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Responding to Orthodox Judaism: Where do I find the answers?

Discussion in 'Messianic Judaism' started by patriarch, Apr 5, 2004.

  1. patriarch

    patriarch Senior Member

    In a yahoogroup devoted to "The Passion of the Christ" an obviously Orthodox Jew posted the following under the heading, "Why Jews don't believe in Jesus.". I am Catholic and would like to respond, but haven't a clue where to go for answers that he would regard as authoritative. Can anyone point the way?

    Here is his post:

    from www.aish.com/jewishissues

    Why Jews Don't Believe In Jesus
    by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
    For 2,000 years Jews have rejected the Christian idea of Jesus as
    messiah. Why?

    In the wake of Mel Gibson's phenomenally successful film and the
    production company's ambitious plans to market the film worldwide
    to "the faithless," taking advantage of what is perhaps "the best
    Christian outreach opportunity in 2,000 years," it is important for
    Jews to understand why we don't believe in Jesus.

    The purpose is not to disparage other religions, but rather to
    clarify the Jewish position.

    Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:

    1) Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.

    2) Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.

    3) Biblical verses "referring" to Jesus are mistranslations.

    4) Jewish belief is based on national revelation.

    But first, some background: What exactly is the Messiah?

    The word "Messiah" is an English rendering of the Hebrew
    word "Mashiach", which means "Anointed." It usually refers to a
    person initiated into God's service by being anointed with oil.
    (Exodus 29:7, I Kings 1:39, II Kings 9:3)

    Since every King and High Priest was anointed with oil, each may be
    referred to as "an anointed one" (a Mashiach or a Messiah). For
    example: "God forbid that I [David] should stretch out my hand
    against the Lord's Messiah [Saul]..." (I Samuel 26:11. Cf. II Samuel
    23:1, Isaiah 45:1, Psalms 20:6)

    Where does the Jewish concept of Messiah come from? One of the
    central themes of Biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age
    of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of
    God. (Isaiah 2:1-4; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15;
    Isaiah 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9;
    Jeremiah 31:33-34)

    Many of these prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David
    who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9;
    Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28;
    Hosea 3:4-5)

    Since every King is a Messiah, by convention, we refer to this
    future anointed king as The Messiah. The above is the only
    description in the Bible of a Davidic descendant who is to come in
    the future. We will recognize the Messiah by seeing who the King of
    Israel is at the time of complete universal perfection.


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

    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

    If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then
    he cannot be "The Messiah."

    Because no one has ever fulfilled the Bible's description of this
    future King, Jews still await the coming of the Messiah. All past
    Messianic claimants, including Jesus of Nazareth, Bar Cochba and
    Shabbtai Tzvi have been rejected.

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




    The Messiah will become the greatest prophet in history, second only
    to Moses. (Targum - Isaiah 11:2; Maimonides - Yad Teshuva 9:2)

    Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a
    majority of world Jewry, a situation which has not existed since 300
    BCE. During the time of Ezra, when the majority of Jews refused to
    move from Babylon to Israel, prophecy ended upon the death of the
    last prophets -- Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

    Jesus was not a prophet; he appeared on the scene approximately 350
    years after prophecy had ended.


    According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human
    parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He
    will not be a demi-god, (1) nor will he possess supernatural

    The Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David
    (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-
    24). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of
    a virgin birth, he had no father -- and thus could not have possibly
    fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his
    father's side from King David. (2)


    The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance.
    The Torah states that all mitzvot remain binding forever, and anyone
    coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false
    prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)

    Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states
    that its commandments are no longer applicable. (see John 1:45 and
    9:16, Acts 3:22 and 7:37)



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


    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.


    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. Throughout Jewish scripture,
    Israel is repeatedly called, in the singular, the "Servant of God"
    (see Isaiah 43:8). In fact, Isaiah states no less than 11 times in
    the chapters prior to 53 that the Servant of God is Israel. When
    read correctly, Isaiah 53 clearly [and ironically] refers to the
    Jewish people being "bruised, crushed and as sheep brought to
    slaughter" at the hands of the nations of the world. These
    descriptions are used throughout Jewish scripture to graphically
    describe the suffering of the Jewish people (see Psalm 44). Isaiah
    53 concludes that when the Jewish people are redeemed, the nations
    will recognize and accept responsibility for the inordinate
    suffering and death of the Jews.

