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Why won’t you listen?!

January 20th, 2014

I don’t know how many times I have to say it: I don’t believe in three gods.  No one who is a Christian believes in three gods.  Every true believer can say, along with every Jew the Shema: Here O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One (Deuteronomy 6:4).  Neither do we believe that a man became God – that is sacrilegious.

Where do you get these ideas?  From those who do not understand themselves what Christians (whether Jewish or Gentile) believe.  Why not get the truth about the Christian faith from those who understand it: Christians (whether Jewish or Gentile)?  Or from the source, the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament)?  We’d be happy to send you a copy.

Is it possible that the you are told not to interact with us, because there is truth in what we say?  You won’t know till you check it out.

Contact us!

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Christianity, New Covenant, Things Doctrinal and Theological | No Comments »

Have you kissed the Son?

November 26th, 2013

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalms 2:12; English Standard Version)

Do homage in purity, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way, when suddenly His wrath is kindled. Happy are all they that take refuge in Him. (Psalms 2:12; Jewish Publication Society)

A quick perusal of this verse in the two versions will show that there is some disagreement here.  But, why?

The phrase under debate is the Hebrew words that can be transliterated in English as neeshku-var.  The Hebrew word nshk, can mean “kiss” or “paying homage.”  Var is the Aramaic word for “son.”  So why has the JPS translated it, “do homage in purity?”

Although this is the tradition of some Medieval Jewish sages, there are notable exceptions, such as Ibn Ezra, and the Radak.  The Zohar also speaks of this verse, understanding the word as son.  More importantly, the Talmud recognizes this psalm as Messianic, and speaking in relationship to both Messiah son of Joseph (i.e. Yeshua or Jesus), and Messiah son of David (b. Sukkah 52a).

Already in Psalm 2 we are asked why the world rebels against the Lord and His Anointed (v.1). Later in the psalm God calls this anointed his Son whom He has begotten (v. 7).  So in the words of Michael Brown, to whom I am indebted for the information in this article*, “Why then should it be considered odd that the psalm would close with a twofold admonition, namely, to ‘serve the Lord with fear’ and ‘kiss the son?’”

Where traditional Jewish interpreters vary, they are required to say that the word as written is not quite correct, and that it represents a different word (like the Hebrew word for “purity” which is very similar).  As demonstrated above, however, that is not necessary.

Who is right?  Those who take the words as they are written and translate them within the context of the Psalm; or those who –  disregarding what is written both in the Scriptural text and even, at times, in rabbinic tradition – translate according to their own idea of what they want Scripture to say.

Sadly, many (happily not all) passages in Scripture that point to Yeshua as Messiah are treated this way. Still, more Jewish people are coming to “kiss the Son” today than since the time of Yeshua.  Why not listen to God and do the same?

Please contact us for more information, or you can click here.

* For a more detailed discussion on this passage, read “Answering Jewish Objections of Jesus: Volume Three – Messianic Prophecy Objections,” by Michael Brown.  2003.  Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Following God, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Talmud vs. Tanakh, The Bible, Things Doctrinal and Theological | No Comments »

Flesh and Blood Yeshua (Jesus)

October 24th, 2013

“This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:50-51)

This is one of the verses that rabbis love to tout to demonstrate the terrible nature of Christian thought, as if Christianity were promoting cannibalism.  Indeed, Yeshua (Jesus) is responding here to the offense his Jewish listeners took when he spoke of this a few verses earlier (see John 6:.25-59 for the whole story).

But to take offense, is to lack understanding of the fact that Yeshua is speaking of spiritual things, not literal things.  The same confusion occurs in the 3rd chapter of John, when a Jewish priest by the name of Nicodemus is told that to see the kingdom of God he must be born again.  Nicodemus takes him literally, and asks how a man is to re-enter his mother’s womb to be reborn.  He doesn’t get that Yeshua is talking of a spiritual regeneration – reborn in his relationship with God (see John 3:1-21).

In chapter 4 we see the same thing, this time when Yeshua is speaking to a Samaritan woman.  He promises her living water that would permanently quench her thirst and she asks him for it assuming it was a physical thing – like Yeshua was some sort of snake-oil salesman.  But Yeshua was talking spiritually; that in having a right relationship with God through him, we can have eternal life.

