For Unto Us Jesus Is Born? Understanding Isaiah 9:6

The famous verse of Isaiah 9:6 is circulated and exclaimed in Christmas services worldwide, as many Christians, and likely even non-Christians, know. But what I didn’t know as a former Christian and likely many of my friends/family also don’t know is a few eye-opening truths about this particular “Christmas verse”.

1) Isaiah 9:6 was altered in translation from the Hebrew to English to make it sound like the prophet Isaiah was speaking of a FUTURE person (like 700+ years in the future), which Christianity uses to proclaim Jesus is the Messiah, when in fact the verbs in Hebrew throughout the verse are PAST tense or indicating an unfolding matter. In other words, this verse is not about Jesus, but more accurately a person in Isaiah’s time.

Most Christians don’t have Hebrew Bibles, read Hebrew, or speak it let alone understand the depths of Hebrew like Rabbis do and many Jews do for they are raised early on to read it, speak it, study it. Naturally, the average person reading the translations put much trust in the translator(s). Hence, why I am slowly learning to read Hebrew for myself, though daunting.

2) Many don’t recognize the significance of Hebrew names and that it is common to refer to God or an attribute of His within the Hebrew name while not labeling that person as God Himself for that would be blasphemous and against concepts throughout Torah. So most Christians don’t realize the phrases like “wonderful counselor”, “prince of peace”, “mighty/strength of God”, etc. are the translations of Hebrew name meanings. In general, Judaism believes this verse of Isaiah 9:5/6 is describing Hezekiah, Ahaz’s son, when one reads/studies Hebrew and in context. Apparently, even some Christian commentators agree with Jewish sages on the meaning of this verse being about Hezekiah, not Jesus. Moreover, names throughout the Hebrew can and often do have prophetic, or at the very least, hopeful implications connected to that child and/or his/her descendants. For example, in Isaiah 8:1-4, the chapter before the infamous Christmas verse, Isaiah’s wife gets pregnant and they name the child to capture a hopeful, future event WITHIN that child’s lifetime – according to those verses. What is interesting is in Isaiah 7:10-17, a chapter earlier, King Ahaz reluctantly asks for a sign to help know God’s will, per the LORD’s prompting. The prophet Isaiah informs the skeptical king that a pregnant woman, likely a wife or concubine of King Ahaz’s when you consider he says “Look” indicating the young woman is present and uses present tense verbs stating she “is” with child and about to give birth. The Prophet Isaiah tells King Ahaz that baby or pregnant woman is the sign of hope and direction King Ahaz needs. Was that baby the future King Hezekiah? Highly likely. Hence, the eloquent and lengthy description of what was about to unfold for the Northern Kingdom/House of Israel/Ephraim the Southern Kingdom/House of Judah when Assyria, who God uses as His rod of anger/discipline (Isaiah 10:5) approaches, and the description of King Hezekiah (Ahaz’s son) in Isaiah 9:6 (vs 5 in Jewish Bible). Hezekiah means strength/mighty God. Over a few decades, Assyria invaded Israel, but thanks to King Hezekiah’s leadership as a wonderful counselor, ruler of peace, and strength of God in him, etc.(2 Kings 18-20), Assyria failed to conquer Jerusalem and the House of Judah (the Southern Kingdom), but did take the Northern Kingdom and those 10 tribes of Israel eventually assimilated into the nations, lost. Even more interesting is how God used yet another pregnant woman, being Isaiah’s pregnant wife, their unborn son, as a confirmation to Ahaz’s sign in the following verses of Isaiah 8. Neither of those pregnant women’s unborn babies was God Himself, nor foretell of God “in the flesh”, for that is against God’s own instructions in Torah, but rather, both of those pregnancies conveyed the reassurance that the tribe of Judah/House of Judah/Southern Kingdom need not fear, God is with them. For as the prophet Jeremiah reiterated later during the Babylonian captivity of Judah, God always has (and still has) hope and a future for Jews/Israel (Jeremiah 29:10) even when things look bleak. The prophet Zechariah in Zechariah 8 also predicts, in the end of it all, Gentiles will flock to Jews realizing God indeed is still with them.

