Monthly Archives: April 2015

So you Think You Know What Isaiah 53 Is Really About?

jew-near-wall

Coming out of Christianity has made me more aware of the stereotypes and the propaganda that are perpetuated about Jews within the confines of some forms of Christianity…here is one common misconception that is perpetuated by well meaning Christians:

From a pastor responding to learning that one of his congregants was listening to the teachings of a Rabbi about the suffering servant in Isaiah 53:

“You know the Rabbi’s will do every thing they can to point you away from seeing Jesus in those passages. They don’t want to see Jesus in these passages.”

Really, they categorically don’t want to see the messiah in those passages? Why not? That statement/concept suggests Christian’s are judging themselves to be more sincere in heart than Jews…is it not?

The above is a very common misconception about “Jews” in general fueled by Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 3:

But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

 

So all Jews are put into the same box. Not one of them really loves God or else they would see Jesus, right? But this verse states essentially, one can’t see Jesus until one turns to Jesus…hmmmm…that presents a conundrum doesn’t it?

There are 2 points to this conundrum:

  1. I mean, how would the Jews, who read, study and follow the Tanakh (OT) as their holy Bible be able to recognize Jesus as the Messiah unless God had shown them who to look for and how to recognize him in the Tanakh?
  2. How can I put all Jews in the same box, when I’ve not even spoken to one of them nor listened to their understanding of those same presumably “Christological” scriptures?

Many conservative Christians claim that God did show everyone very clearly from the Tanakh that Jesus is the Messiah. In fact I use to read all the christological OT scriptures and think “how could the Jews have missed Jesus so badly. I mean, even the scriptures that pointed to Jesus were capitalized and had little stars next to them.” Of course I had never, until recently, listen to a learned Rabbi speak about Isaiah 53 and other christological scriptures.

Proverbs 18:17 states:

 “In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.”

Consider the video teachings below as a second witness to the Christian teaching of Isaiah 53. Then you be the judge…

One final thought, do you have a thorough understanding of the book of Isaiah? Do you know what chapters 1-66 are about, specifically? If not, how can you be so confident that you understand Isaiah 53?

 

 

Invite Jesus Into Your Heart to Be Saved: Are You Sure?


Do you believe that what you think is real is actually true?

Today’s topic is about whether it is really true that if you, “Invite Jesus into your heart” you will be saved.

But before we get to it just a reminder that if you want to be part of this dialogue and not miss any of our videos, subscribe to our YouTube Channel by clicking here.

Question to contemplate: At what point in time did God flip the switch and require people to “invite Jesus into their hearts” to be saved? Please leave your comments below.

I think this is probably a modern idea, but an idea which may have come from Peter’s preaching on Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2 where he quotes Joel 2:32 and elsewhere. It may also come from Paul’s letter to the Romans in ch 10 where Paul also quotes Joel 2:32.

Since they both quote the same passage it might behoove us to look at that passage in context and see what it actually says…you might be surprised!

“Whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”

Joel 2:32

Let’s dig just little deeper into this passage…Did you notice that the word LORD is in all caps? Whenever LORD is in all caps we have the Tetragrammaton – normally transliterated as YHVH or YHWH – some translators spell it out as Yehovah or Yaweh – the big point here is that the passage does not at all say, Lord, it says, and Joel is quoting God here…so this is straight from the horses mouth so to speak…

“Whoever calls on the name of YHVH shall be saved.” Joel 2:32

Here is another question to contemplate: Is it ok to just plug in the name “Jesus” wherever you read “Lord” or “LORD” in the bible – whether it be in the Old Testament or the New Testament? Wouldn’t it be best to know what the existing manuscripts actually say and mean? Do you think that makes a difference in how one would understand the text?

If we back up to Joel 2 verses 12-13 for some additional context we read…

“Now, therefore,” says YHVH “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” 13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to YHVH your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.

Clearly this passage from Joel says that those who are saved and forgiven and restored to God are those who repent with a sincere heart and turn back to YHVH.

What do you think? Do the scriptures teach that the way to salvation, i.e. forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father is through “inviting Jesus into your heart.” If you think that is true… please consider at what specific moment in time did God make this a requirement for forgiveness of sins?

Leave your comments below.

Correction: In the video I state that the extant manuscripts have the Tetragrammaton not the word LORD or Lord. Some of the extant manuscripts do use the title Lord (Adonai (Hebrew) or kurios (Greek) in place of the Tetragrammaton.

What About Animal Sacrifices And How Are Jews Forgiven?

It is a common teaching in Christianity that it was animal sacrifices performed in the temple that was the mode and method for “Jews” to be forgiven of their sins. As Christians, we would often ponder, “how do Jews think they are forgiven since they don’t have a temple anymore?” ” Have you ever subscribed to this belief? Is this really what is taught about forgiveness in the Old Testament or Tanakh (Hebrew scriptures)?

To my shame the answer was always as plain as the words on the page of the “Old Testament.” Here are just a few of the passages that declare YHVH’s plan for forgiveness of sins:

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people who are called by my name (YHVH) will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.
  • Psalm 51 You do not delight in sacrifices or I would bring it, you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise.
  • Isaiah 1 – “I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats…stop doing wrong, learn to do right!…though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow…”

Notice that the only mention of sacrifices in the above passages is in the context that, it is not the animal sacrifice that God takes pleasure in, but that God “hears” or takes pleasure in the soul who truly repents and seeks after Him.

Question to contemplate: If YHVH takes no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats…how could he take pleasure in the blood of his only begotten son Jesus? Christian, how do you explain that? Let me caution you not to regurgitate what you have been told, but to seek after OT scriptural validation.

But what About the Need for Justification?

If God says he will forgive on the basis of repentance – defined as turning away from our wicked ways and following his ways of humility, justice and mercy (Micah 6) – then is the doctrine of justification fact or opinion? The doctrine of justification, at least as I learned it from reformed teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, requires that God’s just wrath be satisfied by the pouring out of the blood of His only son. I was taught that only the blood of a God/man would do, because it had to be a totally unblemished sacrifice in everyway.

But, do the Hebrew scriptures support a need for legal justification to occur in the way the reformers teach it? Many would point back to the “legalism” of the sacrificial system. However, who said this was a “legal” system? Who planted that concept into the minds of Christians? Just as the mode and method of forgiveness of sin was as plain as the words on the pages of the Tanakh, so is the answer to the sacrificial system, what it is and what it is not.

Take some time and read and study Leviticus, not through “Jesus” eyes, but through the context and time in which it was written. Even a brief study concludes that it was not only animal sacrifices that God instituted with the Israelites…but there were fine flour offerings that were also accepted as sin offerings for those who could not afford one of the animals (Leviticus 5:11).

Question to contemplate: If fine flour could be used as a sin offering (i.e. no blood required for the forgiveness of sin) why would YHVH sacrifice His only son in a cruel punishment and death like Roman crucifixion?

So what was the sacrificial system all about? The video below explains more on the meaning and purpose of the temple sacrifices from a Jewish perspective.

Which leads me to my final question: How do YOU know which or who’s perspective is the correct perspective when it comes to Bible interpretation?