The Christian Distortion of Isaiah 53 Exposed

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26 thoughts on “The Christian Distortion of Isaiah 53 Exposed

  1. The speaker is presenting the messianic vs national interpretation of the Servant of Isaiah 53 as the Christian vs. Jewish interpretation. But in truth, the interpretation that the Servant is the Messiah can be found in the ancient Targums, in the Talmud, and in Maimonides.

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    1. I would encourage you and everyone else to watch more videos by Rabbi Skobac and “Jews for Judaism”. One good one in particular is entitled “Is Jesus in the Talmud?”.

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      1. I spent many hours questioning them or their colleagues like Uri Yosef on their Messiah Truth website forum. Despite initially expecting Isaiah 53 not to be about the Messiah, much like your debates with the former Christian that ironically changed your view on the resurrection, the process of close analysis and lengthy discussion with them ironically convinced me that Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and Zechariah 11 to 13 are Messianic.

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        1. Do you believe that in Isaiah 53 the Suffering Servant is clearly identified as the future messiah or do you believe that one can detect a suffering messiah motif in a Midrashic sense of the chapter?

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          1. Here is why I ask. If one looks for passages in the Old Testament that sound like events described in the Gospels, one will find THOUSANDS of potential Jesus prophecies! Does that prove that the Old Testament prophesies the birth, life, and death of Jesus?

            Well, let’s try something. Let’s glance through popular books from prior centuries and see if any of them contain statements that can be construed to be talking about people living today!

            First, Let’s look at Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”:

            “But when he came across a man of position his instinct immediately told him that this man could be useful, and without any premeditation Prince Vasili took the first opportunity to gain his confidence, flatter him, become intimate with him, and finally make his request.” Book 3: 1805

            Wow! Do you see it??? I see a prophesy of Mike Pence! Prince Vasili is just a literary pseudonym, kind of like “the Suffering Servant” in Isaiah’s story, for Mike Pence, who will kiss up to Donald Trump in 2016, flatter him with praise, become intimate with him…all for the purpose for having the best chance of being the GOP candidate in 2024 (or 2020 if Trump decides not to run again). Wow! A Mike Pence prophesy!!!

            Let’s see if there are any other Mike Pence prophecies in books from past centuries.

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            1. Well, while I was looking for more Mike Pence prophesies, I found this one from Margaret Mitchell’s, “Gone with the Wind”:

              All she could think of was that she loved him — everything about him, from the proud lift of his gold head to his slender dark boots, loved his laughter even when it mystified her, loved his bewildering silences. Oh, if only he would walk in on her now and take her in his arms, so she would be spared the need of saying anything. He must love her —“Perhaps if I prayed —” She squeezed her eyes tightly and began gabbling to herself “Hail Mary, full of grace —” –Chapter 5

              Oh my god! It’s a Donald Trump prophecy! Look! Who else could it be talking about when it says that a man will proudly lift his golden head??? That has to be The Donald!!!

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              1. OMG! Look! A Melanie Trump prophesy from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe:

                Her husband’s suffering and dangers, and the danger of her child, all blended in her mind, with a confused and stunning sense of the risk she was running, in leaving the only home she had ever known, and cutting loose from the protection of a friend whom she loved and revered.

                Melania’s husband is certainly suffering. His poll numbers are in the toilet! And look, she only has one child!!! Is Melanie thinking of leaving her home with The Donald??? That is what the prophesy says! If she “cuts loose” she will probably lose a big chunk of financial “protection” from her “friend” Donald. The man she so much “reveres” for his fat wallet and HUGE bank accounts. So if Melanie leaves Donald and leaves the White House, we KNOW that this passage, written in the nineteenth century, was a prophesy about her!

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          2. I believe that Isaiah 53 is about the Messiah, rather than about Israel, nor is it about Israel and only midrashically about Messiah. The passage several times distinguishes the Servant from Israel like when it talks about the Servant’s suffering for the sake of the “people”. I went into detail about the many differences on my website.