Such things among many others I discovered when trying to prove Jesus is the Messiah using only Hebrew Scriptures. Shockingly, while studying and wrestling with God, I discovered the heartbreaking opposite as the “messianic prophecies” allegedly linked to Jesus could rather easily be debunked. Moreover, in addition to discovering I was misled, albeit unintentionally, I, like many Christians, are grossly guilty of reading into the “old” testament (Just labeling it “old” is clever, isn’t it? Implying it is irrelevant and replaceable just like “the church” is allegedly the new and improved Israel) what we want it to mean rather than letting the text interpret itself as well as actually studying the many layers of Hebrew not to mention the numerous wise sages who spent lifetimes studying such things. Even more disturbing was discovering how many pagan gods have a similar storyline as Jesus (i.e. virgin birth, celebrated on Dec 25, or died and was resurrected, etc.) as well as learning the gospels, where we get the largely fictional accounts of Jesus, were written decades after Jesus lived and died by unknown authors- all after Paul mysteriously sees some vision in the sky similar to Emperor Constantine’s vision in the sky who really went and turned faith of Jesus into an entirely antisemitic beast.

Needless to say, 2020 was a very eye-opening year as I discovered much truth and still am learning more! Many tears were shed I will tell you that much, but once I accepted these harsh realities, the truth set me free. I will attach some articles and videos for anyone interested to investigate for themselves. In all sincerity, for the love of God, I pray more take off the Christian glasses we’ve been prescribed for in doing so, much comes into focus. 2020.

Isaiah 9:6

https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/can-you-give-a-reason-why-jews-say-isaiah-96-does-not-refer-to-jesus

Daniel 7: A Cloudy Day of the LORD

Within Christian circles, a common interpretation of Daniel 7:13 is this one “coming with the clouds” must be Jesus at the time of his second coming; however, upon reading the text in context as well as with nearly every other prophecy made by the prophets, we learn much about this particular cloudy day as well as who emerges.

I submit to you today that this sentiment of one coming with the clouds may not be Jesus victoriously floating in the cloudy air coming down to earth to rule and reign as some imagine, but more like a person emerging from the ashes or smoke upon the smoldering day of the LORD as the prophets frequently describe.

We know in the final moments of this earth and this heaven, there will come a time when Israel is surrounded and attacked, but God literally and physically saves them from annihilation (see Zechariah 12, as one example). We also see in numerous prophecies written by more than two or three witnesses, being the prophets of Tanakh/the Hebrew Bible, words like earthquakes, fire, burning, melting, dissolve, stubble, blazing, steam, and clouds are all used to describe the great and terrible day of the LORD. Furthermore, we see in Isaiah 45:22 Israel’s sins are forgiven like a cloud covering their transgressions from the sight of the LORD.

How does the LORD prefer for His people and the earth to be cleansed throughout the Hebrew Bible? By water and fire – think about the great flood in Noah’s day or washing the hands before various rituals of the Jewish people or being ritually made clean in a mikvah before the feasts of the LORD and other lifetime events (where baptism came from), as well as the burnt offerings using fire and smoke, a sweet-smelling aroma to the LORD. Now consider the LORD previously used water to cleanse or create a new earth, but this time, He will use primarily fire since He already promised not to flood the entire globe at once; hence, the symbol of the rainbow for that covenant. Many Christians understand this concept as even Peter wrote about it in 2 Peter 3:7-13.

Therefore, it should not be too difficult to comprehend this terminology used in Daniel 7:13 as one “coming with the clouds” is referencing one emerging from the smoke or ashes. Review the previous verses in Daniel 7, specifically verses 9 as it references a “fiery flame”, a “burning fire”, or in verse 10, “a fiery stream..” or verse 11 referencing a “burning flame” all leading up to this one coming with the clouds.

Also, notice in these plethora of passages, they all reference an unbelievable amount of destruction using the fire and earthquake or possibly nuclear related terminology described previously (see Isaiah 24:3-6, 13, 18-23, 44:22-25; Haggai 2:6-7; Zechariah 14; Joel 2:2; Ezekiel 30:3, 34:12, 38:18-23, Malachi 4:1-3; Zephaniah 1:14-18, 3:8; Amos 5:18-20; Jeremiah 30:23-24). Nearly every prophet describes the same or similar event.

