Zechariah 8 is a short and sweet chapter telling the people of Israel (and readers), one fine day, God will dwell in Jerusalem. At that time, He will end antisemitism and instead, not only bless the reunited 12 twelve tribes of Israel (House of Judah and House of Israel), but vindicate them. There are many chapters in the Hebrew Bible that describe a miraculous regathering or reuniting of the scattered Israelites across the globe, both the living and the dead, bringing them all to heaven on earth being Jerusalem (such as Ezekiel 36-37; Jeremiah 29-31). Also, notice the section of Zechariah 8:16, a prophecy about the very end of time as we know it. Right after the LORD describes and promises Israel’s future literal salvation, what does He instruct the must the Jews/Israel do in the meantime? Believe in the Messiah? Believe in God’s Son yet to be born (at the time this chapter of Zechariah was written)? Believe in Jesus? No, essentially, live righteously – obey the principles of Torah. Shouldn’t the concept of believing in Jesus to pay for your sins or even just stating “Believe in The Messiah” be inserted in this epic moment leading up to their salvation? I encourage you to pray and ponder as to why there is nothing like that mentioned in the Tanakh/Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and yet, Amos 3:7 says the Lord does nothing without revealing it to His prophets first. Moreover, always get in God’s word for yourself and ask Abba Father (Jeremiah 3:19) lots of questions. He will show you things you did not know (Jeremiah 33:3) as He does with me and many others.
Ask yourself and Abba Father (Jeremiah 3:19), why after He dwells on earth in Jerusalem described in Zechariah 8, the entire globe is seeking not just God in Jerusalem, but clinging to Jews, specifically their tallits, which are the garments with tzits-tzits attached (see Zechariah 8:23 below)? These are commanded by God to be worn and are symbols to help them remember the importance of obeying God’s commands (see Numbers 15:37-41).
Think about the connection –> At this future moment, people will be clinging to the Jews realizing God is with them. Notice the verse of Zechariah 8:23 specifically state people will be grabbing onto the Jew’s garment corners as if the prophecy is telling us people will cling to Jews and God’s Torah, which has already started to manifest today. God’s ways are found in His commands, His Torah, His instructions for living, which not only is His will, but they are the light (Psalm 119:105-106, Proverbs 6:23) and the Jews/Israel are called to be the light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6). Hence, what they are chosen to do: Be the light – lead in love as they live by Torah.
Why doesn’t the prophet Zechariah describe the New heavens and New earth or New Jerusalem or New Covenant era (notice all the “NEW”s -pun intended) as…”And in that day the Christians will be the light of the world teaching people how to decorate Christmas trees, how to have successful Easter egg hunts and stand in line for the best Heavenly Ham, how to plan a great turn-out for Trunk or Treats, or teaching them about communion, how to successfully and secretly slip up that repentant hand and inwardly profess the sinner’s prayers without anyone knowing then or later, or how to memorize the Lord’s prayer, how to evangelize by handing out tracks about God’s son, how to go on mission trips and build things but tear down with our words..”, or whatever other definition Christians used to define as being the light?
I don’t think it’s possible for any of us, whether Jew or Gentile, to ponder and know God’s truth in it’s entirety, much less live it precisely as He intended it here and now, for how can we know infinite truth and all His thoughts or ways? But we do know truth is what He chose to reveal in the Tanakh and that is: Israel is chosen and God’s Torah is the light for all eternity. So much so the non-Jews will be looking to Jews and the instructions God gave them for guidance.
In both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, more accurately stated the Tanakh (“Old” Testament) and “New” Testament, there is limited dialogue regarding the New Covenant. Nevertheless, the one and only time the terminology is used, the LORD provides a few critical clues through His prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29-31. Specifically, the term is used in Jeremiah 31:31.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – ” Jeremiah 31:31 NKJV (New King James Version)
In the JPS (Jew Publication Society) version of the Hebrew Bible, it reads almost identical, “See, a time is coming – declares the LORD – when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.”
First, the reader is introduced to the term new covenant and that this new covenant is made between God / the LORD and two groups of people, the Northern Kingdom or ten tribes of Israel, being the House of Israel, and the Southern Kingdom, primarily consisting of the remaining two tribes, the House of Judah. The slang term “Jew” comes from the tribe of Judah, which later evolved to be “House of Judah”. To understand how the kingdom of Israel split into two groups, read 1 King 12. Essentially, there was a family feud, but not the Steve Harvey type.
Now that we introduced the main characters, it is immensely important verses are read and interpreted within context. To do that, we must read and dissect the surrounding verses, chapters, and overall message or themes shared throughout the Bible.
When we read Jeremiah 29 through chapter 31, for example, right away we see in 29:1 this prophetic message sent by Jeremiah is being given to those Israelites, specifically the House of Judah (as well as those who fled the northern 10 tribes to join them), or Jews, taken captive by the Babylonians and dragged off to Babylon as basically prisoners of war. The LORD is giving His people hope that even though life is miserable right now, due to a long period of rejecting His laws outlined in Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible, which also was prophesied (see Deuteronomy 28:32, 36-37; 30:1-11), God is not finished with them. In the famous Jeremiah 29:11 verses quoted by both Jew and Gentile and can be found in nearly every Christian Bookstore and Hobby Lobby across the United States, God says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (NKJV). Technically, this promise is given to the Jews, also known as House of Judah, and those who aligned with them from the other tribes.
The LORD expands in great detail exactly what He means when He says “a future and hope” or “a hope and a future” (depending on which version) through the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 30. Notice in Jeremiah 30:3, Adonai, the LORD says, “For behold the days are coming…that I bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah…I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers and they shall possess it..” So here we see God plans on not just rescuing and regathering all of the House of Judah, which largely consisted of the tribe of Judah, Benjamin, and some Levite priests, but He also intends on gathering the House of Israel, the ten northern tribes that were take prisoners by the Assyrian captivity and assimilated into the nations – in other words, most of the ten tribes have never been tracked, much less regathered. As a side note, some argue that the Jewish population today represents all twelve tribes being there is Biblical evidence some from the northern tribes traded teams and migrated south to Judah, but for the most part, it would appear the vast majority of the ten tribes have been forever lost thus far. With that said, here in this prophetic utterance, Abba Father, God, declares He will be regaining custody of all His kids in a glorious family reunion in the New Covenant. Many other prophetic passages indicate just prior to this family reunion it will be the worst time on earth for God’s people, the Jews, but He will literally save or rescue them from their oppressors, the surrounding nations at that time, as also is stated in Jeremiah 30:5-8. This theme is not difficult to find as you read just about any book of the prophets in the Hebrew Bible such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, etc.
Likewise, we know God does nothing without revealing it to his prophets (Amos 3:7) and God is BIG on reiterating things with at least two or three witnesses (prophets, a type of witness). Needless to say, these concepts or prophecies will one day be a fact of history.
As we continue to read the surrounding verses and context of the new covenant prophecy, notice we left off at Jeremiah 30:9, an important verse to grasp as it proclaims the House of Israel and the House of Judah, previously defined, will all be serving God collectively, not Allah or Jesus, mind you, but “their God”. Furthermore, that same verse adds they also will be serving David their king. David was known as a “man after God’s own heart” and one of the greatest King of Israel to ever have lived, who also authored most of the Psalms. You could say David, the king/prince, was the ultimate worship leader as he will do once more in the New Covenant (read Ezekiel 37-48 – look for verses about the prince). Now this is important, pay attention to the very next phrase as the LORD deems “whom I will raise up for them.” Now, if you aren’t familiar with the plethora of other passages in the prophets discussing this same prophecy you might glaze over the “raise up” phrase but this is referring to the resurrection of the House of Israel and the House of Judah described in Ezekiel 34-37. This verse indicates the LORD is literally going to resurrect King David, as well as all of the deceased Israelites (twelve tribes), and David will rule and reign once more. Be advised some Christians who choose to cherry-pick verses to fit a preconceived notion state that this must be referring to Jesus’ alleged past resurrection and yet, clearly, these events have not occurred as not all twelve tribes have been restored to the land of Israel and certainly not by a cataclysmic event as many of the prophets describe in their writings. A minority of Jews, so the House of Judah, are being restored to the land of Israel in modern times, but not the entire kingdom. Additionally, it doesn’t take much reasoning to deduce, the LORD says He will rescue Israel, His kids from their oppressors, bring them back to their birthright land, as well as or and THEN resurrect the dead King David (and others). Obviously, this cannot be about Jesus’ resurrection because #1 all twelve tribes were not rescued from the Roman Empire, in fact the Jews weren’t rescued at all, though they were oppressed, AND #2 Nobody was raised up to be a literal king of all of Israel at that time. All of this prophecy is defining a FUTURE, life-changing, earth-rocking event as the prophets also describe a massive earthquake coincides. Go to Ezekiel 34:23-31, notice the LORD reiterates here what He said in Jeremiah 30:9 that He will make David be like a shepherd to His sheep (of Israel), the LORD will be their God (not Jesus) and David will be a prince. Verse 25 describes the new covenant as a “covenant of peace” made with them (Who is them? The House of Israel and House of Judah). Not Gentiles, by the way, although they will be present in the new covenant as well. Notice it goes on to describe a time of peace and prosperity, where animals will no longer attack people (Hosea also speaks to this), the earth will be a lovely garden, nor be persecuted by Gentiles (non-Jews) anymore, there will be no more food pantries as hunger won’t exist, all will know who the LORD is (Ezekiel 34:25-31). Does that sound like the events that followed after Jesus was resurrected? Is it today? Here and now? No. And yet, both Jeremiah 30:9 and Ezekiel 34:23-25 are referring to raising up David to be a king/prince, or ruler, over the people in the very visible, not mystical-allegorical-spiritual new covenant as Christianity teaches. These prophets are describing obvious physical changes as God brings a NEW heaven and NEW earth; hence, the NEW covenant.
Let us continue in Ezekiel for a moment. Notice in Ezekiel 36 starting in verse 24 through 38, the LORD describes through the prophet Ezekiel the exact statements He said through Jeremiah…no more terror, no fear, no hunger, glorious gardens, no more persecution from the Gentiles/ nation, etc. By the way, consider there is absolutely no Biblical prophecy stating the Jews got it wrong, should be persecuted by the Gentiles, and the Gentiles will be elevated, but various places such as Jeremiah 16:19 state that the Gentiles will be shocked when they realize in this moment they believed in lies. So if both Christians and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but Jews don’t, who do you think is going to be shocked about the lies they were sold? Apparently, not Jews. In fact, upon all this happening, look what the world does according to Zechariah 8:23, they cling to Jews, for it is then, Gentiles realize they were wrong about their beliefs.
