Hi, this is good ol' Anonymous again. Can a person be a capitalist and a communist at the same time? How can one be a Jew and a Christian at the same time? True, the original members of the Jesus Movement (they were not called Christians) were Jews, but after Paul did away with the Law of Moses for Jesus followers, that all changed. This sort of transformation is a bit reminiscent of what happened with Republicans and Democrats, whereby abolitionism was found among the former and anti-abolitionism was found among the latter. The Republican party was later to transform itself into the segregationist party, and the Democratic party to the anti-segregationist party. For gentiles to enter into the covenant of God, they must follow the ENTIRE Law of Moses, as do the Jews (stated throughout the Pentateuch). Don't tell me it's impossible. If it's possible to follow ANY of the laws, it is possible to follow ALL the laws. Genocide involves not only physical destruction, but spiritual destruction as well. Look at how the Native American community was not only slaughtered but also prevented from practicing its religion. If a Jew follows Jesus, he/she is indeed abandoning God, for He clearly states that one shall have NO OTHER GOD BESIDES ME. I AM THE LORD; THERE IS NO OTHER. THE LORD IS GOD. THE LORD IS ONE ALONE. God is not a man, else he would lie. Neither is God a son of man, else he would change his mind. -- Numbers 23:19 I don't buy the argument that Luke's account of the lineage is that of Mary's. It does not say so in the actual text; it clearly states "Joseph, the son of..." It might be true that a person may be adopted into a lineage and receive whatever promise that lineage holds, but not when it comes to the Messiah, for the Messiah must be of David's genetic issue. And the Messiah must go through Solomon. Solomon had a descendant Josiah. Josiah had three sons besides the cursed Jehoikim. Therefore, the Messiah must come from one of those three, NOT Jehoikim. If Jehoikim was the ONLY son of Josiah, then we would have a problem. There is no reason to believe that the Messiah will not come from the line of one of Josiah's other three sons. Sure, there is plenty of unpleasant information about the good people of the Book, such as Judah with his harlot...but God does not place a curse on Judah's descendants like He did on Jehoikim's. (Warts and All is a good thing; it's what makes the biblical accounts credible and interesting.) [... a very long expository argument concerning Isaiah 7:14 SEE BELOW...] One other thing. I do not own a New Testament, but I do recall two of the gospels citing the following story about a rich man who bows before Jesus and says, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus responds, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments..." This story has stuck in my mind for three reasons: 1) Jesus does not claim divinity and makes a distinction between himself and God. 2) He even denies that he is good. 3) He stresses that the way to gain eternal life is by following the commandments, not by believing in him. As long as Christians are righteous, do good and shun evil, they will be saved when the true Messiah comes, whatever they believe in. Let Jews practice their own faith, passed down from their fathers, and Jews will be more than happy to let gentiles practice their faith as well. I cannot believe that you consider yourself more tied to Jewish roots than Irish roots. The Irish have a very rich heritage as well. Why not celebrate it instead of appropriating someone else's heritage?
Can a person be a capitalist and a communist at the same time? How can one be a Jew and a Christian at the same time? True, the original members of the Jesus Movement (they were not called Christians) were Jews, but after Paul did away with the Law of Moses for Jesus followers, that all changed. This sort of transformation is a bit reminiscent of what happened with Republicans and Democrats, whereby abolitionism was found among the former and anti-abolitionism was found among the latter. The Republican party was later to transform itself into the segregationist party, and the Democratic party to the anti-segregationist party. [I want offer a response on the comparison of this to Republicans and Democrats and their view on segregation-- but that's a very biased statement too...]
You are absolutely right in saying that a person who is born a Jew will also die a Jew. If you are Jewish, then whether you believe in Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Sigmund Freud, or Rev. Moon, you will always be a Jew! The question is whether you will be a faithful Jews in God's sight. Isn't that what really matters? The Jewish people have a most sacred and special calling that was given to them by the LORD himself.. The question is whether you will fulfill the purpose for which God made you. The crux of the matter is whether you will live and die in right relationship with God. Will you love him with all you heart and soul and strength? I have taught my children since they could talk the Shema from Deut 6:4 because I want to fix in their minds that to love God completely is the MOST important issue of life. If what we say about Jesus being the Jewish Messiah is really true, would you be faithful Jew who follows your Messiah or an unfaithful Jew who rejects him? That is the only questions that matters.
