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The Great Divide

Speaking to a christian, I encountered a great hurdle in thinking, a chasm of understanding between us.

After explaining that I was not a christian, that I rejected the claim that Jesus was the Christ, the promised anointed Davidic king, she still asked if I knew that God was three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Of course, I said rejected that notion stating that I only accept a singular God, not some three-ness.

But, out of morbid curiosity, I asked her if she believed that God became a man. She related to me that in the beginning was the word, the word being with God and being God and that this one took on flesh. I repeated my question a number of times just to be sure she believed God became a man, each time she gave the affirmative.

I then put it to her that, based on the Jewish Bible, God doesn’t sleep or slumber. She agreed but added the caveat that as a man he slept. I asked if God died if he’s ever-living. Again, as a man, he died (of course, he had to in order to save us from our sins, her words *chuckle*). And whenever I recounted her words to her in a direct fashion, for example, “So you said that God died,” she would have to add “as a man,” as if that changed what I said. Whatever I brought to her, God did it “as a man.” And when it seemed to contradict what the Jewish Bible teaches, I was told that it was all spiritual.

When she finished with her description of this man-like God, she asked me why I couldn’t accept it. And I told her: the thing that she is describing isn’t God. “God” means unlimited, outside of space and time, never growing old, never getting tired and much more. If you describe a man to me, then it isn’t God.

Now for many a christian, the simplicity of that concept alludes them. As long as they think that things that are not God can be God, then they are no different that a idolator who believes that the god resides in a tree or that he’s represented by a mountain or a small stone or wooden image. As long as they believe that God can both be God and not God at the same time, namely utter nonsense and foolishness, then they can never see that they substituted God for an idol.

It helps the christian cause a lot that many, if not most, christians are biblically illiterate, barely having deeply studied the Jewish Bible before they come to a faith that Jesus is both messiah and god. Many are indifferent to actually studying the words as opposed to having their spiritual experiences, becoming involved in prayer and revival. The thought of even studying Hebrew is as far from their passions as eating a lemon. Even studying the words of the translators is a chore. The God who they claim to worship and be devoted to is always kept at such as a distance so as to allow them to pour devotion on a man. And that lack of intimacy that leaves them susceptible to the idolatry they embrace.

Until they actually crave intimacy with the words of the Jewish Bible, there will always be a great divide between them and the one true God.

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Simple truth: The central claim is baseless

Not sure if I’ve said this before, but even if I have said it before, there’s no harm in repeating it.

One of the central claims of the christian is that Jesus is the messiah who died for our sins and that this was prophesied in the “old testament”, the Jewish Bible.

The problem with this claim is that the Jewish Bible never said the messiah would die for our sins. There is absolutely no place in the Jewish Bible where a messiah will die for our sins.

And it sounds so simple.

There’s no Isaiah 53 that say this. There is no Psalm 22 that makes this claim. No matter where the christian points to in the Jewish Bible, the concept of THE messiah dying as a substitution for us.

Now I know, I know, the christian will do his “cut-and-paste” jigsaw job on the old testament to construct something that resembles their Jesus. But the effort does more to show that their claim is baseless.

So, to repeat, that a messiah would die in our place for our sins is not written in the Jewish Bible.

It is that simple.

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Leaving Jesus; Rejecting Islam: Mohammed in Isaiah 42

To be blunt, I enjoy watching Muslims rip atheist arguments to shreds. The ones I’ve seen make atheist arguments look like the amoral, immoral, idiotic stances they really are.

And sometimes it’s fun to watch them trounce the Christians as well, highlighting the stances and unjust doctrines they promote, e.g., killing an innocent person because of the crimes of others, or three distinct beings, each having supposedly all the characteristics of deity, each falling into the definition of the word “god”, hence there being three gods yet Christians claiming they worship only one god.

So sometimes Muslims make great points.

But then they start trying to convince people that Mohammed it’s predicted in the very bible they deem to be corrupt. Scratch that! They think both Jesus and Mohammed are prophesied about in the Jewish Bible, but, for now, I’m focusing on Mohammed. They think they can take up the Jewish Bible, read it how they want, draw their own conclusions and have their conclusions be correct.

Before I get into a particular instance of this, let me highlight the hypocrisy of their position.

Non-Muslims read the Quran and get their understanding that the Quran and Islam is wicked, having immoral teachings. Some Muslims will call them out, saying that is not just about how it is written, but how it was taught by their “prophet”, and how it is understood by the consensus and their tradition and the Hadith. They essentially say a person must understand the Quran based on its tradition.

