Isaiah 53 – the Suffering Servant

A Jewish friend told me that he asked different rabbis over the years the meaning of Isaiah 53. These are a few of  their answers: 1. Leave it alone, it’ll drive  you meshuga (crazy). 2. It can have a hundred meanings. 3. You’re making trouble for yourself. The following is a possible  subtext of the […]

Isaiah 53: The Suffering and Insufferable Servant

In the book of Isaiah there are four “servant songs.” The exegetical problem is that sometimes the servant refers to Israel and other times not. The Jewish argument is that the servant always refers to Israel. There does, however, seem to be two servants, one of which is Israel. Consider the following passage (Isaiah 49:3-6): […]

Isaiah 53 and the identity Chrisis of the suffering servant

This piece is based on comments from the post “Isaiah 53 – I see Jesus (eisegesis) or exegesis – who is the suffering servant?” at the Roshpinaproject Don’t ask a Jew what Isaiah 53:1 means, ask a Goy; for it’s the latter who is asking (the Jew?) “Who has believed our report?” Moshe Shulman repies: “The […]

The desolation and consolation of Isaiah 53 in the qumran scrolls

In “Where Moshe Shulman is right on Isaiah 53” I requested a response to the following: How can the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 be nothing/no one but “Israel”. How can “him” and “us” in Isaiah 53:6 both refer to the same entity. Isaiah 53:6 כֻּלָּ֙נוּ֙ כַּצֹּ֣אן תָּעִ֔ינוּ אִ֥ישׁ לְדַרְכֹּ֖ו פָּנִ֑ינוּ וַֽיהוָה֙ הִפְגִּ֣יעַ בֹּ֔ו אֵ֖ת עֲוֹ֥ן […]

Isaiah 53: The grammar of modern rabbinical interpretation

In “Jewish revisionism revisited I argued that modern rabbinical interpretations are incoherent. To recap briefly: Here is the prevalent rabbinic opinion of Isaiah 53: “Isaiah 53 contains a deeply moving narrative which world leaders will cry aloud in the messianic age.  The humbled kings of nations (52:15) will confess that Jewish suffering occurred as a […]

Isaiah 53: Jewish Revisionism revisited

“Revision” is consolidating what you know. “Revisionism” is chucking out what you know because you think you know better. Jews hate revisionism, but that depends on what’s being revised and whose doing the revision. When people say the holocaust didn’t happen or wasn’t as devastating portrayed, they become very vocal. But what do they do […]

The Times of Israel: How Christians are not fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah

In “TimesofIsrael” (26 Sept 2013), Eliezer Melamed writes on the festival of Sukkot (Booths) and how Christians are Fulfilling the Prophecy of Isaiah. The Isaiah text referred to is “Strangers shall stand and pasture your flocks; aliens shall be your ploughmen and vine-trimmers.” (Isaiah 61:5). The strangers Melamed has in mind are Christians. Here is […]

The Third Servant in Isaiah: take pity on Zion’s dust

I continue here with my argument that Isaiah 53 cannot be Israel. I shall argue that there are possibly three kinds of servants, not only two (Israel and Messiah). The third servant is possibly a remnant of the Gentiles. Consider Isaiah 65:2-16: 2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious […]

The raising of the servant in Isaiah; by Israel’s bootstraps

Jews argue that the suffering servant in the book of Isaiah refers to the nation Israel because there are many preceding passages in Isaiah that refer to the servant as Israel, that is, the “tribes of Jacob” mentioned in Chapter 49:6 below: Isaiah 49:3-6 “3 And he said unto me, Thou art my servant, O […]

What religions are inherently evil? Those that reject substitutionary atonement

The following is an excerpt of a review by Kendal B. Hunter from Ravi Zacharias’ Light in the Shadow of Jihad: The Struggle for Truth. “In Chapter Three, Dr. Zacharias discusses the essential nature of Islam, whether it is good or bad. … I think that we make sweeping generalizations against Islam, since the key […]

Another song – No, you never poured out your life, and definitely not again and again: A discordant note

Once again, one more discordant note,  to sow discord. The song in question is called, prophetically, “Once again.” Here are the lyrics: Once Again Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice You became nothing, poured out to death. Many times I’ve wondered at Your gift of life and I’m in that place once again. Yes, […]