    For further reading, go to:



    Throughout history, thousands of religions have been started by
    individuals, attempting to convince people that he or she is God's
    true prophet. But personal revelation is an extremely weak basis for
    a religion because one can never know if it is indeed true. Since
    others did not hear God speak to this person, they have to take his
    word for it. Even if the individual claiming personal revelation
    performs miracles, there is still no verification that he is a
    genuine prophet. Miracles do not prove anything. All they show --
    assuming they are genuine -- is that he has certain powers. It has
    nothing to do with his claim of prophecy.

    Judaism, unique among all of the world's major religions, does not
    rely on "claims of miracles" as the basis for its religion. In fact,
    the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of "miracles" to
    charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah (Deut.

    Of the thousands of religions in human history, only Judaism bases
    its belief on national revelation -- i.e. God speaking to the entire
    nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense He'll
    tell everyone, not just one person.

    Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8):

    The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the
    miracles he performed. Whenever anyone's belief is based on seeing
    miracles, he has lingering doubts, because it is possible the
    miracles were performed through magic or sorcery. All of the
    miracles performed by Moses in the desert were because they were
    necessary, and not as proof of his prophecy.

    What then was the basis of [Jewish] belief? The Revelation at Mount
    Sinai, which we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears,
    not dependent on the testimony of others... as it says, "Face to
    face, God spoke with you..." The Torah also states: "God did not
    make this covenant with our fathers, but with us -- who are all here
    alive today." (Deut. 5:3)

    Judaism is not miracles. It is the personal eyewitness experience of
    every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago.

    For further reading: "Did God Speak at Mount Sinai?"


    The world is in desperate need of Messianic redemption. And to the
    extent we are aware of the problems of society, is the extent we
    will yearn for redemption. As the Talmud says, one of the first
    questions asked of a Jew on Judgment Day is: "Did you yearn for the
    arrival of the Messiah?"

    How can we hasten the coming of the Messiah? The best way is to love
    all humanity generously, to keep the mitzvot of the Torah (as best
    we can), and to encourage others to do so as well.

    Despite the gloom, the world does seem headed toward redemption. One
    apparent sign is that the Jewish people have returned to the Land of
    Israel and made it bloom again. Additionally, a major movement is
    afoot of young Jews returning to Torah tradition.

    The Messiah can come any day, and it all depends on our actions. God
    is ready when we are. For as King David says: "Redemption will come
    today -- if you hearken to His voice."

    For further study visit: Jews for Judaism

    See also:

    "You Are My Witness: The Traditional Jewish Response to Christian
    Missionaries" A booklet in pdf format by Yisroel C. Blumenthal

    "The Real Messiah," by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

    "The Path of the Righteous Gentile," by Chaim Clorfene and Yakov


    1.Maimonides devotes much 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).

    2. In response, it is claimed that Joseph adopted Jesus, and passed
    on his genealogy via adoption. There are two problems with this

    a) There is no Biblical basis for the idea of a father passing on
    his tribal line by adoption. A priest who adopts a son from another
    tribe cannot make him a priest by adoption;

    b) Joseph could never pass on by adoption that which he doesn't
    have. Because Joseph descended from Jeconiah (Matthew 1:11) he fell
    under the curse of that king that none of his descendants could ever
    sit as king upon the throne of David. (Jeremiah 22:30; 36:30)

    To answer this difficult problem, apologists claim that Jesus traces
    himself back to King David through his mother Mary, who allegedly
    descends from David, as shown in the third chapter of Luke. There
    are four basic problems with this claim:

    a) There is no evidence that Mary descends from David. The third
    chapter of Luke traces Joseph's genealogy, not Mary's.

    b) Even if Mary can trace herself back to David, that doesn't help
    Jesus, since tribal affiliation goes only through the father, not
    mother. Cf. Numbers 1:18; Ezra 2:59.

    c) Even if family line could go through the mother, Mary was not
    from a legitimate Messianic family. According to the Bible, the
    Messiah must be a descendent of David through his son Solomon (II
    Samuel 7:14; I Chronicles 17:11-14, 22:9-10, 28:4-6). The third
    chapter of Luke is irrelevant to this discussion because it
    describes lineage of David's son Nathan, not Solomon. (Luke 3:31)

    d) Luke 3:27 lists Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in his genealogy. These
    two also appear in Matthew 1:12 as descendants of the cursed
    Jeconiah. If Mary descends from them, it would also disqualify her
    from being a Messianic progenitor.

