Posts Tagged ‘torah’

Is a virgin birth possible? The JPS Commentary on Genesis doesn’t deny it!

Chapter 6

jps genesis commentary
CELESTIAL-TERRESTRIAL INTERMARRIAGE (vv. 1–4)

At the beginning of history, humans strove to rise to the level of divine beings, and God intervened. Humankind cannot be immortal. Here divine beings lower themselves to the level of humans, and God intervenes. A severe limitation on human longevity results.

The account given in these few verses is surely the strangest of all the Genesis narratives. It is so full of difficulties as to defy certainty of interpretation. The perplexities arise from the theme of the story, from its apparent intrusiveness within the larger narrative, from its extreme terseness, and from some of its vocabulary and syntax. The passage cannot be other than a fragment of what was once a well-known and fuller story, now etched in the barest outline.

Legends about intercourse between gods and mortal women and between goddesses and men, resulting in the generation of demigods, are widespread and familiar ingredients of pagan mythology. The present theme of celestial beings arriving on earth and intermarrying with humans seems at first glance to belong to the same genre, echoes of which are found in other biblical passages. Thus, behind the exclamation of Isaiah 14:12—“How are you fallen from heaven, / O Shining One, son of Dawn!/ How are you felled to earth”—is the notion of angels in rebellion against God and thereby forfeiting their angelic dignity. Job 4:18–19 similarly expresses the theme of the corruptibility of angels: “If He cannot trust His own servants, / And casts reproach on His angels, / How much less those who dwell in houses of clay.”

In light of these and other biblical references, such as Ezekiel 32:27, it is quite likely that the main function of the present highly condensed version of the original story is to combat polytheistic mythology. The picture here presented of celestial beings intermarrying with women on earth may partake of the mythical, but it does not overstep the bounds of monotheism; there is only one God who passes judgment and makes decisions. The offspring of such unnatural union may have possessed heroic stature, but they have no divine qualities; they are flesh and blood like all humans. They are not only mortal, but their life span is severely limited as compared with the personages listed in chapter 5. The one God is recognized as holding sole title to the breath of life, which He controls as He wills.

This literary segment has three points of connection with the preceding passage: the opening reference to human fecundity in verse 1 takes up the theme implicit in the genealogy; mention of daughters links up with the oft-repeated formula there regarding the begetting of sons and daughters; and the specific restriction of human longevity presupposes knowledge of the extraordinary ages recorded in chapter 5. At the same time, the story is immediately followed by God’s verdict on human wickedness, and the impression is created, even if not made explicit, that it illustrates the magnitude and the universality of evil in the world. Even the celestial host is corrupted. True, mankind is not condemned here for the acts of angels, but the effect is that the world order has been disturbed.

1. men Hebrew ha-ʾadam is here a collective, the human race.1

2. the divine beings The definite article points to a familiar and well-understood term.2 The context in Job 1:6; 2:1; and 38:7 unmistakably proves the reference to be to the angelic host, the celestial entourage of God. This is a poetic image drawn from the analogy of human kings surrounded by their assemblage of courtiers. Occasionally, as in 1 Kings 22:19, “the host of heaven” is used to the same effect.

saw how beautiful The implication is that they were driven by lust, so that external beauty, and not character, was their sole criterion in the selection of mates.

took wives Hebrew l-k-ḥ ʾishah is the regular term for the marriage relationship. There is no suggestion here of violent possession or any condemnation of the women involved.

3. The Lord said See Comment to 3:22.

My breath The life force that issues from God, corresponding to “the breath of life” in 2:7.3 Its presence or withdrawal determines life and death.

shall not abide This rendering of the otherwise unexampled Hebrew yadon best suits the context and follows the Septuagint, the Vulgate, Saadia, and Ramban. However, Rashi, Rashbam, Bekhor Shor, and Ibn Ezra connect the word with the stem d-y-n, “to judge.” The meaning here would then be something like, “I shall not go on suspending judgment.”

in man Taken together with the next clause, the reference would be specifically to the offspring of these unnatural unions, but all humankind is included within the scope of the verdict because disorder has been introduced into God’s creation.

flesh They are not divine despite their nonhuman paternity.4 “Flesh” connotes human frailty. Psalms 56:5 and Isaiah 31:3 are good examples of this usage.

one hundred and twenty years The duration of human life is drastically shortened, the diminution being emblematic of moral and spiritual degeneration.5 Early exegesis of this verse prefers to see here a reference to the interval of time remaining before the Flood. The figure would then represent three conventional generations of forty years each.6

