or Chemosh worshippers were sincere – their devotion to Jesus brings to the fore the fact that there is a way that is right to one person or another, but the latter parts of it, the end of it, is destruction.
Despite having left Jesus behind for quite some time now, due to my current circumstances, I interact with them regularly. There are good number of times when a group of them will come together and will want to pray holding hands in a circle whilst I’m around. I refuse their invitation to join them in holding hands in their circle. And recently one christian asked me why I don’t join in, why I don’t at least join hands with them, even before their prayer begins. That wasn’t the time for me to explain myself. But at least, whilst their question rings in my head for now, I can tell myself the answer.
[I do these things at times – tell myself the reasons – just to arrange my own thoughts.]
Now just to say, this is my own personal approach. Others may deal with this differently. But I believe the reasons I give are valid irrespective of what approach another person chooses to take.
One reason why I don’t choose to join hands with them in their prayer is because, many times, it is apparent to me that we don’t worship the same entity. Although at times we may mention the same words and maybe even refer to the same book (by that I only mean the Jewish Bible, the Tanach, not the alien addition christians have stuck to the end of the Jewish Bible which they dub “the new testament”). But we mean different things. It’s a bit like the word “messiah”. I may sometimes use that word, but I’m not referring to the same entity or person as christians are referring to. If I use the word “messiah,” I’m referring to the promised Davidic, literal and political, human king who will rule Israel who has never walked this earth yet. They normally refer to Jesus. We are not referring to the same thing. I would not join in giving kingly honour to a person who is not king, even if others do.
In much the same way, when I refer to “God,” a lot of times I’m not referring to the same entity that christians refer to. When many christians refer to “God”, they are referring to an entity has certain characteristics that my “God” doesn’t have. Christians generally ascribe to one or more of the following as characteristics or actions of their “God”.
Some of these differences are more crucial than others. But in order to be faithful to the principles I uphold, faithful to the God I worship, who is indivisibly one, has not literal son, doesn’t change, who is literally undying, who keeps his word, I distance myself those who pray to the other god. Holding hands in a prayer circle with christians who are praying to a different god sends the wrong message, much like joining a prayer circle to Baal or to Chemosh.
Another reason why I stay away from christian prayer is because christians have a tendency to pray “in Jesus’ name.” Now a lot of times, I doubt even they understand what they mean by this phrase “in Jesus’ name” or “in the name of Jesus,” even though it’s a script that they attach to the end of their prayers or intersperse within their prayers. For me personally, “in Jesus’ name” has two possible meanings (amongst others). One meaning is that of authority, that believers in Jesus pray to God with the authority that they believe Jesus to have had. Another meaning involves placing Jesus as the mediator or intermediary between a man and God when he prays. (I won’t even go into how nonsensical this becomes when they sometimes believe that Jesus is God as well.) And in both of these meanings, it would be hypocritical for me to join hands, as if in agreement which such an act symbolises, in such a prayer group.
When I consider the meaning of “authority” when it comes to Jesus’ name, I reject the idea that Jesus had any special authority to speak to God any more than any human being. As the wonderful Psalm says, God is near to to all who call him, to all who call him in truth. No ancient Israelite, actually no ancient person at all, who called on God had to take on “in the name of so and so” to get their prayers heard. No Jew had to say “I pray to you in the name of Moses” or “with the authority of a priest I pray to you.” As with Noah or Abraham, a person goes one-on-one with God, nothing in between, when it comes to prayer. It wouldn’t matter if the real anointed Davidic king came; nobody would be obligated to pray to God “in the name of” this king.
As Jesus had no special authority, praying in that authority means absolutely nothing. It wouldn’t even matter if Jesus was messiah or not – and it’s plain to me that he’s not – praying in this authority means nothing. Everyone is responsible for their own deeds and for their own closeness with and communication to their Creator.
So since I reject this authority, showing agreement when they pray in that “authority” would be hypocritical.
When it comes to praying in Jesus’ name, as if this means that Jesus is the “go-between” between man and God, again, as I’ve said above, God is near to all who call on him, no mediator needed. In fact, it places a foreign element between a man and his God. God gave a universal principle when he gave this command to Israel: “you shall have no other god in front of my face” or “you shall have no other god in front of me”. When an Israelite, when any human, goes to Almighty in prayer, there shouldn’t be some superhuman being in front of God, between a man and his Creator. There are no intermediaries involved. This becomes even worse when that intermediary is given worship and prayed to, acknowledged as a god or God, as this is idolatry for any human.
So for me to share hands with believers that place this man between themselves and God would one show my agreement to something that is, in principle, falsehood and that is potentially idolatry for any human. So once again, it would be hypocritical and self-defeating for me. So I stay away from it.
Although may be other reasons I shy away for taking part in such a prayer group, these are the two that are in my head right now.
Someone called “Samuel Eben” sent me this response to my previous article called “Seeing ‘Yeshua’ in the Jewish Bible.” Because it so adequately gives an example of the mindset exemplified by such people, I’m going to quote it in full here without touching a single word that he wrote (in case I am accused of “deception”) and then give my points afterwards.
I am doing some research into the Hebrew name Yeshua which led me to your Blog page. I was fascinated to read that you bitterly castigate an unnamed “individual” because you allege that the “individual” in question “wanted it -Isaiah 49:6- transliterated as yeshuathiy for obvious reasons (i.e., the beginning part of his transliteration, at least in English letters, looks like the proper name “yeshua” which seems superficially and erroneously to support his claim). It had to be transliterated that exact way for him, although anyone with any knowledge of Hebrew knows that Hebrew letters and sounds don’t always have exact equivalents in the English alphabet which is why certain words have a variety spellings once transliterated”.