And in our passage above, Yeshua is speaking spiritually once again.  It was, after all, his finger at Mount Sinai that put the law on the tablets of stone (Exodus 31:18); and it is by Yeshua’s finger again that, in the New Covenant promised by God through the prophet Jeremiah, the same law is written in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  So when he speaks of partaking of his flesh and blood, he is talking about our partaking spiritually in his act of sacrifice on the cross that would bring atonement for our sins and enable us to enter into that New Covenant.

Many turned away because they misunderstood Yeshua.  Many turn away today for the same reason.  Don’t misunderstand the Word of God.  It is a spiritual book seeking to give you life eternal.

If you would like to know more about what Jesus truly taught, feel free to contact us.  We would be happy to send you a copy of the B’rit Hadashah (New Covenant or New Testament) to read, and we are always ready to help you to understand it.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, New Covenant, Salvation, Some Words and Thoughts | No Comments »

Don’t Be Blinded!

April 5th, 2013

“Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, ‘You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.’”(Matthew 24:1-2)

Yeshua (Jesus) is here speaking about the events that would occur in 40 years: the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.  He had just finished condemning the Jewish religious leaders in Matthew 23 where he calls them blind guides.  It is passages like these that cause many Jewish leaders today to call the Gospel of Matthew anti-Semitic.

Let us consider the source and the result, however.  Matthew, a Jewish disciple of Yeshua is writing about what his Jewish rabbi said.  This rabbis is, among other things, a prophet.  That Yeshua is truly a prophet we can determine by the result that what he said came to pass.  Consider how often the prophets condemned the Israelite leaders, both kings and priests, because they were disobedient to God (see also Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?).

Yeshua was not happy about that which was to take place; indeed he had just lamented over Israel and their inability to see the deliverance he brought for them (Matthew 23:37).  He knew God’s will, and declared it, just as the prophets of old.

The truth is that if Yeshua was a prophet as promised in the Torah (Deuteronomy 18:18), then he was also the Messiah and he was also God.

  • He was the Messiah as promised by Hebrew Scriptures (Isaiah 9:1-6; Isaiah 53),
    • and as a prophet of God he proclaimed this to be so (John 4:25-26).
  • He was God, as the prophets proclaimed he would be (Isaiah 9:6; Jeremiah 23:6; Malachi 3:1),
    • and as a prophet of God he proclaimed this to be so (Mark 3:11-12; Luke 4:41; John 1:49-51, 8:58 (claiming God’s name given to Moses in Exodus 3:14).

If what he said about the temple was true, then why should it surprise us that all the rest is true.  And if Israel had been blinded by their leaders before about the nature of God and His plans, why should we not be prepared for the same today?

Don’t be blinded by the traditions of men and be destroyed.  Come to the Word of God and the Son of God and be saved for eternal life!

“Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”(Matthew 15:14)

Please contact us for more information!

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, The Bible | No Comments »

Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?

January 7th, 2013

For centuries, Jewish scholars and leaders have touted the B’rit Hadashah (the New Testament) as anti-Semitic.  Recently I came across an internet article (link here) attributed to Shmuel Golding, which states:

Bible-intoxicated Christians through the ages have thrown in the teeth of the Jews the demonic charges of “Christ-killers” and have fanned the flames of Jew-hatred using the New Testament for their justification.

While it is clear that historically there have been members of the Church who have done this, it would be extremely erroneous to say that they were “bible-intoxicated.”  The vast majority of these persecutors of Jewish people, far from being intoxicated with the Bible, had hardly imbibed the Bible at all.  That is not to say that there were not some Christians who knew the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) and yet were foolishly anti-Semitic, but for the most part, the principle sources of anti-Semitism throughout the ages were an  ignorance of Scriptures and the agendas of wrong-thinking religious and political leaders.

Historically, much of this anti-Semitism came about after Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire.  Often Jewish critics conveniently forget the anti-Christianity of Judaism that went on before that time.  I, myself, have been on the receiving side of such hatred, and primarily because I’m a Jew (a new form of anti-Semitism).  In the end, these hatreds have everything to do with the weaknesses of humankind and its rebelliousness against God (i.e. sin) and nothing to do with Scriptures.

While modern Jewish rhetoric is quick to point out the perpetrators of anti-Semitism throughout the ages, they do not speak to the many Christians throughout history who have stood up for the Jewish people, and spoken out against hatred of them, including many church leaders in the Middle Ages.  It is interesting to me that the tendency in the Evangelical Church since the 19th Century to care about the Jewish people and, more recently, about the State of Israel, has come at a time when Scriptural literacy in the church is on the increase.