But then they take to the Jewish Bible – remember, this is not the Muslim Bible, but rather the Jewish Bible – and attempt to strip it of its historical understandings and traditions, and even its written context to draw their conclusions that Mohammed is there.

So the non-Muslim, no, anyone should not simply read the Quran and get their own conclusions but the Muslim can take someone else’s scriptures and do the exact same thing. That is a double standard. That is hypocrisy.

Ok, Isaiah 42. So some of the Muslims who preach at Speakers Corner in London try to present the idea that Isaiah speaks of Mohamed as a promised Arabian prophet in chapter 42, that a prophet would come from Kedar, a descendant of Ishmael, an Arab, from Medina or “Sela”, according to some translations of 42;11. They would push the idea that the Arabian prophet in this passage could only be Mohammad.

I’ll just share some Youtube videos as evidence that I’m not making this up.

https://youtu.be/gDKaTiila3Q – from 7 mins 22 seconds to 10 mins 44.

To some it may be quite convincing that this Arabian prophet must be Mohammed.

But there is a major, significant problem with this portrayal, with this idea. It’s not the only significant problem, but it’s one that should knock such an idea on its backside.

So what’s this big problem? THERE IS NO ARABIAN PROPHET MENTIONED IN THE TEXT!

LOL!!! I’m literally laughing as I write that!

That’s right in both ways. There is no nothing in the text that explicitly and clearly states that its main subject would be from Arabia, from Kedar or “Sela”. And there’s no part of the text that refers to its main subject as a prophet. So the entire essence of the claim, all of its wording is missing from the text of Isaiah 42.

When you see the typical Christian methodology the Muslim is using, it’ll be unsurprising that he draws a conclusion that has nothing to do with text or context.

You see, these Muslims already reject the Jewish Bible as being corrupt, so it is not out of respect for the message that they try to prove their “prophet” from it. But rather, as with Christians who already have Jesus in mind and look for a place to shove him in, the Muslim rams Mohammed into places where he was totally absent.

How do they make this frightful mistake? Think about it! What chapter are they using? 42. To use Tovia Singer’s example, imagine reading a book and starting at chapter 42. Having not read the book up to this chapter, it’s easy to both not properly understand what’s going on and to get the wrong idea, not even understanding who the characters are. The Muslim throws his audience in at this and makes claims that may sound nice but actually betrays a total ignorance of what’s going on and who the characters are.

So they’re essentially copying the Christians in their favourite tactic for “finding” Jesus in the Jewish Bible, namely, taking a passage out of context.

Just as a side note, in one of the videos, it ignorantly states that the final verses of chapter 42 is Isaiah closing a subject or finishing a point. But it doesn’t take much to find out that the chapter divisions are artificial, created by Christians, not part of the original text. So where Isaiah has started a topic before chapter 42 and finished it a long ways after that chapter, the Muslim thinks he can chop out and isolate this passage. And he very much needs to do this, because the passage he rips this chapter from makes a mockery of the claim.

So their claim is that the servant of God, the one called, the one whom God delights in, could only be Mohammed.

Question: Isaiah, as the writer of this whole book, who does he say is the servant?

But thou, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend; Thou whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the uttermost parts thereof, and said unto thee: ‘Thou art My servant, I have chosen thee and not cast thee away’. (Isaiah 41:8-9)

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art Mine … Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He; before Me there was no God formed, neither shall any be after Me. (Isaiah 43:1,10 please read passage to see the subject is Israel throughout)

Yet now hear, O Jacob My servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen; Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, who will help thee: Fear not, O Jacob My servant, and thou, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. (Isaiah 44:1,2)

If you read from Isaiah 40 to Isaiah 54, you’ll see that Isaiah repeats 7 or 8 times that Israel is God’s servant. He doesn’t name anyone else.

So the text itself names who the servant is: Israel. That, in and of itself, should close the case. The book of Isaiah itself tells us who the servant is and it’s not Mohammed at all!

The fact that the passage is not about a prophet from Arabia, says nothing about such a person, and Isaiah names the servant as being someone and something other than Mohammed conclusively shows that he is not the subject in Isaiah at all!

But what about the claim that the servant is from a descendant of Kedar or from a place called Sela? Ok, let me show you the verse they use and let’s see what vital element is missing from the verses. Remember, the claim is that the non-existent prophet is from Kedar, from Sela (or Medinah).

Sing unto the LORD a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth; ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein, the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit; let the inhabitants of Sela exult, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare His praise in the islands. (Isaiah 42:10-12)

Ok, what vital element of the Muslim claim is missing? That anyone should come from Kedar or “Sela”. All these verses say is that lots of places, including Kedar and “Sela” should rejoice. That’s it! Nothing about origins or the fact that the servant should live or be born there, much less even be there!