Is it not possible this earth-shattering epic event full of fire would not create much smoke-filled clouds? Having lived near the gas and oil refineries in the Galveston Bay area of Texas, it was not unusual for explosions to erupt causing smoke-filled plumes of clouds in the sky. Now, consider how at this same time throughout Scripture, the prophets also speak to a resurrection of the dead, specifically all of Israel, all twelve tribes, and the miraculous reunion of both houses of Israel (see Jeremiah 29-31; Ezekiel 34-37) as God forms a New Jerusalem centered in the New Earth and New Heavens (see the article I wrote, “Are We Raptured to Heaven?” ).

While understanding all of Israel is resurrected as promised by the LORD regathering them to the land of Israel no matter where in the world they were scattered and died, then the LORD washes them/us clean and dispenses His Spirit of Holiness onto them (see Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:27), ponder the plausibility of literally David also being resurrected to rule and reign as the prophets reference numerous times in Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24; Jeremiah 30:9; Isaiah 9:7; Hosea 3:5. Notice in Daniel 7:14 and 18, just after describing one who comes within the clouds, that it speaks to one who will rule the reunited kingdom matching what the previous references state as well fulfilling God’s Davidic Covenant or covenant made with King David. Equally interesting is that Ezekiel 34:12 references a cloudy destructive day and then a few verses later also refers to David being made King in Ezekiel 34:23-24.

Due to all of the overwhelming discussion in the Hebrew Bible of said events, it is my conclusion and belief that Daniel 7 is referencing one, specifically King David, emerging from the smoke-filled plumes of clouds due to the fiery day of the LORD, to rule and reign along with the rest of “the saints of the Most High” being Israel (Daniel 7:18), while God’s presence encompasses the newly formed New Jerusalem, New Earth, New Heavens, and activates the promised New Covenant (Ezekiel 36:27, 37:26-28; Jeremiah 29-31; Isaiah 2, 11, 51,59:16-62:12; Micah 4; Zechariah 14).

Just as Daniel foretells, a cloudy day of the LORD indeed appears to be in the forecast.

Carrie R. Turner, 9.7.2020

Ponder & Pray | Zechariah 8

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.

Carrie R. Turner, 9.3.2020

Are We In the New Covenant Yet?

Christianity teaches that the New Covenant began with Jesus’ death and resurrection. However, according to the Hebrew Bible, the events that describe the initiation of the New Covenant are vastly different than Christian dogma wants you to believe.

Because G!d does nothing without revealing it to his prophets first (Amos 3:7) and He is BIG on reiterating concepts with at least two or three prophetic witnesses, it’s important we study what G!d specifies through these prophets to better understand important concepts such as the New Covenant and other related events.

THE TERMINOLOGY

In both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, there is a 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)

FAMILY REUNION

In Jeremiah 31:31, the reader is introduced to the term “New Covenant” and that this New Covenant is made between G!d 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.

The famous Jeremiah 29:11 quote, which can be found in nearly every Christian Bookstore and Hobby Lobby across the United States, G!d says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future…” (NIV). Technically, this promise is given to Israel, not Christians shopping at Hobby Lobby. When we read Jeremiah chapters 29 through 31, at the time of these prophecies, both houses were in captivity. The House of Israel had been taken captive by the Assyrian Empire much earlier and the House of Judah was taken captive by the Babylonian Empire. Although the prophecy in chapter 29 primarily applied to the Jews held in Babylonian captivity, the prophecy of Jeremiah 30, applies for a much later time. In Jeremiah 30:7 it references a time of trouble for Jacob, meaning the nation of Israel, perhaps it could imply a greater captivity, if you will. Daniel 12:1-2 also uses the same terminology of “a time of trouble” and is referring to the Battle of Gog and Magog. Such an epic battle will be led by Gog, the ultimate villain, as he and numerous other nations surround and attack the nation of Israel. More details of this battle can be found in Ezekiel 38 and Zechariah 14 among other prophetic passages. Nevertheless, through the prophet Jeremiah, G!d is giving His people hope that even though life will be frightening for them in the future, G!d will literally and physically save them from their enemies similar to how He did when they were in Babylon and years earlier, in Egypt.