4. This verse is obscure, probably deliberately so, in order to downgrade the mythic tone. The etymology of Nephilim is uncertain.7 The obvious association with n-f-l yields the rendering “fallen ones,” that is, fallen angels. But it is not clear from the text that the Nephilim are identical with the “divine beings.” Rather, they appear to be the offspring of the misalliances, who continued to generate Nephilim in the course of their married lives. Because Numbers 13:33 implies that these were people of extraordinary physical stature, the term was understood to mean “giants” or “heroes.” While it is not certain from the text whether or not the Nephilim themselves procreated, it is contrary to the understanding of the biblical narrative that they should have survived the Flood. Hence, the reference in Numbers is not to the supposedly continued existence of Nephilim into Israelite times; rather, it is used simply for oratorical effect, much as “Huns” was used to designate Germans during the two world wars.

cohabited Significantly, the verb y-d-ʿ is not used, as in 4:1, 17, and 25, but a coarser term, as befits the circumstances.

heroes of old, the men of renown Their heroic exploits were the subject of many a popular tale. On the analogy of 11:4, it is possible that they were guilty of some vainglorious outrages.

Are there any Messianic prophecies in the five books of Moses? Jesus / Yeshua said there are. Can it be true? How clear can they be if (most) Jews have not noticed them until now? Do Christians try to “read prophecy into” the Hebrew scriptures? Listen to audio above or download it here.

In the audio above Dr Michael Brown strongly denounces, like many other leaders, this bogus coronation ceremony.

Long, the controversial pastor of a Georgia-based megachurch, was anointed ‘king’ in a ceremony that has outraged some Jewish community leaders, the Associated Press reported.

The video, filmed at a service at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, shows Messianic preacher Rabbi Ralph Messer instructing two men to wrap Long in a Torah. Then, Long is seated in a chair, covered in a prayer shawl while holding the sacred scroll and lifted by four men.

“He now is raised up from a commoner to a kingship,” Messer says in the video, as the men walk Long’s seat through the crowd.

Several Jewish leaders and religious scholars have spoken out against the ceremony, saying that Ralph Messer is not a representative Messianic Judaism or the religion as a whole.

Line of Fire Radio. Listen to full audio here.

Traditional / orthodox Jews today believe that God cannot appear in any physical form – obviously this means they have a big problem with Jesus (Yeshua) & the doctrine of the Trinity. How much does the books of Moses (Torah) support the view Maimonides codified in Jewish thought for generations? See the analysis & listen to the audio.

Quote: The codifier of Torah law and Jewish philosophy, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (“Maimonides” also known as “The Rambam”), compiled what he refers to as the “Thirteen Fundamental Principles” of the Jewish faith, as derived from the Torah. The Thirteen Principles of Jewish faith are as follows:

1. Belief in the existence of the Creator, who is perfect in every manner of existence and is the Primary Cause of all that exists.
2. The belief in G-d’s absolute and unparalleled unity.
3. The belief in G-d’s non-corporeality, nor that He will be affected by any physical occurrences, such as movement, or rest, or dwelling.
4. The belief in G-d’s eternity.
5. The imperative to worship G-d exclusively and no foreign false gods.
6. The belief that G-d communicates with man through prophecy.
7. The belief in the primacy of the prophecy of Moses our teacher.
8. The belief in the divine origin of the Torah.
9. The belief in the immutability of the Torah.
10. The belief in G-d’s omniscience and providence.
11. The belief in divine reward and retribution.
12. The belief in the arrival of the Messiah and the messianic era.
13. The belief in the resurrection of the dead.

Based on text here.

Numbers 12:8
With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

Note below, that Strongs 8544 is the word used for “form” when Israel was warned against idolatry.

Line of Fire Radio. Listen to full audio here.

Isaiah 53: A key messianic prophecy? Why do many Jews disagree? Are their objections reasonable?

If you’re Jewish, did you know that there is a Midrash that talks about the Messiah being risen up higher than Abraham, Moses & even the angels?

Invitation to debate Rabbi Tovia Singer on this topic also mentioned. Debate from several years ago here.