Under the traditional definition of Jewishness, you are a Jew if your mother was Jewish! But that is not quite so simple... what makes her Jewish? Is being a Jew simply a religious matter? Are atheistic or hedonistic Jews still Jewish? What about humanistic Jews? Are Reform Jews who deny the that the Torah is literally the Word of God and who don't believe in a physical resurrection or a literal Messiah still Jewish? Is being a Jew simply a matter of ethics? If so, is an unethical, corrupt Orthodox rabbi still a Jew? Is being a Jew a matter of solidarity with the people of Israel? Then how would you consider antinationalist Israelis? Aren't they still Jews? Then if being a Jew is simply a matter of ethnicity, then religious beliefs CANNOT change one's Jewishness.
Who is a Jew? There are secular Jews who do not live by the Torah or the Rabbinic traditions.. so how can you tell a Jewish person that believes in Yeshua that they are not Jewish? If you would say "They have joined another religion", than most Messianic Jews would simply say they have not-- they are simply following the Scriptures. According to the Torah, the issue is not of "different religion" but of lifestyle and faith. God is not concerned with our religion.. and it's not even a word in the Hebrew Scriptures. He is more concerned with what we believe and how we live. From a biblical viewpoint, being an atheist or a materialist or a hedonist is an infinitely further departure from the faith than entering into disputes about who the Messiah is.
In the end, the real question is not whether Jews who follow Yeshua are still Jewish. Rather, the crucial question is whether Yeshua is the Messiah predicted by Moses and the prophets. If He is, then you, as a Jew, must do some real soul-searching and answer a difficult question.. could you be a true Jew and yet reject the one sent by God as the Jewish Messiah? Following the Messiah is part of the fabric of the soul of the Jewish people.. it touches on the very existence of the Jewish people to begin with and their election by God. The Jewish people were given a special role by God as a nation of priests to proclaim the light of the knowledge of God to the rest of the world. Saul tells us that the gifts and calling of God cannot be revoked-- but cannot declare the glory of the Lord to the Gentiles or educate them in His truth apart from the Jewish Messiah.
Is it possible that this Jesus ---Yeshua -- whom you so strongly reject is the key to bringing the knowledge of the only true God to the inhabitants of this planet? Is it possible that true Jewishness is directly tied in with following Him?
To say a person is either Jewish or Christian is to mix apples with oranges. People are born Jewish or Gentile.. but to be a Christian or "Messianic", you must be born anew. This new birth can only come by putting faith in Yeshua the Messiah. He is the Passover Lamb, the Firstfruits and firstborn from the dead, and the Unleavened sinless offering. Your sins can be forgiven in Him, you can receive a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), and you become His follower. This is what it means to be a "Christian", or Messianic. NO ONE IS BORN A CHRISTIAN (though I admit many in America may feel that by waving a flag and celebrating Christmas they are somehow Christian). Germany in WWII was NOT a Christian nation... no more that America can in these current days calls itself a "Christian" nation. Christianity (or Messianic Judaism) is not just another religion either. Though it can be a religion to many people, true Christianity is a living relationship with God and His people--both Jews and Gentiles--through the Messiah. Through physical birth you are either a Jew or a Gentile: through spiritual birth you become a follower of Yeshua the Messiah.
Remember that the word "Christian" comes from "Christ"-- derived from the Greek christos--the Hebrew equivalent of mashiach (Messiah). Critics called the first followers of the Jewish Messiah "Messianics" or Christians in Corinth. No one is born Christian-- even though children can be born into Christian homes. It is only when someone identifies himself with the Messiah Jesus that he becomes Messianic, or Christian.
In a similar way, someone can be born Jewish but that does not make that person a practicing or religious Jew. A person becomes a practicing or religious Jew by choosing to live a certain lifestyle. That is essentially the same way-though more profound-- that following the Messiah works as well-- becoming "Messianic" or Christian. Whether you are Jewish or Gentile, you must be born anew through faith in him. The ultimate question is not whether you are Gentile or Jewish.. but whether you are of the Messiah or not.
Doesn't belief in Jesus mean you're no longer Jewish? How can these two be compatible in any form?