Let us return to the passage at hand. Notice He says in v 24 of Ezekiel 36, the LORD miraculously gathers and regains custody of all His kids at once. Christians refer to this concept as “the rapture”, which is a similar concept, but no one is “raptured to heaven”, rather regathered to heaven on earth, in Israel. To read more about that, click here. Notice the House of Israel is regathered, the lost tribes. Why doesn’t it specifically say the “House of Judah” here? Perhaps it could simply be because by that time, possibly all of the Jews are residing in Israel already? The more Antisemitism that manifests around the world combined with the more ministries and other programs that develop to help Jews make aliyah, it is possible that eventually the Jews of the world will be relocating to Israel or maybe both Jews of the House of Judah AND those scattered descendants of the House of Israel will get a free flight of sorts when Abba Father somehow regathers us to Israel. Interestingly enough, Hosea 11:8-11 specifically reiterates Ephraim, which means the House of Israel throughout prophetic books of the Bible, will “flutter from Egypt like sparrows” to Israel both matching Jeremiah and Ezekiel’s prophecies of being reunited and even the early Christians’ interpretations of miraculously being whisked to Israel, which thousands of years later evolved into the “rapture” doctrine of being whisked to heaven. Moreover, this passage of Hosea 11:1-12:3, for example, specifically discusses the House of Israel/Ephraim coming from Egypt and Assyria, which Isaiah 19 refers to as a highway from Egypt and Assyria guiding the scattered tribes back to Israel one fine day. In other prophetic passages, it references both houses, the House of Israel and the House of Judah so all of the 12 tribes of Israel, being reunited through this “highway” of sorts along with “fisherman” and “hunters” all who aide in accommodating a mass exodus to Israel even greater than the Passover Exodus event (see Isaiah 19:23-24; 35:8-10; Jeremiah 3:14-19; 16:14-21; 23:3,7-8) . The “highway” as well as “the way” and “path” is referred to throughout various Scriptures listed above as well as others as none other than obeying Torah to the best of your ability (get a concordance, look up such words or similar words, to discover said truth). Furthermore, notice in the next chapter of Ezekiel 37, a resurrection occurs. In verse 11 of chapter 37 the LORD states “these bones are the WHOLE House of Israel”. Could the adjective of “whole” indicate all of the twelve tribes or is it referring to the 10 tribes are resurrected? I can argue for both houses being resurrected as that concept fits the overall promise, the covenant God made with the patriarchs. But the fact that Ezekiel 37:11 specifically says the House of Israel while referring to them as dried up bones symbolizing they have rejected the Torah, also known as the way of life, which the curse in rejecting Torah is death (see Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Proverbs 3), the prophet foretells in verse 12-13 of Ezekiel 37 that God will resurrect them, bring them to Israel, and THEN they will know He is God. Incidentally, Deuteronomy 30, the same chapter that predicted the Israelites’ death should they reject Torah, also predicts the miraculous resurrection and regathering in the New Covenant as God forgives them despite that rejection- please do read all of Deuteronomy 30. Consequently, in doing so, all of Israel will want to obey God’s Torah, His instructions for life, love, and liberty. While we can’t be certain HOW or WHAT it will all look like, we do know WHO is involved and WHERE they are headed..to Israel for the New Covenant to be activated.
In all these Scriptures foretelling a future era, have we read anything stating one must believe in a Messiah named Jesus in order to receive eternal life, be resurrected, be forgiven of their sins, and miraculously make it to Israel, etc.? Do you notice the resurrection of the dead is already in the forecast even without any belief in Jesus? Daniel 12 tells us every body, including Gentiles, will be resurrected at some point. Why hasn’t the LORD revealed the crucial nugget of “truth” that we must believe in Jesus in order to be resurrected to His prophets?
A few verses later in Ezekiel 37, the LORD describes all of the family being reunited forever, the LORD literally and physically saves them, forgives their sins, and once again, David is their King “for all time” (see 37:15-25). Before we proceed, ponder the fact that this states nothing of the twelve tribes or anybody else for that matter needing to believe in a Messiah to be saved or to have their sins forgiven. Why is this never discussed in any of the prophets? Because Amos 3:7. Surely, this would have been discussed in such crucial prophetic passages such as these all discussing the new covenant.
Let us continue. Notice in the following verses it describes the new covenant as covenant of friendship, an everlasting covenant. In Ezekiel 34 it is referred to as covenant of peace. Think “For I know the plans I have for you…a future and a hope” we discussed earlier in Jeremiah 29:11.
Have these events occurred? Has their been a massive world-wide resurrection of Jews and other Israelites? Have all twelve tribes returned to the land before or because of this incredible resurrection? Is anyone, particularly David, currently king in Israel? Is there everlasting peace in Israel and worldwide today? NO. Obviously, we are not in the New Covenant in the NEW way of life yet. Moreover, the resurrection of David, or Davidic descendant as some interpret, described in Jeremiah 30:9 is absolutely NOT referring to Jesus as none of this has not occurred – even if you believe in Jesus, this is not rocket-science.
As if all that wasn’t enough evidence to explain the new covenant has not been activated yet, return with me to Jeremiah, specifically Jeremiah 31:33-34. Please carefully notate that the LORD makes it very plain and understandable that “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, his brother, saying ‘Know the LORD’, for they ALL shall know Me..”. So in the New Covenant will there still be Bible Studies, Yeshivas, church services, synagogue services, YouTube teachings, Zoom congregation services, or articles like this, according to this passage? NO! Why not? He already told you why – Because GOD will be with us here on earth. Every single being, both man and beast, will know who God is and know what He expects for He forgives sins, makes us clean, and finally fully dispenses His Spirit so that obedience to Torah is the norm no longer the exception. Review Zechariah 14:16+ notice after this epic event, the entire world, even the remaining and repopulated Gentile nations are celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles (not Christmas or Easter, incidentally), and must bring sacrifices to the temple to worship the LORD. So I ask again, are we currently in the NEW covenant? Do you see a new way of living for God manifesting? A new world-wide Torah observant, law-abiding, God-worshiping culture? Have you heard about David, the worship-leading prince/king ruling currently? Or at the very least a Davidic king, currently reigning? Was there a massive resurrection? How about a massive flight plan to Israel? OK, so how much more obvious can this be?
Lastly, Christians are led to believe Jesus died for their sins and therefore, they are in the new covenant…They are spiritually saved and don’t need to die for their sin in this new, allegorical, spiritual (not literally physical way of life) known as the new covenant, much less obey God’s Torah, for in the Christian version of the New Covenant God’s laws are irrelevant according to their new and improved Bible full of errors and misquotes and yet according to Jeremiah 31:30, quite literally the verse next to the “new covenant” verse, describes that time as still“every one shall die for his own sin”. Just like God says numerous places elsewhere – nobody can die for your sins – each person is held accountable to God for themselves (hence, what Christians refer to as ‘Judgment Day’ or Jews refer to as ‘Yom Kippur’). Study Deuteronomy 24:16, 2 Kings 14:6, Psalm 49:7, Jeremiah 31:30; Ezekiel 18 & 33. Furthermore, why would God sacrifice His son when numerous times he tells the Israelites to not be like the pagan nations that sacrifice their kids as a form of worship? See Deuteronomy 12:29-31; Leviticus 18:21; Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35.
With all this overwhelming evidence, what say you? Are we in the new covenant? You can trust God’s word when He tells you that it will be obvious to the entire globe when He activates the new, everlasting covenant of peace.
As I read Isaiah 53 while recognizing chapters leading up to the controversial chapter and familiar themes through Scripture, I can understand God’s chosen people, particularly the righteous remnant, are often overlooked or considered the ‘underdog’, persecuted, and afflicted. Certainly, over the course of history, the majority of God’s chosen nation are stiff-necked and rebellious; however, there are some, a remnant, who choose to live righteously by adhering to Torah to the best of their ability and are eventually rewarded. We see Noah mocked while being obedient and yet spared of the great flood of judgment by the arm of the LORD. We see Joseph rejected and afflicted by his own family only to be elevated to the highest position by the arm of the LORD. We see David, a lowly, humble shepherd boy, overlooked as God’s anointed by man, but cultivated into a mighty warrior King by the arm of the LORD. We see Esther, an orphaned, girl chosen simply for her beauty but chosen by the arm of the LORD to save the Jewish people elevating them and all involved. We see people like Job and Daniel tested and refined; yet, rewarded by the arm of the LORD.
Similarly, in the final verses of Isaiah 52 leading up to the often misunderstood Isaiah 53, we see the servant, the righteous remnant of Israel, raised up and revered by Gentiles after having been rejected and refined due to the sins of the rebellious fulfilling prophecy often spoken of throughout the Torah and Prophets (compare Deuteronomy 26:19, 28:1,10 as well as Isaiah 60-61, 62:2-4). Notice the similar if not identical verbiage found in other prophetic passages about Israel compared to the latter part of Isaiah 52:13-15 refer to the world, particularly leaders, being shocked to witness those who were once hated and despised, being the Jews and all of the twelve tribes, will be exalted / resurrected, reunited, and restored to rule and reign or extolled and be very high. Over and over again the prophets both warn and encourage the House of Israel and the House of Judah, collective Israel, that they will be punished severely for rejecting and not diligently obeying God’s voice of Torah, but that eventually and despite their rejection as well as the world’s rejection and oppression of them, eventually all twelve tribes will be raised from the dead as well as the living remnant will be saved from their oppressors restoring them all to the land of Israel to rule and reign (also see Ezekiel 34-37, Jeremiah 29-31, Isaiah 60).
More specifically, let’s examine each verse of Isaiah 53 to see other themes of these same sentiments further proving this text is about Israel, not specifically and exclusively Jesus.
Isaiah 53:1 arm of the LORD = strength; see Isaiah 51:9, 59:16; 63:5 and Psalm 44:4 all of which speaks to this pattern is all of God’s doing, His strength and His will, the arm of the LORD.
53:2 no form or comeliness is likened to Zephaniah 3:12 referring to the remnant as meek and humble
53:3 the servant is despised and rejected; despised and we did not esteem him is similar to Psalm 44:13-15, but especially Isaiah 49’s reference to Israel being rejected by men, yet later esteemed or raised up just as the later part of Isaiah 52 and 53 speak to. Notice the entire passage of Isaiah 49 is about Israel, the servant (vs 3), who is afflicted and by men (vs 13-14), and just as Isaiah 52:13-15 speaks to the “servant” being miraculously extolled higher than kings shocking kings that this little nation is now honored, Isaiah 49:23-26, Isaiah 51 speak to the same prophecy as does all of Isaiah 60, but specifically Isaiah 60:14-15, as well as Isaiah 62:2-4.
53:4 wounded, stricken, smitten and afflicted by God compare to the remnant of Israel being afflicted in Zephaniah 3:19, Psalm 44:24-25, Isaiah 51:7,12 (notice Isaiah 51:9 referring to the arm of the LORD just as as Isaiah 53:1 and the close proximity of these parallel verses); also, see Isaiah 60:14-15.
53:5 all of Israel will suffer for the sins of Israel (i.e. even the righteous remnant such as Daniel and Jeremiah were carried off into the Babylonian captivity). Also, compare the servant being bruised for iniquities then healed to Israel being bruised for their iniquities in Isaiah 30:9-15, then bind up the bruise and healed in Isaiah 30:26
53:6 we (people of Israel) like sheep have gone astray and the LORD has laid on him (collective Israel) the sins of us all (people of Israel) is likened to Zephaniah 3:13 as well as Ezekiel 34 and Psalm 44:11
53:7 the servant/he didn’t open his mouth is also referenced of the righteous remnant of Israel learning to not open their mouth in rest and quietness Isaiah 30:15 and Zephaniah 3:13 and Psalm 46:10/11 (depending on if you are using the Hebrew or Christian Bibles); sheep for slaughter, the sheep being representative of Israel, is also found in Jeremiah 11:19 and 12:3 as well as Psalm 44:22.