Through the prophet Jeremiah, G!d 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 you are reading) 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 G!d plans on rescuing and restoring all of the House of Israel and the House of Judah, uniting both the divided kingdoms and bringing them all back to the land of Israel to safely dwell.

Where in the world are the ten lost tribes reminded me of the “Where’s Waldo?” cartoon.

Interestingly, the House of Judah largely consisted of the tribe of Judah, Benjamin, and the Levites, but the House of Israel, the ten northern tribes that were taken prisoners by the Assyrian captivity and assimilated into the nations, have never been tracked, much less regathered. As a side note, texts from both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles reveal some of those Northern tribes merged with the House of Judah and therefore, it can be argued that the Jewish population today represents all or at least some of the twelve tribes, but for the most part, it would appear the vast majority of the ten tribes assimilated with the nations and are considered unidentified or lost. With that said, here in this text of Jeremiah 30, G!d declares He will be regaining custody of all His kids in a glorious and miraculous family reunion in the New Covenant. In other words, the lost will be found!

RESURRECTION | RESTORATION

Jeremiah 30, verse 9, reads, ”They shall serve the LORD their God and David, the king 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 and restoration of the House of Israel and the House of Judah described in Ezekiel 37. I believe 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. Other Jews state this verse means, G!d will provide someone from David’s lineage, specifically through the line of David’s son, Solomon, to rule. Christians typically assume this David figure refers to Jesus’ alleged past resurrection and yet, obviously, this reference to resurrecting, rescuing, and restoring Israel cannot be about Jesus’ alleged 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, visible-to-all king of Israel after Jesus’ alleged death and resurrection. Just the opposite manifested. The House of Judah was scattered throughout all the nations in the years after Jesus’ alleged resurrection, not rescued to dwell in safety, much less restored.

It wasn’t until 1948, that a minority of Jews have been and still are being restored to the land of Israel in present modern times, but still not both houses. There still are many Jews scattered throughout the globe as well as the deceased House of Israel and their unknown descendants.

WORSHIP | SACRIFICES RESUME

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 G!d collectively, not Allah or Jesus, mind you, but “their God”. Furthermore, that same verse adds they also will be serving David as their king. David was known as a “man after God’s own heart” and one of the greatest kings 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. In the prophetic Book of Ezekiel, the prophet Ezekiel also speaks about the reunion of both the House of Israel and the House of Judah in addition to describing David, a ruler or prince that leads the people in worship, including in making various offerings, even sin offerings (Ezekiel 34:23-24, 36:22-24, 37:24-28, 45:16-46:18). Ponder this as you study these passages: If Jesus was the final sacrifice, why does the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 45-46 and the prophet Zechariah in Zechariah 14:16-21, very clearly detail sacrifices will resume as a critical means of worship in the future for both Jew and Gentile?

WORLD PEACE

Go to Ezekiel 34:23-31. Notice G!d reiterates here through a different prophetic witness being Ezekiel 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 G!d (not Jesus), and David will be a prince or governing ruler. Verse 25 describes the New Covenant as a “covenant of peace” made with them. Incidentally, Ezekiel 37, verses 25-26 express the same statement. Notice in Ezekiel 34, the prophet goes on to describe a time of peace and prosperity, where animals will no longer attack people or each other (Hosea 2:20 & Isaiah 11:6-9, 65:25 also speak to this), the earth will be a lovely garden producing delectable crops, Jews will no longer be persecuted by Gentiles anymore, and all will know who the LORD is (Ezekiel 34:25-31). Return with me to Jeremiah, specifically Jeremiah 31:33-34. Please carefully notate that the LORD makes it very plain and understandable in this New Covenant that “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, his brother, saying ‘Know the LORD’, for they ALL shall know Me..” There will be no more wars because there will be no religious or political debates for all will know G!d and His ways in the New Covenant time frame. Other prophetic witnesses such as in Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 both speak to similar sentiments of all will know and be taught G!d’s instructions and there will be no more war.