A fair reading of the B’rit Hadashah would show that Yeshua (Jesus) and the writers of the B’rit Hadashah (all of whom were Jewish) cared about their Jewish people, just as the prophets in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament) did.  

  • Like those prophets, the writers of the B’rit Hadashah condemned those who were not obedient to God. 
  • Like the prophets of old, they warned their Israelite brothers of the consequences of their disobedience. 
  • Like the prophets of old, they urged their Jewish people to believe in the Messiah God promised in the Tanakh and fulfilled in the coming of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

The dispute Yeshua and his disciples had with the Jewish leaders of the day was an internally Jewish one.  While a remnant of the Jewish people believed in Messiah Yeshua (including many leaders – see Acts 6:7) and entered into the New Covenant promised by God (see Jeremiah 31:31-34), most did not.  The same can be said of the Gentile world.  In the end the B’rit Hadashah points out that all can be saved to eternal life, through Messiah’s sacrifice on the cross, and all are condemned if they do not, regardless of whether they are Jewish or Gentile.

The B’rit Hadashah is not anti-Semitic.  It speaks of the fulfillment of God’s promises in the Tanakh by the one whom God promised, who himself was God as promised in the Tanakh (Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 52:10-53:12).  Won’t you come to him and have eternal life?  If you would like to know how or want to know more, please contact us.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Jesus and Israel, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Christianity, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Salvation, The Bible | No Comments »

The High Holidays are passed us now, but …

October 3rd, 2012

The High Holidays are passed us now, and we are now celebrating Sukkoth (The Feast of Booths).  But I came across this story about Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) written by Ehud Neeman in the September 21st, 2012 edition of the Israeli journal Makor Rishon.  It tells the story of Franz Rosenzweig, a Jew who almost “converted” to Christianity in the late 18th Century, but did not do so in the end.  Yom Kippur apparently played a big part in this decision.

Neeman relates that Rosenzweig saw something lacking in Judaism; something that he thought Christianity offered.  What he concluded, presumably because of the Yom Kippur tradition, was that Christianity needed a mediator, Jesus, while Judaism did not.  Thus we can see, says Neeman, “Yom Kippur’s unique quality of being able to return lost sons to their father in Heaven.”

Part of what Rosenzweig was looking for was a Judaism connected with history, which he saw in Christianity.  But after his Yom Kippur experience, Neeman asserts that Rosenzweig felt that this need for a mediator actually makes Judaism more connected than Christianity – how we are not told in the article.

I remember the first Yom Kippur service I attended after becoming a believer in Yeshua (Jesus).  I remember the sadness it gave me that my people were seeking atonement in a way unsanctioned by God and insufficient for its purpose.  I mourned for my people Israel who were led astray by a tradition that tore them away from their Messiah and their only true means of atonement.

So, what is the difference between Franz Rosenzweig and Daniel Muller when it come to this varied response to Yom Kippur?  Why should Yom Kippur lead one back to the rabbinic traditions and the other away?

I think Neeman offers the answer when he writes in his article:

 “Christianity needs a mediator – a conclusion he [Rosenzweig] reached when thinking of Jesus as the Son of God, the only one through whom man can reach God. Judaism, on the other hand, does not require a mediator – the God of history has called his people to himself and they are his, directly.”

This comment indicates a misunderstanding of both Judaism and Christianity.  Judaism, as handed down by the sages is a far cry from the biblical relationship described in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures). 

Since the time they came out of Egypt and met God on Mount Sinai, Israel’s relationship to God has been mediated. First there was the mediation of Moses, which they requested themselves (Exodus 20:19).  Later, mediation came by the priesthood as “the priest shall make atonement for him [the repentant transgressor] as touching his sin that he hath sinned, and he shall be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:35 Jewish Publication Society)” 

Mediation is part of the historical context of biblical Judaism.  In fact, the true mediation for atonement was the blood of the atoning sacrifice.  “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life” (Leviticus 17:11 JPS).

A mediated atonement was essential to Jewish faith up until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., some forty years after Messiah Yeshua ministered here on earth.  But the Jewish people have grave misunderstandings of who Yeshua is, and therefore misunderstand Christianity. 

He is not, as some suggest, simply a man who is worshipped as a God – that is reprehensible for Christians today, as it would have been to the many Jewish believers of the 1st Century.  He also is not one of three Gods that Christians worship – we recognize the oneness of God found in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) just as do our Jewish counterparts.