53:8 the righteous servant/remnant being cut off from land of living is also referenced in Jeremiah 11:19 whereas Israel being cut off from the land/living in general is mentioned in 1 Kings 9:6-7 and Ezekiel 37:11
53:9 no deceit in his mouth is also referenced in Zephaniah 3:13 of no deceit being in the mouth of the righteous remnant (even the author of the Book of Revelation seemed to understand this reference is about Israel see Revelation 14:5 and how it is referencing the 144,000 righteous remnant of Israel found in Revelation 7)
53:10 again references bruising the servant as did 53:5 and 30:26; note: Jesus/Yeshua had no physical seed or offspring to carry on his legacy, but Israel’s descendants continue to be fruitful and multiply. The prophet Isaiah also prophecized a tenth of the holy seed will remain in chapter 10:13.
53:11 -12 by his knowledge – knowledge or wisdom in the Hebrew Bible always refers to Torah/God’s laws see Hosea 4:6 as an example or Proverbs 3. Obeying Torah is defined as being righteous and received by God (see Psalm 95:6-11; 103, 119 and Isaiah 1:16-20, as just a few examples, but really it is everywhere in the Tanakh.) Also, notice Isaiah 26 speaks all about salvation and the importance of learning righteousness in Isaiah 26:8-12 or Isaiah 48:17-19. Israel, specifically the Jewish people, are called to be the light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6-8 and 49:3,6) and how are they/we to be the light? By living Torah, obeying God’s voice, which is Torah (Deut 28:1; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 6:23; 4:2). So that the world might come to know how be saved and therefore not perish (Hosea 4:6). The righteous remnant repeatedly intercede of behalf of the people, despite their transgressions (see Moses and Aaron and all the prophets as examples), but moreover, lead in love simply by example of a Torah-observant lifestyle (to the best of their ability). Isaiah 53 speaks to the affliction of Israel; Isaiah 54 speaks to the salvation of the Jews/Israel; Isaiah 55 is an invitation for all to follow their example; Isaiah 56 explains the Gentiles/foreigners who also keep God’s covenant (Torah) are also saved/gathered to Mt Zion.
Whether Christian or Jewish, we must learn to stop making Scripture fit our preconceived notions and rather, let Scripture interpret Scripture within context and how the author refers to terms throughout. In regards to Isaiah 52 and 53, I asked myself, “What other passages refer to Israel as ‘him’?” Surprisingly, numerous Scriptures refer to Israel in the masculine (Isaiah 45:11,46:8,56:8; Jeremiah 31:9-11,18,20-22; Hosea 7:8-10, 8:14, 10:6, 11:1,5, 12:1-4, 13:12-13). It would appear collective people such as Israel/Jacob/Ephraim/Judah uses pronouns such as him/his and them/their. Whereas when Scripture references specific cities such as Zion, Jerusalem, Holy City, Samaria, Babylon, etc, it uses the feminine pronouns (Isaiah 10:11,47:1,5, 51:17-18, 52:1-2, 62:1-2). I then asked myself, “Has Israel been defined as ‘My Servant’ such as in Isaiah 52:13?” Again, surprisingly, yes. Isaiah 44:1-2,21-22, 45:4, 48:20, 49:3.
When reading any other book, would you insert a different subject just because they have similarities and then deem that one chapter is all about a different person not identified within the book? For example, if you were reading an autobiography about a specific bricklayer, named Jerry, who gets dirty and has aches and pains, would you suddenly say, “Oh, this chapter, in fact, this entire autobiography is all about my friend, Joe the plumber, because Joe gets dirty and had aches and pains at work too!” What?! Talk about taking things completely out of context and reading into it what you want it to be about compared to what and who it actually is about.
Next, I thoroughly researched Scriptures to find where it indicates a person will need to die for my sins and that one is eternally damned in their sins. To my surprise, I found “salvation” is always referencing a literal, physical saving, no one can die for another sins for we each are held accountable (Deuteronomy 24:16, 2 Kings 14:6, Jeremiah 31:29-30, Ezekiel 18:19-24, 33:12-20), and that all one must do is repent and obey God’s commands and He will gladly forgive (see Psalm 103 and Isaiah 1:16-20 or the story of Jonah and how even the Gentiles had been forgiven simply for repenting or the repeated message of the Prophets). Christianity teaches if you don’t believe in Jesus you are damned to hell, eternally lost, part of the Anti-Christ Spirit, etc. while Judaism teaches if you believe in Jesus you are an idolater and will be held accountable for your sins as we all are.
Choose this day whom you will serve and choose wisely. Shalom and blessings!
Christianity teaches that Jesus, the perfect sinless lamb-of-Gd had to die for our sins so we can be forgiven and eventually go to heaven. Christianity also touts that it is only through a blood sacrifice a person can receive atonement for any sin, whether intentional, unintentional, past or future sin. It is propagated to congregants that all of us, whether Jew or Gentile, are eternally doomed unless we believe Jesus is the Messiah who died and overcame sin and death through the resurrection. Guilt, condemnation, and fear are the key ingredients while dangling promises of heaven and eternal life to motivate people to believe and cough up cash in the offering plates. These beliefs come from various places throughout the New Testament, which just by cleverly labeling it the “New” Testament sends the message anything before it is old news, invalid, and irrelevant. Out with the old, in with God’s new and improved way of doing things. And yet, Malachi 3:6 clearly states God does not change. We do. With that said, let us explore what the “Old” Testament, or Hebrew Bible, has to say about sin, sacrifices, forgiveness, believing in the Messiah to be saved, etc.
While it is true that all of man sins eventually as the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 3:23 and it is true sin has consequences as he further explains in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.”, it is not necessarily death or blood of an animal or blood of a human in Jesus’ case that can make it right or to put in Biblical terms, make atonement. It can be confusing, however, when a Christian cherry-picks verses, as they (formerly we) seem to specialize in doing in order to propagate a doctrine. Christian missionaries and ministers often point to Leviticus 17:11 which in part states, “For it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” That is their AH-HA GOTCHA moment. And yet, when studying sacrifices and other passages found in the Hebrew Bible, we see God provides a variety of methods to teach His people a tangible lesson about sin and forgiveness; moreover, He provides grace and mercy well before Jesus and still today regardless of Jesus.
First, understand, there are many different types of sacrifices, most of which are a form of praise and worship and have nothing to do with sin such as the burnt offering, peace offerings, the daily morning and evening offerings, various offerings during the feasts of the LORD, etc. In fact, the sin offering and trespass, also known as guilt offering, is only for unintentional sin, meaning you, your household, the congregation, or the nation accidentally violated God’s law without realizing He had a law against said thing. By the way, did you know according to the Christian Bible or New Testament, it defines sin as breaking God’s law or His Torah (see 1 John 3:4)? Oddly enough, most Christian circles teach God’s laws are irrelevant and can be freely broken. Hence, ham sandwiches for Easter! See what God has to say about pork in Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14, and Isaiah 65-66. Is it not strange Christianity purports someone had to actually suffer and die for the forgiveness of their sins, but it is perfectly OK to keep sinning by abandoning God’s laws after believing in such things? What a self-centered and disrespectful theology!
Second, please study and know there is no sacrifice for intentional sin. Understanding this concept is critical. I encourage you to get a Strong’s Concordance or Google the terms unintentional and intentional in the Bible. You will not find any sacrifice for intentional sin for if you knowingly and purposely sinned, you went through God’s judicial process and would have been eventually stoned or cut-off (same thing) should the account of two or three witnesses manifest. The sin offering sacrifice is for if a sin was unintentionally committed against the LORD whereas the trespass offering was if a person unintentionally sinned against another person and by default the LORD as well. You will notice in Leviticus 4-6, which is the primary chapters discussing these concepts, those who unintentionally sinned against their brother/neighbor/another person had to make restitution to the person they accidentally sinned against. Hence, love God, love others concept taught in both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. While reading about the trespass offering, notice in Leviticus 5:6-13, God’s word says that if a person cannot afford to bring a lamb, goat, turtledoves or a pigeon, they can instead simply bring flour for forgiveness. Flour for forgiveness?! What? Had the Church marketed that concept, many more would probably be filling the pews. Bake sales come to mind! Ha ha! My point is there is no blood in flour so based off Christian theology, how could that person be forgiven? Nevertheless, Scripture reveals that person shall be forgiven indeed (see vs. 13). The overall message, God is teaching His people is, yes, sin has consequences, and He uses the concept of sacrifices whether it be ideally a costly sacrifice of an animal or even flour to reveal even unintentional sin is not to be taken lightly and yet forgivable upon repentance. Now learn your lesson and don’t let it happen again.
A sacrifice in of itself cannot save you no more than taking communion saves you. While on that topic, is it not odd Christianity, particularly the Roman Catholic Church and some other denominations, teach that cracker is literally Jesus’ body and the wine is literally his blood, and yet Leviticus 17:12-14 clearly states anyone who eats blood is to be cut-off? Moreover, do you think the Creator of animals and the One who had humans eat veggies in the Garden of Eden really desires us to kill animals? No, He wants us to want to obey Him in both our private and public life. See Psalm 40:6-10, which the anonymous author of Hebrews seriously twists and misquotes to fit their agenda of making it seem like a human sacrifice was required, which is just a copy of the pagan religions since before ancient Israel existed and carried on for thousands of years (and still today). Compare Hebrews 10:5-8 to the Psalm he is allegedly quoting in Psalm 40:6-8. So much for the “inerrant” word of God! The sin sacrifice of animals is simply a tangible physical means God uses to reveal His righteousness. God loves memorials and using things to help us remember His instructions for living – see Numbers 15:37-41 as another tangible physical reminder.
But let us return to the lesson of the sin sacrifices. Just as you take away your kids’ electronics or TV time when they sin, you are insisting they sacrifice something with the hopes of teaching them what they did is not permissible in your eyes and they ought not to do it again. You, like our Heavenly Parent, hopefully are fair and just upon deciding what they must sacrifice on an age appropriate and offense appropriate level or affordability level. Flour.
Third, understand sacrifices cannot be made in your backyard or just anywhere you please, but rather can only be made in the place the LORD chooses being in the Temple in Jerusalem (see Exodus 20:24; Leviticus 17:3-6; Deuteronomy 12:13-14, 16:5-6), which at this point in time does not exist. Nevertheless, notice what King Solomon proclaims in a prophetic prayer as he dedicates the first temple. In 1 Kings 8:22-53, but especially highlight verses 44-50 for it is there we see Solomon describes a variety of scenarios for both Jew and Gentile to get forgiveness including when Jews are dispersed in various lands, taken captive, etc. with no capability of accessing the Temple, all they must do is repent and God will forgive them! Lamentations 3:22-26 as does Psalm 50-51, Psalm 103, Isaiah 1:16-20 and numerous other passages throughout the Hebrew Bible clearly state all one must do is pray to God and repent for their sin and He will gladly forgive them! I dare you to search this out for yourself. Explore terms like sin, forgiveness, salvation, etc. in the Hebrew Bible – an enlightening picture will unfold. You may want to read my article about how the Christian and Hebrew Bibles define “salvation”.
Fourth, research and know there is not one place in the Hebrew Bible stating one must believe in a Messiah in order to be saved; however, there are numerous places stating those who obey God’s commands are literally physically saved (see Psalm 50 as one example) while other passages indicate rewarded in the World-To-Come or what some may refer to as the Messianic Era or even the New Heavens and New Earth. In fact, Isaiah 56 seems to indicate non-Jews also known as foreigners have an even higher status should they choose to honor and obey God’s holy covenant. Judaism teaches that this passage of Isaiah 56 as well as other examples such as Ruth or Caleb are referring to Gentiles who convert to Judaism and strive to obey God’s covenant given to Israel at Mount Sinai. Furthermore, have you ever considered what Israel, or the Jewish people, were actually chosen for? Chosen to do what exactly? Jews, as God’s chosen people, are chosen or commissioned to be the light of the world, bringing Torah to the nations (see Isaiah 2:3, 42:6-7, 49:6; Proverbs 6:23; Psalm 119:105-106 as a few examples) primarily by leading in love since the Torah defines how God wants us to love Him and others as well as promoting social justice according to concepts found in Torah (Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 11:1; 16:20).