By asking questions like this and making statements along these lines, you can unknowingly repeat one of the great lies of the Inquisition: namely, that one can be faithful to Jesus only by totally repudiating one's Jewishness. To the contrary (which has taken almost 1800 years to correct), everything about belief in Jesus was and is Jewish.. in the purest and most biblical sense of the word.
Jesus was not the founder of a new religion called Christianity-- a religion for Gentiles. If a Jew follows this "goyyische" religion, then wouldn't that make them no longer Jewish? This is equivalent to a Hindu becoming a Muslim. There are not Hindus for Muhammad, are there? But there are Jews for Jesus... and many call this a contradiction. To put it simply, Yeshua is the one spoken of in the Hebrew Bible and He is the Jewish Messiah-- believing in Him is the most Jewish thing a Jew can do.
It is true to say that Yeshua came into the world as a light to all people-- so that all people might be saved from their sins and brought into right relationship to God. But He came first and foremost to his own Jewish people. It was only when he was rejected NATIONALLY that His message was taken to the Gentiles. Israel, AS A NATION, had rejected the Torah and the prophets before Messiah ever arrived though-- so why should that be so surprising? When thousands of Gentiles embraced Yeshua, Gentile believers became the majority over time. They eventually forgot the Jewish, biblical roots of their faith-- almost to the point that is seemed as though Christianity was a new, foreign religion -- something not for Jews at all.
What made matters worse, the emerging Rabbinic Jewish community began to disassociate itself from the many thousands of Jews who were followers of Jesus the Messiah. These Messianic Jews now found themselves between a rock (the increasingly Gentile church) and a hard place (the increasingly unfriendly Rabbinic community). To our discredit, Gentile Christians over the next thousand years would only welcome Jews into their midst if they renounced all ties to their Jewishness-- at the same time, the Rabbinic community would only welcome them if they renounced all ties to Jesus. What we have today is a leftover remnant of a monstrous perversion of the truth and a tragic twist of history-- you are living proof of this.
The first church was Jewish. If a Gentile wanted to follow the Messiah, he had to convert to Judaism. Shimon Kepha (Peter) was given the revelation that Gentiles did not have to become Jews to be saved (Acts 10). The Jerusalem Council meeting determined that Gentiles did not have to be circumcised. There were only four easily followed requirements: abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood (Acts 15:20). This truly opened the door for the widespread growth among Gentiles.
The first Jewish followers of Jesus were called Nazarenes. They practiced traditional Judaism and were widely accepted by non-believing Jews. Early in the second century their reached probably 400,000. Acts 21:20 quotes Saul the Apostle as saying there were myriads [tens of thousands] of Jews who have believed... The Nazarenes'' acceptance by traditional Jews came to a halt in AD 135 when Rabbi Akiba declared that Bar Kochba was the Jewish Messiah. His followers hoped he would lead them to victory over the Romans. The Nazarenes refused to fight because they believed Yeshua was the true Messiah rather than Bar Kochba. They were branded traitors, not because they believed in Jesus, but because they wouldn't join Bar Kochba's armed struggle. Bar Kochba and his followers were quickly slaughtered by the Romans. Afterwards, Jews were banned from Jerusalem.
Christianity, as its center moved from Jerusalem to Rome, became increasingly Hellenized and adopted many pagan customs and philosophies rather than the God-ordained practices and beliefs of the Bible. At the same time, Christianity became increasingly anti-Jewish. In AD 196, when no Jewish believers were present, a church council meeting in Caesarea changed the celebration of Jesus' resurrection from the third day of Passover (Firstfruits) to Sunday, during the feast of the pagan fertility goddess, Ishtar. The Council of Nicea made the change official in the 4th century. The decision was based on the WRONG premise that it was not proper for the church in her celebrations to be connected with the "cursed Jewish nation" that crucified the Lord. The celebration of resurrection was changed from Passover to "Easter" -- a celebration connected with Ishtar worship. The Council of Nicea also "institutionalized" the switch of the day of Christian worship from Saturday to Sunday. If you study more about Constantine and his reforms, you find out quickly that he was a godless man...
