"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

Misquotes and Mistranslations of the Christian New Testament.

June 11, 2011

in Christian New Testament,Christianity:,Idolatry,Jesus,Judaism vs. Christianity,Saul/Paul of Tarsus,Virgin Birth

To The Messianic Jews First

By Yeshayahu Heiliczer

Invention

It should be of no doubt to any student or seeker of the history of Christianity that the religion as it was known from the death of Jesus until at least the take-over of the religion by the Emperor Constantine (ca. 280-337 C.E.) was created in the mind of a certain Hellenized, somewhat secular, decidedly worldly Jew by the name of Saul of Tarsus.  He was known by the Greeks as Paulos (Paul in English).  He had a plan, which he specified in his writings in the book of Romans, chapter 1, verse 16.  There Paul tells the followers of Jesus at Rome that he is “not ashamed of the gospel, [the ‘Good News of the coming of Messiah Jesus’] for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek [Gentile].”

Paul’s plan was set, and the followers did indeed attempt to always find the local synagogue in every town they entered, find the Jewish community and preach that the Moshiakh (Messiah, literally “anointed one”) had already come, and that his name was “Yeshua,” which means “salvation” in Hebrew.  Jesus’ real name may have been Yeshua, but it was more likely Yehoshua ben [son of] Yoseph and shortened by his followers because of its meaning.  Even today many orthodox Jews typically call the coming Messiah “The Yeshua.

Since the time of Jesus, in every corner of the world where people have had some influence over uneducated or seeking Jews or those who felt disassociated with the traditions of their fathers, there have been those standing by, ready to fill the empty void in the spirit of man with some hope for a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.  What they either didn’t know or purposely ignored is that true Judaism is based wholly around the personal relationship between mankind and the Creator.

We were created by G-d as creatures with a soul that needs to communicate with its maker, and when someone finds himself in need of spiritual awakening, very often, especially in the religiously muddled diaspora, and even more in Christian countries such as the United States, there is a person waiting with loving words and a promise that all will be well with them in the present world and in the “world to come” if they pray and believe that “Yeshua” came and gave his life to atone for the sins of all mankind.

It is a very convincing, very “soft and cuddly” story.  Except for a few things: not only did Jesus not fulfill the requirements to “prove” that he was the Messiah, not only is there nothing in the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) to point to him as being the Messiah, but the book which purports to chronicle his life and ministry is so full of mistakes, contradictions and later additions that it’s historicity cannot even start to be evaluated.  In other words, although some “historical facts” in the New Testament may be true, there is no way of knowing which are true and which were fabricated and/or added later.

People who try to convince Jews to convert to Christianity are usually called “Missionaries.”  Generally this term is given to Protestant, Evangelical, and “Born Again” Christians.  The term “missionary” brings forth the image of a couple of people in suits, with free booklets and Bibles, invading neighborhoods in order to find someone who will listen to their scripted teaching.  But this is not usually the case.  I use the term “missionary” to mean anyone who tries to convince a Jew that 1) they don’t have a personal relationship with G-d without believing in Jesus, and 2) they can continue to be Jewish and be a follower of Jesus because, after all, Jesus and his (original) followers were Jews.  More often than not, these “missionaries” are truly believing people who themselves have swallowed the Christian myth and feel that it is their duty to share it with the world.

Not all of these people are doing it to swell the rolls of their churches or raise the profit-line of their ministries.  They do it because according to the “New Testament” they are commanded to do so.  It is written in Matthew 28:18-20,

Yeshua came and talked with them.  He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim [disciples, students], immersing [baptizing] them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh[Holy Spirit], and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (“Complete Jewish Bible” [Messianic])

It is interesting that the “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost” was not defined by the Church as a co-equal partner with the Father and the Son until the second Ecumenical Council in the year 381, way after the death of Jesus, making the popular quote above suspect.

These supposed words of Jesus are “marching orders” for all of his followers from that time forward.  It is believed, therefore, that it is the duty of the believing Christian to make sure that he tells all people, even teaches them, to obey everything that “I [Jesus] have commanded you.”  While Christians believe that this means teaching the “New Testament,” since it was not even written at the time of the life of Jesus, it is more likely that if he said it, what he really wanted them to teach was Torah.

Remission of Sin Without Blood?

But how about the blood sacrifice?  The well-endoctrinated missionary will tell you that Judaism is a religion of impossibly strict laws, and that each and every one of the laws must be carried out to the letter or it’s just a big waste of time.  They will teach you that since nobody can be perfect in the eyes of “The Law” (meaningTorah, which really means teachings), then G-d had to send a permanent sacrifice whose blood would be the only way that, after the destruction of the Holy Temple, Jews could be “saved” from their sins. The question posed is, “How is it possible for a Jew to have his sins atoned for without the animal sacrifices which can no longer be performed without the Holy Temple?”