Unbelief: The stench of death to death

In his “Belief in Jesus: Its Barriers and Blessings John Piper talks about sad news (perdition) and glad tidings (salvation). He gives three conclusions that turn the sad news into glad news. Piper’s text is John 12:37-42 37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in […]

You fools! On the road to Emmaus

Jesus, on the day of His resurrection met two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The one disciple’s name was Cleopas; the other disciple’s name is not known. We meet two of Jesus’ disciples who embody the basic state of mind of the disciples on the day of the resurrection, of which they were ignorant. […]

In search of French past (3): French philosophy, Paris and fleeing the OAS

In “In search of French past (2), I described the English “effluent” in my life. I never took to things English but was drawn more to the continent. Why antipathy to English culture when my first language (the language I knew best) was English. I say English was my first language, which is not the […]

Can you experience the Trinity?

In his “Search for certainty (p. 67), Herman Bavinck explains the connection between faith and experience: “The real content of the Christian faith, whether it be taken in a broader or narrower sense to include only moral truths or also the person of Christ, the trinity, the incarnation and Christ’s propitiation, is entirely beyond experience. […]

God’s justice and the lamb that was slain: A critique of George MacDonald’s rejection of penal substitutionary atonement

Like many, I was once smitten by C. S. Lewis, as many still are. And like many, I had never heard of George MacDonald, whom Lewis regarded as his “master.” George MacDonald (1824 – 1905) was a Scottish author and Christian Congregational minister. He is best known for his fantasy novels such as Phantastes, The […]

The Incarnation or Substitutionary Atonement, which is the grand miracle? CS Lewis and John MacArthur say the former; George MacDonald, definitely not the latter

Hugh Binning says of the Trinity, “All mysteries have their rise here, and all of them return hither. This is furthest removed from the understandings of men,—what God himself is, for himself is infinitely above any manifestation of himself. God is greater than God manifested in the flesh, though in that respect he be too […]

Textual analysis of revelation: Listen to this mp3 – ” My Lord and my God!”

There are two main questions Jews and Muslims ask Christians: 1. How can God be one and three? 2. Why does someone else, never mind Jesus, or God!, need to die so that you can be forgiven of your sin? Surely, repentance should be enough. What’s with, ”the chasening for our well-being, for our true […]

The Jew’s role in salvation and the future of ethnic Israel: Give John Piper his Jue.

  Many Jewish Christians/Messianic Jews protest when they feel that they have been cast aside in the plan of redemption. Judah Gabriel is outraged at John Piper’s tweet on his (Piper’s) sermon, which Judah claims, sidelines, indeed, casts off, ethnic Israel. The sermon is entitled “I’m not sure whether Judah read John’s sermon, “How the […]

Fools! – On the road to Emmaus

In “When is a Hebrew youth not a Yiddishe fool?,” I discussed the Yiddish word nar/naar. The word means “fool”, and never “youngster” or “youth”. Yiddish borrowed the Hebrew word na-ar “youngster” and changed its meaning to “fool”. I want to talk about fools; not about fools for Christ, but fools about Christ. Luke 24:13-28  […]

Faith, Trust and Understanding: the Biblical view

  What comes first, faith or understanding (reason). God created both. So, which is the cart, and which the horse, which comes first? Is it true that credo ut intelligam – I believe that I may understand? and  fides quaerens intellectum (“faith seeking understanding”). (Anselm of Canterbury). Would it be more correct to say that I don’t […]

Penal substitution: C S Lewis and the “formula” of Christ’s blood shed for our sins

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-13) (Related […]

Love, the enemy? Reconciliation in the Bible

  A member of the Messianic congregation Maozisrael tells of his “saddest day in Israel” – the occasion: a Jewish demonstration in Ashdod, Israel against Messianic Jews in Israel: “Growing up as a Jew, I never in my life would have thought that I would one day be compared to Hitler. But that’s just what […]

Hans Herzl (3): Catholicism, liberal Judaism and death

This is a follow-on from two earlier pieces on Hans Herzl – Hans (1) and Hans (2). I discuss Hans’ involvement with Christianity and liberal Judaism, his death and final burial on Mt Herzl. Matt at the Roshpinaproject (RPP – a Messianic Jewish site) expressed a common Jewish view of Jews who convert to Christianity: […]

The longing for Messiah and for Frumkeit: Comings and Goyings of a Hebrew Christian

Lwetter at the Roshpinaproject was saying that the story of Melchisedek in the Bible helped him to believe (the New Testament, I assume). At the end of his comment, s/he quotes Hebrews: “The Lord has sworn, and he will not repent: You are a priest forever” Hb7:22 to that same degree has Jesus (also) become […]

Mel Gibson’s “How” in the Passion of the Christ: And the Why?

Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” presented Mel Gibson’s view on how Christ died, but said nothing about why He died. The film, though, was indeed meant to be about the physical suffering of Christ, and not about why he suffered physically – and spiritually. His spiritual suffering, Christians believe, was far greater than his […]

For fear of the Jews: Closet Jews for Jesus

There is a discussion at the RoshPinaProject on rabbis who followed Jesus/Yeshua. I paraphrase the conversation: Matt asked why there wasn’t a single modern-day orthodox rabbi (or as far as he know even liberal rabbi) who has accepted Jesus as the messiah. He also mentioned many modern-day evangelical Christians (including Christian pastors) who have converted […]

The Cape Jewish Orphanage (7): How deep was the valley?

The following comment appears in the Orphanage principal’s notes at the bottom of Rachel’s 1951 school report (from the Orphanage archives).  Rachel was admitted  to the Orphanage in April 1951, together with Benny, who was readmitted for the second time: “Very weedy and ill-nourished. People who are totally unable to care for their numerous progeny. […]

Muslims don’t have or want to have a clue what their own scriptures say about the Bible.

Islam teaches that Jews and Christians have corrupted their scriptures, while the Qur’an remains pure and thus free of error. One reason why free of error is that the Qur’an, like Allah, is uncreated, thus, eternal, and so not susceptible to change. I examine the argument of corruption of the Bible with a helping hand […]

A Jew does not have to believe in Jesus; love for the God of Israel is enough: one “Messianic Jewish” view

Originally posted on OneDaring Jew:
Michael Schiffman a prominent Messianic Jewish leader, says that he knows “plenty of people who believe Yeshua is Lord, savior, etc, etc, who treat people badly and exhibit none of the marks of a true Yeshua follower. All they have is a verbal confession. I don’t necessarily think they will…

Why in the world do Calvinists always have that grin on their face?

  When Calvinism is contrasted with Arminianism, what first comes to mind is God’s role and man’s role in coming to faith. The Calvinist says that man plays no cooperative or contributive role in coming to faith, while the Arminian says that man cooperates with God in that man turns his heart to God, that […]

The quality of midrash is strained: Give ear, O ye heavens, or should it be hear?

Definitions Midrash (from drash “to seek, study, enquire) Anthologies and compilations of homilies, including both biblical exegesis and sermons delivered in public as well as aggadot (see *Aggadah) and sometimes even halakhot (cf. *Midreshei Halakhah), usually forming a running commentary on specific books of the Bible.” (Jewish virtual library) Aggadah a. a homiletic passage of […]

The weight of glory

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17). For my own sake, for my own sake I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another (Isaiah 48:11) Introduction Why did the Son of God […]

God’s grace and the bugbear of an authoritarian God: Why do Christians need psychology to relate to God?

This post was published earlier. I repost it here. What contribution does Christian psychology make to the relationship between Christians and God? I shall argue that Christians who need psychology to come to God are deceived. They may need psychology because they often do not understand or refuse to accept the biblical view of coming […]

The Night of the Senses: Belief and Understanding in John of the Cross

Summary All translations (no matter the language) of the Hebrew of Isaiah 7:9b is “If you do not believe, you will not be established (you will not last, abide). In contrast, translations of the Septuagint’s Isaiah 7:9b (the GREEK translation of the Hebrew Bible) have the following translation, which John of the Cross quotes (in Spanish, […]

Palestine, you were least among the kingdoms: The Fall of Empires

Who, in our post-modern (ghost-modern) age thinks  history is about what really happened, what’s true?  Carl Trueman (aptly) in his ”Fallacious history” writes: ”One of the most pressing but invisible threats to Christian thinking at the present time is that of fallacious history. Like carbon monoxide, it can kill; you just do not notice it […]

The First and the Last: Read first the Jewish Bible, and last the New Testament?

Some “Messianic Jews” and other Jewish followers of Yeshua/Jesus reject the Tri-unity of God. This is the main reason why they reject the appellation “Christian” which is simply Greek for “messianic.” unfortunately, “Christian” does carry a lot of baggage, and some garbage as well. I ask, as a Trinitarian Jew, If Jesus does not share […]