During the long, dark years of the Middle Ages, Jews were frequently given the option of baptism or expulsion, baptism or torture, or baptism or death. Every type of degrading law was passed against them: They were forbidden to work good jobs; after all, they were an "accursed people" according to the view of Church of that day... How could the assassins of Christ be allowed to prosper? They were forced to listen to humiliating public sermons aimed at their conversion-- wasn't that the "holy" obligation of the Church? Their children were kidnapped and baptized as "Christians", thus saving them from the fires of hell. They were rounded up and beaten as a highlight of Easter celebrations, since they deserved it as murderers of the Lord. In the fervor and fanaticism of the Crusades, the riffraff of Europe was gathered to "liberate" the Holy Land from Muslim infidels. A discovery was thet infidels (the Jews) could be killed right in their back yard... and so the hideous slogan was born: "Kill a Jew and save your soul!"
After the forced conversions of the Crusades, some Jews outwardly professed faith in Jesus while secretly practicing Judaism. It was one of the purposes of the Inquisition to weed out and destroy these people even if, in theory, some of them were sincere Jewish Christians who believed that faith in Jesus and being Jewish were compatible. Unfortunately, without knowing it, both Jews and Gentiles have repeated this lie of the Inquisition-- that being Jewish and following Jesus are incompatible-- even to this day. It is no wonder given this back drop of both history that most Jews believe Jesus is the founder of a Gentile religion and that being Christian and Jewish are not compatible. Likewise, most Gentile believers wrongly believe that Jews would have to renounce their heritage in order to be "Christian"-- and BOTH of these are demonically inspired and fueled. it is no wonder that most Jews related accepting Jesus or embracing Christianity as a betrayal of everything that is Jewish! That is why many to this day will say "I was born a Jew and I will die a Jew"--
We really have two very different "battlefields" in terms of Jewish and Gentile reconciliation in the Body of Messiah. There is much ignorance and plain lack of understanding in many cases regarding the Church and its own very anti-Semitic history--let alone the downright persecution of the Jewish people. Judaism and the religion of the rabbis (not of the Torah, however) has also erected almost insurmountable barriers in response. The Jewish Apostles brought the message of the Jewish Messiah to the Gentile world, and yet, centuries later, the very same Gentile Christians told Jews who wanted to know more about Jesus, "If you want to believe in him, you must abandon everything Jewish!" Bernard of Clarivaux was quoted in middle ages after an allegation came about that one of the popes was actually Jewish: "To the shame of Christ, a Jew now occupies the seat of St. Peter." Considering that St. Peter was Shimon Kepha, the Jewish fisherman from Galilee, this statement is indicative of how Gentiles forgot and plain out rejected the Jewish heritage that was the Church's to begin with.
The fact is, however, that belief in the real Jesus (the Yeshua of the Bible and not one that has been born of man-made traditions over 18 centuries) and true Jewishness (which is NOT the same as traditional Judaism in most cases) are compatible. When a Jewish person embraces Yeshua the Messiah, they become more Jewish than ever before. When we as Gentiles embrace Yeshua the Messiah, we understand as well from our history that He is the Jewish Vine, the Root of Jesse, that we have been grafted into-- and we readily identify with the "Jewishness" of our faith.
The bottom line: being a faithful Jew and believing in Jesus the Jewish Messiah are totally compatible.. as Philip told Nathaniel: "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote--Yeshua of Nazareth..." John 1:45
... but after Paul did away with the Law of Moses for Jesus followers, that all changed. ... For gentiles to enter into the covenant of God, they must follow the ENTIRE Law of Moses, as do the Jews (stated throughout the Pentateuch).
No... although this is a very common misconception among those who would call themselves Christians. The Apostle Saul never did away with the Law of Moses for the followers of Yeshua... The primary DIFFERENCE of the Mosaic Covenant and the Messianic Covenant is HOW the Law is given to us: we have the Law implanted in our hearts by the power of the Spirit of God. This is the new heart Ezekiel prophesied about:
Saul likewise made it clear that it was the RITUALs of the LAW that separated both Jewish and Gentile believers, and that Messiah had removed that barrier. Now, Gentiles COULD be brought into the family of faith.. the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-- and therefore be partakers of God's covenant mercies and love.. without having to fulfill the law of Moses FIRST. I don't HAVE to be physically circumcised, I don't HAVE to not eat pork, I don't HAVE to observe the festivals, I don't HAVE to wear a tallit, and so on and so on. I DO have to obey the ten commandments.. and I do have to follow the MORAL imperatives found in the law of Moses. IF the Spirit of God lives in us through our faith in Messiah, then it is the Spirit of God who MOVES us (slowly sometimes I admit) to fulfill more and more of the SPIRIT of the law (which includes the letter and the heart condition that motivates the letter!)