Although G-d did prescribe animal sacrifices for certain unintentional corporate sins of Israel, deliberate or purposeful sins were never required to be atoned for by the blood of bulls and sheep and goats and pigeons; these sins always required two things, which are still required today: prayer for forgiveness, and teshuvah,repentance.

Teshuvah actually requires two actions.  The Hebrew word teshuvah literally means “returning” and denotes turning away from worldly or evil ways towards which one had been walking, and turning to face our Heavenly Father.  The second part of repentance is making things right with any person that has been harmed, and believing in their heart that they will never commit that sin again.  In other words, getting right by God and anyone who has been damaged by their sin.  Does this sound like the idea of Judaism which is taught by missionaries to the unsuspecting?  No, indeed.

The Blood of The Lamb

If there’s one theme that you will find the most in Christian songs, it is that “believers” have their sins washed clean (atoned for) by the “blood of the lamb.”  This refers to the Paschal Lamb, the “Passover lamb sacrifice.”  Since according to the New Testament Jesus was killed around Passover, they will then try to connect Jesus to this “Paschal Lamb” who supposedly “takes away the sins of all mankind.”

But there is a major problem with this scenario.  The Passover lamb was a “sacrifice” only in that it was killed for a Jewish ceremonial purpose and that it had to comply with the restrictions for an animal used for a sacrifice.  It was not an “atoning” sacrifice.  It was a meal! This meal was not the usual sort of sacrifice that was ordained by G-d for the remission of the unintentional sins of Israel.

G-d used ten plagues to convince Pharaoh that he should let the Israelites go from their slavery in Egypt.  One of these plagues was the killing of the firstborn.  The purpose of the lamb on the “original” Passover was 1) to get the blood to paint on the doorposts of the house so that G-d would pass over the homes of the Jews and not kill their firstborn; and 2) be a symbol of the “destruction” of the Egyptian lamb “god” (psychological warfare against the Egyptians).  The lamb sacrifice from there after was for the purpose of commemorating the original — not for wiping away one’s sins!

If Christianity wanted to use correct “Old Testament” Jewish symbolism of an atoning sacrifice, then a more appropriate sacrifice would have been the one used on Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement.  It is written in Leviticus 16, starting in verse 9:

Aaron shall bring near the he-goat designated by lot for The Lord, and make it a sin-offering.  And the he-goat designated by lot for Azazel shall be stood alive before the Lord, to provide atonement through it, to send it to Azazel to the Wilderness.

This, of course, is where we get the expression “scapegoat.”  This goat was designated to atone for the sins of Israel.  Not the “Passover Lamb.”  Besides that, the Passover Lamb had to be selected according to the rules for selecting a proper animal for use in any sacrifice.  These rules obviously disqualify Jesus from being any kind of sacrifice.  For instance, in Leviticus 22:19-22 it is written:

…to be favorable for you: [it must be] unblemished, male, from the cattle, the flock, or the goats.  Any in which there is a blemish you shall not offer, for it will not be favorable…

All sacrifices were required to be unblemished.  While Christians will be quick to point out the connection with Jesus’ bones not being broken and the rule requiring that the Pesach Lamb not have any bones broken, they ignore the fact that he was circumcised, also the story of the crucifixion states that Jesus was beaten and whipped by the roman soldiers, had a crown of thorns which dug into his head put on him prior to his being hung on the cross by spikes through his hands and feet, and a sword thrust into his side before he was dead.  Even if it was possible for him to be an atoning sacrifice, these blemishes would have disqualified him.  Also, he could not be considered being from “the cattle, the flock, or the goats.”

Spinning The Scriptures

The problem with trying to prove the New testament and the life of Jesus from the Tanakh is that there is no way of reading it with no preconceptions, either in the original Hebrew or correctly translated into any other language, and have even an inkling that someone like Jesus would come along and save the day.   What is true is that if one already believes in Jesus, if someone has already been convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, or if the missionary has been able to gain the trust of the Jew and led him on a false path, then there are certain Scriptures which can bemisused to “prove” their point.  This is like winning an archery contest by shooting an arrow, and wherever it lands, drawing a bulls-eye around it!