I took it upon myself to check up on the particular verse and I find that indeed the Hebrew word written in Isaiah 49:6 does transliterate into English as Yeshuathiy as the “individual” stated and, in no way does it transliterate as y’shu’othi as you claim.
You also are widely off the mark in your second allegation “that anyone with any knowledge of Hebrew knows that Hebrew letters and sounds don’t always have exact equivalents in the English alphabet which is why certain words have a variety spellings once transliterated”. There is no “CONFUSION” in what is written in the Hebrew Scriptures as you falsely allege. Also Hebrew scripture words do NOT “have a variety of spellings” as you falsely allege. A “variety of spellings” is only manifested among those who have no knowledge of the original Hebrew scripture. You have shown that you have no knowledge of the Hebrew scripture by your transliterating “Yeshuathiy” as y’shu’othi.
Your Blog is deceptive on the above important poimts which should send warning signals to your readers. You have my permission to publish this response.
It’s important to note what the focus of this individual was. It wasn’t about the context of Isaiah 49. It wasn’t the absence of moshiach (an anointed one) or the promised Davidic king from the text. It wasn’t about the fact that the common noun yeshuah is in the text and not the proper name Yeshua. It was not that trying to fit the name Yeshua in places where the common noun yeshuah actually ignores the text rather than expounds upon it. The focus of this individual (shall I used the word “individual” as if I don’t believe he really existed?) was about nothing fundamentally to the message of that chapter of Isaiah or how Hebrew words should be translated.
What was the individual’s focus? It was mostly this: I didn’t transliterate a Hebrew word into English as he would, which, for him, makes me a liar – not simply mistaken or having a different opinion, but part of a blog that purposely tries to deceive people, the insinuation being that my own words are also deceptive. I personally take it from his writing that he doesn’t even think my experience with the first individual was even real, which aids in his belief that I am either a liar or a deceiver.
If someone thinks you are evil, there is little point in trying to talk to that person. For me, it’s just best to move past that person and learn from the experience.
The important thing is that the central points of my article were untouched. It doesn’t matter whether the word is transliterated as yeshuathiy or y’shu’othi, the text of Isaiah 49 says nothing about the proper name Yeshua, the context has no overt signs of speaking about a promised Davidic king, and to use the proper name Yeshua in the places where the common noun yeshuah is used is like trying to hammer a square peg to fit properly into a circle hole.
Take note of what this person does in his transliteration (trying to represent Hebrew characters in English letters). He changes the word further by capitalising the first English character “y” so that the word becomes Yeshuathiy. He does it twice in the middle of an English sentence when capitalising the first letter would be very odd unless … unless it were a proper name, like Samantha or Barcelona. This would point to the conclusion that this person already thinks a proper name is there when it is not. There is no capital letter in the Hebrew, so Samuel Eben is imposing something on the Hebrew text that was not inherently there.
I’m not going to be too pedantic with Samuel Eben’s text although he did bring up and emphasize confusion when I didn’t say that there was confusion, just different ways of transliterating certain Hebrew letters and vowels. Ah, I won’t dwell on that. What is important to note is that this person’s focus was skewed, bent out of shape. Once again, his issue wasn’t the text or the context, as is the case many times for christians or follows of the Nazarene. Even though he stated that he had checked the Hebrew for himself, his main focus was that one word must be put into the English characters as he chose, despite the fact that, for example, the English “e” is an ambiguous replacement or cover for the first vowel of the Hebrew word in Isaiah 49:6. There are at least three Hebrew vowels that can be transliterated with the English letter “e” and you wouldn’t know which one is being used which is important to knowing which Hebrew word is actually used (which is why it’s best to just go back to the Hebrew than focusing so much on subjective methods of transliteration).
But my main focus was not what english characters must be used, but rather what the actual text and context meant and what the subject of both the text and context was. Again, for me, it goes to show that with certain people the issue is not simply trying to bring out what the text says, but to bring up strife about what is subjective.
I would ask anyone reading this post, whether you like the blogpost or not, please focus on what is important and on the main points of an issue. When you get side-tracked by smaller debateable issues, it won’t help the case. Also, try to move past personal attacks as best you can and focus on the point, or sometimes just walk away. If a person is willing to paint you as evil to get his or her point across, it may be a sign that this person has already closed the door on respectful communication and thus on a true conversation, a meeting of the minds. And that point, it is probably best to walk away.
So the dude that didn’t like my opinion on Isaiah 49 developed a dislike for me enough to call me liar and a deceiver and made some nasty insinuations about the Jewish translators of the Bible that translated it differently to him. This highlighted something to me about the mindset of some christians which helps me come to terms with the fact that the text could be slapping them across the face, screaming “just let me talk!” or they could be shown simple evidence against their human-focused devotion and they get so defensive, yet they ignore the evidence and launch personal attacks that distract from the point.
Once some christians believe that Jesus is their truth and also believe that the proofs for this idea is infallible, then to deny any of these proofs make the denier unscrupulous, tainted, evil, a deceiver. And unfortunately it is in the character of people in general (not just christians) to make presumptions even about a stranger who they’ve only just met because that stranger happens to hold view counter to their own.
Without going into motives and psychology, it just seems to be a fact of life. Misunderstanding abounds in this arena, further strengthened by presumptuousness. And, unfortunately, truth is a casualty.
I think from now on, if a christian approaches me with the sole intent to share their faith in Jesus or to show how they think I’ve missed their messianic conclusion on a certain text, I’ll have to be a bit more careful and not be afraid to say “no thanks, I don’t think we’ll be able to share things in a respectful manner” and then walk away.