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YESHUA-MESSIAH OF THE BIBLE--Part One  

-Includes some interfaith dialogue-

My friends

I am offering this study to my Jewish and Muslim friends on another web site. Please pray with me for their understanding of God's Word?

Aaron

-YESHUA-MESSIAH-

Isa.55: "1Ho, every one of you that thirsts, come to the waters, and he that has no money; come, buy and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? And why do you labor for that which satisfies not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

3Incline your ear and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 4Behold, I have given him [Yeshua-Messiah] for a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander to the peoples.

5Behold, you shall call a nation that you know not; and a nation that knew not you shall run unto you, because of Jehovah your God, and for the Holy One of Israel; [Yeshua-Messiah] for he has glorified you."

John 1: "1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [‘elohiym—Ref.Gen.1:1]. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that has been made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5And the light shined in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

6There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. [Ref.Mal.4:4-6; Lu.1:13-17; Mat.11:14; Mat.17:10-13; Mk.9:11-13]

9There was the true light [Yeshua-Messiah], even the light which lights every man, coming into the world. [Ref.Jn.8:12; 9:5]

10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not.

11He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not.

12But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. [Ref.Rom.8:]

14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth." [Ref.Jn.17]

Amen. [RASV-1901]

I would also like to add this preparatory comment: This obvious Christian understanding can be advanced only when we receive the Old and New Testaments as the true living Word of God: Understanding that all Scripture is in fact "God breathed". WE OBSERVE HOW ONLY THE BIBLE ITSELF CAN INTERPRET, EXPLAIN, AND CONFIRM THE BIBLE. Therefore, the observations presented here are all taken from the Holy Scriptures themselves, as the positive proof of God’s perfect plan of redemption in the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant—the continuum of His universal reconciliation.

 

-THE BIRTH OF JESUS-

The prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus is clearly revealed in both the Old and New Testaments (It was not a mystery):

 

The prophecy - The predicted event is pictured.

Isa.7:14--The Lord Himself will give you a sign, a virgin [almah-lass, damsel, or maiden] shall conceive, and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel.

 

The prophecy - The predicted event pictured, is confirmed.

Mat.1:23--Behold, the virgin [parthenos-maiden, or unmarried daughter] shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is being interpreted God with us.

Though some Jewish scholars would argue that the word which is being defined here from Isaiah as a virgin, could be defined as a maiden, or a young unmarried woman. I am not sure that I can see the real legitimacy of their complaint over this definition. I believe that it was assumed in the Jewish tradition that a maiden or young unmarried woman was in fact still a virgin. This also reveals the continued rejection of Yeshua-Messiah by most of the Jewish religious leaders—even to this very day.

So to address the question on the meaning of "virgin/ or young woman [maiden—‘almah/ parthenos]. As I stated, I believe it was not only assumed in the Jewish tradition that a young unmarried woman was a virgin, it was required. Consequently, we see that Joseph, being a just man, was prepared to handle this obvious problem privately. Which is the reason that the angel came to Joseph in a dream—telling him that even though his espoused was with child, that he was still to take her to be his wife [woman—‘ishshah/ gune]. And I must repeat that I continue to fail to see the legitimacy of this argument.

Then concerning the definition of Immanuel—even though others might differ, it is also clear that the Christian Church has accepted Matthew’s plain definition of "His name Immanuel, which is being interpreted God with us".

 

How this prophecy was to be fulfilled.

Lu.1:30,31,34, and 35--And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: For behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS... And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, since I have not known a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you: Wherefore also That which is to be born shall be called Holy, the Son of God.

Important points that God gives us in this passage:

Jesus is the virgin born Son of Mary.

Jesus is proclaimed to be the Holy Son of God.

 

The proclamations of the Angel Gabriel and Elizabeth:

Lu.1:28; 1:42; and 1:31-- Hail, (Mary) endued with grace; the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. JESUS.

Lu.1:46-51a--Mary said: My soul does magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He has looked upon the low estate of His handmaid: For behold, from henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is Mighty has done me great things; and Holy is His Name. And His mercy is upon generations and generations, on them that fear Him. He has shown <A> strength with His Holy Arm.

In addition to the prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus - the Holy Son of God, God also introduces His Holy Arm - Jesus.

 

*** <A> = The Arm of Jehovah - Jesus.

These Scriptures are also clear examples of how the Bible interprets the Bible. Scriptural conformation of scriptural principles and facts.

 

The fulfillment of the predicted birth of our Lord: A prophetic picture of the event.

Isa.9:6 and 7—For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, and of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end. <B> Upon the throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The Zeal of Jehovah of Hosts will perform this.

 

*** Note: Zech.4:6b—Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says Jehovah of Hosts. [The Zeal of Jehovah = The Holy Spirit]!

 

The event itself is confirmed.

Lu.2:11—For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. [Yeshua-Messiah]

Lu.1:32 and 33--He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: And the Lord God shall give unto Him <B> the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His Kingdom there shall be no end.