There are a few methods by which missionaries misuse Hebrew Scriptures as “proof texts.”  There is, of course, the mistranslation.  Then there is the use out of context, sometimes used together with mistranslation. And if all fails, there is always “making it up.”  Unfortunately missionaries have been found many times to create “scriptures” out of “whole cloth”

Isaiah 7:14 – Mistranslated
It is common for Isaiah chapter 7 to be used as a prophecy which supposedly proves the “virgin birth.” A major way that the Christian attempts to prove the “divinity” of Jesus is through this miraculous birth.  It is written in the New Testament in Matthew 1:18-23:

Here is how the birth of Yeshua the Messiah took place.  When his mother Miriam was engaged to Yosef, before they were married, she was found to be pregnant from the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) .  Her husband-to-be, Yosef, was a man who did what was right; so he made plans to break the engagement quietly, rather than put her to public shame.  But while he was thinking about this, an angel of The Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Yosef, son of David, do not be afraid to take Miriam home with you as your wife; for what has been conceived in her is from the Ruach HaKodesh.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua [which means ‘ The Lord saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfill what The Lord had said through the prophet, “The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him ‘Immanu El.’ (The name means, “God is with us.”) (CJB)

This is a “quote” from the seventh chapter of Isaiah. First of all, the word “virgin” –betulah, does not appear in the seventh chapter of Isaiah.  The author of the first gospel deliberately mistranslated the Hebrew word ha’almah — young woman — as “the virgin.” This Hebrew word ha’almah means “the young woman,” with no implication of virginity.  A young woman can be either married or unmarried.  The word betulah can only refer to an unmarried girl.

If, instead of being “wowed” by this apparent prophecy about Jesus, you read the Scripture in context by reading the whole chapter with the following one, it is clear that Isaiah’s declaration was a prophecy of the unsuccessful siege of Jerusalem by the two armies of the Kingdoms of Israel and Syria, not a virgin birth more than 700 years later.  If we interpret this chapter as referring to Jesus’ birth, what possible comfort and assurance could Ahaz, who was surrounded by two overwhelming military enemies, find in the birth of a child seven centuries later?  Both he and his people would long be dead and buried.  Such a sign would make no sense.

Verses 15-16 state that by the time this child reaches the age of maturity (“he knows to reject bad and choose good”), the two warring kings, Pekah and Rezin, will have been removed.  In II Kings 15-16 we see that this prophecy was fulfilled when these two kings were suddenly assassinated.  Even with an understanding of the context of Isaiah 7:14 alone, it is evident that the child born in Isaiah 7:14 is not referring to Jesus or to any future virgin birth.  Rather, it is referring to the divine protection (immanu’el – G-d with us), that Ahaz and his people would enjoy from their impending destruction at the hands of these two enemies, the northern Kingdom of Israel and Syria.  For King Ahaz, circa 735 BCE, the birth of the Messiah more than seven hundred years later would have been of little consolation.

In addition, the passage says “the” young woman, not “a” young woman, which implies that it is a young woman known to Ahaz. Furthermore, in Isaiah 7:14, the Hebrew refers to a young woman who is already pregnant, because the word following “almah” is hara, which is in the “perfect” tense, denoting something which is already accomplished. Because this information is a prophecy from God, it means that the mother will prophetically name the son Immanuel, meaning that the sign shows that “G-d will be with us.”

The Christian Greek translators of the Tanakh and New Testament had made a mistake.  When they were translating the Hebrew Tanakh into Greek, they translated the Hebrew word alma into the Greek equivalent of our English word for virgin –parthena, the same word from which is derived the name of the Greek “Temple of Virgins” – the Parthenon.  Almah appears 9 other times in the Hebrew Scriptures; in each case it means “young woman.”  When the Scriptures referred to a virgin (and they do over 50 times) they always used the Hebrew word “betulah.”

Hebrew teachings do not specify that the Messiah would be born of a virgin; the very idea is alien to Jewish expectations of who the Messiah would be.  Quite contrary to the Hellenized Jesus, there is nothing in the Hebrew Scriptures to suggest that the Messiah or anyone else was, or was to be, born of a virgin.

Oh, by the way, Miriam was not “engaged” to Yosef as we use the word in modern times.  “Betrothed” would be a better word.  And the meaning of it in the ancient Jewish marriage rules is a condition in which they belong to each other, even though they may not yet be intimate.  It is a condition which cannot be “quietly broken.”  Only a Beit Din (A rabbinic Court) was able to break a betrothal.

Romans 11:26 – Misquotes
In this mistranslation, the New Testament quotes Isaiah 59:20 as saying, “The deliverer will come from Zion, he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” This, of course, is an attempt to show that the Messiah will atone for people’s sins. But Isaiah 59:20 actually says the opposite: “A redeemer will come to Zion [ l’Tzion] and to those who repent from willful sin [and do teshuvah] in Jacob, declares The Lord.”  The Messiah’s role, therefore, is not to atone for their sins.  This is a prophecy that when Jacob (Israel) turns away from their sins, then the Messiah will come!