Saul taught that our faith in Messiah will ESTABLISH the Law.. not do away with it. This is very clear in his teachings.. and unfortunately most Jewish people (and most Christians!) have never heard the Scriptural view of either Christianity or the Messiah. They have instead only seen human traditions and organized religion. The Hebrew Scriptures.. the Law AND the Prophets... both witness to the righteousness of God apart from the Law (Noah, Abraham, etc.) Righteousness in God's eyes, according to the Torah, was based on substitutionary atonement... not works. It is atonement that allows us to stand before God and be declared clean and "right". Isaiah tells us that our sins can be washed clean by God... and it was God who set forth Messiah as the PROPITIATION (literally, the MERCY SEAT, where reconciliation with the LORD took place) for our sins... our peace with God rests squarely on the high priestly role of our Messiah. We appropriate His work by faith.. just as the Jewish people under the law of Moses appropriated forgiveness under the sacrificial system instituted by the Lord.. by faith.
Don't tell me it's impossible. If it's possible to follow ANY of the laws, it is possible to follow ALL the laws
It is impossible to fulfill the law without the aid of the Holy Spirit of God. The essence of knowing God is not primarily how much of the Law we have fulfilled. God does want total obedience to His commands-- because the Law is GOOD and it is FOR our GOOD! (1 Tim 1:8-11) However, NO MAN apart from the Messiah has fulfilled the Law of God completely. Yes, it is possible to follow all of the Laws-- of Scripture. Eating a cheeseburger does not fall in the category of breaking the law of God... and you must distinguish between the traditions of man and the rabbinic systems/Talmudic additions that have been passed down.
Genocide involves not only physical destruction, but spiritual destruction as well. Look at how the Native American community was not only slaughtered but also prevented from practicing its religion. If a Jew follows Jesus, he/she is indeed abandoning God, for He clearly states that one shall have NO OTHER GOD BESIDES ME. I AM THE LORD; THERE IS NO OTHER. THE LORD IS GOD. THE LORD IS ONE ALONE. God is not a man, else he would lie. Neither is God a son of man, else he would change his mind. -- Numbers 23:19
I understand your point here... the history of the Church through the Crusades and Inquisition helped establish this idea. The fact that the church became anti-Semitic while at the same time Rabbinic Judaism made it impossible for a Jew to believe in Jesus was a double whammy.. The Lie of the Inquisition was of course that a Jew could not follow Jesus WITHOUT abandoning everything Jewish.. including the Law! How absurd... Of course your argument sounds like that of a Jehovah's Witness as well.. they fail to see the Scriptural view of God as ONE yet in His ONENESS is composite. From Genesis: "Let us make man in our image".. who is the US? Angels? I don't think so... We are made in the image of GOD... not angels. From Isaiah: "Whom shall I send and who will go for us?" The "I" is also the "us"...
Consider that the Hebrew word "elohim" is translated as both "gods" and "God" in English... depending on the context. Moses, whether he understood it or not, referred to "I AM" as "God" using elohim.. the plural form of the word god. Even the Shma from Deut 6:4 indicates that the "oneness" of the Lord in the Hebrew word "echaad" is not a singular oneness, but rather a composite oneness: the word "echaad" refers to a plural oneness.
I would ask you the same question that Yeshua asked the foremost Hebrew Biblical scholars of His day: Whose Son is Messiah? We know (and they did too) that He is David's son. So then, how does David call Messiah his "Lord" when Messiah is David's son [Psalms 110:1-2]?? The only way that the Messiah could be David's Lord is IF the Messiah was THE LORD. Could you imagine David having any other God before the One true God? Yet He calls Messiah His Lord! The only way that He could speak to Messiah as Lord is if Messiah existed outside of time and space... something that only the God of Heaven and Earth could claim. How could the LORD speak to "his" Lord? In Psalms 45;2-7, David by the Spirit also says "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever"-- who is David talking to? "God", right? How can David then say that "God, YOUR GOD, has anointed YOU with the oil of gladness"? There appears to be 2 Gods here... but yet we KNOW that the LORD is ONE. The point I make with all of this is that the LORD is ONE ALONE.. but He has clearly spoken by the Spirit through the inspiration of the Hebrew scriptures that God's oneness is plural or compound. We don't have to understand this in order to believe that is how God has revealed Himself in Scripture... Either way, there is NOTHING contradictory in the idea of following the Messiah.
