Since I dont intend for this particular topic to be personal, I will not address it to any particular person, and would appreciate anyone's participation in this discussion (despite the fact it is in response to a particular link which was posted by our recent forum member and Jewish friend MBZ).
In response to the inquiry concerning the Jewish view of Jesus, posed to MBZ on a recent thread by copticorthodoxboy, the following weblink was given:http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/jewishsociety/Why_Jews_Dont_Believe_In_Jesus.asp
I believe thoroughly in inter-faith dialogue, and in understanding not only the doctrine of other faiths, but their position with regards to the doctrine of our own selves. The above link is a good and typical example of the general reasons why Jews dont believe in Jesus The Christ, and I have keenly sought to answer the objections presented (except for one sticky point, in which i took a shortcut by linking to a very schorlarly article which addresses the issues in question). If my fellow Orthodox brethren see anything that they can elaborate/expand on or something they feel they need to correct or fine tune, that would be greatly appreciated.
1. JESUS DID NOT FULFILL THE MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Bible says that he will:
A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
Firstly, lets not make the flawed assumption, that Jewish thought on the identity and function of the Messiah, is/has-been unanimous. Whilst Rabbi Shraga Simmons (who will be referred to as 'the author' from now on) maintains that the Messiah’s job was to rebuild the temple, many traditional Jews would disagree with him - and certainly, I believe the scriptures do also.
I understand that Maimonides, speaking a millennium after Christ’s advent, placed much stress on the relationship between the Messiah and the building of a temple; but we should bear in an open mind, for the sake of objectivity, that there may have been some anti-Christian bias, influencing this very emphasis - and thus we should seek to explore how others interpreted the Messiah’s mission, in the context of the relevant Messianic passages. If we look at the Tanakh in its entirety, there's very few scriptures that mention anything about the rebuilding of a temple, and the few that do, are in reference to the second temple.
The first obvious flaw in the above objection presented, that needs to be addressed, is the fact that scholars and historians have proven that there was Messianic expectation amongst many of the religious traditional Jews of Christ’s day i.e. That the Messiah would come in their lifetime - during the second temple period. Obviously then, they were not expecting the building of a third temple, since the second temple was already standing! What we do find however, is the fact that rather than expecting the Messiah to rebuild any temple, they were expecting His visitation to His temple!
If we read Haggai 2:6-9, we discover that there is something about the second temple being greater in glory than the first. Considering that the first temple was ascribed with 5 unique features lacking in the second temple; we are left wandering what it is about the second temple that makes it greater in glory. Certainly the rabbinic traditions were struggling to find an adequate answer to this puzzle, and the standard answers were certainly not plausible. Amidst all their attempts to explain this issue on their own, lies the very answer in Malachi 3:1-5 (a passage recognized to be messianic by famous medieval commentators David Kimchi and Metsudat David). Here we find that the Messiah would visit the second temple!
The scriptures speak plainly.
Looking at Ezekiel 37:26-28 specifically however, it clearly says absolutely nothing about the Messiah building any sort of temple:"I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever."
Looking at the wider context, namely considering chapters 44 - 46, the Messiah is only said to worship there. In fact the very temple in question, is not said to be built by anyone at all, but rather it is revealed to Ezekiel in a vision, already built and established. This is certainly the view of certain leading Rabbinic authorities, regarding the third temple. Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki), Tasafot (Sukkah 41a), and traditional Jewish sources such as Midrash Tanchuma, Pekedei, maintain that the third temple is “the sanctuary of God, established by your hands.” - One that is already built and waiting in the heavens to be revealed. Such a view is right on line with the temple witnessed by the apostle John, as depicted in the book of Revelations (especially Chapter 21).
The author then points out three prophecies which we as Christians maintain, will be fulfilled by Christ upon His second coming, namely:
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).
He then says:
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 exists.