Did you know in the Messianic Era or World-To-Come, the world is shocked to discover the Jews, who have been afflicted and hated for thousands of years, had it right and will be elevated one fine day (Jeremiah 16:19-21; Isaiah 52:13-53:1; Isaiah 60) so much so that many will grab onto a Jew recognizing God is with them wanting to know more (Zechariah 8:23) and that Torah will be taught by an anointed ruler, which is often referred to by many as a “Messiah” (which really just means “anointed one”), and Torah will also be taught presumably by Jews to the world (Isaiah 2; Micah 4)? Moreover, the nations must also comply with Torah, God’s voice, His law one day INCLUDING keeping sacrifices and if they don’t, their land won’t see rain and therefore will have no crops and suffering economy (see Zechariah 14:16-21). Additionally, please study Ezekiel 36-48 where it describes the resurrection of the dead, the regathering of Israel, all twelve tribes, to the land of Israel, God’s Torah being established and obeyed, as well as sacrifices being held and even led by the prince, presumably what some refer to as the Messiah (see Ezekiel 44-46). Notice in Ezekiel 45:15-25, the “prince” makes sin offerings for the people, but only for unintentional sins as discussed previously. If Jesus is the one and only Messiah or “prince”, the perfect sinless lamb of God who made a sacrifice once and for all as the anonymous author of Hebrews proclaims, why does the Tanakh prove otherwise? This Messiah figure, which Messiah simply means “anointed one” and was used very rarely to describe kings, priests, and prophets and even a Gentile king (see the Hebrew of Isaiah 45 and Daniel 9) rather than one singular “Messiah”. This prophecy of sacrifice in the final temple discussed in Ezekiel is made by the resurrected prince/king David (see Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24; Jeremiah 30:9; Isaiah 9:7; Hosea 3:5) and is undeniably in the New Covenant, where we will no longer need to teach one another about the LORD (Jeremiah 31:31-34) because His Name, His Presence, His Light/Torah, His Voice/Torah are publicly made known and not up for dispute or discussion at that time and David, the prince/king is reigning once more. Also, you will find there is no sinless Messiah described in the Tanakh for it clearly states there is no one without sin according to 1 Kings 8:46 and Ecclesiastes 7:20. Moreover, if we currently are in the New Covenant, as Christianity teaches, why are we still having Bible Studies- that contradicts both Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 8 misquote of Jeremiah 31? If we are currently in the New Covenant, when did the massive resurrection occur? If we are currently in the New Covenant, why aren’t all Jews dwelling in Israel as the prophets repeatedly describe? Why isn’t the whole world obeying Torah? Because it hasn’t happened yet, obviously.
Lastly, while still in Jeremiah 31, notice verse 30 where it says, “But every one shall die for his own iniquity.” That’s strange don’t you think? Why doesn’t it say but Jesus died for everyone’s iniquity and now we live happily or heavenly ever after? Why doesn’t it say this here in Jeremiah 31 particularly when it is discussing the World-To-Come or during the New Covenant? The entire chapter of Jeremiah 31 is prophesying the future full regathering and restoration of Israel one fine day in the Messianic Era and yet still speaking of people dying for their own sin (not Jesus) – being responsible for their own sin not trusting in Jesus to do it for them.
You see, had the Church studied the Hebrew Bible, instead of conveniently attempting to do away with it to sell the avoidance of hell, while elevating themselves and lining their pockets, they would know no one can die for another person sins. The law and prophets clearly speak to this several times as if giving plenty of advance warning of a false religion that will teach such concepts – most likely because this concept of human sacrifices has been a pagan practice since before ancient Israel even existed! Please review Deuteronomy 24:16, 2 Kings 14:6; Psalm 49:7; Ezekiel 18 and 33, all of which speak to the concept of a human cannot die for another human’s sins. Every one is accountable to God for themselves. So why do we think Jesus, a human, can die for our sins? Also, now knowing the law and prophets speak nothing towards such concepts of a Messiah dying for our sins, nor we need to believe in a Messiah to be saved, and we now understand human sacrifice for atonement of sin is forbidden, plus forgiveness is granted simply by repenting when a temple is not in place, and when it is in place, flour can be used as a substitute for blood, etc. and if God does nothing without revealing it to His prophets first as Amos 3:7 states, why would we suddenly think God changed not only His pure language (see Zephaniah 3:9) from Hebrew to Greek, did away with His instructions found in Torah, and yet didn’t reveal it to His prophets of such dramatic changes or that a person must believe in His Son, the Messiah, in order to be forgiven and saved?
Ironically, I discovered this and so much more when I attempted to write an article proving Jesus is the Messiah using only the Old Testament. Needless to say, upon doing so, over many astonishing and grievous months, Abba Father “flip-flopped” my faith as His word clearly declares Jesus Did Not Die For Anyone’s Sins but his own!
Having been exposed and apart of many Christian circles throughout my lifetime, one primary tenet of the Christian faith is that the New Testament is the inerrant word of God. Just review any church’s website under their “What We Believe” or “Statement of Faith” tab and you will inevitably find words like “inerrant” or “infallible” word of God being the 66 books of the combined “Old” and “New” Testaments. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “inerrant” is defined as being “free from error”. Likewise, the Oxford dictionary defines it as “incapable of being wrong”.
Furthermore, Christianity often sites the famous verses found in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 as evidence Scripture, being presumed to be both the “Old” and “New” Testament, is inerrant. After all, if these writings thought to be inspired by God are not absolute truth, then one’s faith is fallacy.
One interesting oversight, however, when making such conclusions from 2 Timothy 3:16-17, is that most Christians overlook the previous verse 15, which clearly reminds the recipient, Timothy, as well as modern day readers, that Timothy had the Holy Scriptures since childhood, referring to the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Law and Prophets, or Tanakh, or what has since been labeled the “Old” Testament by Christianity. These letters penned by Paul (see 2 Timothy 1:1) and others were not regarded as “the Holy Scriptures”, but are merely commentary or one’s opinion about the Holy Scriptures, being the Tanakh. For those unaware, let me briefly define the “Tanakh” as it is more or less an acronym of TNK pronounced in Hebrew as “Tanakh”. The T is for Torah, the first five books of the Bible, the N is for Nevi’im, the prophetic manuscripts (i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.), and the K is for Kethuvim, which are the Psalms, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Lamentations, Ezra, etc. Sometimes Tanakh is spelled Tenach, Tanach, or Tenak, but it all is referring to the Hebrew Bible.
Furthermore, throughout the “New” Testament, which I put in quotes to highlight how terms such as “New” and “Old” propagate the many errors of Replacement Theology, indeed has known errors and thus, cannot be the “inerrant word of God” as many have been led to believe. Below are some examples of the “inerrancy” (pun intended) found in the “New” and implied-improved Testament.
1. The author of the Book of Matthew, which has not been proven, but only speculated to be written by a Matthew, documents the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17. The author states Jesus comes from the lineage of Joseph, Mary’s husband, in verse 16. As a side note, how can this be if Jesus was miraculously conceived and has no genetic father? Furthermore, compare the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew’s version to Luke’s story in Luke 3:23-38. In verse 23, the author claims as does Matthew, that Jesus was from Joseph, a perplexing mysterious scandal for an alleged virgin birth, but moreover, the genealogy detailed here is far different from the one outlined in Matthew. So which is Jesus’ lineage and why do these unknown or unproven authors list not only varying genealogy, but claim Joseph is Jesus’ birthfather when Luke 1:34 and Matthew 1:18 contradict their own findings? Or if listing Jesus’ adoptive father, how can the non-birth father be counted as Jesus’ claim to the Davidic line as qualifying as a Messianic candidate? If Jesus is the perfect Son of God as Christians are taught, then shouldn’t his lineage be without error as well? Is it possible the authors were aware the ancient Jewish sages believed a Messiah would have to be a direct descendant of David, which is documented through the males (see Numbers 1, as a example), so concocted a lineage to make Jesus appear to be a viable candidate? And yet, the authors of Matthew and Luke did not get their stories straight before publishing. When attempting to research this discrepancy, the common response of Christians is, “I don’t know” or perhaps “one is defining Mary’s lineage and the other Joseph’s”. If one is of Mary, then it still is an error as the text specifically states the lineage is of Joseph in both Matthew and Luke.
2. In Luke 24:44-47, as one example, Jesus insisted the Hebrew Bible was all about him – even telling his listeners that “it is written” (in the law or prophets) that the Holy Scriptures predict the messiah will suffer and rise again in three days. Unfortunately, this is a bold face lie (if it actually was even said by Jesus in the first place considering the gospels were written several decades after Jesus allegedly lived so how could anybody accurately quote him?). Nevertheless, assuming he did say this about himself, NO WHERE in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say a messiah will suffer, much less die and rise again on the third day AND no where does it say one must believe in the messiah in order to be saved from their sins or forgiven of their sins, and the Hebrew Scriptures also do NOT say that his name or a messiah’s name will be preached to all nations beginning in Jerusalem (or anywhere else for that matter). I encourage you, dear student of the Bible, to go research this. You will not find any of it – because it doesn’t exist. Again, a hugely critical error of the New Testament. Before you go on thinking Isaiah 53 talks about the suffering messiah, you will need to pay attention to more details and read it within context like you would any other chapter of any other book. Click this link to thoroughly study Isaiah 53.
“He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.‘ ” Luke 24:44-47 (NKJV)
3. Have you ever studied out and compared the many differing versions of Jesus’ alleged resurrection? Sure, I know naïve Christians have been told the different accounts are just different perspectives of the unknown authors of the gospels, but in reality, when closely examining the alleged eye-witness accounts, you will find there are several details that contradict one another. That topic alone has made an intriguing article I encourage you to dive into this for yourself. All of which, begs the question, if the so-called witnesses of the resurrection cannot get their stories straight, can these accounts be trusted? How would any judge or jury discern what is truth if the witnesses relay the same overall outcome, but their varying stories contradict the details of the said event? When the timeline, order of discovery, characters involved, and or reasons for being at the event all differ, it certainly casts a reasonable doubt. And if indeed Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior, the perfect Son of God, wouldn’t God make sure the accounts of Jesus were perfectly documented rather than be in error much less recorded numerous years later? How can anyone possibly remember what Jesus said verbatim decades later? And yet, we have formed numerous denominations and doctrines over what we were sure Jesus actually said. Did you know in addition to historians and experts not actually knowing who the authors of the Gospels were, they do know the Gospels were written decades after Jesus’ lived and died, and even after the Book of Revelation? So the Gospels could easily have been written to support the ideologies of Paul and or any other Apostle. Did you know the first book of the “New” Testament was Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church he established based off an unusual spiritual experience? I will stop for now, but do your research. I suspect upon doing so, you will be alarmed and angry at what you will discover as was I.
4. Speaking of errors in the Gospels, were you aware that in Matthew 27:9, the author quotes Jeremiah the prophet as writing about the thirty pieces of silver, when in fact, that statement can be found not in Jeremiah, but Zechariah 11:12-13? Never mind the fact that Zechariah’s words are taken out of context in Matthew’s writing. Regardless, clearly the “New” Testament, more specifically, the Gospels, are not without error.