 

** The house of JACOB is the house of ISRAEL; also CONTAINING GOD’S INVISIBLE ISRAEL.

 

*** <B> = Jesus, presently positioned on David's throne: The fulfillment of God's promise to David.

The declaration of Isa.9:7 and Lu.1:32 and 33 is very clear and to the point: Jesus was to receive the throne and kingdom of David--and that, this Kingdom was to be an endless Kingdom. Jesus would uphold this Kingdom with justice and with righteousness. These same Scriptures also tell us that the Zeal of Jehovah, which is His own Holy Spirit, would perform all of these things.

 

Simeon declares the identity and the purpose of the Lord Jesus.

Lu.2:25-32--And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the Consolation of Israel: And the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ (Anointed/Messiah). And he came in the Spirit into the temple: And when the parents brought the Child Jesus, that they might do concerning Him, after the custom of the law: Then he (Simeon) received Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: Now let Your servant depart, Lord, according to Your Word, in peace, for my eyes have seen YOUR SALVATION, [Ref.Isa.52:10] which You have prepared before the face of all peoples: A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, [Ref.Isa.49:6] and THE GLORY OF YOUR PEOPLE ISRAEL.

It must be remembered that the Old Covenant was still in full-effect at the time of this revelation.

Simeon declared: Jesus, the fulfillment of God's promises:

(1) Jesus was the Consolation (Comforter) of Israel.

(2) Jesus was the Salvation of God unto all peoples.

(3) Jesus was the Light of the Gentiles.

(4) Jesus was the Glory of Israel.

(5) Jesus was the Salvation of our God unto the end of the earth.

 

The declaration of the kingdom of David is again brought into view.

Mk.11:9 and 10--And they that went before, and that followed, cried, Hosanna, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord: Blessed is the kingdom that (has) come,

<B> the kingdom of our father David: Hosanna in the highest.

This Scripture is clearly speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ, who did come in the name of the Lord. The children of Israel were also rejoicing in the kingdom of David, because that Kingdom had come unto them as well. They were blessing the Son of David. [Ref.Mat.1:1]

 

Mat.21:15--But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children that were crying in the temple and saying, Hosanna to

<B> the Son of David, they were moved with indignation.

I cannot believe that the children of Israel were rejoicing in something that would not come unto them for thousands of years. Referring of course to the Kingdom of God; to the kingdom of David; to the Kingdom of the Son of His love; the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. We might also inquire into why these religious leaders were moved with indignation.

 

More prophecy is given in Zech.9:9, which concern Jesus:

<C> Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion. Behold, your King (will) come unto you: He is just, and having salvation; Lowly, and riding upon an ass, even the foal of an ass.

 

And the fulfillment of this prophecy is seen in Mat.21:4 and 5:

<C> Tell the Daughters of Zion, behold, your King comes unto you, meek, and riding upon an ass, upon a colt of the foal of an ass.

<C> Jn.12:13b--Hosanna: Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. [Ref. Mat.27:37; Jn.18:37]

<C> Jn.1:49--Nathanael answered Him: Rabbi, You are the Son of God, You are King of Israel.

 

*** <C> = Jesus - the King of Israel.

 

<C> Jn.18:37--(Jesus tells us) To this end have I been born...

Jesus did come in fulfillment of the promised King, and Jesus now sits as reigning King at the Father's right hand in heaven. And when Jesus returns as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, He will come to tread the winepress of the wrath of God Almighty. [Ref. Rev.17:14; 19:16]

 

Jn.7:42--Have not the Scriptures said that Christ (would) come of the

<B> seed of David, from Bethlehem, the village where David was?

 

Lu.1:68 and 69--(For) God has wrought redemption for His people and has

<B>raised up a Horn of Salvation unto us in the house of His servant David.

 

Mic.5:2--But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, which are little to be among the thousands of Judah. Out of you shall One come forth unto Me that is to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. [Ref.Jn.1:)

 

And this prophetic Scripture is confirmed in Mat.2:6--

And you Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the princes of Judah. For out of you shall come forth a Ruler, who shall be Shepherd of My people Israel.

 

Jesus tells us in Jn.10:14-16--I am the good Shepherd, I know My own and My own know Me... I lay down My life for the sheep. Another sheep I have, which are not of this fold; Them also I must bring, and they also shall hear My voice, and they shall become ONE FLOCK, ONE SHEPHERD.

The above Scripture demands a state of total unity in the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ; the Kingdom of the Son of His love.

Jn.1:41--He found first his brother Simon, and said unto him: We

have found the

<D> Messiah: (Which is interpreted, the Christ/Anointed)

 

Jn.4:25 and 26--The woman said unto Him (Jesus): I know that

<D> Messiah (will) come, He that is called Christ: When He has come, He will declare unto us all things. Jesus said unto her: I that speak unto you, Am He.

 

*** <D> = Jesus - the promised Messiah (the Christ / the Anointed).

 

<A> Additional Scriptures on the Arm of Jehovah - Jesus.

