Pearls from the above video lecture:
1. Christianity claims that the reason that Jews do not see the many clear, obvious passages in the Old Testament which prophesy about Jesus is because “the hardness of their hearts” blinds Jews to the truth. Due to their stubborn sin and their rejection of Jesus, Jews have a veil over their eyes that prevents them from seeing spiritual truths.
What an ingenious tactic to neutralize the arguments of the opposition! Invent the concept that your opponent has an invisible barrier over his or her eyes and brain which prevents him or her from seeing obvious statements of truth. And who invented this tactic?
The Apostle Paul:
But their [the Jews] minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. 15 Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; –II Corinthians 3:14-15
Gary: No wonder future generations of Christians considered Jews stubborn, sinful, and evil! What better fodder for anti-Semitism than this Bible passage (and there are more).
2. The Old Testament never refers to anyone as “the Messiah”. Don’t believe it? Look up “the messiah” in a biblical concordance. You won’t find it anywhere in the Old Testament. The most important concept in the Christian faith and it isn’t even found in the Old Testament!
3. In the Jewish Bible there are many messiahs. “Messiah” simply means “anointed one”. Therefore, Jewish kings, high priests, and some prophets were referred to as “messiah” since they were anointed.
4. There are many (approximately 200) passages in the Hebrew Bible which talk about a future utopian age when all mankind will recognize God, all the Jewish people will return to their homeland, and there will be world peace. The overwhelming majority of these bible passages do not speak about any individual person. The focus in these passages is “the world”. However, about 12 of these 200 passages do talk about an individual: a righteous, anointed king (a messiah) of Israel, a descendent of King David, who will rule in Jerusalem. Jews have historically referred to this particular “messiah” as the Messiah, but you will never find that term in the (Hebrew) Bible.
5. The Christian New Testament gives evidence that even Jesus eventually realized that he was not the Messiah. This is why he cried out on the cross, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me!” Jesus realized that he had failed as the Messiah. The Jewish rejection of Jesus is nothing personal. Jews reject Jesus because he did not fulfill the requirements of the messiah: A Jewish king who would rule over Israel at a time of world peace and harmony.
Christians will respond that Jesus will return in the Second Coming to fulfill these prophecies. Jesus will return as King of all the World who will bring peace and harmony to the entire world. Jews respond: “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Jesus failed as the messiah. So early Christians, struggling with cognitive dissonance, had to make up ad hoc solutions to avoid admitting that Jesus had failed. But in reality, their rationalization of a future fulfillment of the messianic requirements could by used by any failed messiah!
6. When we look for major teachings in the (Hebrew) Bible, we should see clear and consistent expressions of this teaching in many passages. The belief that a righteous king, a descendent of David, will rule from Jerusalem over the entire world in a time of perfect peace and harmony is found in numerous passages in the (Hebrew) Bible. Even Christians agree with Jews that these passages are clear, consistent prophecies about the Messiah. Everyone agrees on the messianic meaning of these passages!
But what about the passages in the (Hebrew) Bible which Christians believe are prophecies about Jesus as the messiah? These passage are not clear and concise, and, even many Christian scholars contest that these passages are messianic prophecies. Take for instance the “biggest” alleged messianic prophecy about Jesus—Isaiah 53. There are many Christian scholars who will agree with Jews that this passage says nothing about a future messiah, it is talking about the nation of Israel, referred to in the singular as “Israel”. The nation of Israel is the “suffering servant”, not a future messiah. And all the other passages which Christians use to point to Jesus are just as vague and disputed, even among Christians.
If the future messiah was going to be despised and rejected by the Jewish people, why would this important description of the messiah only occur in one passage in Isaiah??? Why wouldn’t this theme be consistent in all or at least many of the messianic passages? But it isn’t.
7. How can one determine if the Jewish concept of God is correct or if the Christian concept (a Trinity) is correct? Answer: Go through the entire (Hebrew) Bible and write down every passage that discusses who God is and the nature of God. If you do this, will you see a majority of passages talking about God as three persons or that God will one day take on the form of a human being??? Answer: No.
8. The Hebrew Bible never says that a blood sacrifice is the only means of forgiveness of sins. Genuine repentance has always been the means of forgiveness of sins for Jews. The idea that one’s sins cannot be forgiven without the shedding of blood is a Christian invention. It is not in the (Hebrew) Bible.