Now I keep putting “Sela” in quotation marks. Why? Because its meaning is questionable. Some interpret it as Sela and others as “rock” or “crag” or “cliff”. So the verse would be referring to people who live in a cliff or a crag. In fact, there is nothing in the text that says that Kedar and “Sela” refer to the same place. As the passage is talking about people from various places rejoicing, “Sela” or “those who dwell in the crags” could refer to a place in Edom, as many encyclopedias put forward.

The fact is that although Muslims would like the Hebrew word to just refer to a place called “Sela” which is equivalent to Madinah, the text itself doesn’t make this clear. This is added to the fact that the verse doesn’t even say what they wish it to say, that some prophet came from Arabia.

So I’ve dealt with text and context. Now let me deal with tradition as much as I can. You see, the Speakers Corner Muslims keep referring to bible scholars, normally secular or Christian ones. But note, these scriptures are not the property of those scholars but rather of the Jewish people, those who are faithful to its covenant. So who do the Torah faithful Jews say this page refers to? Mo, the so called “prophet”?

Here’s how the old rabbinic commentator, Rashi, views the subject of the chapter.

Behold My servant, I will support him: Behold My servant Jacob is not like you, for I will support him. (rashi commenting on Isaiah 42:1, https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15973#showrashi=true)

Using the sefaria.org Android app, you can see the commentary of Ibn Ezra which says,

my servant. Most of the commentators refer this expression to the pious Israelites; the Gaon to Cyrus; I to the prophet, who speaks here of himself, as in 49:6.

So according to Ibn Ezra, most Jewish commentators saw the servant as Israel, those righteous within it. A Gaon thought it to refer to Cyrus and he, Ibn Ezra, thought it was Isaiah talking about himself. It can be known that Ibn Ezra was not referring to Moe as the prophet as he was not a Muslim, therefore not accepting Moe as a prophet, and according to the context of his statement, he’s referring to the prophet Isaiah, the writer.

What about how Rashi and Ibn Ezra see the verse about Kedar and “Sela”?

Kedar shall be inhabited with villages: (Connected to “The desert… shall raise.” The desert of Kedar, where they now dwell in tents, shall raise their voice and sing. It is like: And the villages with which Kedar is settled.) The desert of Kedar, where they now dwell in tents, will be permanent cities and villages.

rock dwellers: The dead who will be resurrected. So did Jonathan render this. (Rashi commenting on Isaiah 42:11, https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15973#showrashi=true)

Take note on how Rashi does not see Kedar and rock-dwellers as referring to a similar place.

Every plain and the cities thereof, all villages which are inhabited by Kedar, etc.; the tribe of Kedar always lived in the plain. The inhabitants of the rock, the nations that live in the rocks. (Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 42:11, https://www.sefaria.org/Ibn_Ezra_on_Isaiah.42.11.2?with=all&lang=bi)

Once again, Ibn Ezra didn’t feel the need to either equate Kedar with “Sela”, neither did he see “Sela” as an actual place name.

I bring these up to again highlight Muslim hypocrisy and double standards when it comes to how they say people should read their book and how they treat the scriptures of the Jews. They’ll argue for a contextual and traditional approach for reading their book, but throw that all away to read the Jewish Bible. And for what benefit? It suits their main aim: Force Moe into the Jewish Bible!

So is an Arabian prophet prophesied about in Isaiah 42, a role that only Muhammad could fit? Does the text necessitate that this person be related to the place of Medinah? To both questions, the answer is a resounding “NO!” A Muslim only shows ignorance, deception and/or hypocrisy to make such a claim.

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We don’t worship the same god

So I’m married to a Christian. For the sake of peace in the home, I sometimes attend her church. Our young son noticed not only that I don’t take part in their worship, but when invited to hold hands in prayer, I will refuse.

Having some idea of my stance, he came to me and said rhetorically, “Dad, I know why you don’t hold hands with them; it’s because you’re not a Christian, isn’t it?”

Here’s an edited, but still accurate, version of my response.

Son, it’s not that. It’s not simply because I’m not a Christian that I don’t join them in prayer. Because, think about it, I could be an atheist or not care about religion in general, and think it’s ok to hold hands with them in prayer because it’s nothing to me really. That means I could be a non-Christian and still be fine with lining with them as they pray.

So it’s not simply that I’m not a Christians.

Rather, the true God told us enough about what he is and what he isn’t in the Jewish Bible. And he made it clear that people should not worship something else.