See also our article on "What's In a Name" concerning the notion of God's Son from the context of the Hebrew Scriptures.
I don't buy the argument that Luke's account of the lineage is that of Mary's. It does not say so in the actual text; it clearly states "Joseph, the son of..." It might be true that a person may be adopted into a lineage and receive whatever promise that lineage holds, but not when it comes to the Messiah, for the Messiah must be of David's genetic issue. And the Messiah must go through Solomon. Solomon had a descendant Josiah. Josiah had three sons besides the cursed Jehoikim. Therefore, the Messiah must come from one of those three, NOT Jehoikim. If Jehoikim was the ONLY son of Josiah, then we would have a problem. There is no reason to believe that the Messiah will not come from the line of one of Josiah's other three sons.
No... it does not clearly state "Joseph, the son of..." as you say. Study the Greek. There are several meanings that could be applied to the construction of this passage as a whole. Both context and logic also support that it is Miriam's lineage.
You are right: Messiah was of David's genetic issue.
You are also correct that Josiah had three other sons... but none of them were appointed as KING except Zedekiah... If Messiah is to be of the kingly line through Solomon and Josiah, then he would need to pass through the line of Jehoiakim or his brother Zedekiah. The LORD knew what He was doing in determining the lineage of the Messiah--
Do you REALLY believe that any would-be Messiah in OUR day is going to be able to trace his lineage back to tribal affiliations exactly? I guess we'll have to see what the man of sin says his lineage is when he is revealed....and what proof he will offer to that effect.
There is also another view regarding the promise of the Messiah being through Solomon's line: the promise God made to David was unconditional but the promise God made to Solomon and the descendents of Solomon WAS CONDITIONAL. There is very good scriptural support that the requirement for Messiah to come through that branch may have well been invalidated by the actions of Solomon and his descendents. It is out there to study from the Hebrew Scriptures themself...
Sure, there is plenty of unpleasant information about the good people of the Book, such as Judah with his harlot...but God does not place a curse on Judah's descendants like He did on Jehoikim's. (Warts and All is a good thing; it's what makes the biblical accounts credible and interesting.)
Wow, we agree on something.
Isaiah was not talking about the Messiah when he stated, "Behold, the young woman is about to give birth to a son..." It is convenient, of course, to take this verse out of its context. Read the entire chapter. If you do, you will find that in 735 b.c.e., about 735 years before Jesus was born, Judah (the house of David) was under attack from Israel and Syria. Judah's King Ahaz asked the prophet Isaiah for a sign as to how long the siege would last. Isaiah replied that it would be a short time because there was a child who would be called Immanuel by his mother, and that before this child was old enough to distinguish right from wrong, Israel and Syria would have been defeated. Incidentally, Syria was defeated and pillaged by Assyria about three years later, and Israel was forced into submission to Assyria. The verse in its context reads as follows: Isaiah 7:10-16 Again YAHWEH spoke to Ahaz, saying, "Ask a sign of YAHWEH, your God. Ask it either in the depths, or in the heights above." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, for I will not tempt YAHWEH." Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, O house of David: Is it enough that you weary men, but will you also weary my God?" Therefore, Yahweh himself shall give you a sign: Behold the young woman with child, bearing a son. And she will name him "Immanuel". Because, when he learns to refuse wrong and choose right, he will eat butter and honey. And when the child knows how to refuse wrong and choose right, the nations of the two kings who trouble you will be laid waste. [NOTE: The Hebrew word used here for "young woman" is almah. It refers to a woman of the age typical for marriage. Almah denotes age only -- it just means "young woman", "woman of marrying age". Any woman -- married, single, virgin, or even whore -- of that age is an almah. In fact, almah is used in Songs 6:8 in contrast to a true virgin, Solomon's "undefiled dove". Much to the Evangelicals' frustration, the word does not denote, connote, or imply virginity. Biblical scholars agree, and the Interpreter's Bible Dictionary gives a thorough exposition on the subject (nevertheless, plenty of Evangelicals these days ignore this). Matthew translated the word almah by using the Greek word pathenos, as did the Greek translation of the Old Testament