Isa.63:4b and 5--(The year of the redeemed is come) And I looked, and there was none to help, and I wondered that there was none to uphold:

<A> Therefore, My own Arm brought salvation unto Me.

 

Isa.52:10--(For) Jehovah has made bare

<A> His Holy Arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth have seen the Salvation of our God.

 

Ps.98:1--Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song, for He has done marvelous things. His Right Hand, and

<A> His Holy Arm have worked salvation for Him.

 

Isa.51:5 and 9--My Righteousness is near, My Salvation has gone forth, and

<A> on My Arm shall they trust.

 

Isa.53:1-6—"1Who has believed our report? and to whom has

<A> the arm of Jehovah been revealed? [Ref.Jn.12:38] 2For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: as one from whom men hide their face; he was despised and we esteemed him not.

4Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; [Ref.Mat.8:17] yet we did esteem him stricken, punished of God, and afflicted. [Ref.Jn.19:7] 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; [Ref.1Cor.15:3; Heb.9:28; Rom.4:25] the chastisement of our peace was upon him; [Ref.1Pe.2:23-24] and with his stripes we are healed. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

There is no doubt that Isa.53 is revealing the suffering Saviour. And there is no doubt that the Arm of Jehovah represents Jesus. This is another example of allowing the Bible to interpret the Bible: Allowing the Scriptures their clarity and compatibility.

 

Isa.11:1--And there shall come forth a Shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a Branch out of his Root shall bear fruit.

 

From Jeremiah 23:5-6 we are told: Behold the days come, says Jehovah, <B> that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as <C> king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness. [Ref.Acts.17:31]

 

Isa.11:10--And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Root of Jesse (Yeshua-Messiah) that stands for a sign of the people (visible Israel), unto Him shall the nations (the Gentiles) seek, and His resting place shall be glory (Heaven).

 

And we see the fulfillment of Isa.11:10 in Rom.15:12—

And again Isaiah says: There shall be a Root of Jesse, and He that arises to rule over the nations, on Him shall the nations hope.

God's prophetic view toward His universal reconciliation is clearly evident in these passages. The door of salvation is now opened to all. [Ref.Mat.4:12-16; Isa.9:1-2; Deut.32:43; Ps.117:1-2]

 

Zech.3:8b-10--(For) they are men that are a sign: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch. For, behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; upon one stone are seven eyes [Ref.Rev.5:6]: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, says Jehovah of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, says Jehovah of hosts, shall you invite every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree.

 

Isa.28:16--Therefore, this, says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a Stone, a Tried Stone, a precious Corner-Stone of sure foundation, he that believes shall not be put to shame.

 

These same facts are confirmed in 1Pe.2:6--Because it is contained in Scripture: Behold, I lay in Zion a Chief Corner Stone, Elect, Precious: And he that believes on Him shall not be put to shame.

A prayer—Most Holy God, gracefully bless the truth of Your Word to our minds and hearts. -AMEN-

 

 

From Isk 3-3-02 #5

Dear Aaron,

You wrote:

"Those who would argue, that the Church age is not found in the Old Testament, have certainly discounted some very clear Scriptural revelation. Isa.61:1 and 2a--...the year of Jehovah's favor. Then the fulfillment ..in Lu.4:18 and 19--... the acceptable year of the Lord. (Jesus said this was fulfilled.) I believe that "the year of Jehovah's favor" is in fact this dispensation of God's unfavored grace towards all peoples, tribes, tongues, and Nations; the Church age."

Can I comment on this, from the perspective of my Christian understanding (as I see it at present):

Remember that Jesus was a Jew, and was speaking in the synagogue, on the Sabbath. It's important to consider what Jesus meant by saying that this was fulfilled, and how or why the listeners responded in the way they did. For me the 'year of the Lord' is the apocalyptic consummation of human history, when God will bring his direct rule to earth, and favour those who were faithful to him. Jesus said that this was fulfilled, yes it had started to be fulfilled, and Jesus would have fulfilled it completely for the Jews (remember Jesus did not read the whole of this passage from Isaiah, he left off the last part) had the Jews as a whole accepted him as Messiah. I believe that this is what Luke was trying to communicate, that Jesus made a sincere and genuine offer to the Jews as a nation, to bring in the Kingdom, through them, but that after they had rejected him, he had to seek other means to do this. The church is the agency through which God will do this now, (without neglecting certain promises to his first people). The church is the fulfillment of the mentioned prophecies, both in the sense that through the Church/through Christ we can experience God's power to transform our lives and hearts, but also in the eschatological sense, that the Church will play a specific role in God's Kingdom on earth in future.

 

From Aaron 3-5

Re. Post#5

Dear Isk, You said—" For me the 'year of the Lord' is the apocalyptic consummation of human history, when God will bring his direct rule to earth, and favour those who were faithful to him."