    For more on "The Passion" see:

    Gibson's Blood Libel

    Jews and Christians after The Passion

    The Passion: The Movie and the Aftermath

    Mel Gibson and the Jews

    The Passion: A Historical Perspective"

    Author Biography:
    Rabbi Shraga Simmons spent his childhood trekking through snow in
    Buffalo, New York. He has worked in the fields of journalism and
    public relations, and is now the Co-editor of Aish.com in Jerusalem.
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. simchat_torah

    simchat_torah Got Torah?

    After lunch I intend on answering many of these 'objections'.

  3. The Thadman

    The Thadman Well-Known Member

    John 1:45: Not Jesus Speaking: Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote: Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

    John 9:16: Not Jesus Speaking: Some therefore of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he doesn’t keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” There was division among them.

    Acts 3:22: Not Jesus Speaking: For Moses indeed said to the fathers, ‘The Lord God will raise up a prophet for you from among your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him in all things whatever he says to you.

    Acts 7:37: Not Jesus Speaking: 37 This is that Moses, who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord our God will raise up a prophet for you from among your brothers, like me.’

    The only one that comes even close to supporting this notion is the debate about keeping the Sabbath, but the Abbot had even larger arguments and the Talmud is ambiguous on many Sabbath related issues.

    Looking at what is in the Torah, Jesus in NO way broke the Sabbath.

    According to the Oral Law, dragging your chair could be considered work.

    EVERY other teaching Jesus has to offer SUPPORTS and ENCOURAGES proper interpretation and practice of the Torah.

  4. Dominus Fidelis

    Dominus Fidelis ScottBot is Stalking Me!

    And He said He didn't come to abolish the Torah.
  5. simchat_torah

    simchat_torah Got Torah?


    The problem comes when Jews claim he lied... that while he may have stated he wasn't here to abolish the Torah, that he in fact did.

    This is what we must explicitly prove. Unfortuatnely, today I haven't had the time to address this thread as I hoped because Pesach came upon me too quickly!

    I've just been making a few random posts on my way to bed, so I appologize Patriarch for not dedicating the time I promised to this project.

    shalom & my deepest regrets,
  6. Hix

    Hix Zionist Jew

    The proboblem comes from those christians who claim he was "the end of the law" in other words every single word of every prophet was follow the torah forever, yet all of a sudden that was changed. It doesnt add up, they are right, BUT Yeshua didnt come to be an end of the law or abolish it, infact he came to promote it! G-ds plan for the world is centered soley on Torah, it even existed before the world itself did, and there is no contradiction of this in the Brit Chadasha.

    Take a walk into most christian denom forums here and say that Torah is eternal and youl be dubbed a heretic. Infact the very message of evangelism to the Jews by fundy christians is "the Torah cant save you even though it says it can over 30 times in the Tanach" and honestly I can see how off putting that really is. I just wish Jews could see that even though the christians proclaim this, Yeshua said completely to the contrary. Whilst they are not free from blame, I can honestly say that the strawman "jesus" erected by the church is substantially to blame for the Jews rejection of Moshiach.

    Shalom and G-d bless
  7. patriarch

    patriarch Senior Member

    I understand, but it's less important that he be answered right away than that he be answered. Maybe after Pesach?

  8. Israeli

    Israeli Rider

    Shalom in the name of Rabbi Yeshua Bar Yosef,

    As I have studied Judaism in Jewish Bible colleges (yeshivot),
    I have written a short summary on my website
    as to why Orthodox Jews reject Jesus, it is:

    israelimission.org please click on the "Why reject Yeshua?" link.

    In Yeshua,