How to respond to jewish criticisms


#1

These come from a Jewish website

"What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Bible says that he will:

A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).

C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all the world—on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).

The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none of these messianic prophecies.

Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright, and no concept of a second coming exists."

"3) MISTRANSLATED VERSES “REFERRING” TO JESUS
(back)

Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text—which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.

A. VIRGIN BIRTH
The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an “alma” as giving birth. The word “alma” has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as “virgin.” This accords Jesus’ birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.

B. CRUCIFIXION
The verse in Psalms 22:17 reads: “Like a lion, they are at my hands and feet.” The Hebrew word ki-ari (like a lion) is grammatically similar to the word “gouged.” Thus Christianity reads the verse as a reference to crucifixion: “They pierced my hands and feet.”

C. SUFFERING SERVANT
Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the “suffering servant.”

In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews (“Israel”) are regarded as one unit. The Torah is filled with examples of the Jewish nation referred to with a singular pronoun.

Ironically, Isaiah’s prophecies of persecution refer in part to the 11th century when Jews were tortured and killed by Crusaders who acted in the name of Jesus.

From where did these mistranslations stem? St. Gregory, 4th century Bishop of Nazianzus, wrote: "A little jargon is all that is necessary to impose on the people. The less they comprehend, the more they admire.“
For further reading on the “suffering servant”:
jewsforjudaism.org/ss

What would be the Catholic response to these arguments.


#2

WE are the temple, His holy church on earth. More fundamentally, we are the temple because he is the temple, where “all the fullness of deity” dwells.

B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).

We are the true Jews, his elect. The Israel we will be gathered to is “the Jerusalem that is from above” which will be revealed in the new earth.

C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

Clearly fulfilled at the second coming.

D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all the world—on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).

Fulfilled also at the secoming coming. Also in force now, however, as the gospel goes to all natiins, tribes and tongues. The gospel of the New Covenant is the only way to know God. “Neither shall each one say to the other ‘know God,’ because they will all know me.”

The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none of these messianic prophecies.

Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources sh
"3) MISTRANSLATED VERSES “REFERRING” TO JESUS
(back)

Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text—which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.

There is no Christian translation. Texts are either translated from the Hebrew masoretic or the pre-Christian Septuagint

A. VIRGIN BIRTH
The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an “alma” as giving birth. The word “alma” has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as “virgin.” This accords Jesus’ birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.

This objection has always amused me. Alma can clearly be translated as virgin. That aside though, the idea that Isaiah makes this wonderful promise and simply means that a young woman will conceive and give birth…what is so special about that??? Thats only happened several billion times!

C. SUFFERING SERVANT
Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the “suffering servant.”

In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews (“Israel”) are regarded as one unit. The Torah is filled with examples of the Jewish nation referred to with a singular pronoun.

Ironically, Isaiah’s prophecies of persecution refer in part to the 11th century when Jews were tortured and killed by Crusaders who acted in the name of Jesus.

The idea that Jews have suffered to atone for the sins of themselves and will “justify many” including Gentiles has absolutely no warrant in the text of the OT. Whoever writes these kinds of objections is incredibly desperate to avoid the implications.


#3

#4

I don't mean to overload you guys, but these ones are interesting as well.

5) CHRISTIANITY CONTRADICTS JEWISH THEOLOGY
(back)

The following theological points apply primarily to the Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination.

A. GOD AS THREE?
The Catholic idea of Trinity breaks God into three separate beings: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).

Contrast this to the Shema, the basis of Jewish belief: "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE" (Deut. 6:4). Jews declare the Shema every day, while writing it on doorposts (Mezuzah), and binding it to the hand and head (Tefillin). This statement of God’s One-ness is the first words a Jewish child is taught to say, and the last words uttered before a Jew dies.

In Jewish law, worship of a three-part god is considered idolatry—one of the three cardinal sins that a Jew should rather give up his life than transgress. This explains why during the Inquisitions and throughout history, Jews gave up their lives rather than convert.

B. MAN AS GOD?
Roman Catholics believe that God came down to earth in human form, as Jesus said: "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).

Maimonides devotes most of the "Guide for the Perplexed" to the fundamental idea that God is incorporeal, meaning that He assumes no physical form. God is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyond space. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that God assumes human form makes God small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torah says: "God is not a mortal" (Numbers 23:19).

Judaism says that the Messiah will be born of human parents, and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, and will not possess supernatural qualities. In fact, an individual is alive in every generation with the capacity to step into the role of the Messiah. (see Maimonides - Laws of Kings 11:3)

C. INTERMEDIARY FOR PRAYER?
The Catholic belief is that prayer must be directed through an intermediary—i.e. confessing one’s sins to a priest. Jesus himself is an intermediary, as Jesus said: "No man cometh unto the Father but by me."