Again, the objector makes an implicit assumption that Jews have been unanimous regarding their conception of who the Messiah, and what he will accomplish, and how
he will accomplish it, by conveniently slotting his view into a nice little box neatly labeled with the very generalized title of “What Jewish sources say.”
Again, Jewish sources say a range of things. Scholars recognise that traditional Judaism has developed at least 3 differing viewpoints with regards to the Messiah. The first, is the belief that there will in fact be two Messiah’s (a view held especially by the religious Jews of Christ’s day) - a priestly one from the line of Aaron, who would suffer and die, and a Davidic King who would rule and reign victoriously. The second view holds, that the nature of the Messiah’s coming is contingent upon the nature of our behaviour i.e. if we are righteous, he will come in glory with the clouds of heaven; if we are sinful, he will come lowly on a donkey. The third view sees a potential messiah in each generation.
Notice how none of the above options, fulfill the authors criteria of a “One Messiah fulfilling all prophecies at one time”.
The New Testament reveals to us, that there is only one Messiah, Jesus The Christ, who functions as priest, prophet, and King - The Messiah who according to the scriptures, was born into the world at the requisite specified time; a time where his generation was not worthy to receive him. Hence he entered Jerusalem lowly on a donkey, to be betrayed and rejected - to suffer, die and rise again on the third day. He reigns supreme, sovereign over the universe, sitting at the right hand of God, who is to come again, as The Son of man, on the clouds of glory, in victory and triumph to establish justice and judgement.
All the above features mentioned are evident in the Hebrew scriptures, and were recognized in extra-Biblical Jewish literature. The fact the One Messiah, would carry out these functions in two periods, certainly makes more sense than the above propositions of the Rabbi’s who tried to reconcile the fact the Messiah is presented with apparently contradictory attributes.
2) JESUS DID NOT EMBODY THE PERSONAL QUALIFICATIONS OF MESSIAH
A. MESSIAH AS PROPHET
The Messiah will become the greatest prophet in history, second only to Moses. (Targum - Isaiah 11:2; Maimonides - Yad Teshuva 9:2)
Jesus' prophetic office was foretold in the writings of Moses (Deueronomyt. 18 cf. Acts 3:23) and the prophets (e.g. Malachi 3:1-2); and was verified through the miracles he performed. Though a prophet is usually one who foretells the future, in its extended sense as it is applied to Christ, it is one who reveals the will of God, by speaking the very words of God (John 8:26-28; 12:49, 50; 14:10, 24; 15:15). Christ functioned as a prophet in the Old Testament (1 Peter 1:11, 3:18-20), during His earthly ministry, and continued this function by operating the Holy Spirit through the apostles after His ascension (John 14:26, 16:12-14, Acts 1:1) which empowered them to preach The Word and inspired them to write the New Testament.
In His uniqueness as The only-begotten Son of God, Jesus was not merely a messenger of the divine revelation (as all the other prophets), but was Himself the very source of divine revelation. Rather than saying, as the prophets of the Old Testament did, `Thus says the Lord..,' Jesus could begin speaking with the divine authority, making statements such as, `But I say unto you ' (Matthew 5:22).
The Old Testament prophets said, “The Word of the Lord came to me”. Jesus is the Word of The Lord who came into the world in person (John 1:1,14, Rev 19:13). Thus the office of prophethood refers not so much to the words which Christ spoke, but rather as to His very person as God's highest and personal revelation of Himself (Heb. 1:1-3).
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.
Jesus was not a prophet; he appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended.