As I have studied eschatology throughout the years, I have always seen this interpretation that you are giving here as somewhat speculative. When we consider God’s reconciliation as a whole, and the Abrahamic Covenant as being the eschatological fullness of that reconciliation, your interpretative approach would seem to be somewhat deficient from that perspective. From my viewpoint, any eschatology that does not take into account the primary role of the Abrahamic Covenant, would be only a series of speculations—deficient of the necessary Scriptural compatibility that formulates God’s truths. Only the Bible can interpret the Bible.

Isk, if you feel compelled to have further discussions on eschatology, I believe that we should find ourselves a different forum.

The LORD is our Rock, our Fortress, and our Deliverer. Amen.

Aaron

 

From 3-5 #8

Ok, let's go back to first sources.

How did the Jews of first century B.C.E. understand the Isa.61:1 and 2a term "the year of Jehovah's favor"/"the year of the Lord", and other references to 'the great and terrible day of the Lord'???

 

From Aaron

Hello Isk,

Peace

Your question—how did the first century Jews understand Isa.61:1-2? I really do not know with any certainty. Probably not much different from the understanding of God’s peoples today. I believe it is commonly accepted that Isa.61:2 is written parenthetically. That is, Isa:61:2a—"the year of Jehovah’s favor", which is then followed by Isa.61:2b—"the day of vengeance of our God". These are interpreted as two distinctly different dispensations of God. The first—"the year of Jehovah’s favor" has a protracted duration [it has now lasted for nearly two thousand years], and is designed to bring God’s matchless grace to his whole creation. Then second—"the day of vengeance of our God" will have a protracted duration as well, and is designed to bring God’s judgments and wrath to His whole creation. Consequently, Isa.61:1-2 would start with this dispensation of grace, and go on to the end of time.

Does this help?

God bless His peoples.

Aaron

 

From Isk 3-6 #10

Brother Aaron,

With all due respect, may I respond thuswise:

You wrote: "...Probably not much different from the understanding of God’s peoples today.."

Which I suppose means that you did not consider the matter from that angle before, and did not specifically research that aspect. I didn't also, a great deal, only a little bit of reading - not an exact knowledge, by any means; but that's beside the point. What I really wanted to say was that your interpretation is therefore possibly equally as 'speculative' as mine.....

 

From Aasim

Peace to all,

Aaron,

I am curious about a couple of items in your above postings.

The discertation begins with the birth of Jesus. It quotes the following passage from Isaiah:

Isa.7:14--The Lord Himself will give you a sign, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel.

Now, here is where my curiosity is peaked. The Hebrew context uses the word woman and the Greek uses virgin. Can these be said to have the same meaning? The Hebrew looks much different:

Isa.7:14--The Lord Himself will give you a sign, a woman shall conceive, and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel.

As you say, only the Bible can argue the Bible. But what do we do when the translations cannot be accurately discerned? To me, woman does not necessarily mean virgin.

There are also arguements as to the meaning of Immanuel. Could Immanuel mean that the prophet would be proof of God's favor and His presence among his people; the prophet would mearly be a Messanger. For me, the Prophethood of Muhammad(saw) is a proof of Allah(swt) being "with us." It does not in the least mean that we should believe Muhammad to be God.

Also, if we consider the name Immanuel to literally mean "God among us" as the Christian would support (deification of Jesus), why did/do the Jews not agree with this. As I understand, the Messiah the Jews await is not expected to be God.

In my studies of the OT and NT, the writers of the Gospels and the letters of Paul seem to contradict the prophecies of the OT. The events of Isaiah took place among the Hebrews, not the Greeks. I support the argument that "virgin" is a Greek additive and was not part of the original prophecy.

Of course, I am speaking from a Muslim perspective. But even when I was a Jesuit, I had my doubts. A prophecy is like a poem: very open to interpretation. It is difficult to know what true message is contained in them, as the entire truth is hidden, and only Allah(swt) is all knowing.

It is easy to interject the word "virgin": voila, your interpretation of the prophecy works! But if you stick to the original "woman", the argument is a bit more cumbersome. It is all a matter of perspective. A Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim can read the same passage from the OT or NT and have very different ideas about what was just read. If the OT and NT are truely the word of God, then they (OT/NT) belong to us all and are open to scrutiny and praise by all.

Muslims are often asked, "If you do not believe in the Bible, then why do you use it to prove your point?"

The answer: Our belief or perspective of and in the OT and NT is different from Christians. Our debate concerns the matter of perspectives and translations. Christians believe the above passages to be proof of the divinity of Jesus, whereas the Muslims see none of this in the passages.

At first, I was mildly offended by this post, as it would appear to discount Jewish and Muslim belief. But when I looked at it from a matter of perspective I was able to put my thoughts to words.

The passages in your post prove to you one idea and belief. Yet in the same passages, I as a Muslim see a completely different ideas and beliefs. Make sense? I hope so.

in faith,

Aasim

 

From Isk #12

Christian believe in the Messiah-ship and Divinity of Jesus (as with all major Christian doctrines), is based on more than just Isa.7:14. It's only by reading ALL the references that a full picture and understanding can be arrived at. A Bible concordance is an invaluable tool in finding all the verses which contain a specific word or topical reference. Should you be interested to follow that up.