No, Yeshua is God come in human form (as he did to Abraham in Genesis 18 and to Jacob in Genesis 32:24-32) to be the ultimate atonement for sins as promised in Isaiah 53:12.  The mediation of Yeshua, therefore is historically planted in the Judaism of the Tanakh.  It comes about as fulfillment of God’s promises and is borne out by his followers who recognized this historicity and even died to proclaim it. 

Does this not make more sense of why God would allow his temple to be destroyed?  It was no longer needed.  He has made a new Temple as He tabernacles within the hearts of His people, in fulfillment of His promise of a New Covenant that we find in Jeremiah 31:31-34; a New Covenant, by the way, that God promised to be unlike the one He made with Israel on Mount Sinai.

Rosenzweig (and Neeman) had it wrong!  Not only is Christianity grounded in history, it is grounded in the very promises of God historically given to the people of Israel.  The Judaism of the rabbis, sadly, has taken us away from our biblical faith and the precedents found there pointing to our Messiah, and they lead us to precedents and traditions made by man and set up to refute the Messiah of history, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

Oh, if only Franz Rosenzweig would have taken the time to explore these things more closely.  Oh, if only he would have come to know Messiah Yeshua as I have – to experience His grace and His presence.  Then, I believe, the following Yom Kippur would have confirmed his faith in Yeshua, and made him feel blessed in the atonement to eternal life he found in Him.

May your name be firmly written in the Book of Life forever as you come to accept on your behalf the once-for-all atoning sacrifice, Yeshua HaMashiach.  He is our 24/7 Yom Kippur.

We would love for you to contact us and let us know what you think of this article.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Following God, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish festivals, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, New Covenant, Personal Stories, Salvation | No Comments »

Seeking Honestly is the Best Policy!

August 1st, 2012

“I love them that love me, and those that seek me earnestly shall find me.”
(Proverbs 8:17; Jewish Pulication Society)

I was walking along Queen Street in the midst of the packed crowd at the Beaches Jazz Festival.  Along with a colleague and some volunteers I was wearing a blue shirt that says, “Jesus Loves You,” in the midst of a Star of David. 

A woman passed by – looked at us – and said, “That’s disgusting!”

I am sure it was only meant as a pot shot, and she was taken aback when I turned to ask her, “Why?” 

She looked a little startled, but could only restate her objection, “That’s disgusting!”  I asked her why once more and she responded in the same manner.

Finally, I smiled and said, “You don’t know why, do you?”  She could make no response and turned away, with, “that’s disgusting,” still on her face.

This is not an uncommon interaction.  The truth is that most of my Jewish people, when confronted with the Gospel, respond negatively – not because they have knowledge of the Gospel (very few do) – but because they have been indoctrinated against the Gospel.  The reaction is a knee-jerk one, and not one that comes from an honest look at the facts, biblical or otherwise.

There is a social contract among the wider Jewish community that Jews cannot consider Yeshua (Jesus), that Yeshua is not for Jews, and that for a Jew to believe in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) is to turn one’s back on Judaism. 

There are all kinds of religious, social and historical reasons that can be discussed as to why this is the case, but they all boil down to one thing: the Jewish people do not give the Gospel message a fair shake.  When pressed for details, many Jews who claim to have looked into the Gospel and rejected it will have to admit that their search generally consisted of prejudiced rabbinic responses and, perhaps, a smattering of liberal “Christian” scholars that themselves do not believe in the Gospel as presented in Scriptures, but are acceptable to rabbinic sensibilities.  Such research can hardly be considered honest.

We here at New Covenant Forum want to help the Jewish people to take an honest look at the message of Yeshua as both Messiah (Saviour) and Adonai (Lord).  We simply have a message to pass on that we believe in with all our hearts, whether we are Jew or Gentile.  We wish for this message to be heard and considered honestly.

To my fellow Jews, I wish to say that – though I don’t agree with the rabbis – we do not ask you to ignore them.  We merely wish you to hear the message we believe we have from God and consider it in an unbiased and honest manner.  Listen to your rabbi, to be sure, but please also listen to us.  Pray and ask God to reveal to you His truth, and then be willing to believe and follow that truth, whatever it may be.

If you would like more information, you can check our website out or contact us.  We also have the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah (New Covenant or Testament) that we would be happy to send you free of charge.

Honesty is the best policy – especially when it comes to seeking God.