5. Scholars have proven the New Testament has many “interpolations”, meaning many phrases or verses were added in to support man-made church doctrine, but were not in the original manuscripts. For a brief sample, click here, but I encourage you to research this out more thoroughly.
6. In Acts 7:16, the author believed to be Paul’s Gentile pal, Luke, but not proven, wrote that the patriarchs of Israel were buried in “Shechem” when in actuality they (i.e. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their wives, etc) were buried in Mamre, also known as Hebron, more specifically the cave of the field of Machpelah, according to Genesis 23:17-20 and 50:13. Shechem is yet another error in the alleged inerrant New Testament.
7. Also in the Book of Acts, when describing the Apostle Paul’s conversion experience or when he allegedly saw the resurrected Jesus in the sky, it is reported in Acts 9:7 that the men who journeyed with Paul heard a voice, but saw nothing. In Acts 22:9, however, Paul testifies of just the opposite: the men with him saw a light, but heard no voice, documenting yet again the Book of Acts cannot be the inerrant word of God.
8. As another example of errors within the New Testament, please review and compare the Book of Hebrews to other Scriptures found in the Tanakh. Compare Hebrews 8:9 to Jeremiah 31:32. Notice the unknown author of Hebrews, misquotes Jeremiah 31:32 by writing, “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord..” (NKJV). Jeremiah 31:32 actually says, “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.” (NKJV) As you can see, the author of Hebrews manipulated the text to make it seem like God has cast His people, the Jewish people, Israel, aside and now there are a new and improved people implying the church, which all is apart of the erroneous Replacement Theology doctrine. Clearly, this is not the inerrant word of God, but heresy and altering the Hebrew Bible to propel an agenda. Unfortunately, the author uses the same blatant manipulation of Scriptures a couple of chapters later in Hebrews 10:5. The author is attempting to convince the reader that Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice and sacrifices are no longer needed which contradicts Ezekiel 43-44 describing sacrifices in the World-To-Come/Messianic Era/New Jerusalem where the Torah goes out to the entire globe (see Isaiah 2:1-4; Isaiah 11; Micah 4; Zechariah 14:16+). Notice in Zechariah 14:16+ the nations must offer sacrifices in the Messianic Era if they want it to rain on their land (i.e. have crops and food), all of which is after the “Day of the LORD”. Please carefully review Hebrews 10:5, where the author misquotes Psalm 40:6-8 intentionally and dramatically changing the verbiage to make it seem like Jesus is the final sacrifice predicted in the Psalms. Compare Psalms 40:6-8 to Hebrews 10:5:
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:6-8 (NKJV)
“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me- To do Your will, O God.” Hebrews 10:5-7 (NKJV)
Here we can see several errors. Not only did the author remove God’s word by subtracting the text “You did not require” and replaced it with “you did not desire” and then added to it with “But a body You have prepared for Me..”, which it is a sin to add or subtract from Scripture according to Deuteronomy 12:32 in the Christian Bible or Deuteronomy 13:1 in the Hebrew Bible, but the author also left off a key element validating God’s Torah by removing the phrase, “And Your law is within my heart.” These errors are clearly intentional as the author of Hebrews is leading the reader to believe 1) A sin blood sacrifices were required (for atonement), 2) God doesn’t want ongoing sacrifices, but just one final sacrifice being Jesus now and 3) by leaving off Torah is within my heart it leads the reader to believe God’s laws are done away with or no longer relevant, a myth the Church has propagated for centuries in attempts to distance themselves from anything remotely Jewish. The author of Hebrews goes on to repeat his grave sin by rewriting it for emphasis in verses 8-9 AND claiming God’s Torah, part of what Christians label “OLD” Testament is removed. Out with the old and in with the new Hebrews 10:9 claims; hence, the birth of Replacement Theology. However, Deuteronomy 13 warns us that anyone that comes along and says God’s law, His Torah, His instructions, His voice is done away with, or steers others to not obey Torah is a false prophet and in dangerous error. This person or doctrine was sent as a test to see if you believe in God or man-made doctrines like Replacement Theology and the Book of Hebrews. Fascinating that the author could not even pen his name to this manuscript just as the alleged authors of the Gospels did not pen their names either.
All of this compelling evidence is not to say some spiritual concepts or truths cannot be gleaned from Jesus or the “New” Testament, just as they can be from any person or writings, but clearly, the writings are not without error and therefore, not the “inerrant word of God”. Rather, they ought to be compared to the Tanakh, the Holy Scriptures designed for instructions of righteousness making a person complete (2 Timothy 3:15-17). That much I can agree with Paul.
Christianity is easy to sell when you make people believe they’re going to hell. And yet, conveniently unable to prove. Whether Catholic or Protestant, Christianity teaches one must believe in Jesus Christ, or put another way, that Jesus is the Messiah, in order to be saved from a default destiny of doom. Depending on the particular path of Christianity you are sojourning, in addition to accepting the concept that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the definition of salvation may emphasize doing good works, being baptized, and or receiving the Holy Spirit or all of the above as qualifying you as having been “saved” or will be saved (John 3:16; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-39). To be clear, the motivation in said events is to be saved from burning in hell when you die or at some point in the future. Most Christians believe when you die, you instantly are ushered into heaven or hell, but what determines if you are saved from being sent to hell by default is your faith in Jesus, or you believed in Jesus AND were baptized, or whether you believed in Jesus, were baptized PLUS received the Holy Spirit, and or whether you were in general a good person, etc, etc. Naturally, the variety of salvation doctrines or man-induced formulas never cease to exist and reproduce, but at the heart of them all is you must believe in Jesus. Otherwise, you are definitely going to hell and even part of the Anti-Christ spirit, according to the Christian faith, a faith I once believed and belonged to. Hence, the overall spiritual version of the salvation concept or one’s guaranteed ticket to heaven plan. Being us humans tend to avoid pain and suffering, it is not difficult to get people to believe in someone or something if it means we will forever avoid tormenting flames and instead can be strumming harps or lounging on clouds in heaven. Faith in Jesus is easy to sell if it means you’ll avoid burning in hell. Similarly, naive children innocently believe Santa will come down their chimney to deliver them gifts, if only they believe in him and be good. All lies wrapped in dazzling packaging. The truth is most of the world, including myself, have been sold many lies.
When I scavenged through the Hebrew Bible, or what Christians would call the “Old” Testament, however, I discovered a different definition of salvation unfolded before my eyes. First of all, there is absolutely no mention of one must believe in a future Messiah let alone you must believe in a man-God as Messiah to be saved. I found that omission surprising as the Lord does nothing without revealing it to His prophets first (Amos 3:7). Surely, they would have written about such critical beliefs in advance. Rather, what I did find was an overwhelming amount of times God says He is it, the end all be all, there is no one other than Him, no other savior, no other redeemer. Please take the time to review the following verses: Isaiah 42:8, 43:3, 10-11, 15; 44:6, 8; 45:5-7, 11, 14-18, 21-25; 46:9; 47:4; 48:12,17; 49:26; 59:20; 60:16; Hosea 13:4. Here are what a few of these verses convey:
Additionally, God’s Torah makes it clear anyone who believes in someone who claims to be God or worships an image in the likeness of a man or other being or uses an item or festivity not prescribed by God as if it is God or all about God, it is considered idolatrous for God intentionally did not reveal Himself in any definitive form so that His people would not make an image like Him and then worship it as if it is Him (Deuteronomy 4:15-24; 12-13). And yet, Christianity teaches that Jesus is God, specifically found in the Gospel of John, the author expresses Jesus is God’s only Son, in fact a definitive version of God Himself and Jesus is God’s Torah or Word manifested in physical flesh. Doesn’t that contradict everything God said before? Why would God come in the likeness of man when He inexplicably said previously He intentionally did not reveal Himself in any form like a man in Deuteronomy 4? Doesn’t that go against the concept of faith or trusting in God alone? Why would God go out of His way to repeatedly state there is no one else but Him in the prophets like Moses, Isaiah, and Hosea? Why does He also state in Micah 3:6 He does not change and yet Christianity proclaims everything has changed? Indeed, the doctrines of man found in Christianity has changed everything to avoid any resemblance of being Jewish and moreover, to go against the One True God. Suddenly, some several hundreds years post-Jesus, as more and more Gentiles believed in Jesus, the Sabbath changed to Sunday, to align with the pagan worship of the Roman sun god, things God specifically said are not permissible to eat are deemed food (see Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14) to fit the appetite of the pagans, the pagan concepts of polytheism is merged into a Trinity doctrine, feasts of the LORD changed to feasts of the Roman Catholic church, the Passover was changed to the Eucharist/communion, and instead of obeying God’s laws, it is taught to hate God’s law, but rather embrace Roman law, all the while hating God’s people in exchange for claiming the Church is now God’s chosen people, and so on. Out with the “Old” and in with the “New”. Perhaps by having prophets like Moses, Isaiah, and Hosea scribe such warnings over and over again, God knew His people would come against many false gods or false messiahs claiming to be God as well as many false doctrines that blatantly contradict God’s ways.
Furthermore, repeatedly throughout the Hebrew Bible, but more specifically in Psalms and the Book of Isaiah, I read concepts of a literal salvation from physical oppression and harm as well as the understanding that this physical blessing of salvation is simply a result of striving to obey God and His instructions detailed in Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible. By listening and obeying God’s Voice, which is His eternal word, His instructions in Torah (see Deuteronomy 28:1), we are walking in the way of life eternal (Psalm 119:89-94), we are learning and walking in righteousness (Isaiah 2:2-4, 26:9-10). In other words, righteousness, which is by walking uprightly, genuinely striving to do what God says to do, will be rewarded with salvation or eternal life in the form of resurrection or reuniting with Him one fine day here on earth. Conversely, modern day mainstream Christianity says you can do anything, break any of God’s laws, and still go to heaven as long as you say you mentally believe in a guy named Jesus died for your sins. Much of modern day Christianity teaches your physical actions need not match your word much less God’s word! However, please review how God defines salvation in Psalm 50:
Notice in Psalm 50, David explains a person who actively is engaged in honoring God’s Torah, His way, by authentically seeking to obey Him, God will save that person. In the next chapter, Psalm 51, David likewise describes repentance as a means to have ones sins blotted out, to having God’s Holy Spirit dwelling with him, and consequently causing him to instruct others in God’s ways found in His law, His Torah. David goes on to explain it’s not sacrifices for sin God is interested in, but rather, God is longing for people with a repentant, broken, circumcised heart that seek Him and His will for their lives. Psalm 103 reiterates the same concept of repentance for breaking God’s law and forgiveness providing everlasting mercy to those who remember to do His commands. Read it for yourself in both the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) version as well as the New King James Version (NKJV):
In addition to learning God’s grace has always been made available and He is not as interested in sacrificial atonement as He is more interested in a heart that seeks Him and wants to obey Him, He will gladly forgive us or blot out our sins (also visit Isaiah 1:16-20; Psalm 109:14-15). There never is a mention of someone needing to die for our sins much less an image in the likeness of God such as Jesus to do so. Christianity teaches Jesus HAD to die for our sins, but according to the Hebrew Bible, God’s word, another person cannot die for another’s sins rather each person is held accountable for themselves (see Deuteronomy 24:16, Ezekiel 18 and 33:12-20). Shocking I know! Therefore, the concept of a deity dying and rising from the dead is a farce and comes directly from Greco-Roman mythology as well as many other pagan religions. In fact, Justin Martyr wrote, “when we say … Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propose nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you consider sons of Zeus.” (1 Apol. 21). I dare you to seek out this theme in many pagan religions. You’ll love how some are even born to virgin mothers. Naturally, the well-circulated foundation of pagan religions made it easy for Gentiles to believe in Jesus, a man-deity that allegedly overcame death. Is it not suspicious the “New” testament is written in Greek while the “Old” is in Hebrew? I suppose God changed what He deems a “pure language” too (Zephaniah 3:9)- from Hebrew to Greek?