In Judaism, prayer is a totally private matter, between each individual and God. As the Bible says: "God is near to all who call unto Him" (Psalms 145:18). Further, the Ten Commandments state: "You shall have no other gods BEFORE ME," meaning that it is forbidden to set up a mediator between God and man. (see Maimonides - Laws of Idolatry ch. 1)

D. INVOLVEMENT IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD
Catholic doctrine often treats the physical world as an evil to be avoided. Mary, the holiest woman, is portrayed as a virgin. Priests and nuns are celibate. And monasteries are in remote, secluded locations.

By contrast, Judaism believes that God created the physical world not to frustrate us, but for our pleasure. Jewish spirituality comes through grappling with the mundane world in a way that uplifts and elevates. Sex in the proper context is one of the holiest acts we can perform.

The Talmud says if a person has the opportunity to taste a new fruit and refuses to do so, he will have to account for that in the World to Come. Jewish rabbinical schools teach how to live amidst the bustle of commercial activity. Jews don’t retreat from life, we elevate it.


#5

You respond to these Jewish criticisms by being the most charitable Catholic Christian and human being that you can be. You evangelize by means of showing love and compassion toward all those you encounter in your journey here on Earth. You teach by Christ-like example.


#6

That’s a good idea :). But I was thinking something more along the lines of a theological response to these points.


#7

I’ll leave the apologetics to the Catholics and other Christians on CAF.


#8

[quote="Gaelic_Bard, post:2, topic:311393"]
This objection has always amused me. Alma can clearly be translated as virgin. That aside though, the idea that Isaiah makes this wonderful promise and simply means that a young woman will conceive and give birth...what is so special about that???? Thats only happened several billion times!

[/quote]

Most people who study scripture's use of the word alma realize that, in almost the vast majority of the times alma is used, it would only make sense if the woman was a virgin. It is true that the word generally refers to "a young woman," but part of syntax is context.

[quote="Irock104, post:4, topic:311393"]
A. GOD AS THREE?
The Catholic idea of Trinity breaks God into three separate beings: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).

Contrast this to the Shema, the basis of Jewish belief: "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE" (Deut. 6:4). Jews declare the Shema every day, while writing it on doorposts (Mezuzah), and binding it to the hand and head (Tefillin). This statement of God’s One-ness is the first words a Jewish child is taught to say, and the last words uttered before a Jew dies.

In Jewish law, worship of a three-part god is considered idolatry—one of the three cardinal sins that a Jew should rather give up his life than transgress. This explains why during the Inquisitions and throughout history, Jews gave up their lives rather than convert.

[/quote]

The vast majority of those who criticize the Trinity often display that they have no idea what it is, and this is no different, unfortunately. The Trinity is not three "beings" of God - the Trinity is one Being of God (monotheism) made up of three co-eternal, co-equal, and co-existent but distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jews and Christians are both monotheists.

What amazes me the most with people who cannot seem to grasp the Trinity (either willingly or not) is that they seem to forget what the very name implies: Trinity comes from "tri," or three, and "unity" - unity in three. Like it or not, the Trinitarian God is a monotheistic god.

[quote="Irock104, post:4, topic:311393"]
B. MAN AS GOD?
Roman Catholics believe that God came down to earth in human form, as Jesus said: "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).

Maimonides devotes most of the "Guide for the Perplexed" to the fundamental idea that God is incorporeal, meaning that He assumes no physical form. God is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyond space. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that God assumes human form makes God small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torah says: "God is not a mortal" (Numbers 23:19).

[/quote]

Here we see the individual who wrote this misunderstands the incarnation of God the Son. When God the Son took on flesh (Jn 1:14), the trait of God which made Him eternal, above time, infinite, beyond space, unified, and divine, did not cease. Most knowledgeable Christians are aware of the hypostatic union, which teaches that Christ was fully man and fully God - he was a man, yes, but he was likewise divine, the Eternal Word which was in the beginning (Jn 1:1).

[quote="Irock104, post:4, topic:311393"]
[The Messiah] will not be a demi-god, and will not possess supernatural qualities.

[/quote]

Neither do Christians believe Christ was a demi-god, or a man who possessed supernatural qualities. As I said before, Christ was fully man and fully God, and his divine attributes came from the divine traits of God the Son.

I'm also curious how the individual would respond to Isaiah 9:6, which is a Messianic passage and which states the Messiah will be called "Mighty God" and "Everlasting Father". John Gill, in his commentaries, cites some Jewish writers, both ancient and later, who attributed this verse to the Messiah (ironically for our author, he cites Maimonides among them).