Whether the word used was 'young woman' or 'virgin' or 'maiden' or what ever, the important point is that the birth of a specific male child was foretold more than 600 years beforehand.

   

From Rick 3-7 #13

Good morning Aasim and Aaron,

I hope you don't mind if I interject something here. As you are well aware from your Christian background, Aasim, if you put three Christians in a room, you will get four opinions of what a particular passage means. I'd like to give my particular understanding of what you brought up, but Isk and Aaron (and others) may disagree with me.

You wrote,

Isa.7:14--The Lord Himself will give you a sign, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel.

Now, here is where my curiosity is peaked. The Hebrew context uses the word woman and the Greek uses virgin. Can these be said to have the same meaning? The Hebrew looks much different:

Isa.7:14--The Lord Himself will give you a sign, a woman shall conceive, and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel.

As you say, only the Bible can argue the Bible. But what do we do when the translations cannot be accurately discerned? To me, woman does not necessarily mean virgin.

You are right that the Hebrew word here (alma) means a young woman. I believe that there was at the time a more technical word for virgin that was not used. The Septuagint translation used the Greek word for virgin, as you mentioned. Nobody knows why the Jewish translators used the Greek word "parthenos," but it is significant (at least to me) that they did.

To the original Jewish listeners, Isaiah 7:10-17 was addressed to King Ahaz, and the context of the fulfillment of the prophecy was in the reign of King Ahaz. The point being that probably when Isaiah uttered these words he was saying that Ahaz would have a son that would serve as a pledge that God was remaining faithful to his covenant with David. The name "Emmanuel" (God with us) was not literally to be the name of the child, but rather symbolic that the birth of a son to Ahaz indicated that God was with them and would remain faithful to his covenant with David.

To my knowledge, the Jews did not understand this prophecy to have any significance beyond the circumstances surrounding the reign of Ahaz, but I may be wrong. At the time of the birth of Jesus, the Jews did not have the belief that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, nor did they believe that the title "Emmanuel" indicated a physical incarnation of God. The fact that God remained faithful to his covenant with David was evidence that "God was with them." Nothing more or less.

If this is true, then it is quite clear that Matthew, when quoting this verse to refer to the birth of Jesus, was starting with the event and working back to the prophecy rather than the other way around. If the early church was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit to understand Isaiah 7:14 in that way, then I have no problem with it. Many, many Old Testament prophecies had a "dual" fulfillment - fulfillment in an immediate context and an eschatological fulfillment at a later date.

You wrote, "Also, if we consider the name Immanuel to literally mean "God among us" as the Christian would support (deification of Jesus), why did/do the Jews not agree with this. As I understand, the Messiah the Jews await is not expected to be God."

I addressed this above, but you are right that the Jews are not expecting an incarnation. The incarnation is a unique teaching of the Christian faith. However, to understand what is meant by "incarnation" you have to have a clear understading of the Logos - the 2nd person of the Trinity. It can be argued that the Logos of God was manifesting himself throughout the history of Israel, culminating in the final, clear revelation of the incarnation. But that's too much to handle here!

You wrote, "In my studies of the OT and NT, the writers of the Gospels and the letters of Paul seem to contradict the prophecies of the OT."

Is it really a contradiction or is it a case of dual fulfillment? Could you give some examples?

You wrote, "But even when I was a Jesuit, I had my doubts."

You were a Jesuit. Fascinating!

You wrote, "It is easy to interject the word "virgin": voila, your interpretation of the prophecy works! But if you stick to the original "woman", the argument is a bit more cumbersome. It is all a matter of perspective."

Again, you are right. It is all a matter of perspective. The common understanding of prophecy, even among Christians, is that prophecy is the foretelling of future events. However, in the case of Isaiah 7:14 and the early Christian's understanding of it, I think it is a case of the Holy Spirit enabling them to say, "Ah-ha! Now I understand what God was doing/saying." At least to me, this doesn't negate the power of the prophecy, but rather it demonstrates the unity of God's plan from all creation. But I guess that is a matter of perspective!

You wrote, "Christians believe the above passages to be proof of the divinity of Jesus, whereas the Muslims see none of this in the passages."

As Isk mentioned, this isn't the sole reason why we believe in the deity of Christ, though it does support it. Interestingly, the apostle Paul never mentions the virgin birth, and it only appears in two of the four gospels. Neither is it just a "miracle," which is what Muslims believe, isn't it? Nor was it a necessity so that Jesus could be born without "original sin." (Couldn't he have inherited a sin nature from Mary? Is a sin nature something that is transmitted genetically through the male?) Rather, my personal opinion is that Jesus was born of a virgin as a sign of God's grace. God took the initiative to come to us. The will, work, or desire of humanity had nothing to do with it. As you may be aware from your Jesuit background, early Christians often talked of "the virgin womb and the virgin tomb." Both were intrinsically linked to one another. God comes to us - not us to God. God gives us undeserved grace - not us earning our own salvation. God breaks out of the tomb earning for us eternal life. The virgin birth is just one more evidence in favor of the grace of God - a God who loves us so much that he was willing to "get his hands dirty" by coming to us, assuming our sinful nature, and through his life, death, and resurrection liberating us from the curse of sin and death.