Moreover, the definition of salvation in the Hebrew Bible is consistently connected with being saved from physical persecution, abuse, oppression, and harm (Psalm 53, 54, 78, 80, 85, 91, 126; Isaiah 51, 60-62; Ezekiel 34-39; Jeremiah 29-32; Zephaniah 3) while literally being restored to Israel, specifically Mount Zion or Jerusalem, where God’s presence will permanently dwell. In other words, it’s not being saved to some mystical heaven, but rather being saved to be apart of heaven on earth (Psalm 53:6, Isaiah 11, 54-56, 65-66, Zechariah 14).
Fascinatingly enough, upon reading prophecies penned by Jeremiah and Ezekiel, I found it interesting that many Jews will be literally saved from evil oppression and tyranny, restored to their rightful land and place, be cleansed with water, and receive God’s Spirit of Holiness causing them to want to obey God’s instructions with their whole heart (see Ezekiel 11:14-21; 36:24-29; Jeremiah 30-31; Isaiah 43:25-29; 44:1-5, 21-22; 46:12-13). It’s as if it is the Jews/Israel experience the exact reverse of how Christianity defines the salvation experience (i.e. baptism, receiving the Holy Spirit, then believe and obey). Upon being resurrected and regathered, many Jews will be you could say, “born again”. When I simply read the various Scriptures for what they said instead of through my Christian filter while also reading them in context and looking at the repetitive theme, a varying definition of salvation emerged similar, yet quite different, from the Christian explanation. Additionally, Isaiah 56 says even the non-Jews who obey’s God’s holy covenant by keeping Sabbath for example are taken to Mount Zion. Likewise, Psalm 67:2 hints that God’s Torah, also known as His way, will be known among the earth; therefore, salvation will be among all the nations of the earth (also see Isaiah 2, 11, 42, 49, 51; Micah 4; Zechariah 14:16+).
To recap, the wicked indeed are held accountable to some extent deemed by God for their rejection and rebellion towards God and His word, His law, His Torah, which are His instructions for living. However, those who believe in God enough to actually attempt to obey Him and are humble enough to repent when they fail, both Jew and Gentile/foreigner, will be considered righteous and rewarded, which also is deemed by God. Everyone is eventually physically resurrected to be judged (Daniel 12:2-3, 13) and or physically regathered to Israel one fine day (Ezekiel 34-48; Zechariah 14). This is the Hebrew Bible’s repetitive definition of salvation and heaven on earth.
If a person claimed something of theirs was missing or stolen and you interviewed several alleged witnesses, but the witnesses had varying stories with details that contradict one another, could you for certain declare something to be fact? Could you say with 100% certainty someone was guilty or not-guilty? What if throughout the reports of the eye-witnesses there was a common denominator of a certain person or group of people were indeed involved? Would not those people be perceived as suspects?
When I study the various accounts of the resurrection of Jesus, I find it problematic there are many contradictions, but a similar report of the women being first on the scene, but can’t get their stories straight… Let us dissect and discuss…But first, grab your New Testament.
Consider how and when the women saw the resurrected Jesus such as: In Matthew 28:1-8, Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” came to the tomb around dawn the day after Sabbath and experienced an earthquake when an angel came down from heaven and personally rolled away the stone. Supposedly it scared the guards, plural, to death paralyzing them in fear. In Mark 16, after Sabbath was over, early in the morning, when the sun had risen, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James (and Jesus), and Salome brought spices to anoint the body. At first, they were perplexed as to who will roll the stone away for them, but when they arrived, the stone was already rolled away for them. What happened to the earthquake and seeing the angel descend? The speculated but not proven author of Mark skips over that detail. Seems like a a highly important detail to somehow forget. Upon arriving at the open tomb, they see a young man inside. No mention of the guards in that version.
A few verses earlier, evidently the tomb’s stone is able to be moved by just 1 person since Joseph (not Mary’s husband) rolled it himself in Mark 15:46 so that leads me to believe 2 or 3 women could have rolled it if just 1 man could have. In Luke 24, on the 1st day of the week, very early in the morning, certain women and “other women with them” so now we have a group of women went to the tomb with spices to anoint the body. Upon arriving, like in Mark, but unlike in Matthew, they discover the stone is already rolled away. After going inside the tomb, suddenly not 1 man as recounted in Mark, but in Luke’s version 2 men were inside the tomb.In John’s version found in John 20, he describes just 1 woman went to the tomb, Mary Magdalene, while it was still dark so not at dawn or after dawn like the other versions describe. No mention of any earthquake nor other women or 1 or 2 men or angels are told to us in John’s version, but we do learn Peter and another disciple race to the tomb and reveal another interesting clue and that is that the linens Jesus was wrapped in were neatly folded within the tomb (John 20:5-7). Verse 9 of John 20 states the disciples did *not* know of any Scripture (in Tanakh) prophesying the Messiah must rise from the dead because there is none. Rather, the Messiah is to bring world peace, unity, and elevate the Jews to assist in teaching Torah to the world as light to the nations (Isaiah 2, 11, 42, 49, 53-56 among others).
Also, we learn in John’s version that both Joseph and the Pharisee Nicodemus wrapped and anointed Jesus’ body in spices (John 19:38-42) upon his burial. If Nicodemus and Joseph already anointed Jesus’ body, then why did the women need to come again to do so at the time of his burial in Luke 23:56 PRIOR to Sabbath and why did the women return to do so AGAIN AFTER Sabbath as defined in Mark 16:1? Matthew writes about a guard or guards being there to seal the stone whereas none of the other gospels do; Joseph rolled the tomb in place; Yet, the women wondered how they would unroll the stone as if impossible to do so- then why come to anoint him in the wee hours of the morning or at dawn, depending on which version, if the stone cannot be unrolled and if they cannot unroll it themselves? This does not make sense.
There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus lived and died as there are a limited number of historical writings of such events. There also is little doubt his body was missing or the Pharisees and Romans could have simply opened the tomb to dispute the claim of the resurrection. I suppose they still could have done so, but we know not of historical documents stating this theory so for the sake of argument, let’s say the body was indeed missing. Conversely, should the Pharisees or other Jews or the Romans discovered Jesus indeed did resurrect from the dead, wouldn’t that have been the catalyst to producing far more believers instantly rather than just a small group who were already Jesus’ fans? How come we have no documentation of detailed accounts of the resurrected Jesus appearing to any of the alleged 500 Paul claims though Paul didn’t even personally know Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:5-8)? Not to mention Paul’s order of appearance list also contradicts the gospels. There is no account of Jesus revealing himself to anyone but primarily the women first, then some men, IF any of that is even true. Wouldn’t the resurrected Messiah be sure to reveal himself to his accusers? To those who didn’t believe him? Wouldn’t that be far more magnificent and noteworthy to propel God’s mission? Wouldn’t that be far more effective and critical in sharing the ‘good news’ of the gospel, particularly to the so-called lost sheep Jesus was sent to (Matthew 15:24) as in the Jews?
Let’s say for the sake of argument, the Pharisees or Romans inspected the tomb and verified Jesus’ body was missing. Is it not possible though that the body was removed? Who would have the most motive to remove Jesus’ body?
We are told the disciples did not believe the women when they came to them to report Jesus’ body was removed. Also, interestingly enough in John’s version, found in John 20:1-2, Mary Magdalene runs to the disciples to tell them “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”. Wow! Did she see him or not? In other accounts, she ran into Jesus either at the tomb or upon leaving the tomb prior to seeing the disciples (Matt.28:7-10; Mk 16:8-11). In John’s version, she runs to the disciples first to tell them Jesus’ body is missing, but then later, after Peter and another disciple inspect the tomb, Mary Magdalene speaks to two angels and Jesus appears to her, which she then ran to the disciples again to report what happened (John 20:11-18). Do you see the confusion in the timetable and details of the various gospels?
These many different accounts of the same epic moment seem suspicious and becoming less credible the more the reader compares the testimony of the so called witnesses. But back to motive…the disciples, being men of various trades, although disappointed and humiliated, could easily have gone back to their occupations. However, there is one person in particular who had EVERYTHING to lose if Jesus did not rise again. Mary, Jesus’ mother, not only would have been financially ruined if Jesus did not rise from the dead being her other sons would be the laughing stock of town, but she could have been stoned per the law being now the truth she was not miraculously impregnated by the Holy Spirit but rather by Joseph or whomever. Is it not strange the women knew where Jesus’ body was being each account testifies the women were there when he was placed in the tomb unlike the disciples, AND showed up either in the middle of the night or at the crack of dawn to anoint his body when they or Nicodemus already did so while allegedly not knowing how they would open the tomb themselves, AND there are so many different versions of the details of what happened next, AND the linens just happen to be folded neatly all pointing to the women?! Is it not possible wanting to spare Mary, mother of Jesus and their friend, the women got together to remove the body under the guise of anointing the body, folded the linens neatly in place upon unwrapping them, and then after making it look like he vanished, ran to the men to tell them their many different versions of what happened?
Furthermore, could the women or men have hallucinated having been under great post-traumatic stress? Could they have seen a ghost as some versions express? How many reports are there in modern ages of people seeing their dead loved ones’ ghost or ghosts in general? Plenty, interestingly enough. There even is a ghost story in 1 Samuel 28:11-19 where the medium saw the ghost of the Prophet Samuel, much to her horror. The ghost of Prophet Samuel was recognizable, had a physical appearance, could clearly communicate and EVEN still give a prophecy to King Saul and yet, the dude was still technically dead! So could the disciples have seen and likewise conversed with Jesus’ ghost?
Could they have concocted seeing Jesus or could they have been deceived into seeing someone else posing as Jesus since they did not recognize him? Or could the unknown authors of the gospels created the story themselves since there is no other documentation of Jesus’ resurrection? If it was documented elsewhere that he lived and died, why would not people document the most epic event in all human history – his miraculous resurrection?! Even if he actually did rise again, others in the Tanakh/Old Testament rose again such as Elijah resurrected a child (1 Kings 17 & 2 Kings 4), does that make Elijah or those children THE MESSIAH? Even so, Jesus still doesn’t fit the majority of the profile of the Messiah as described by the prophets.
Also, if Jesus did rise from the dead, Matthew 7:53 says the graves were opened and there were numerous resurrected people walking around. What happened to those people? Moreover, how come NO ONE ELSE documented anywhere that historians know of this hugely monumental event? Maybe because it is largely fiction just as has been proven about Herod’s non-existent census.
These are somethings I have pondered the last several months..feeling like a Detective of the Divine. Seems to me if Jesus was the perfect son of God, then the accounts of such an important figure would also have been perfectly documented. Don’t go researching how many errors there are in the alleged “inerrant” word of God we are told of to describe the New Testament, you will be sorely disappointed. And yet, I know of no errors in the Tanakh (Old Testament). Perhaps some may find it alarming or suspect 1st Corinthians and Paul’s epistles were all written first decades before the gospels based off Paul’s mystical experience of seeing Jesus in the clouds, which no one else saw, but they did hear a voice according to Acts 9:7. However, in Acts 22:9, Paul testifies that the people with him in that moment saw a light, but did NOT hear Jesus’ voice, the exact opposite of what the author of Acts wrote several chapters earlier. Once again, we have a book that contradicts important details of the people who are sharing this new strange faith claiming to have seen the resurrected Jesus.