A NEW WAY OF LIFE

Did these descriptive events manifest upon Jesus’ alleged resurrection? Of course, not. In fact, Jesus proclaimed the opposite, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34 NKJV). The Crusades and other heinous persecution of innocent Jews by the hands of Christians confirm the fruit of the Gospels. Jesus and the faith that developed in his name indeed failed to bring a covenant of peace to the globe. Rather, the prophets of the Hebrew Bible describe obvious physical changes as G!d more or less will provide a NEW way of life, or perhaps you could say, a type of NEW heaven and NEW earth; hence, the NEW, or more accurately termed, RENEWED covenant, a covenant of peace on earth. By describing the earth and this covenant as “new”, it is simply a figure of speech inferring a refreshed version of the existing earth and existing eternal covenant G!d has with Israel. Each covenant G!d has made with humans builds upon the previous. As a simple example, women are still experiencing pain in childbirth, which was part of the very first covenant G!d established. Several more have been established since then, but no covenant nullified the previous, it only builds upon it.

NO ONE CAN DIE FOR ANOTHER’S SINS

Lastly, in all these Scriptures foretelling a future era, have we read anything stating Israelites or anyone for that matter must believe in a Messiah in order to receive eternal life, be resurrected, be forgiven of sins, and miraculously make it to Israel? Do you notice the resurrection of the dead, as well as the rescue and reunion of both the House of Israel and the House of Judah, have been in the forecast even without any belief in Jesus? Moreover, if G!d can reveal all these other details to His prophets, why didn’t he reveal the most important detail that a person must believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, to be resurrected, or rescued? Christians are led to believe Jesus died for their sins and therefore, believe they are in the New Covenant, and yet, in addition to the fact that none of the events of the New Covenant have manifested yet, Jeremiah 31:30, quite literally the verse next to the “new covenant” verse, reiterates commands G!d already stated, which is “every one shall die for his own sin”. Just like G!d says numerous places elsewhere – nobody can die for your sins – each person is held accountable to G!d for themselves. Study Deuteronomy 24:16, 2 Kings 14:6, Psalm 49:7, Jeremiah 31:30; Ezekiel 18 & 33. Therefore, it is a direct violation of G!d’s word for another person, like Jesus, to die for the world’s sins.

WAIT & SEE

With all this overwhelming evidence, it is clear the new covenant has not manifested yet. While we can’t be certain WHEN exactly these prophecies will manifest, we do know WHO is involved, WHERE to be watching, and WHAT to look for as there will be glaringly obvious signs indicating the New Covenant has been activated. For now, we wait and put our trust in G!d alone.

To assist you in your Biblical studies, the PDF version of this article is available for download/print.

Why Isaiah 53 Is Not About Jesus But Actually Is About Israel

Many Christians are told Isaiah chapter 53 is all about Jesus. If one were to only read that chapter in all of the Book of Isaiah while also ignoring what the other prophets of the Hebrew Bible prophesied about, then it would be easy to assume Isaiah is describing the death of Jesus on the cross. However, one cannot grasp all the author is conveying by only reading one chapter and jumping to conclusions. 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. Additionally, how can the reader determine who the character is when that particular chapter only uses pronouns such as “him”? What is the series or book’s overall theme? First, let’s explore the theme of the Book of Isaiah before identifying the character of Isaiah 53. As I read Isaiah 53, I recognized a familiar theme manifest. In several other chapters penned by Isaiah as well as others throughout the Hebrew Bible, G!d’s chosen people, particularly the righteous remnant, are often overlooked or considered the ‘underdog’, persecuted, and afflicted. Certainly, throughout the pages of the Bible and over the course of history, many of G!d’s chosen people at times are stiff-necked and rebellious; however, there are some, a remnant, who chose to live righteously by adhering to Torah, or G!d’s ways, to the best of their ability and were 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 G!d’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.

The subject of Isaiah 53 can be found in Isaiah 52:13 and in numerous places throughout Isaiah. The “servant” is Israel and all about G!d redeeming them, both the people and the land.