A few points to make here:
a) Who says prophecy can only exist in Israel when a land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry? Though this may be the belief held by certain men (a suspiciously motivated one at that, as will be discussed in point d.), the divinely inspired scriptures certainly say nothing concerning this.
b) We have already proven that the date of the coming of the Messiah (whom the author understands to hold a prophetic office also) was specified by the Hebrew scriptures to the very time that the author is trying to argue. In addition to the passages brought up thus far, Daniel 9 also gives us a specific time period, proving that Christ came at just the right time.
c) The author employs a very narrow view of “prophet”. As explained above, a prophet is not necessarily one who prophesies (though Christ certainly made many prophecies, both immediate - including that of his own fate, and the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, and distant - the events of the last days, but simply one who reveals God’s will to man.
d) Id like to quote New Testament scholar and world renowned historian N.T. Wright on the issue of the nature of prophecy during the second temple period:
“It used to be common to say that in the 1st century prophecy was regarded as having ceased, and there is some evidence which points in this direction. Jews in the 2nd century B.C. spoke of waiting for a prophet to come, in the tone of voice of people who do not imagine it to happen very soon. In 1 Maccabees 4.46, Judas and his companions store the stones of the defiled altar in a convenient place ‘until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them’. In 14.41GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ÂªSimon is appointed leader and high priest ‘until a trustworthy prophet should arise.’. In both cases the prophet is seen as one who would reveal the will of YHWH on matters of the highest importanceGÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ÂªAs far as these texts are concerned, then, prophecy is not available in the present timeGÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ÂªSome rabbinic texts, too, seem to indicate a sense that prophecy had come to a stop...”
"However, in each of these cases we are right to be a little suspicious of the evidence, 1 Maccabees, written to undergird the authority of the Hasmonean regime, would be unlikely to acknowledge as truly prophetic, any oracles that challenged this upstart royal house, and the nod in the direction of a possible future prophet is most likely to be seen as a pious gesture,,,The rabbis, not least in the second century (when their traditions began to take written form), were concerned above all with the supremacy of the Torah (and of themselevs as accredited interpreters), and with the renunciation of revloution in favour of Torah-piety. It suited this double agenda to declare, or imply, that old-fashooned prophecy, especially if it carried revolutionary overtones, had come to an end."
He goes on to explain how though it had seemed that prophecy ceased, considering the lack of prophetic material since the book of Daniel, prophecy of various sorts however, seemed to have continued unchecked in the second-temple period.
The fact remains, this is an observation of the nature of prophecy in that particular period (i.e. to some certain extent it can be seen
that some form of prophecy had ceased, and not a qualification (i.e. its impossible for prophecy to exist).
B. DESCENDENT OF DAVID
According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people.
There is nothing in the Tanakh that requires the Messiah to be born "normally" of human parents. Later on we will discuss the concept of the virgin birth prophesied in isaiah 7:14. Furthermore, again, there are traditional Jewish sources as described above, who see the Messiah as one with a heavenly origin, "coming on the clouds of heaven". Since they, unlike Christians, never saw this as the entrance of the Messiah in His second coming, then it is assumed that the heavens from which he descends on the clouds, is the heavens from where He originates.
He will not be a demi-god,
This is a straw mans - we do not believe the incarnate Word is a “demi-god.” The fullness of divinity was united with His humanity. He was no more a demi-god than the ancient tabernacle which was filled with the glory and shekinah of the Lord.
nor will he possess supernatural qualities.
Again, this is a misleading general statement. There is a range of important traditional sources that speak of certain supernatural qualities (such as his pre-existence as mentioned above) of the Messiah to the point that many scholars have labeled these particular aspects of the traditional Jewish Messiah as “semi-divine.” Certainly there have been many figures in Traditional Judaism that seem to possess such a highly exalted status, such that the line between God and creation becomes quite blurred. In Christianity we do not believe that there could ever exist such highly exalted figures in a strict monotheistic framework, and hence a High Christology leads to the identification of Christ with the Godhead, rather than a subordinate semi-divine figure.
Though the Messiah’s eternal divine identity is explicated in the New testament, I believe there are plenty of pointers, hints or indications if you will, in the Hebrew scriptures concerning the divinity of the Messiah, such as Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2, Psalm 2, Psalm 45:7, Daniel 7, Isaiah 48:12-17 etc. etc.