at the time, the Septuagint. Matthew simply copied it. Like almah, the word pathenos does not imply virginity. In both Classical and Biblical Greek, it is used to refer to both virgin and non-virgin women, and therefore technically only means "sexually mature young woman". The emphasis of the meaning is on the age. Accordingly, it should be noted that the Septuagint uses pathenos to refer to a woman who is not a virgin (Dinah in Gen 34:3), as well as to women who could be virgins. Thus, the question of whether the Septuagint translators, or even Matthew, had thought that the word almah in Isa 7:14 meant "virgin" is a bit cloudy. After all, while we know that Matthew considered Mary a virgin, he also considered her a young woman of marrying age. Nevertheless, to suit their doctrines, later Evangelicals forced a translation of "virgin" onto both words. But, Biblical Hebrew has a specific word that means "virgin woman", bethulah, and it was used frequently by Isaiah's time. It refers to a woman who is a virgin, or to one who in the foregoing context was a virgin. And it is this word, bethulah, and words based on its root which are used in the Levitical laws and elsewhere when virginity is to be specified. If Isaiah had meant that the mother of Immanuel was a virgin, an extraordinary proposition indeed, he would surely have used bethulah. So, Isa 7:14 should not read "a virgin", but rather "the young woman". This does not mean that almah cannot refer to Mary. Mary was, after all, a young woman of marrying age. In fact, this is why some of the more accurate Christian Bibles translate the word as "young woman" or "maiden", terms which do not necessarily imply virginity.] Evangelicals love to remind folks to keep context in mind when quoting the Bible. Yet they are loathe to take their own advice medicine. With Isa 7:14, they tore the "Immanuel" story out of its context, abandoning its original relevance to King Ahaz by moving its fulfillment up 750 years later, and foisted a stolen omen about a child born 750 earlier as a "prophecy" about Mary. The child in question might have been any child near that time (the point was not to find the child, but rather to specify the duration of the siege). But, the young woman spoken of is referred to with a definite article as "THE young woman" (as opposed to the erroneous "A young woman" which Matthew gives us). Thus, it was a woman known to either Isaiah or Ahaz. The child could be perhaps one of Isaiah's new sons, one of whom Isaiah gave the symbolic name Maher Shalal Hash Baz. He was born just a few verses later, and he fits in imagery, context, and time. Isaiah 8:3-4 And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived, and bore a son. Then, *YAHWEH* said to me, name him "Maher Shalal Hash Baz" (meaning "Hasten plunder, Hurry the war prize!"). Because, before the child shall even know how to cry, "Pappa" and "Mama", the riches of Damascus and the booty of Samaria will be taken away by the king of Assyria. Jesus and Maher were obviously not named "Immanuel". Rather, Jesus was named "Yeshua", which was a degenerate form of the name Yehoshua, which meant "GOD is salvation" ("Yeshua", interestingly enough, was a Hebrew acronym meaning "May his name be blotted out forever"). "Maher Shalal Hash Baz" implies GOD's salvation of Judah through His arranging the pillage of Syria. So, both names -- Immanuel and Maher Shalal Hash Baz -- mean that "GOD is with us". However, Maher Shalal Hash Baz fits the bill much better than Jesus given that: 1) There is a direct parallel match in the imagery used in Isaiah 7:14 and 8:3. 2) Temporal Proximity: The sign/prophecy necessarily had to have been fulfilled in King Ahaz's time, when it was both needed and declared. 3) Maher Shalal Hash Baz has greater historical relevance since he served the purpose of the sign during King Ahaz's time. Mary's birth tale may have had similarities to the Immanuel birth, but Mary could not have fulfilled a prophecy that had already been fulfilled 750 years earlier (back when it was actually relevant). It is also likely that Isaiah had another newborn son, and that he also could have been Immanu-el. As is stated in the often-overlooked passage, Isa 8:18, Behold, I and the children whom *YAHWEH* has given to me are for signs and for symbols to Israel from *YAHWEH* Almighty, who dwells in Mount Zion. Though it is not specified when these prophecies are made with respect to one another, the age differences between siblings would be a year or so. Isaiah's children were to be the signs, and Judah's delivery from its military siege was to come before they left their early years. And, indeed, within about 3 years the seige was over, Maher would have been old enough to begin talking, and a sibling Immanu-el would have been just at that age of beginning to develop an awareness of right and wrong.