Warmly in Christ,

Rick

 

From Aasim

Peace to all,

Rick and Isk,

Thank you for sharing you insights on the Isaiah passage.

I am by no means a biblical scholar, but I do have many curiosities about the history between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Perhaps in time, I will grow to have a deeper understanding of them both.

I think I should have better phrased my words when mentioning "contradictions". What I often mean by this is more a contradiction of opinions rather than scripture. In other words, ones opinion of a certain passage from scripture may contradict the meaning of another scripture. As Isk pointed out, the entire volume of the OT and NT (and the Quran) need to be taken as a whole. But before they can be embraced as a whole, there are many questions and mysteries to be solved.

Rick, you are absolutely correct when you described a group of Christians sitting together and having different opinions on scripture. Little has changed in this regard since my becomming a Muslim: even Muslim dissagree on certain aspects of scripture, Biblical and Quranic.

I think each religion has it's own bond. Jews are bound together through the Torah and the Prophets, Christians are bound together through Jesus(pbuh), and Muslims are bound together through Tawhid (Oneness of Allah).

I believe that all the Prophets were without sin and each carried a message that was pertenant to their time and place. Of course, as a Muslim, I see Muhammad(saw) as a universal Prophet, the final Messanger of God. But this view in no way diminishes the importance of the words uttered by Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them). Islam strives for a clear understanding of all the Messages and to unite them under one God.

I think Islam as a whole has greater differences with Paul rather than Jesus(pbuh). When a Muslim critic offers words against the writings of Paul, many see this as an attack against Jesus(pbuh), when in the Muslim's mind, it is the opposite: we are trying to protect and preserve the Prophethood of Jesus(pbuh).

When I, as a Muslim, read the Gospels (yes I still read them!), I have a whole new appreciation for their meaning. Now, when I look at the Gospels from a perspective of Tawhid, the words of Jesus(pbuh) take on a different meaning and the words of Paul become more difficult to digest. To me, this is a clear sign of my complete seperation from Christianity, but it does not mean I have abandoned my belief in Jesus(pbuh) as a Prophet. In my mind and in my heart, Jesus(pbuh) has an equal seat among the Prophets. But the word equal has a very important meaning. I do not see Jesus(pbuh) as being superior to any other Prophet. I believe that after their death, all Prophets were exalted before Allah(swt).

Islam accepts Jesus(pbuh) as the Messiah of the Jews. What I am trying to learn more about is why the Jews of the past and present do not accept Jesus(pbuh) as Messiah from a scriptural perspective. Was it because he challenged the priests of the Temple? Or did he fail to fullfill any of the prophecies?

Inshalla (God willing), one day I will have a son or daughter. They will be borne into Islam and its customs and will live as a Muslim. But if the day comes that they question their din (religion), then I would like to be there to give them answers. And if they have questions about Judaism or Christianity, I would like to be informed enough to give a clear and honest perspective of each religion. I do not want to sow hatred or ignorance in the hearts of my children. I want to give them an understanding and a respect for the other faiths. I cannot force anyone to believe in the Message of the Prophet(saw) and the Quran, but I can help to lead them to understanding, just as we here in this community help each other to better understand our three traditions and our faith in God.

in faith,

Aasim

 

From Isk #15

Dear Rick,

I liked your answer, and your connection of the Isaiah 7 passage with King Ahaz.

You wrote: "the birth of a son to Ahaz indicated that God was with them and would remain faithful to his covenant with David."

I have wondered about that aspect of it myself. However, can I ask as follows, was Ahaz actually of the House of David (I think he was from a different dynasty)? And was the son born that of the king, or rather, that of the prophet? There are other surrounding verses which mention that Isaiah himself had a son, symbolising the faithfulness of God, and in some respects, symbolising, or prefiguring, that Son to be born (later).

We may say that there are as many opinions as Christians, or is it just that they are emphasising different aspects of the scripture, in its multi-layed meanings?

Accordingly, I concur with your explanation of the birth narrative of Jesus showing that it was God who planned and desired this, for the purpose of His reconciliation with man. I concur that that is the fundamental concept of Christianity, that God has sought out us; Christ died for us, even before we turned to Him. Most Christians could testify to that experience in their lives, that God was drawing them to himself, using circumstances &c, even before they called out to Him, or sought Him.

 

From Peregrin #17

Every other case in the Tanach in which "almah" is used (there are seven instances, I believe), there is no question we are dealing with a virtuous young unmarried lady. The almahs of the Tenach are never demonstrated as being anything other than an unmarried virgin who is of marriageable age.