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)
Regarding the issue of the genealogy of Christ, I will provide the following link which deals with all the issues presented in the article (including the footnote), such as the issue of Jospeh not being the physical father of Jesus, St Mary being of physical descent from David, and the issue of Jeconiah and the curse:http://www.christian-thinktank.com/fabprof4.html
C. TORAH OBSERVANCE
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)
Jesus did not change the Torah. He came to fulfill (exegete or bring about a fuller understanding of) the Torah.
Matthew 5:17-18: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable.
False. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus - possessing the authority of God Himself, corrects his contemporaries misinterpretation of the Torah, and exegetes it according to the original divine purpose and intent with which they were initially instituted with.
John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), "He does not observe Shabbat!"
John 9 records how Jesus made mud, in order to open a blind man’s eyes on the Sabbath. The author of this article makes the same mistake from the point of view of Christ, that the Pharisees do in verse 16 when they accuse Christ of not observing/keeping the Sabbath; namely, they falsely interpret the Sabbath law in a legalistic manner, whilst ignoring the context of the situation as if it were irrelevant. Jesus’s actions were not a contradiction of His
Sabbath law, but rather a contradiction of the traditions of man added by man to qualifiy His
Law - traditions which had nothing to do with the divine purpose/intent of the Sabbath law.
The author of the article chooses to disregard all contextual factors of the particular passage in question, choosing to simply point out the accusation of the Pharisees, as if their accusation is valid by default. Lets have a look at the passage in context.
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.
2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
3 He answered, “Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread-which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.
5 Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?
6 I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.
7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath
Plucking heads of grain was already specifically allowed in the Law (Deut. 23:25). While the Law said people could not work on the Sabbath, you could pluck grain to eat, as long as you were not harvesting by putting it in a bag. Jesus also points out that during David's emergency, his staying alive took precedence over the showbread, thus how much more should the Messiah take precedence over pharisaic traditions. Providing Old Testament precedents of blameless violations of the Sabbath rule (Lev. 24:5-9, Num, 28:9, 10; 1 Sam. 21:1-6), Jesus demonstrates that the law is not absolute over human need or service to God.
An early church father, Tertullian (200-240 A.D.) in Against Marcion
Chapter 12 of Book 4, points out that when God commanded the Israelites to march around Jericho for 8 days straight, they were in fact marching on the Sabbath. So, this too is an example of God's direct command overruling His own Sabbath.
Jesus is Lord, even on the Sabbath, thus Lord of all days including the Lord’s day, and the Author of the Law itself. We were made for God, not for a law and not for the Sabbath. For the Pharisees, the Sabbath actually became an idol for them in a sense, as they became more concerned about the Sabbath than God. The command to rest on the Sabbath was given to help man, not to hinder man. God is Lord of His law, and he gives precedence to mercy rather than ritualistic observance.
9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"
11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?
12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.
14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
Jesus who as Messiah has established Himself as Lord of the Law, both author and exegete, then goes on to heal a man of the Sabbath. He further justifies the validity of His action, which He maintains is not a violation of the Sabbath.
A further and more revealing incident concerning the Sabbath, is to be found in John 5:
1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.
3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie-the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirtyeight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,
1 0and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him.
17 Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”
18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him
The implication here is very plain. What He is doing, is adopting a common Jewish opinion regarding the relationship between God and the Sabbath, and using it as His own valid defense. Though the Torah states that God “rested” on the Sabbath, the consensus amongst the rabbis of Christ’s day (including eminent figures such as Rabban Gamaliel II, R. Joshua, R Eleazar b. Azariah) was that God Himself must somehow work on the Sabbath, otherwise proividence itself would weekly go into abeyance. Just as God continuously works, so too does His Christ, because His Christ, is His Word, and The Word is inseparable from God, as the rays of a sun are inseparable from the core of that sun. Christ was perfectly understood by those who heard Him, and hence they charged Him with blasphemy.
3) MISTRANSLATED VERSES "REFERRING" TO JESUS
Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text -- which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.