[quote="Irock104, post:4, topic:311393"]
C. INTERMEDIARY FOR PRAYER?
The Catholic belief is that prayer must be directed through an intermediary—i.e. confessing one’s sins to a priest. Jesus himself is an intermediary, as Jesus said: "No man cometh unto the Father but by me."

In Judaism, prayer is a totally private matter, between each individual and God. As the Bible says: "God is near to all who call unto Him" (Psalms 145:18). Further, the Ten Commandments state: "You shall have no other gods BEFORE ME," meaning that it is forbidden to set up a mediator between God and man. (see Maimonides - Laws of Idolatry ch. 1)

[/quote]

While I won't speak for the RC version of confession, it is amusing that the writer believes Christ being an intercessor for man is a contradiction of the passages cited. Again, Christ is God the Son. His intercession before God the Father is not placing a god before God, given both are God, and there is no intercessor between God and man, given that Christ is function as God the Son's role within the Trinity. One who understands how the Trinity functions comprehends that Christ's role as intercessor is not a contradiction for passages such as Psa 145:18 or the Ten Commandments.


#9

I can handle this one. The first part is the Gnostic heresy– the belief that the material world is evil. Priests, at least, are celibate because they’re effectively married to the Church. Catholics actually agree with that Jewish view of sex


#10

IMHO, I've yet to hear a *fully *convincing theological response to these criticisms from any mainstream Christian denomination.

For Christians, the New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old, and for Jews the Tanakh is enough. Therefore I would treat an interfaith discussion more as a mutural educational oppurtunity, where there's more common ground, than a theological debate.


#11

[quote="meltzerboy, post:5, topic:311393"]
You respond to these Jewish criticisms by being the most charitable Catholic Christian and human being that you can be. You evangelize by means of showing love and compassion toward all those you encounter in your journey here on Earth. You teach by Christ-like example.

[/quote]

This made me smile.


#12

:thumbsup:


#13

:tiphat:


#14

‘Proof text’ discussions are always best avoided, by both sides, I think, because, In the end, you either believe that the New Testament is a sacred text or you don’t. If you do, then ‘virgin’ is ‘virgin’, if you don’t it’s ‘young woman’ and similarly for all the others.

Sites like the one in the OP exist not to convert Christians but to help people deal with Christian missionaries who quote ‘proof texts’ at them (as people may have noticed, I prefer the “we don’t believe a word of it, at all” approach ;)).

melzerboy is quite right, of course.


#15

In the end, I think that it is a bit like interpreting a poem, only scripture is a poem from God. It seems so obvious to me that Jesus is the fulfillment of scripture. Either the men who wrote the New Testament are cunning and wicked beyond belief (maybe even pawns of Satan) or God’s supreme wisdom puzzles the wise, even learned rabbis. You must very carefully choose one of these two if you are Jewish.

Jeremiah 8 comes to mind.


#16

They don’t have to have been either cunning or wicked - they believed in something and tried to find scriptural support for their beliefs, which is not the same thing at all.

We don’t have to be any more careful than Christians have to be over Muslim claims about the Qur’an or Mormon claims about the Book of Mormon.


#17

Look at the words that they have put in Jesus' mouth and the actions that they have claimed He did. If Jesus did not say or do those things then they are wicked--you see so much of the OT coming to life.


#18

It’s a matter of perspective and there’s no point in us rowing about it because we start with different paradigms. Most of what Jesus ‘says’ in the NT is, from a Jewish perspective, just par for the course ‘rowing rabbi’ stuff: “on the one hand, while on the other hand, meanwhile on the other hand” (the Talmud has lots of this sort of thing), very little of which was ‘new’ in any sense. What is different is the interpretation of what’s being said, the interpretation being from the perspective of people who believed he was Messiah etc.

So, don’t bother trying this “either you believe they were right or they were wicked” approach because you’re talking to somebody who thinks they were just ‘wrong’.


#19

Well, why does Jesus call the scribes and Pharisees vipers, for instance? Jeremiah claims that the scribes deceived the people because they thought themselves wise and then later says that the Lord will send vipers to bite the Jews.

The NT is so perfectly consistent with the OT that one would have to focus on the tree and deny the forest to say that there is no relation. If the OT claims that the scribes were twisting the word of God, how then can we rely on interpretations recorded by the scribes?


#20

I would agree that, if you start with the New Testament, then you can find echoes of all sorts in the Tanakh (Old Testament to you), that’s inevitable, it was constructed that way and that’s where Christian/Jewish dialogue tends to break down - irresistible force, immovable object.

Either you believe that the New Testament is ‘reportage’ and a ‘Sacred Text’ or you don’t. You do, I don’t. For a couple of thousand years, the argument has gone on and it goes nowhere.


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