Many people, like you, fail to understand that prophecies have both near and far term fulfillments. I am not going to go into great depth on this idea... take a Hebrew Bible study class on prophecy.. you can get a wealth of understanding on the nature of prophecy. There are many examples of both near and far term fulfillments to prophecies. The Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel is a classis one... it had an obvious near term fulfillment with Antiochus Epiphanes (part of the Hanukkah story) and also has a far term fulfillment with the man of sin who will set up ANOTHER abomination of desolations at some point in the future.
Of COURSE this prophecy of Isaiah had a near-term context. Your whole exposition is concerning the near term fulfillment of the prophecy.. which is found in the context and also in subsequent chapters and verses of Isaiah. Bravo.. I'll use this in one of my Bible studies in the future.
If Isaiah had used the actual word for VIRGIN, then the prophecy would not or could not have had a near term fulfillment. No VIRGIN conceived and gave birth to Maher Shalal Hash Baz. By using the word "almah", however, the Holy Spirit allows for a DUAL fulfillment... one near term and one far term. The prophecy was given to a WICKED King (Ahaz) that had rejected God and who didn't want a sign to begin with... Ahaz wasn't going to obey God even if a sign was performed. The original context for the near term fulfillment of this prophecy was that the LORD was indeed going to give a sign -- in spite of the unbelief and apostasy of the king - to demonstrate His sovereign plan.
Take this to another level... the LORD was also promising that He would give a sign to the NATION.. one that had primarily rejected the Torah and the prophets whom God had sent. In the midst of the same unwillingness to submit to God, He would also send another sign: a young maiden would conceive.. a virgin... and her Son would embody the idea of Immanuel.. God WITH US. Matthew understands this and uses this to show the far term fulfillment in the birth of Yeshua.. who was named Yeshua because He would save His people from their sins. (Matt 1:23-24) Simeon the priest understood also that Jesus would be "sign which shall be spoken against".
There are 2 distinct pictures of Messiah. This sign, just like that of Isaiah's time frame, was NOT THE SIGN that the NATION was looking for.. particularly the rabbinical leadership. They did not want to believe in THIS kind of sign.. Messiah Son of Joseph-- the suffering one who would be rejected by His brethren. They wanted Messiah Son of David.. the conquering king and ruler who would deliver Israel from Roman rule. So in THIS CONTEXT, Matthew's inclusion makes PERFECT sense.
One other thing. I do not own a New Testament, but I do recall two of the gospels citing the following story about a rich man who bows before Jesus and says, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus responds, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments..." This story has stuck in my mind for three reasons: 1) Jesus does not claim divinity and makes a distinction between himself and God. 2) He even denies that he is good. 3) He stresses that the way to gain eternal life is by following the commandments, not by believing in him.
Maybe you should get a copy.. but most since you asked:
I believe you have taken the story of Jesus and the rich young ruler out of context:
1) Jesus makes many OTHER claims to divinity and to being Messiah:
2) Jesus is not denying that He is good.. no more than He is really suggesting that we pluck out our physical eye if we have a problem with lust or cut off our hand if we have a problem with stealing (Matt 18:9)
Jesus said He was he GOOD shepherd who gives His life for His sheep and that He also sowed the GOOD seed:
Jesus didn't have to toot His own horn: His Father did!
Eternal life is a GIFT from GOD. The ONLY thing we can EARN with God is DEATH for breaking His LAW. If you want to claim that you have never broken His LAW then I can't help you and neither can God. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. You can't earn God's favor by following the LAW..
Yeshua CERTAINLY stressed eternal life was only found in the context of trust and belief in Him as the Messiah. It is through belief in Him that we are JUSTIFIED by all things which we CAN NOT BE JUSTIFIED before God on the basis of the Law of Moses alone. 1) Mercy and grace first 2) Forgiveness and right standing/reconciliation second 3) Holy living and love for God and fellow man
As long as Christians are righteous, do good and shun evil, they will be saved when the true Messiah comes, whatever they believe in.
Let Jews practice their own faith, passed down from their fathers, and Jews will be more than happy to let gentiles practice their faith as well. I cannot believe that you consider yourself more tied to Jewish roots than Irish roots. The Irish have a very rich heritage as well. Why not celebrate it instead of appropriating someone else's heritage?
[More to come on this....]
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