Did you know the gospels were written LAST of all the New Testament whereas Paul’s writings and others were first? Even the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, was written before the gospels. How suspect! Could not the gospels have been written to support the ideologies of Paul or others all those years later? As church history unfolds, billions are told or led to believe the gospels allegedly precisely quote Jesus. Over the centuries and still today, we are making doctrines and divisions out of things allegedly said or done by a man documented numerous decades after he lived and died. I can’t remember and therefore could not document what someone precisely said last week let alone decades later. Could you? And do you really believe each account is “inspired” by the Holy Spirit? If so, are they four different holy spirits because it is four different accounts of the same alleged event (being the resurrection, for example)? I know, you were told it is just different perspectives. With that reasoning, evidently, “God” has varying perspectives or accounts of absolute truth. Clearly, Paul or whomever he employed to pen the Book of Acts, some scholars say it was Paul’s Gentile buddy Luke (the same author of the Gospel of Luke), cannot keep Paul’s story straight of his alleged witness of the resurrected Jesus either as proven in Acts 9 and 22!
As a metaphorical detective in this case, my conclusions are as follows:
None of the alleged eye-witnesses can get their stories straight regarding the resurrection as to who, what, where, when, how, creating plausible false testimonies.
The documentation of the gospels were written numerous decades after the alleged events allowing for facts to be forgotten, scrambled in minds, out of chronological order, as well as subtracted from or added to possibly for greater sensationalism and meaning. Or, made up entirely!
None of the alleged eye-witnesses are wiling to sign their names to their testimony (none of the authors of the gospels signed their names – it is merely speculated who may have written them). How would anonymous witnesses hold up in court? So essentially, you have no actual witnesses and no consistency in their stories rather than at least two or three witnesses with consistent and true testimony, per Torah.
There is absolutely no third party documentation or accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, but there is of his existence and certain deeds he did as well as his death. Likewise, there is no third party documentation of others being resurrected simultaneously as Matthew 7:53 reports, all of which would surely have created quite a stir and prompted others to document such epic events had they actually occurred.
Other false details, misquotes, and fiction has been proven throughout the gospels, the Book of Acts, and the Book of Hebrews (though not all discussed in this article) all building a case against these writings being the “inerrant” word of God (never mind the fact God suddenly changed His language from Hebrew to Greek, even though He is not a man who does not lie or change – see Numbers 23:19 and Malachi 3:6).
Lastly, we know the primary proponent of Christianity, being Paul, the author of books/epistles written before the gospels all about Jesus, by his own testimony persecuted fans of Jesus, but then later recanted due to a bizarre vision like experience of Jesus, which may have possibly been triggered by severe guilt and mental illness. Then to make himself feel better, he exhorts himself to be on Team Jesus spreading the false stories of the “good news” or maybe better labeled “fake news”.
Throughout history and not excluding during the period of Jesus and Paul, various pagan religions, including Greek mythology already believed a god-man figure who died and rose again, making it easy for Gentiles to accept and believe this new found faith spread namely by Paul based off his unusual and contradictory report detailed in Acts 9 and 22.
In conclusion, Jesus was a man, not God, who likely was rabbi (teacher) and prophet performing signs and wonders as most prophets do (even false prophets). Jesus taught many good and interesting concepts such as “Do unto others as you would have them do to you“. Nevertheless, according to the warnings of Tanakh, God tells us He will certainly test His people by sending false prophets to tempt people to worship them or another God instead of the One True Living God. What does God say to test a prophet by? Namely two (2) areas: Are they for or against Torah? Secondly, did their prophecy manifest? (Read Deuteronomy 12:29-13:11 and 18:9-22). Jesus was (and still is) such a test as he was a false prophet, not because he taught against Torah (we know he was for Torah not against it – see Matthew 5:19-21); although, fascinatingly enough, the Church has successfully brainwashed billions into thinking Jesus was against Torah and did away with it, which should be a red-flag to all Jews and other students of the Bible, never mind the fact the Church distanced themselves from anything remotely Jewish and instead created many replacement theologies, traditions, and feasts over God’s Holy rituals and holidays (found in Torah) all the while using the funds of naive and ignorant people to build a wealthy religious empire elevating the power and control of the Church and successfully produced fruit of holy wars, harm to others, and endless division still carrying on today. How many denominations are in just the Protestant sect of Christianity? Over 40,000! Furthermore, Jesus was a false prophet or false Messiah because his claim of being Messiah does not fit the Messianic prophecies defined in the Holy Scriptures (the Tanakh / “Old” Testament), more specifically what the anointed will be doing and in my opinion, Scripture blatantly says who God will resurrect to be King to usher in the New Covenant/Messianic Era/ World To Come – see Ezekiel 34:23-25; 37:24; Jeremiah 30:9; Isaiah 9:7. Lastly, Jesus was a false prophet because according to the gospels, he declared prophecies claiming he would return in the lifetime of his disciples and yet, that clearly did not manifest (Matthew 16:27-28; 24:25-34; 26:63-64; Mark 13:26-30; Luke 21:27-32).
Due to all the clues and findings, as a metaphorical Detective of the Divine, I would deem this case closed.
If you have been exposed to Judaism, Messianic Judaism, Hebrew Roots, or some variant of those branches, then you will most likely be familiar with the weekly Bible readings known as the Torah portion, also referred to as the parashah, which simply means a passage or section of the first five books of the Bible, as well as the Haftarah portion. The Torah and Haftarah portions are typically read publicly and studied each Sabbath. If you are relatively new to hearing such unfamiliar terminology, this brief article has been scribed to give you an overview.
Brief Torah Portion History
The tradition of reading a passage from the Torah, which is also known as the law or teachings or instructions of God and can be found in the first five books of the Bible being Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, is believed to have began in 6th century BC immediately after the Jews were released from Babylonian captivity. Upon being allowed to return to Jerusalem to re-group and re-claim their God-ordained promised land (Ezra 1-2), which they were evicted from by God for failing to obey God’s voice documented throughout the Torah, Ezra, the Levitical priest, “had prepared his heart to the seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10) so as to not repeat history and be cursed by God for failure to heed His written Voice. Once the temple was rebuilt and dedicated unto the LORD, in the seventh month (Tishri, on the Hebrew calendar), “all the people gathered together as one man” so Ezra could read to them the “Book of the Law”. Each day during the Feast of Tabernacles, known as ‘Sukkot’ in Hebrew, also during the seventh-month, portions of the Torah were read to the people (Ezra 8). And so it is believed the custom began in order to prevent the calamity of the curses brought on God’s people for their rebellion in not obeying God’s written voice. At some point, the Torah portions were divided up into 54 weekly parashahs or specific passages. Still today, the entire globe (of those branches) are studying the same Bible passages in unity as “one man”.
Brief Haftarah Portion History
No one knows for certain how the Haftarah, also pronounced Haftorah in Ashkenazi communities, portions began, but many believe the tradition started circa 175 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes conquered the temple. At that tragic time, Antiochus Epiphanes outlawed the public reading of the Torah, replaced the holy artifacts with pagan gods within the temple, slaughtered pig, an unclean and abomination according to Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14, and Isaiah 65-66, as a means to mock God’s ordained sacrificial system, and even tormented and killed Jews for holding to their belief in the one true God and their determination to adhere to His laws. All of this was an “abomination of desolation”, which will happen again according to prophecies found in the Book of Daniel. Consequently, the rabbis of those days researched and prescribed related passages of the Torah found in the Prophets to be read each week instead of the Torah during that tumultuous time. This became known as “Haftarah”, which means “conclude”.
After that horrific time, the practice of reading from the Prophets stuck so today, passages called portions from the Torah and the Haftarah, which are related are read.
The weekly Torah portions as well as various articles and teachings are easy to find online with a quick search of “this week’s Torah portion”.
***BE SURE TO READ UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE BELOW***
After attending a Messianic Jewish congregation for nearly a year now, I have been exposed to a few peculiar doctrines that I wanted further clarification on for I was not sure if I was hearing various sentiments correctly. Three different Messianic Jewish ministries the congregation supports have subtly or boldly expressed the concept of all Jewish people are still in covenant with Hashem (God) regardless if they accept Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah or not. This was an instant red flag, nevertheless, I wanted to first verify this is indeed what was being occasionally proclaimed and if so, I wanted an explanation as to how one could come to such conclusions considering Scripture and the Jewish Messiah Himself rejects such connotations.
Upon reaching out to these three different ministries without getting a response, I approached my ‘Torah Club’ teacher, who also is an elder at the Messianic Jewish Congregation I’ve been regularly attending. ‘Torah Club’ is a ministry of First Fruits of Zion, and I found it immensely enriching as I came to learn more about the first five books of the Bible. Truly, while studying the Scriptures in Torah Club, the Holy Spirit blessed me by opening my eyes to so much revelation. I also found my teacher regularly provided additional value by bringing other books and Jewish insight to our class. I respect him as I have found him to be a brilliant teacher with an approachable and likeable demeanor. To his credit, he genuinely attempted numerous times to explain to me the best he could this strange and new-to- me-concept although with little to no Scripture to do so. Being I am a visual learner as well as live over an hour away (one way!) from congregation making it difficult to meet during the week, I inquired if he had articles or knew of video teachings he could guide me to. In hopes of helping me understand, the elder/teacher lent me First Fruits of Zion’s (FFOZ) Summer 2019 publication of Messiah Journal, Issue 134, a recent exclusive membership only publication.
Being hungry for truth and desperate to solve the mystery that has been periodically haunting me for several months, I devoured the journal, reading some of the articles more than once. Surprisingly though, upon reading the articles, I became angry and distressed even to the point of weeping for I could sense an UNholy spirit attempting to deceive undiscerning readers on not just this particular doctrinal point, but another as well (we will save that topic for a later post). One article titled, “Dismantling Replacement Theology” by D Thomas Lancaster defined and thoroughly covered concepts of Replacement Theology and why in the author and FFOZ’s perspective is evil.
“What is replacement theology?”, the author scribes. “It’s the idea that Christians have replaced Jews as God’s people.” Despite already having another red flag in my spirit, I kept reading with an open mind genuinely wanting to hear out his case. After explaining how Replacement Theology indeed teaches a replacement of all things old with all things new (i.e. the New Testament replaces the Old Testament, the Lord’s Day, being Sunday, replaces Sabbath, The Lord’s Supper replaces Passover,etc.), I was thus far mostly in agreement with him until Lancaster penned the following statements a few paragraphs into the article:
“Replacement theology is all about ‘out with the old and in with the new.’ It posits that all these old things were replaced when Jesus came and died and rose from the dead. The good news, the ‘gospel message’, according to replacement theology, is that God has replaced all the old systems with the new system. When stated as succinctly as that, it’s easy to sympathize with Jewish people who reject the gospel. Jews must surely think it puzzling that we would present the New Testament, which ostensibly replaces Judaism and all Jewish religious institutions and functions, as good news for Israel. Where’s the good news in the replacement-theology version of the good news? Israel has been replaced, the Torah has been cancelled, and God’s covenant with the Jewish people is over. Adding insult to the injury, replacement theology posits that Jewish people’s relationship with God has been replaced by a new order and mechanism for salvation, thereby damning most Jews to eternity in hell. Is it really a mystery why most Jewish people are none too excited about this so-called good news?”