That is most likely why the Hebrew scholars who translated the Septuiagent used the Greek word "parthenos". It wasn't an accident that they did.

 

From Rick 3-8 #18

Good morning Isk,

You asked, "was Ahaz actually of the House of David (I think he was from a different dynasty)?"

Isaiah was a prophet to Judah, so I double checked on Ahaz. He was a king of Judah, so I assume in the line of David. Correct me if I'm wrong.

You asked, "And was the son born that of the king, or rather, that of the prophet?"

Most of what I have read has said that it is unclear. The point was that the birth of this child to Isaiah or Ahaz would be a sign of God's presence with Israel and his faithfulness to his covenant with David.

You asked, "We may say that there are as many opinions as Christians, or is it just that they are emphasising different aspects of the scripture, in its multi-layed meanings?"

IMO, a little of each.

Warmly in Christ,

Rick

 

From Aaron #19

Aasim,

Greetings and peace.

By your response, I fully understand that you do not accept the interpretations of the Christian tradition. So my contention here in this paper was to present the obvious Scriptural evidence for that tradition.

This question on the meaning of "virgin/ or young woman [maiden—‘almah/parthenos] was addressed in my earlier comments. As I stated, I believe it was not only assumed in the Jewish tradition that a young unmarried woman was a virgin, it was required. Consequently, we see that Joseph, being a just man, was prepared to handle this obvious problem privately. Which is the reason that the angel came to Joseph in a dream—telling him that even though his espoused was with child, that he was still to take her to be his wife [woman—‘ishshah/ gune]. And I must repeat that I continue to fail to see the legitimacy of this argument.

You then had a question about the definition of "Immanuel". I believe that the confirmed interpretation of "Immanuel" [Ref.Isa.7:14; Mat.1:23] is principally derived from Gen.1:1 [‘elohiym] and the gospel of John, chapter one’s description of Yeshua-Messiah. I also believe that this paper has presented additional supportive Scripture concerning God’s promise to not only reside with us, but to reside/ or dwell within us. [Ref.Jn.14:23; 1Jn.4:13]

As for the last part of your question—"Also, if we consider the name Immanuel to literally mean "God among us" as the Christian would support (deification of Jesus), why did/do the Jews not agree with this. As I understand, the Messiah the Jews await is not expected to be God."

Might I suggest that you read my post#5 on "Salvation is of the Jews". It goes into great detail concerning God’s continuous dealings with His first peoples Israel.

Aasim, whenever you decide to criticize the Holy Scriptures, it would be nice if you supplied some detailed examples of that criticism. But I would suppose that if any of us were to interpret the Scriptures for ourselves, they will surely say exactly what we want them to say.

But fortunately, the Bible is not so easily superceded by any humankind—concocted ideas.

God has given us this principle for interpreting His Holy Word—Whatever truth that we are given to understand from the Holy Bible, must be confirmed directly or indirectly by this same Holy Bible. Then using this principle, I fail to see how the passages that were presented in this paper would be open to any private interpretation. Only the Scriptures can interpret the Scriptures.

As an example, if God says something is thus or so in the Old Testament, and then repeats the same thing in detail in the New Testament, what is there to argue about? Consequently, if we find that we are arguing against God’s Word, are we not arguing with God? I think that we might be straining at the preverbal gnat. [Ref.Mat.23:24]

Aasin, I hope that you know that I mean no offense. But concerning your differing view of the Old Testament and the New Testament, what you sight as "Our debate concerns the matter of perspectives and translations" is really nothing less than the Muslim’s stated opinion on their refutation of the Christian tradition. Now anyone can say that the other’s religious view is wrong. But then we also know that very little is accomplished by doing that.

I am convinced that the truths of these passages that have been presented in this paper, do not, in any way shape or form, depend on anyone’s acceptance. These Scriptural principles are true, first, because they are clearly stated in God’s Holy Word, and then second, because they are clearly confirmed in God’s Holy Word as well. [Ref.2Cor.13:1; Mat.18:16; Deut.19:15]

I guess I could understand how this paper would "mildly offended" and "would appear to discount Jewish and Muslim belief", but only when one considers these notes by themselves—separate from the rest of the Bible [Old Testament and New Testament].

So as we seek the truths of God, we must never loose sight of the commonality that we all have in the Abrahamic Covenant. And I would submit this to you, that all of these passages that have been presented in this paper, are necessary parts for the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises to father Abraham.

Though you may not literally believe the New Testament, nevertheless, we must carefully consider these words from Jesus—"56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad." [Ref.Jn.8:56]

Then finally, the differences that you sight are not limited to the three major religions, but these same differences are present in all of their sub-parts as well.

Aasim, I believe that our biggest differences are simply the result of the separateness of our own individual traditions.

Hab.2:20 But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. Amen.

Aaron

 

From Aasim 3-10 #20

Peace to all,

My points are not to refute the Christian tradition, per say. My point is that Scripture can be discussed or debated from many vantage points.