Putting aside the issue of Massoretic Hebrew OT vs. Greek Septuagint OT. We will assume the validity of the Hebrew for arguments sake.
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."
Before we delve into linguistics/semantics, we would first like to correct the blatant historical error committed by the author. The word “alma” was in fact translated into “parthenos” (The Greek word used for “virgin”) by Jewish scholars
, who translated the Hebrew scriptures into the Greek Septuagint approximately 200 years before Christ
Himself was even born. The Septuagint is not a product of the church, it was simply maintained by the church due to the fact that Christ and His apostles quoted directly from it, validating its authority and authenticity (amongst other issues).
Though the word may not technically refer to a virgin, it is certainly not excluded from referring to a virgin. In fact, we would argue that it implies a virgin, for it represents a young lady who possesses the characteristic of virginity. Considering both is cultural and linguistic context, we can affirm that it in fact refers to a young lady who is both unmarried and sexually mature.
This accords Jesus' birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.
Not only is this claim out-dated and un-schorlarly, it’s a claim that certainly backfires on the author as a Jew. First I will address the fact that the author has applied double standards and shot himself in the foot, and then I will address the very nature of the claim itself.
1) The thesis concerning stolen pagan myths and concepts is one promulgated by the uneducated, narrow minded, gullible, and uncritical, against both Christianity AND Judaism. If the author of the article were to be consistent in his reasoning, he would have to conclude likewise, that the Tanakh itself is derived from pagan sources. Skeptics have often pointed out parallels between the Tanakh and pagan traditions: The Genesis creation account with the Babylonian creation account; the birth of Moses with the birth of Sergon of Akkad, have striking similarities. The author was either ignorant of this fact, or simply inconsistent in his approach due his theological bias.
2) The Gospel writers were Jewish, establishing an eye-witness account of historical events that took place in the first century - it is inconceivable that they would try and construct a historical narrative by borrowing from mythologies concerning non-existent beings. They consistently used the Old Testament to back up what they were saying, and it is upon the authority of Isaiah 7:14, and the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit alone, which lead them to conclude that this was a prophetic passage concerning the virgin birth of the Messiah. Furthermore, there is simply and plainly, NO pagan parallel at ALL to the Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit conceiving The Word in the womb of the blessed virgin St Mary. The so-called pagan parallels all involve some sort of sexual activity or penetration.
B. SUFFERING SERVANT
Throughout Jewish scripture, Israel is repeatedly called, in the singular, the "Servant of God" (see Isaiah 43:. In fact, Isaiah states no less than 11 times in the chapters prior to 53 that the Servant of God is Israel.
An open minded objective analysis of the servant songs, make it clear that there are two servants of God; one is the Messiah (identified as God’s servant in Zecheriah 3:
, the other is Israel (identified as God’s servant in Isaiah 41:
. In Isaiah 42, the two servants are contrasted; verses 6-7 portray a servant who is the light, opening the eyes of the blind, and leading people from darkness, and out of prison; and verses 18-22 reveal a servant who is blind and deaf, sitting in the darkness of prison. The identity of these servants is made clear in the wider context. Isaiah 6:9-10 identifies Israel with the blinded servant, who has been stripped of knowledge and wisdom as a result of their rebellion against God (Isaiah 29:13-14). In Isaiah 11:1-2, it is clear that the Messiah is the servant who will open the eyes of the blind and lead the way, for he is said to have, in contrast to Israel who are devoid of wisdom or understanding, the very Spirit of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
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.
This is a mere assertion, and does not prove necessary, the interpretation that Israel is the subject being bruised, crushed, and brought to the slaughter. This is also how The Christ is depicted according to the historical narratives of the Gospels. We must look beyond this trivial and irrelevant point to truly understand who the identity of this particular servant is.