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      2. A criticism that I have of Jews for Judaism is that they present their apologetic as “the” rabbinic view at times when it is not. One example is their view that Isaiah 53 is not Messianic, when it is really treated as such in the Talmud, Targums, and by Rambam. The teaching that Jesus is not in the Talmud would be another such example because Rambam saw Jesus as in the Talmud. According to Wikipedia’s entry on “Yeshu”:

        (( In 1180 CE Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:4 briefly discusses Jesus in a passage later censored by the Church. He uses the name Yeshua for Jesus (an attested equivalent of the name unlike Yeshu) and follows it with HaNotzri showing that regardless of what meaning had been intended in the Talmudic occurrences of this term, Maimonides understood it as an equivalent of Nazarene. Late additions to the Josippon also refer to Jesus as Yeshua HaNotzri but not Yeshu HaNotzri.))

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        1. Rabbi Skobac admits that the Talmud MIGHT talk about Yeshua of Nazareth but Yeshua was a very common name in the first century and the information discussed in the Talmud does not clearly identify Yeshua of Nazareth. In addition, the Catholic Church heavily censored the Jewish Talmud, even burning cart loads of copies of the Talmud that it did not like in France and Italy. Therefore the reliability of statements about “Yeshua” in the Talmud are just about as reliable as statements about Jesus in the writings of Josephus! The Christians “doctored” the texts!

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          1. I don’t see the broader point in arguing that Jesus is not in the Talmud, except to suggest that Jesus did not exist. But the Talmud was written in 200 to 500 ad, and we have dozens of sources, some Christian and others pagan or Jewish, predating it on Jesus and Christians.
            So we have better, earlier sources to suggest his existence, and besides that, we would expect by 200 to 500 ad that Jesus or Christians would be mentioned in it.

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            1. I believe Jesus existed. I don’t need the Talmud to confirm that. I thought you were using the Talmud to prove the supernatural claims about Jesus such as raising the dead, walking on water, and rising from the dead.

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          2. Gary,
            I was using the Talmud in order to claim that rabbinical Judaism includes the view that the Servant in Isaiah 53 is the Davidic Messiah, Moshiach Ben Dauid. This claim is distinguishable from the claim that Jesus of Nazareth resurrected from the dead and is shared by modern nonChristuans like the Orthodox Jewish professor David Boyarin and the mythicist Richard Carrier.

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            1. Again, I don’t care if Jews thought these passages are messianic or not. What I care about is seeing a clear, specific prediction about a specific person. Please find ONE alleged Jesus prophecy that meets this requirement (the prophecy could not have been fulfilled by someone else).

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          3. The Lunavitchers are a significant modern Jewish sect that sees Isaiah 53 as Messianic.

            My criticism of Jews for Judaism is that they present their apologetic interpretations of the Tanakh as the Jewish view when in fact Judaism is far broader than those apologetic interpretations.

            To give another example, the Pesikta Rabbati explicitly sees Psalm 22 as about the Messiah Ben David’s suffering for the sake if Israel.

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            1. Messiah/Schmiah!

              I don’t care about what was and what was not considered a messianic prophesy. What I care about is seeing a very clear, very specific prediction about a particular person coming true. I do not see that with ANY of the alleged Jesus prophecies.

              For instance, even if the Hebrew in Psalm 22 says that “his hands and feet were pierced”, how many Jews have had their hands and feet pierced??? Many Jews I’m sure have walked into or fallen into a thicket of thorns and have had their hands and feet “pierced” with thorns. In addition, THOUSANDS of Jews were crucified during the Roman period, and possibly even during the Babylonian and Greek occupations. Why doesn’t this “prophesy” apply to any of them???

              And what about Isaiah 53? If you read the preceding ten chapters (which I have) you will see very clearly that the “Suffering Servant” is the nation of Israel, referred to in the singular. This usage also occurs in the books of other OT prophets such as Hosea where God calls his son “Israel” out of Egypt in the Exodus.

              Now, if Christians want to claim that there is a double meaning in this passage, let’s look at that. Ok, so some Christians will admit that the original “suffering servant” in this passage was the nation of Israel, but, they claim that there is also a hidden messianic prophesy here (as even some Jewish rabbis in history have thought). This is called a “Midrashic” reading of the text.

              The problem with Midrashes: You can read practically ANYONE into the text!

              What is said in Isaiah 53 that couldn’t be a reference to THOUSANDS of other people in history? Such as, how many people in history have been abused and rejected by his own people??? How many innocent people in history have remained silent before their accusers???

              “He made his grave with the wicked and the rich”. How many people of meager means have been buried in a grave yard with a higher class of people? Maybe a favorite body guard or other servant of a crooked rich man is buried in the family plot of the rich man. Why isn’t this body guard the messiah?