When in University, I took a class called: Gospels and New Testament as Literature. The aim of the class was to look at the Gospels and NT from a literary and non-religious perspective. Talk about blowing the mind! There were some Christian students who were so infuriated they dropped the class and actually drew up a petition to have the class removed from the curriculum. However, those same students were among the most zealous in the Quran as Literature course!

What I learned from those classes is that the Old Testament, New Testament and Quran are not owned by any one religious group. Their contents are for the whole of humanity. And since the Scriptures are open to all of humanity then it is natural that we will each have our own perspectives concerning their contents. Of course, Jews follow the OT and Christians follow the NT and Muslims follow the Quran. But does this mean that I do not have a right to read the NT as a Muslim and draw my own conclusions? Certainly not.

I was a Jesuit Novice in my early youth (20-22). During that time, my eyes were opened to many things. I discovered that Christians are sometimes the least knowledgeable of the NT. I once witnessed a friendly debate between a Muslim scholar and a Jesuit Scholastic. The Muslim knew the NT inside out! and almost word for word! But here is the real kicker, the Muslim scholar could also quote Christian doctrine and theology and even went so far to politely correct the Jesuit on his theological understandings. At that moment, I saw the Jesuit (a Christian) loose ownership and authority when considering Scripture and realised that anybody could harvest its riches, even a Muslim. At that moment I lost a great part of my youthful naivete. I realised that the message of God was for everybody and no one could claim ownership upon it except for Him. This is probably when my journey to Islam began.

in faith,

Aasim

 

From Aasim 3-10 #21

Aaron,

I have a question.

Above, you stated:

"Now anyone can say that the other’s religious view is wrong. But then we also know that very little is accomplished by doing that. "

Yet you also stated:

"I am convinced that the truths of these passages that have been presented in this paper, do not, in any way shape or form, depend on anyone’s acceptance. These Scriptural principles are true, first, because they are clearly stated in God’s Holy Word, and then second, because they are clearly confirmed in God’s Holy Word as well."

Correct me if I am wrong, but is this not a refutation of the Islamic position? Since you believe the contents of the article to be irrefutable, then you are also saying that the Muslim perspective is wrong and in a serious sense also saying that Islam is wrong?

So does this make your statements contradictory or double-speak? Does the second statement contradict the first?

You may think you are being benign and subtle with statements like:

"...is really nothing less than the Muslim’s stated opinion on their refutation of the Christian tradition"

However, it is painfully clear what your position is. To criticise another for what you also do is called...? You can drop the charade. There is nothing wrong with taking a stand, but don't try to be inconspicuous or hypocritical about it. We can all be ourselves here without trying to make others look bad. Try it. See if it works for you.

in faith,

Aasim

 

From Aaron 3-12 #22

Ref.#21

Aasim,

Peace.

If I have offended you or anyone else, I am truly sorry.

My point was that God’s Holy Word irrefutably stands alone. I am saying that the Bible says what it says, and whether I like it or not, that is precisely the way it is. If we do not allow the Holy Bible to interpret the Holy Bible, then we end up with many confused private interpretations.

But if the sighted Scriptures in this paper are not correct, then Christianity would be found wanting.

I am not an expert on the details of the Islam faith, nor do I pretend to be. So I am not quite sure how and why these passages would make the "Muslim perspective" wrong. I am reasonably sure that I have not questioned the Muslim faith directly. So then, are you saying that I am questioning the Muslim faith indirectly?

When I made the statement—"...is really nothing less than the Muslim’s stated opinion on their refutation of the Christian tradition", it was not intended to be "benign and subtle". When any one religion tells another religion that their understanding is in question, that is a "refutation" of that religion. This "refutation of the Christian tradition" is what I perceived.

You wrote—"However, it is painfully clear what your position is. To criticize another for what you also do is called...? You can drop the charade. There is nothing wrong with taking a stand, but don't try to be inconspicuous or hypocritical about it. We can all be ourselves here without trying to make others look bad. Try it. See if it works for you."

Aasim, exactly what is this "position" that you think I have? Since I have been on this web site, I have never tried to disguise my position. All anyone needs to do is to read my posts for them to know my position. My posts from the first have been very conspicuous, and I do not believe that I have ever altered my course. Then the last thing that I would ever want to do, is to I try to make other people look bad.

Let God’s peace abide in our hearts.

Aaron

 

From Aaron 3-28 #23 of 23

Aasim,

Peace.

You asked some interesting questions that I have tried to answer, so I would greatly appreciate more dialogue with you. If I am offending anyone, since that is not my intent, I definitely need to understand how I am offending. And I do thank you for your kind help in this matter.

God’s grace is near us.

Aaron

End

 

   

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 All text copyright © 2005 Aaron Randall. All rights reserved.  Photos, unless otherwise credited, are the property of the auth, all rights reserved.  Originally posted February 24, 2004.  Revised: February 20, 2009.