These descriptions are used throughout Jewish scripture to graphically describe the suffering of the Jewish people (see Psalm 44)
As stated above, these descriptions are also used throughout the Christian scriptures to graphically describe the suffering of Jesus The Christ. We need to consider further factors to make a better judgement. For example, I would argue that certain attributes of the suffering servant, directly contradict the Old Testament depiction of Israel e.g. the possession of Knowledge/understanding/Wisdom and a character of righteousness (verse 11) as well as the fact the suffering servant “did not open his mouth before his shearers” (verse 7). Furthermore the suffering servant is said to possess no deceit in his mouth nor had he done any violence
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.
Clearly Isaiah 53 concludes with the fact that the suffering and death of the servant is an atoning sacrifice.
4) JEWISH BELIEF IS BASED SOLELY ON NATIONAL REVELATION
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.
This is all good and well, but I would like to make a brief comment at this stage, before I come back with a more thorough response to this issue. The first point I would like to bring forth, is the fact that God alone has power over life and death.
"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me (1). I put to death and bring to life (2), I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver them out of my hand." Deuteronomy 32:39
Notice how the pssage concerns God declaring His exclusiveness. He then follows this declaration of being the exclusive God by mentioning some of those things which define His exclusiveness: namely the The ability to give and take life. The Resurrection of Christ, is the most powerful tetsimony to Christ's authenticity (after all, why would God resurrect a fraud?). The Resurrection is one of the best attested facts of history, than any other miracle in antiquity. I made a comment on this issue in a previous thread, I will copy what i said and repaste it here:
The Resurrection of Christ, the foundation of the church, is a historical fact that atheists have been struggling to deal with for centuries now; the evidence of the missing body - the empty tomb, the appearances to hundreds and hundreds, the circumstantial evidence, the rapid growth of the early church - are all historical facts supported by the strongest eye-witness testimony, it is simply irrefutable.
One of the worlds leading atheist philosophers (who has recently turned agnostic) Antony Flew had a major debate with a world renowned Christian apologist Habermas, on the topic “Did Jesus really rise from the dead?” The result was decidely one-sided. Of the 5 independent philosophers from various colleges and universities who served as judges of the debate, 4 concluded that Habermas had won, and the other called it a draw. One of the judges commented: “I was surprised to see how weak Flew's own approach was... I was left with the conclusion: that since the case against the resurrection was no stronger than that presented by Flew, I would think its time i began to take the ressurection more seriously.” Another commented: “I conclude that the historical evidence...is strong enough to lead reasonable minds to conclude that Christ did indeed rise from the dead...Habermas does end up providing 'high probable evidence' for the historicity of the resurrection 'with no plausible naturalistic evidence against it.'...”
If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense He'll tell everyone, not just one person.
This is rather weak. Despite the fact the Messiah’s ministry was declared by the Father in front of certain witnesses (e.g transfiguration, Christ’s baptism, etc which I will get to in my next response), the fact is, it was up to the Jewish people to make up their own minds concerning Jesus. Jesus testified to His identity as Messiah, performed miracles to verify His claims, (with the ultimate sign, the sign of Jonah - His resurrection from the dead) and fulfilled the first aspect of Messianic prophecies, the prophecies concerning his rejection, betrayal, suffering, and sacrificial atoning death. It is worth mentioning, that if God were to publicly declare Christ in the manner that the author begs, this would go against the prophecies describing His very rejection.
Judaism is not miracles. It is the personal eyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago.
Christ’s validity as Messiah and prophet has never been solely attributed to the fact he performed miracles (though the significance of the Resurrection of Christ is one that cannot be dismissed as trivial or irrelevant). Ultimately, Christ fulfilled the prophecies concerning Him, and this is one of the greatest proofs - God did not need to publicly declare Christ to the whole nation, because He already decalared Him in the testimony of the prophets. Christ constantly referred back to the prophets as His witnesses (one example of many is found in John 5:46, where he states: "If you believed Moses, you would believe me [Jesus], for he wrote about me." It was up to the Jews to open their hearts and minds, and believe.