              However, later in Isaiah 53 it says that God will “see his seed”. Did Jesus have any “seed”…in the Biblical sense of that word: offspring???

              Come on! Any number of people could be shoe-horned into this passage! I believe that either the authors of the Gospels went on a quote mining expedition, or, the authors of the Gospels were using these passages for literary/theological effect only. They never meant to infer that these were real, literal prophecies about Jesus. (I would bet that the authors of the Gospels would be shocked to know that their books have become HOLY documents revered by two billion people as the inspired words of GOD! They probably thought they were just writing an interesting tale about Jesus with a lot of fun, invented material to make it a better read!)

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          4. Dear Gary,
            My goal was in seeing whether the Tanakh predicted a Messiah who would get killed and rise, and after spending years studying and writing on the topic, I feel fully confident in discussing this. I understand that you want something that would specifically and unambiguously point to Jesus, but I feel that this is very hard to provide. First, for example, let’s say that we agreed that Jonah’s story is really a fable alluding to the Messiah’s 3rd day resurrection. Even then, one could propose that Jesus didn’t rise and so the allusion doesn’t work for Jesus. Second, the Tanakh deliberately has an ambiguous style in prophecying. Think back to Joseph’s interpretation of pharaoh’s prophetic dreams. How clear were those dreams really as to Egypt’s future? It was like 7 oxen or 7 wheat as I remember. Not totally clear.

            I can go through the things you ask about though when it comes to whether those passages are about a resurrecting or killed Messiah. I made a whole website about that topic,
            Rakovskii.livejournal.com

            You write:
            (( If you read the preceding ten chapters (which I have) you will see very clearly that the “Suffering Servant” is the nation of Israel, referred to in the singular. ))
            The servant switches to being not Israel in both the 3rd and 4th servant songs, the 4th one being Isaiah 53. IIRC, the 3rd Servant song definitely distinguishes the Servant from Israel by saying that the Servant will gather Israel, which wouldn’t make sense if the Servant was Israel. I cited the relevant verses on my website.

            You ask:
            (( later in Isaiah 53 it says that God will “see his seed”. Did Jesus have any “seed”…in the Biblical sense of that word: offspring???))
            The inference is that the Servant has spiritual offspring. This is because 1) Earlier in Isaiah 53 it implies that no one “can speak of his offspring for he was cut off from the land of the living, ie killed.
            And 2) Isaiah 54 is about how a barren ie never pregnant woman can have more children than a fertile one. So it is telling the reader about spiritual offspring.

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            1. My goal was in seeing whether the Tanakh predicted a Messiah who would get killed and rise

              Please give one quote from the Hebrew Bible that clearly and unmistakably states that the messiah would be killed and rise from the dead.

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  2. …we would expect by 200 to 500 ad that Jesus or Christians would be mentioned in it even if Jesus were a myth. The Talmud for example could have warned people not to believe in the religion because it was a “myth”.

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    1. Think about this: If Jesus was the big deal the Gospels make him out to be, why don’t we hear about him in the writings of any of his contemporaries, such as Philo? And why does Josephus barely mention Jesus when he (Josephus) gives such a detailed discussion of Jewish history and other characters, including John the Baptist? If Jesus really rocked both the Jewish and Roman establishment as the Gospels claim, I would think we would hear more about him. But we don’t.

      I therefore believe that Jesus existed, but I suspect that he was an insignificant flash in the pan of Jewish history, at least during his lifetime.

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      1. Paul was a contemporary of Jesus and wrote about him.

        The gospels and Josephus present John the Baptist as a big deal but we don’t have writings about him from his time.

        Plus, centuries later, writings were lost due to the wars in Judea from 70 and 135, and Christians were an underground movement and the church wouldn’t be interested in preserving 1st c. Anti Christian Roman records. Socrates was important, but who do we have from his time narrating him besides Plato?

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        1. Paul may have been alive while Jesus was alive but Paul betrays no intimate knowledge of his life. When I say “contemporary” I mean someone who remembers events related to Jesus when he was alive.

          John the Baptist did not raise people from the dead in front of crowds like Jesus allegedly did. If the Gospels are true, Jesus was the greatest Jewish prophet since Moses, and maybe even greater than Moses. …Yet only a few sentences about him from Josephus and not a peep from Philo.

          The evidence indicates to me that during his lifetime, Jesus was a nobody.

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