“And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.”
(Jeremiah 29:13; Jewish Publication Society)

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Following God, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, New Covenant, Personal Stories | No Comments »

The One Sane Man

June 4th, 2012

I recently took a course on spiritual care visitation.  The individual teaching the course, in the midst of a class on people suffering with mental health issues, presented this quote: “People with mental disorders are the same as you and me, only more so.”

His point was that, while we “normal” people get nervous, joyful, angry, sad, or confused in response to life, the response of people with mental disorders are the same, but to a much greater degree. Furthermore, all of us are prone to overreactions at times – none of us has it “all together.”  In other words, we all have some element of mental disorder in our lives.

There is much truth to that statement.  The irony is that we would not know a truly sane man if we saw one, because we would have no one else to compare him with.  Indeed, someone who is completely sane might even seem crazy to us.

I believe that is exactly what happened to the one truly sane man who ever lived on the earth: Yeshua (Jesus).  In the Gospel of Mark we are told that, as Jesus began his ministry, “his family … went out to seize him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind’” (Mark 3:21).  In a like manner, the religious leaders of the day claimed he was possessed.  They could not recognize the one sane man on the planet.

If Yeshua was the promised Messiah of Israel – if all that he said about himself were true – then that is what Yeshua was: the only sane man to have ever walked the planet.

And what can we say of this one sane man?

  • He loved God, his Father – Matthew 22:37-38; John 14:31
  • He cared for everyone – Matthew 22:39; Mark 6:34; Luke 5:32; 10:25-37; John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:19
  • He cared even for his enemies – Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27; Romans 5:6, 8, 10

There was no greater expression of his sanity than that which is called “the Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:1-7:29).  Much that Messiah says in this passage goes counter to how today’s culture thinks and believes, of course. 

Clearly however, modern culture has not made the world a better place.  If anything, we live in a world of chaos and uncertainty the likes of which we have never seen before.

Often people will point to the atrocities done by the Christian church in the past to contradict the teachings of Yeshua.  In point of fact, these atrocities highlight the truth of what Yeshua proclaims.  For when these things are looked at in the light of Scripture we can see that they occurred precisely because his teachings were ignored.  Had they truly listened to what the one sane man said, they would not have acted in those ways.

It is this one sane man who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  He has told us that we should,

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)

We can follow the world that is less-than-perfect and most certainly mad.  We can follow the less-than-perfect men who lead us there.  Or we can follow the One Sane Man, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ), who points the way to sanity.

Want to gain some semblance of sanity in your life?  Contact us and we will send you the words of Yeshua, who can help you find the sane path.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Following God, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Salvation, The Bible, This, That, The Other Thing, Uncategorized | No Comments »

WHY MATZAH?

April 4th, 2012

What’s Passover without matzah?  It is eaten during the whole of the eight days of the festival, and is used not just as bread but crushed for baking as well (matzah meal).  The reason for this is God’s command not to eat anything with leaven (found in Exodus 12:1-20; 23:15; Leviticus 23:5-6; Number 28:16-17; and Deuteronomy 16:1-8).

Why no leaven?  When leaven is put into a batch of dough, it causes the dough to rise – to become puffed up.  It is not natural to the dough, but is added in.  Thus it symbolizes impurity that gets in and changes everything for the worse.  In this way, leaven is a symbol of sin.  As yeast causes the dough to become puffed up, so sin causes us to become puffed up in our own eyes.

Rabbinic tradition demands that, in preparation for the Passover, every part of the house is to be inspected and every bit of leaven is to be collected and removed, so that no leaven will be in the home during the festival.

Rabbinic tradition has also demanded that the Matzah have certain characteristics if it is to be found suitable for use at Passover.  One of these characteristics is that the Matzah must be pierced.  This piercing creates holes and a dimpling effect in the Matzah.  This prevents air pockets from expanding, thus ensuring that the Matzah remains flat.  This also causes the Matzah to have a striped appearance.

“Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded [pierced] for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
New King James Version

Who is this passage referring too?  When I ask this of Jewish people, they will often assume this is from the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) and that it is speaking of Yeshua (Jesus).  And they would be half right.

This passage does speak of Yeshua, but it is not from the B’rit Hadashah.  It was written some seven centuries before Yeshua – a prophecy written by the Hebrew prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53:4-6), and found in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures).