Hebrews 1:5 – Misquotes
Here, the New Testament quotes from 2 Samuel 7:14: “And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son…

However, the entire quote from Samuel 7:14 says, “I will be to him for a father, and he shall be to Me for a son; if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.”

So this could not possibly be talking of the “sin proof” Jesus. It is speaking specifically about King Solomon as shown in 1 Chronicles 22:9-10; “His name shall be Solomon…he shall build a house for My Name and I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me.”

Isaiah 9:6(5) – Mistranslated
Christian renderings of this Scripture say:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

In the Hebrew Bible it is verse 5, and is translated from the Hebrew as:

For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us, and the authority was placed upon his shoulder, and [he] called his name: Wondrous Advisor, Mighty God, Eternal Patron, Ruler of Peace.”

The problem with the Christian rendering is that the Hebrew text uses verbs that are in the “perfect” tense, meaning something that has been completed.  The Christian (KJV) translation uses the present and future tenses, thereby describing events that are contemporary and also still to come.  The other important difference is the list of names given to the child.  The Hebrew lists four, none of which is modified with a definite article “the.”  The Christian translation lists five.  The first two, which should be rendered “wonderful counselor” are separated into two “names,” and the last three are made into proper names by capitalization, which Hebrew doesn’t have, and which would have been, if a name, specified by the definite article for “the.”

Genealogy

Christianity insists that Jesus’ messiah-ship is proven by his fulfilling the “Old Testament” requirements for a messiah.  The first thing to look at, then, is his genealogy as given in the New Testament, and what the Hebrew Bible says about the genealogy of the Messiah.

Messiah is to be of the line of Judah  (Gen. 49:10)

The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.

And from the House of David (Jeremiah 23:5,6)

“The days are coming,” declares The Lord, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.  In his day Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.  This is the name by which he will be called:  ‘The Lord Our Righteousness.'”

But Miriam was of the wrong tribe

There never has been a tradition of transmittal of tribal lineage via the mother, so Joseph must have been the father in order for Jesus to be from the correct tribe (Judah, in which is the house of David).  Miriam was from the tribe of Levi. The mother only determines “Jewishness,” and we already assume that about Jesus.  Furthermore, G-d told David that the Messiah would come from the seed of his sons.  Therefore, Messiah must have a human father, otherwise he has no ancestry.

Tribal ancestry and inheritance is patrilineal

For example: In Exodus 6, Aaron, from the tribe of Levi, married Elisheva, a Judahite.  Although intermarriage between tribes was discouraged, it did happen. However, Aaron’s children were raised Levites, not Judahites. The tribal lineagealways comes from the father’s side.  Jesus’ mother Miriam was a Levite who married a Judahite from the house of King David.  Therefore, her children would receive the inheritance of Judah, of her husband.  If Jesus had somehow inheritedher tribal lineage (which is impossible) then Jesus would have been considered a “Levitical Priest.”  But according to the New Testament, his “priesthood” is not Levitical.  It is written in Hebrews 6:20:

…where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

And in 7:11:

If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come — one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?

Why Give Joseph’s Genealogy?(Matthew 1:16 & Luke 3:23-38).

…and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, called Messiah. (Matthew 1:16)

Now Jesus himself was about 30 years old when he began his ministry.  He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli (Luke 3:23)

The “virgin birth” appears in Luke and Matthew, written years after the supposed event, to prove Jesus’ divinity. The birth stories in these two gospels come from different sources and differ widely but both contradict their central thesis that Jesus’ mother was a virgin by giving a genealogy to show that Joseph was descended from David, an irrelevancy if Joseph had not impregnated his wife.  The original idea of the writers of the New Testament, maybe even over-zealous chroniclers of true history, was obviously to trace Jesus’ lineage through Joseph to David to fulfill messianic prophecy.  Later the idea of making Jesus divine through a “virgin birth” arose and was tacked on, spoiling the object of the genealogy.

The Concept Of Adoption

If Jesus was the product of the seed of another being, then according to JewishHalacha (law, literally “the way to walk”), Joseph could only be a caretaker father. Even if he could “adopt” Jesus, that would not give him tribal lineage, and so he could not be an heir to the throne of David.  Unless Joseph is physically the father of Jesus, Jesus cannot inherit the genealogical line of Joseph.  Adoption, which is a legal procedure, does not allow one to inherit genealogical birthrights.

Was God an Adulterer?

One last simple thought.  Going back to the fact that Joseph and Mary were already betrothed, someone else making a baby with Mary would be adultery.  Plainly this would not be done by the God of the Hebrew Bible.


 

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