While I certainly agree, Jesus/Yeshua did not come to start a new religion considering He too was Jewish and very clearly practiced the commandments found in His Father’s Torah, which isn’t always one and the same as Judaism, He did very succinctly make it clear just because one is physically a descendant of Abraham does not make you by default a child of God, or in Christian lingo ‘saved’, but Jesus/Yeshua does hint at the important spiritual birth of becoming a spiritual descendant of Abraham by doing the works of Abraham, which was faith (Hebrews 11:8-12) as was also expressed by the Apostle Paul.
“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you…If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham…If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God..You are of your father the devil..” Yeshua/Jesus, John 8:37-44 (NKJV)
Earlier in John 8 verses 23-24 (NKJV), Jesus says to the Pharisees, “You are from beneath; I am from the above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.“
Later, in John 14:6 (NLT), Yeshua/Jesus says, ” Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’ ”
So did ‘Replacement Theology’ state Jewish people as well as all other ethnicities cannot enter into covenant with Abba Father except through Jesus, or did Yeshua/Jesus Himself state such truths? Did Jesus say the Pharisees are not of Abraham’s lineage just because they are Jewish or did some theologian come up with that random concept?
Likewise, did the Apostle Paul not express similar concepts when he scribed in Romans 9:6-8 to the Gentile Romans, ‘For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they ALL (my emphasis) children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ That is, those who are the children of the flesh (Jewish/Abraham’s physical descent), these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed (spiritually those whose faith is in Yeshua/Jesus.. spiritually born into Israel)”? Again, is this ‘Replacement Theology’ or a teaching of the most successful Apostle of human history inspired by the Holy Spirit?
I found it telling Lancaster provided not one Scriptural proof text that Israel/Jewish people were still in covenant upon Yeshua’s arrival or even after His death and resurrection and yet you find here are loads of Scripture to say otherwise (keep reading). Take note that the Mosaic Covenant was a conditional covenant loaded with “if/then” terms. For example, “If you obey My voice… then I will…” Conversely, God also clearly states the consequences if THEY break covenant versus other covenants like the Noahide Covenant was NOT conditional based off Noah’s response. There was nothing wrong with the Mosaic Covenant, but Hebrews 8:8 clearly states God “found fault in them“, meaning Israel’s inability to keep covenant by obeying Torah, which is why God provides His Holy Spirit to help those in the new covenant do that which is holy (Romans 7:12, Ezekiel 11:19-21, 36:27; Jeremiah 31:31-33). Please do take the time to dig into the below Scriptures for yourself for the truth will indeed set you free. Likewise, today, in modern times, we too can break up with God by denying Jesus as Messiah or continuing to intentionally sin; hence, why Yeshua says to all the ekklesia/assemblies of the last days, “To he who overcomes, I will give ..” and why Paul warns us in Romans 7, grafted in Gentiles can also be broken off, but he provides hope that it is possible for Jews to be re-grafted in upon believing in Yeshua as Messiah (Genesis 17:14; Exodus 19:5, 32:32-33; Leviticus 26:15,40-42; Deuteronomy 24:1-4/Romans 7:1-6; Deuteronomy 28:1,15, 29:1,9-15, 31:16, 27-29; Psalm 55:20, 69:28; Isaiah 33:8, 50:1; Jeremiah 3, 9:12-16, 11:1-11,15:6,16:10-13, 17:1, 24:4-7, 31:31-33, 33:20; Ezekiel 16:59, 17:15, 44:7, Zechariah 11:10; Luke 8:18; John 8:24, 37-59; Romans 8:28, 11:15-21; Hebrews 8:7-13, 10:26-39; James 5:19-20; 2 Peter 2:20-22; Revelation 2:7,11,17,26, 3:5,12,21, 12:11, 20:15, 21:5-8; 22:14 ).
As if all that wasn’t enough, Lancaster also writes, “A Christian Zionist might say, ‘I don’t teach replacement theology. The Jewish people are still the chosen people, but without Christ, they are still under the law.’ By ‘under the law’ he means lost and going to hell.“
According to the Jewish Messiah, Mr. Lancaster, Jewish people who refuse to accept Jesus as Messiah, WILL die in their sins – that’s not ‘Replacement Theology’, that is the gospel.
Lancaster also writes in the next paragraph, “Any Bible-believing Evangelical might say, ‘Christians don’t replace Jews, but Jews need to come to Christ to be saved.’ How is this not replacement theology? The premise is that unless Jews become Christians, they will be damned.”
Frankly, at this blatant and obvious rejection of the truth of Jesus and the gospel message, I’m starting to question if Mr. Lancaster is even saved for not only does he contradict our Jewish Messiah’s own words and the message of the good news, but he not once defines what HIS definition of the good news is or how it is he comes to believe Jewish people are still in covenant when Scripture says otherwise!
It would seem to me Lancaster and those aligning with this particular heresy are forming their very own Replacement Theology where man’s opinion, man’s doctrine, or traditions, supersedes the plethora of Holy Scriptures that state otherwise: the good news of the gospel. Furthermore, if there was nothing wrong with the Mosaic Covenant made between God and ancient Israel (not to mention those that aligned themselves with Israel) commonly known as the Old Covenant, what is the point of sending a Savior? In other words, if there is nothing needing to be saved from, why a Savior, God? Mr. Lancaster doesn’t seem to believe the Jewish people need a Savior – just the Gentiles need one perhaps? If the Mosaic Covenant between God and Israel is just fine and dandy, why does the law (Deuteronomy 30) and prophets (Jeremiah 31), Yeshua (Matthew 26:28), and the author of Hebrews (7-10) write about a ‘New Covenant’? What is the point of a New/Renewed Covenant if they are still in the original covenant and everything is honky dory? What is the point of offering a personal subscription to the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant if they are walking in an authentic spirit of holiness already? If Jewish people are automatically, by default saved as this article infers in multiple places, why the need for ‘Messianic’ Judaism? Why proselytize the Jewish people for they are God’s elite chosen people perpetually just fine still in covenant with Hashem? Why did Jesus say He came for the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24) if according to THIS theology they aren’t actually lost?
In what may seems like an innocent and convincing attempt to quell Anti-Semitism, while hoping to proselytize Jewish people (since Jewish tradition also teaches Jews are still in covenant), this dangerous doctrine propagates an even more damning unholy Anti-Messiah spirit that will be loving Jews straight to hell by elevating Jewish blood over Yeshua’s spilled atoning blood. Sadly, upon bringing this critical salvation matter to the attention of the elders through proper channels outlined in Matthew 18, and after being exposed multiple times to the pharisaical religious spirit, I was invited to worship elsewhere should I continue to adhere to the truth of at least the gospel itself known to them as ‘Replacement Theology’. Consequently, I will not damn my own soul while leading others to hell with me by denying Yeshua is the ONLY way to the Father.
Upon studying Scripture these delightful Shabbats in January, the Holy Spirit led me to some fascinating and illuminating passages that I suspect may be what some Messianic Jewish ministries may have been referencing regarding God honoring the Abrahamic Covenant by ultimately saving Jews/Israel and bringing back the scattered tribes to the land as promised.
NOW, I think I understand what my teacher at the Messianic Congregation as well as Mr. Lancaster, of First Fruits of Zion, was trying to explain, but it would have been helpful to go into such details with Scripture.
Upon building upon more and more truth, Abba Father indeed continues to teach me things I did not know (Jeremiah 3:33). After realizing that Israel, the twelve tribes, or more specifically, the Jewish people will indeed be “saved”, quite literally, or rescued from their oppressors at the end, as well resurrected, all returning to their birthright inherited land of Israel (Ezekiel 36-37; Jeremiah 29-21; Isaiah 11, 35, 52-56, 60-62; Amos 9:13-15; Hosea 14:5-10; Joel 2-3; Zephaniah 3; Zechariah 8-14 and more!), my theology has continued to evolve to align more and more with what the Hebrew Bible, or what Christians refer to as the “Old” testament, actually reveals. Within many of these passages and others, Scripture also states God will forgive Israel of their sins (for example, see Psalm 130:8; Isaiah 43:25, 44:25; Ezekiel 36:24-34). In addition to discovering numerous passages prophecizing the literal salvation and restoration of Israel to come, I realized there are many Scriptures stating God’s covenant with His chosen people cannot ever be broken, despite what Christianity teaches. Hence, God’s covenant with them, soon to be us as I am not in process of converting to Judaism, is defined as eternal and everlasting (Genesis 17:7-8,19; I Chronicles 16:13-18; Psalm 105:7-11, 111:9; Ezekiel 16:60; Jeremiah 31:34-37). Clearly, the “Old” testament Scriptures contradict Jesus’ teachings stating that the Pharisees and Jews are of a different father (John 8:37-44), as Jesus blatantly professed they are of the devil. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul’s teaching found in Romans 11 stating Israel, being the Jews, are disobedient and blinded to the belief in Jesus as Messiah and therefore, broken off from God, also is complete fallacy for God does not change nor lie as does man (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19). But God did warn He would send prophets as a test to see if His people would worship another as God and to see if they would follow that man’s commands instead of God’s (see Deuteronomy 13). As for me, I choose to pass God’s test, I choose to serve the One and Only True LORD (Joshua 24:15-16), whom I call Abba, and obey HIS commands, His voice (Deuteronomy 28:1), not man’s.
Did you know when Jesus / Yeshua read Isaiah 61 in the synagogue on Shabbat (Sabbath/Saturday), which we can read about in Luke 4:16-30), He was reading from that specific week’s “Haftarah” portion? For thousands of years, those of the Judaism faith have read from the Torah and Haftarah. A major part of the Jewish worship service since the days of escaping Babylonian captivity (see books of Ezra & Nehemiah), is the public reading of the Torah.For the Jewish people learned the hard way while under Babylonian captivity to forsake God’s instructions will inevitably lead to physical and spiritual bondage. The Torah is the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Law, or God’s instructions for life. Each week, in today’s congregations of Judaism, Messianic Judaism, and many Hebrew Roots’ congregations read a certain portion of the Torah in their services. So the whole world (of those groups) is studying the same portions in unity. However, many years ago, circa 175 BC, when Antiochus Epiphanes conquered the temple, he outlawed the public reading of the Torah, replaced the holy artifacts with pagan gods within the temple, slaughtered pig, an unclean and abomination according to Leviticus 11, Deut 14, and Isaiah 65-66, as a means to mock God’s ordained sacrificial system, and even tormented and killed Jews for holding to their belief in the one true God and their desire to adhere to His laws. All of this was an “abomination of desolation”, which will happen again according to prophecies found in the Books of Daniel, Matthew, and Revelation. Consequently, the rabbis of those days researched and prescribed related passages of the Torah found in the Prophets to be read each week instead of the Torah during that tumultuous time. This became known as “Haftarah”, which means “conclude”. After that horrific time, the practice of reading from the Prophets stuck so today, passages called portions from the Torah and the Haftarah, which are related are read. In Messianic Judaism (and possibly Hebrew Roots too), related portions from the Brit Chadesha (Renewed/New Covenant) are read as well. This photo captures this week’s. The Torah portion’s title is selected from the first few words of the passage. You will notice all of these passages have to do with sending out (i.e. spies & apostles). I hope you had a peacful, wholesome #Shabbat!