Similarly, in the final verses of Isaiah 52 leading up to the often misunderstood Isaiah 53, we see “the servant” will be 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). Consider and compare Isaiah 52:13-15 with other chapters in the Book of Isaiah as well as other prophetic books all express similar sentiments referring to the nation of Israel as 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 (see Ezekiel 34-48, Jeremiah 29-31, Isaiah 2, 11, 60-62, Micah 4, Zechariah 8, Zechariah 14).

“What other passages refer to Israel as ‘him’?”

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).

“Has Israel been defined as ‘My Servant’ such as in Isaiah 52:13?”

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, while reading a book about the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust, no one would pick out one chapter and say, “Oh, this must be about Anne Frank, because she was a Jew that suffered in the Holocaust.” when there is no mention specifically of Anne Frank.

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 | Verse-By-Verse

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 G!d’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 by men (vs 13-14), and just as Isaiah 52:13-15 speaks to the “servant” being miraculously extolled higher than kings which shocks the 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 G!d 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 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 is about the entire community being held accountable for sins. Should one person sin, they all suffer; hence, why there are incidents in the Hebrew Bible of drastically removing the offender from the camp (i.e. Joshua 7-9). G!d is big on community, unity, and being in one accord; hence, why He stresses we are responsible for one another (think Cain and Abel; love your neighbor; priests sacrificing for the entire community should there be unintentional sin members committed) or how G!d’s entire justice system is designed to hold one another accountable. Remember, the prophet Isaiah was the prophet sent to the Northern Kingdom of Israel/10 tribes/House of Israel. So when the majority of the House of Israel sins, hence “we (House of Israel) like sheep have gone astray”, everyone suffers including the few righteous ones just like Jeremiah and Daniel suffered in the Southern Kingdom/House of Judah when the Babylonians took the Jews to Babylon and held them captive. Some of Judah had sinned and consequently, G!d sent the Babylonians to discipline them for 70 years due to their violation of G!d’s land laws. Nevertheless, the righteous remnant paid heavily too (Jeremiah, Daniel, and others). We see that same concept in the second part of the verse, “and the LORD has laid on him (righteous remnant of House of Israel) the sins of us all (the majority of people of Israel/House of Israel)” and 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/G!d’s laws see Hosea 4:6 as an example or Proverbs 3. Obeying Torah is defined as being righteous and received by G!d (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 G!d’s voice, which is Torah (Deuteronomy 28:1; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 6:23; 4:2). So that the world might come to know how to be saved and therefore not perish (Hosea 4:6). The righteous remnant repeatedly intercedes on 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 G!d’s covenant (Torah) are also saved/gathered to Mt Zion.

Notice the prophets say nothing about one must believe in a Messiah to die for their sins for forgiveness, they simply must repent and turn to the LORD and His ways.

Next, after pondering such concepts, 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’s 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 G!d’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 the Hebrew Scriptures teach 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!

I encourage you to download/print this article for your own studies.

What Is Salvation According to the Christian and Hebrew Bibles?

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:

In the New King James Version
In the Jewish Publication Society

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 encourage you to seek out this theme in many pagan religions. 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?

Photo credit: Chabad.org

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.

Detective of the Divine: The Case of the Resurrection

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 that 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 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 a 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.

Assuming Jesus actually lived and died though there are no historical writings of such events (read Was the New Testament Inspired by God or Rome), clearly, 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 Jesus indeed existed, died, and the body was indeed missing. Conversely, had 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 become 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, the 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?

Could the women be bringing anointing oils because Jesus wasn’t actually dead? Were they using these oils for medicinal purposes? Why use such oils on a dead body? Were the women coming to where his body lay to nurse him back to health? Could Jesus have walked off on his own or with assistance?

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 have the unknown authors of the gospels created the story themselves since there is no other documentation of Jesus’ life let alone a resurrection? 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 children (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-besides being born in Bethlehem (Micah 5).

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? 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. 

Moreover, why create a following and rise from the dead just to vanish? If Jesus actually did exist and survived the crucifixion, isn’t it possible Jesus could just have disappeared so the Romans couldn’t properly kill him off?