Objections addressed in “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 3, Messianic Prophecy Objections“:

4.1. If Jesus is really the Messiah, and if he is so important, why doesn’t the Torah speak of him at all?
4.2. Nowhere in the Hebrew Bible are we told that we must “believe in the Messiah.”
4.3. Isaiah 7:14 does not prophesy a virgin birth! And it has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus, since it dealt with a crisis seven hundred years before he was born.
4.4. Isaiah 9:6[5] does not speak of a divine king (or Messiah).
4.5. If you want to know what Isaiah 53 is talking about, just read Isaiah 52 and 54. The context is the return of the Jewish people from Babylonian exile, 550 years before Jesus.
4.6. Isaiah 53 speaks of the people of Israel, not Jesus (or any Messiah).
4.7. The rabbis only applied Isaiah 52:13–15, not 53:1–12, to the Messiah son of David.
4.8. It is not true that the medieval rabbis were the first to apply Isaiah 53 to Israel instead of the Messiah. The Israel interpretation is actually very ancient.
4.9. Isaiah 53 contains the words of the repentant kings of the nations rather than the words of the Jewish people.
4.10. Several key words in Isaiah 53 speak of a servant in the plural.
4.11. Isaiah 53 cannot refer to Jesus because it says no one was interested in the servant of the Lord or attracted to him, yet the New Testament records that large crowds followed Jesus.
4.12. Isaiah 53 cannot refer to Jesus because it says the servant of the Lord was sickly and died of disease.
4.13. Isaiah 53 does not actually say the servant would die.
4.14. Isaiah 53 does not say the servant will rise from the dead.
4.15. Isaiah 53 cannot refer to Jesus because it says the servant of the Lord did no violence, yet Jesus drove out the Temple money changers with a whip.
4.16. Isaiah 53 cannot refer to Jesus because it says the servant of the Lord would not lift up his voice or cry out, yet Jesus cried out several times on the cross, once in near blasphemy (Psalm 22:1).
4.17. Isaiah 53 cannot refer to Jesus because it says the servant of the Lord would see seed, an expression always meaning physical descendants when used in the Hebrew Bible.
4.18. Daniel 9:24–27 has nothing to do with the Messiah.
4.19. Daniel 9:24 was clearly not fulfilled by Jesus.
4.20. Christian translations of Daniel 9:24–27 divide the seventy weeks incorrectly, and the dates have no relation to the times of Jesus.
4.21. Daniel 9:24–27 speaks of two anointed ones.
4.22. Psalm 2:12 should not be translated as “kiss the Son.” Only the King James Version and modern Christian fundamentalist translations still maintain this incorrect rendering.
4.23. Psalm 16 does not speak of the resurrection of the Messiah.
4.24. Psalm 22 is the story of David’s past suffering. There is nothing prophetic about it.
4.25. Psalm 22 does not speak of death by crucifixion. In fact, the King James translators changed the words of verse16[17] to speak of “piercing” the sufferer’s hands and feet, whereas the Hebrew text actually says, “Like a lion they are at my hands and feet.”
4.26. Some of the so-called Messianic prophecies in the Psalms actually speak of the psalmist’s sin and folly. How can you apply this to Jesus?i
4.27. Psalm 40 is absolutely not Messianic in any way.
4.28. Psalm 45:6[7] does not say the Messiah is God.
4.29. Psalm 110 does not say the Messiah is Lord. Also, the psalm is not written by David about the Messiah. Our traditions indicate it may have been written by Eliezer about his master, Abraham, and then added to the collection of the Psalms by David many years later. Or David wrote it for the Levites to recite about him (or a court poet wrote it about David). This much is sure: It does not teach that the Messiah is God!
4.30. You claim that Haggai 2 points to the fact that the Messiah had to come before the Second Temple was destroyed, since it says in verse 9 that the glory of the Second Temple would be greater than the glory of Solomon’s Temple. Actually, Haggai is speaking about only the physical splendor of the Second Temple, which surpassed Solomon’s Temple in the days of Herod.
4.31. Zechariah 12:10 has nothing to do with Jesus.
4.32. Jesus fulfilled none of the Messianic prophecies!
4.33. Jesus fulfilled none of the provable Messianic prophecies!
4.34. Even modern Christian scholars reject the so-called Old Testament proof texts about Jesus. Just check most modern Christian Bible commentaries and translations.
4.35. Jesus cannot be the Messiah because the Messiah was to be a reigning king, whereas Jesus was despised, rejected, and crucified.
4.36. Jesus cannot be the Messiah because the Messiah had to rebuild the Temple, yet the Temple was standing in Jesus’ day.
4.37. The only true prophecy about Jesus in the Hebrew Scriptures is found in Zechariah 13:1–6—a passage dealing with false prophets. It even makes explicit reference to his crucifixion!
4.38. Paul claimed that the Hebrew Scriptures prophesied the resurrection of the Messiah on the third day. Nowhere in our Bible is such a prophecy found.
4.39. I can find prophecies in the Bible that point to Muhammad just as easily as you can find prophecies that point to Jesus. That’s because all of your so-called proofs are either distortions, make-believe creations, or Jewish midrash—free, homiletical interpretations—of the worst kind.