9. God told the Jewish people that they were to keep his commandments (the Torah) forever. Forever means forever!!! The Christian claim that forever does not mean forever is just nonsensical.
10. The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalms 119, it has 176 verses, and the entire chapter is about how wonderful is the Law (the Torah) of God. Yet in not one of these verses does the author of Psalms say, “Hey, guys. Even though the Law of God is so wonderful and is sweeter than honey, don’t get too used to it. It won’t exist forever. The purpose of the Law is to show you how you are a miserable sinner and that you are incapable of keeping the Law”. But no, no mention whatsoever of this (Christian) perception of the Law in the longest chapter in the Bible.
11. Instead of reading the Jewish Bible (the Old Testament) for what it actually says, Christians read the Hebrew Bible with an agenda: to prove their preconceived beliefs about Jesus. They then use circular reasoning to support their assertions.
12. Whenever Christians ask me, “Have you ever read Isaiah 7:14 (the passage Christians use to claim that the messiah will be born of a virgin)” I reply, “Have YOU ever read Isaiah chapter seven, verse ONE???” Most Christians have not read the entire chapter. Christians need to read these passages in context, not just pull a verse out of context and shoehorn Jesus into it.
Let me give another example: Zechariah 13:6
And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Ask a Christian who this passage is speaking of and they will immediately say: Jesus! Then ask the Christian to read the entire chapter. And what will they find? Answer: The passage is actually talking about what will happen to a false prophet!!!
13. Mark Twain: “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
Rabbi Skobac: “To a Christian who believes in Jesus the Christ, every passage in the OT looks like Jesus.”
Here’s another alleged messiah prophecy: Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted,
who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me. –Psalm 41:9
Seriously Christians??? How many people in human history have been betrayed by a friend, yet you are going to use this passage as proof that Jesus was the messiah???
14. In the Gospel of Matthew, there is a passage which states that Jesus and his parents fled to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod the Great. After Herod died, the family returned to Israel. The author of Matthew says, “And this was done to fulfill what was written by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt have I called my Son.’ ”
This is from the prophet Hosea. Problem is, if you read the entire chapter in Hosea, you will see that the passage is talking about the Jewish people, using the singular “Israel” to refer to the nation (as we saw in Isaiah 53 above). The author of Matthew has plucked this passage out of context and turned it into a prophecy about Jesus. If one first assumes that Jesus is the Messiah, and that the stories about Jesus in the Gospels are historical fact, one can then go quote mining in the Hebrew Bible [Old Testament] and find “prophecies” about Jesus right and left.
15. In another passage in Matthew, the author alleges that the massacre of the infants in Bethlehem had been prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah. Let’s read the passage in Jeremiah 31:15 which Matthew quotes:
Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.
Wow. Sure sounds like Rachel, the mother of the Jewish people, mourning the death of her children. But wait! Let’s read the context! Let’s read the next two verses in Jeremiah chapter 31:
Thus says the Lord:
Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the Lord:
they shall come back from the land of the enemy;
17 there is hope for your future,
says the Lord:
your children shall come back to their own country.
Holy plucking-out-of-context, Batman!!! This passage does NOT sound like a mother crying over her murdered children! The author of Matthew, once again, plucked a passage out of context!
16. “But wait!” Christian missionaries will now say. “Ok. Maybe Matthew was not quoting these passages in their original meaning and context. But it is possible, and very consistent with rabbinical Jewish tradition, that Matthew was quoting Hosea and Jeremiah in a midrashic sense, not a literal sense!”
Rabbi Skobac: Ok. So now it is no longer that the reason we Jews do not see the “true” meaning of messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Bible is because we are stubborn and sinful. The reason we do not see the “true” meaning of these passages is because we do not accept your Christian, midrashic (subjective, allegorical, speculative) interpretation of these passages??? Wow.
Bottom line: If a passage of Scripture can mean anything, then it means absolutely nothing!
One cannot prove anything in the Bible reading it in a midrashic (poetic, symbolic, allegorical) sense. You can only prove something from the Bible by what it plainly and clearly teaches.
It is certainly possible that Matthew was speaking midrashically when referring to these Old Testament passages. Then, later generations of Christians who did not realize that Matthew was speaking midrashically, began to interpret these [Old Testament] passages as literally speaking about Jesus, a clear misunderstanding of the context of the originals.