Or, is it possible all of it is fiction?

These are some things I have pondered as I feel 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:

  1. 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.
  2. None of the alleged eye-witnesses are willing 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.
  3. There is absolutely no third-party documentation or accounts of Jesus’ resurrection or his life during an era of plenty of other historical documentation. 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.
  4. 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, 1 Samuel 15:29, and Malachi 3:6).
  5. 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”.
  6. 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, if he existed, 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/Old Testament, 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.

Penned by: Carrie R. Turner, August 28-29, 2020

Will People Be “Raptured” To Heaven?

Many Christians, though not all, believe in something called “the rapture” where the dead Christians will be resurrected and the Christians alive at that time will all be whisked away to heaven when Jesus returns for them and then Jesus and “his saints” will hide out in heaven for 7 years or so while God pours out His wrath on Earth to those who rejected Jesus. Then, according to this doctrine taught throughout some evangelical protestant denominations, Jesus will come back to Earth for technically a third time and bring all his peeps with him to rule and reign. 

Amos 3:7 tells us G!d does nothing without revealing it to His prophets first.

THE THREE R’S

The prophets of the Hebrew Bible say nothing about people who must believe in a Messiah to be saved, forgiven, or to have eternal life. Nor do they say anything about a rapture of believers in a Messiah. The prophets do, however, predict people will be resurrected, rescued, and restored.

RESURRECTED

Let’s take a look at some Scriptures within the prophetic books that speak to a resurrection. The text we are reviewing can be found in Daniel 12:1-2, Isaiah 26:18-19, Ezekiel 37:12.

The prophetic book of Daniel was penned during the time that the Jews were in living in exile in Babylon. So when this angel relays these words to Daniel, the angel is referring to Jews as “your people” way in the future, a time which still has not manifested yet. Specifically, this prophecy is believed to be referring to the Battle led by Gog of Magog. Clearly, the angel is telling Daniel with the intention he will write it down for future generations to know and be encouraged that during that awful time Jews will be rescued if they are not blotted out of the book of life, meaning if they are still alive at this time. Zechariah 14 and Ezekiel 38 also describe this horrific battle. In regards to the expression, inscribed in the book, other passages within the Hebrew Bible equate that expression to mean an Israelite, now known as Jews, are alive essentially because they haven’t transgressed the Torah, G!d’s instructions. In other words, to intentionally violate G!d’s boundaries means one will be removed or blotted out from the Book of Life. This is why on Yom Kippur, Jews strive to be inscribed in the book of life for another year. That in itself is an entirely different teaching perhaps we can explore at another time. For now, I have put some of those Scriptures in the description if you want to look them up later. So, those Jews which are alive will be rescued, whereas many of those that are dead, will be resurrected.

RESCUED

We touched on Jews being rescued, but let’s take a closer look in these passages of Jeremiah 16:14-16, Ezekiel 34:27-29, and Zechariah 8 and 12.

This particular text in Jeremiah 16 is interesting because it reveals this rescue operation of the Jews will make the original Exodus story look like nothing compared to this greater exodus to come. I didn’t type out the entire text, but I also wanted to point out how G!d says through the prophet Jeremiah that it will be as if G!d is sending fishermen to haul out Jews or a helicopter rescue squad rescuing people who’ve gone overboard. What exactly that looks like is to be determined, but you get the idea G!d loves Jews very much and promises to rescue us at that terrible moment. It’s going to be epic!

G!d is all about making His Name known or His Presence and authority known. He’s all about taking people from a culture of worshiping many false gods to a culture of worshipping Him the One True G!d. Just as He made Himself known to both the Israelites and Egyptians in the Book of Exodus, He will do so again when He rescues Jews in the future.

Here we have yet again (see above), G!d saying through a different prophet that He will rescue Jews from wherever they are in the globe, and notice the text says they will be brought to Jerusalem to permanently dwell. It says nothing about saving Jews to live in heaven, but rather heaven on earth, if you will, in Jerusalem.

This verse I included because it speaks to how much G!d loves Jerusalem inferring Jews living in that holy city. It also validates what G!d told Abraham when He said in Genesis 12:3, I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.