Contrary to modern rabbinic tradition, the entire passage of Isaiah 52:13-53:12, is a prophecy about Messiah, as is made clear by the references about it found in the Talmud and other early rabbinic sources.[1]

In this passage, Messiah is wounded for our transgressions.  What is this wound that is being spoken of?  In some translations the word “wounded” is translated as “pierced.”  This may appear a liberty, but it is consistent with what we are told of Messiah in Zechariah 12:10:

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
Zechariah 12:10

This is, in turn, consistent with what happened to Yeshua:

“But one of the soldiers pierced his [Jesus’] side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.”
John 19:34

Similarly, we are told that we are healed by his stripes.  The word “stripes” is again interpretive.  The actual Hebrew word indicates a ruising on the body, but could refer to the stripes left from a scourging.  Either way, Yeshua fits the bill:

“Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him.”
Luke 22:63

“Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.”
Matthew 27:26

In Isaiah 52:9, the prophet describes how this suffering servant of God, “had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”  In verse 11, he is called a righteous servant.  This is in accord with the B’rit Hadashah when speaking of Yeshua it says, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)”

The Matzah, then is a perfect illustration of Messiah Yeshua.  The pierced matzah reminds us that He was pierced for 0ur transgressions.  The striped appearance reminds us that his stripes brought us healing for our alienation from God.  The fact that matzah is unleavened reminds us of His sinlessness , pointing to the fact that he was not merely man, but God come in human form.

I’m not suggesting that the rabbis intended for the matzah to point to Yeshua; that would be the last thing they would want.  Rather, the fact that it does is a testimony to the way God can present His truth, despite the best efforts of those who would hide it.

The afikomen is an excellent example of this.  One of the elements on the Passover table is the three layers of Matzah.  At one point in the service, the middle Matzah is broken and then hidden away , later to be hunted by the children and brought back.  This hidden piece of Matzah is called the afikomen.

When the afikomen is returned, a ransom price is paid to the child who finds it.  Then everyone partakes of a piece of the afikomen, which is the last thing to be eaten that night.

It is fairly certain that this tradition entered into the Passover Seder after the death and resurrection of Yeshua.  Rabbinical explanations abound for it, but none are satisfactory.

Is it an accident, though, that it makes a fitting illustration of the sinless Messiah – who is the second Person of the triune Godhead –  who was broken and then buried and then raised up to life?  His death paid a ransom for our souls – paying the debt for our transgressions against God.  And the ultimate redemption comes when we partake of this ransom, by putting our faith in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

This was certainly in Jesus’ mind when, during the Passover Seder, the last meal he had with his disciples, he gave each of his disciples a piece of matzah and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. (Luke 22:19)”

Yeshua is the Messiah.  He is the one promised by Moses and by the prophets – Isaiah, Zechariah and others.  He is the way to eternal life, and faith in Him is the biblical faith for both Jew and Gentile alike.

Want to know more?  Why not contact us to receive a complimentary B’rit Hadashah (New Testament).  We have other free materials available, both on this website and for mailing.  We would also be happy to answer any questions you might have,  all without pressure or obligations.


[1]
Michael Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume Three; Baker Books,
2003. Pp. 58-62.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Jewish festivals, Jewish holidays, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Salvation | No Comments »

What’s in a Name?

December 28th, 2011

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14

The name Immanuel means, “God (is) with us.”  It points to the Messiah, who would be God in our midst.

It’s been pointed out to me many times that Yeshua’s (Jesus’) name is not Immanuel, so therefore Yeshua is not the Messiah.  This is an interesting argument, but is misguided.

The Hebrew expression of Isaiah 7:14 simply says of the young woman that she call him Immanuel.  His actual name is Yeshua (meaning, “God saves”), which is indicative of his purpose, while the name Immanuel is indicative of his manifestation in fulfilling that purpose.

No doubt Yeshua’s mother, Miriam (Mary), did call him Immanuel.  After all, the angel Gabriel told her she would be made pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit, that her son would be the Son of God and that he will have an eternal reign over the throne of his father David (Luke 1:26-35).

It is not surprising then that, though his name was Yeshua, she might have also called him by Immanuel.  Certainly his disciples recognized this Messianic title (Matthew 1:23).  Indeed, for centuries Yeshua has been called Immanuel by those who believe in Him (see our article, Ransoming Israel).

And so, in regard to the name Immanuel, prophecy has been fulfilled in the coming of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

Contact us to know more about Him.

Check out the sequel article, “What’s In Another Name?

Posted in Anonymous, Biblical Interpretation, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach | No Comments »

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