That God has never been or become a man. He isn’t split into parts or isn’t called any other number than one. He doesn’t sleep or get tired, nor does he feel pain or die. He doesn’t condemn and punish an innocent man because of the crimes of another man.

What I pray to and what they pray to are different, and God said not to worship something different.

I hope he understood enough of what I said.

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Personal Experience: They have nothing

Since I left christianity, rejecting Jesus as messiah or anything of any meaning to my life, I’ve beheld the weakness of the christian position. Almost 15 years of having turned my back on the false messiah, citing biblical reasons for doing so, the amount of christians I’ve personally interacted with that has the biblical acumen to even make a cogent scriptural case for Jesus’ messiahship for themselves, much less than challenging my position, I struggle to even think of one.

My most recent engagement with a christian woman was just more of the same. She couldn’t mount a scriptural case because she didn’t know scripture. No, I’m not going to be kind about this. I’m gonna be plain. She knows the phrases used commonly by christians but has no idea about the biblical location and therefore the biblical context.

It’s odd, in a way. Week after week, these Christians go to church, they do their “bible studies” (which normally involves using study book produced by some organisation which first teaches the doctrine and then points to verses scattered throughout their bible, normally the new testament, that appear to back the doctrine), sit and listen to the pastor’s sermon. But still, after all that, they are generally ignorant about the biblical reasons that they accept Jesus as messiah and, usually, as God.

But watching these people, hearing their “testimonies,” it becomes clear to me that there was never a biblical reason, a reason based on the Jewish Bible, for embracing the Nazarene. They first devoted themselves to the man, and then, on the odd occasion, they’ll look at the common out-of-context passages from the Jewish Bible that seems to sound like the human object of their devotion, and that’s only if prompted by a “blue moon” bible study.

Sometimes, too many times, they’ll hardly know their “new testament” as well.

Due to this lack of intensity where it regards the Jewish Bible, these Christians are either or both uninterested in the topic of the Jewish Bible’s depiction of the promised anointed king of Israel, and unprepared and unable to provide rugged and contextually sound evidence from the Jewish Bible to even consider Jesus to be of any real significance, much less messiah, much less the Transcendent Beyond.

For the christians I deal with regularly, they have nothing of any value when it comes to foundational knowledge about the Jewish Bible. They are all the more evidence that trust in Jesus doesn’t come from truth, but from emotion and devotion to flesh, the way of the idolator.

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“The Bitter Root” – available in paperback and in many places

Just to let you know that my book “The Apostle Paul – Saul of Tarsus: The Bitter Root” is now available for the Amazon Kindle. It can be found at:

Check it out and share it with others who are interested in how Paul routinely misuses the Jewish Bible.

Also if you want it, the book “The Apostle Paul – Saul of Tarsus: The Bitter Root” is also available in paperback, in case you actually prefer to hold a real book. That’s available in the following place.

And in addition, the ebook is available at Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Scribd, Apple iBooks, maybe some other places too.

Did you know that also in the back of the book, there is a listing of most, if not all, of Paul’s overt quotes of the Jewish Bible throughout the epistles? Knowing the places Paul quotes and their various contexts can help you better defend yourself against the claims christians make about God demanding perfect obedience, or blood being needed forgiveness, that there is a dichotomy between law and faith, etc.

So feel free to take a look or even to share on whatever relevant forums you may be a part of.

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At last, a new book!

Hi y’all.

With the permission from James Woods, the creator of this site and the author of “Leaving Jesus,” at long last, I take great pleasure in announcing the publishing of my first ebook. It’s called “The Apostle Paul – Saul of Tarsus: The Bitter Root.” It can be found on Smashwords.com at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/756981.

The book description is as follows:

Going through the vast majority, if not all, of the apostle Paul’s usages of verses from the Jewish Bible (the “old testament”), the author, David Dryden, uncovers much more to Paul’s methodology than he ever expected. As well as examining Paul’s usage of the Jewish Bible, David picks apart Paul’s doctrines which have formed and shaped the Christian Church and how it relates to and interprets the books of Moses, the prophets and the other scriptures that make up the Jewish Bible. He doesn’t claim to be an expert or a scholar, but, just as everyone who has read the Christian Bible should think about it says and test it, he uses his “everyman” abilities to find the truth to the best of his ability.

For the author, this journey forever changed his view of Paul from mild suspicion to fundamental condemnation. But how will his journey impact you, the reader?

The primary aim is to share ideas for the sake of truth whether you agree with the ideas proposed or not. If this book can help a person get any closer to truth and to the Creator of the Universe, then it would have fulfilled its purpose. 

I hope you’ll consider getting a copy.

I’m working on an edition for Amazon Kindle. I’ll let you know when that’s done.

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