Although Isaiah 56 doesn’t specifically refer to Jews being rescued, I’m including it within this teaching, because it does state that anyone who chooses to keep G!d’s covenant, meaning live by the instructions He gave Israel at Mt. Sinai, will also be brought to Israel. It infers these Jews-By-Choice or converts such as myself will also be rescued. This chapter of Isaiah 56 says those adopted in as Jews will be considered even better than sons and daughters, meaning natural Jews.

Although the prophets don’t directly state how the rescued Jews will travel to Jerusalem, there are hints particularly in the Book of Isaiah that they may travel by foot on a sacred highway or road of sorts. In other passages, it describes a worldwide earthquake, mountains crumbling, and land moving, so it is plausible Jews (and later Gentiles) will be able to get to Jerusalem by road similar to how G!d paved an unexpected path through the Reed Sea when the Israelites fled Egypt. In Zechariah 14:16-21, Gentiles must come to Jerusalem to celebrate and worship G!d for the holy holiday of Sukkot, also known as Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booth. Presumably, both the Jew and Gentile could travel to Jerusalem using the new and improved Interstate-66 known as the “Sacred Highway”.

RESTORED

In addition to the prophets revealing a resurrection and rescue of Jews, they also reveal that the physical wealth of Jews will be restored in Israel. “Double for your trouble” you could say. I have listed only a few passages that refer to this concept, but there are many more.

Isaiah repeatedly speaks to the fact that leaders of other nations, kings, will fall in line as they will be subservient to the kingdom of Israel (see above). With that said, we will eventually study Isaiah 52 and 53 to understand how kings or leaders of other nations will be shocked to see Israel, the once suffering servant is elevated. That’s right, Isaiah 53 isn’t describing Jesus, but rather Isaiah clearly identifies several times leading up to that infamous and misunderstood passage that Israel is the servant. But that is for another teaching.

In this passage of Jeremiah 30 (see below), we once again see yet a different prophet refers to Israel as “outcast” whereas Isaiah chose “suffering servant”, but Jews are not despised forever. For here, as in many other passages, G!d encourages Jews to let them know He has a plan to restore, rebuilt, and replant. Moreover, elevate Jews and the nation of Israel.

Yet another passage reiterates that though you, being Jews, were once despised, you will be restored and live in security.

As highlighted earlier, G!d reveals His plans through His prophets (Amos 3:7). Isn’t it strange that there are no texts in the entire Hebrew Bible about Gentiles being raptured to heaven or anything pertaining to such doctrine? Interestingly, the prophet Jeremiah says that at that time the Gentiles will be shocked and realize they were taught lies. Notice it doesn’t say Jews will be shocked, but specifically, the prophets declare the Gentiles will be surprised. I know I sure was upon realizing all of this.

In conclusion, the prophets of the Hebrew Bible make no mention of people being raptured to Heaven but do frequently refer to Jews being resurrected, rescued, and restored to Israel.

SOUL-WORK

To study this topic more, I invite you to review the following passages in addition to the ones already presented:

  • Deuteronomy 30:3-4;
  • 1 Chronicles 16:35;
  • Nehemiah 1:9;
  • Psalms 2:6; 48:1-2; 74:2; 78:68; 87:1-7; 102:16; 106:47; 107:2-3; 125:1; 132:13-14; 147:2;
  • Isaiah 2:3; 11:11-12; 43:5; 56:8; 59:20
  • Jeremiah 3:14-18; 29:14; 31:8,10; 32:37;
  • Ezekiel 11:17; 20:34-41; 28:25; 34:13; 37:21; 39:27-28;
  • Hosea 11:10;
  • Micah 2:12; 4:2;
  • Zephaniah 3:20;
  • Zechariah 10:10.

To investigate passages referring to being ‘inscribed in the book’ or being ‘blotted out’ meaning those living or dead, see these Scriptures:

  • Daniel 12:1-2
  • Exodus 17:14; 32:32-33
  • Deuteronomy 25:6,19
  • Psalm 9:5-6; 56:8; 69:27-28; 139:16
  • Malachi 3:16

To study this teaching packet at home, download the PDF provided below.