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Short Answers to Difficult Questions

Asked by Christian Missionaries

By Shlomo Phillips © May 08, 2016 (last updated June 7, 2017)

Recorded Live on Facebook

I offer several in-depth studies on the various Christian Missionary "proof texts." You can find many of them HERE.

On this page I offer concise answers to some of the most common proof texts, along with, in many cases, links to my more detailed studies. As always, I invite your questions or comments. This will be an ongoing project of mine.

The Trinity:

There are texts in the Tanach (the Hebrew Bible) that speak of God's "Face," His "backside," etc. There are those verses that say He appeared within a burning bush or a flame of fire, there are also references of angelic representatives of HaShem acting in His Name, but there are NO verses where the Holy One takes on human flesh and walks among us, teaches us, etc. The trinity concept is common throughout the ancient Pagan religions, but is completely alien to biblical thought. Indeed, the very idea is contrary to repeated condemnations of Ba'al worship.
God has no body. The Holy One is omnipresent.
See my study HERE.

God is Echad: One:

It is sometimes argued that The Hebrew word echad is just like the word "One" in English. It can mean "one bunch" "one group" and so on.
This is correct. Echad is the absolute numeric "one." Just like the English word "one," echad means one and only one unless it is modified. In English "one grape" means a single grape. One can not point to a bunch of grapes and say, See there is one grape." To refer to a bunch one must say "one cluster of grapes." Likewise, unless echad is modified, it means a simple "one." An unmodified one can never mean three.
See my study HERE.

The Royal "We":

The use of the royal "We" is common in many ancient and modern courtly settings. The Queen of England says: "We are not amused..." even though she speaks of herself only.
The Tanach (Hebrew Bible) uses the metaphor of God as King repeatedly to help us understand our relationship with with and needed submission to the Holy One. To this end the royal "We" is sometimes used.
That the Genesis references are using this common method is clear in context, for example:
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness...
That this is the royal "We" is clear as we continue with the next verse:
Genesis 1:27 And God created man in His image...
"His image" references a singular, echad Creator. So, when God speaks the text uses the royal We, but when Moses speaks he uses the standard singular form: God created.

Ezekiel's Mystical Descriptions:

Ezekiel chapter one is one of the most mystical texts in the Bible. This is the only place in the Bible where a prophet actually describes the method of receiving revelation from the Throne (Merkabah) of God. The references here are to the metaphorical personifications of the Ten Sephirot. This topic is too advanced for here, but in none of these verses is any physical incarnation of the Holy One even implied. The references are to divine emanations of the Holy One.

The Ruach HaKodesh:

The Ruach HaKodesh or Holy Spirit/Breath of God refers to the active Presence of God, not to a separate entity or personality. There is no reference in the Tanach to the Ruach of HaShem as an individual being.

Genesis 1:26-27:

Being made "in the image of God" refers to our innate qualities of justice, mercy, love, etc.
As Rashi explains (and this references Ezekiel 1 as well):
"and the spirit of God was hovering":
The Throne of Glory was suspended in the air and hovered over the face of the water with the breath of the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be He and with His word, like a dove, which hovers over the nest, acoveter in Old French, to cover, hover over.
Seeking to justify their anti-biblical beliefs Christians commonly pull verses out of context and twist the meanings. This is an example. The context of Genesis 1 is decisively monotheistic in direct defiance of the Ba'al worshipers of the area who believed in a "godhead" that incarnates or manifests as various "masters" (ba'alim) or demigods (devas in India) to control the diverse natural elements of the creation, i.e. as gods of fire, gods of rain, etc. Christianity has much in common with Ba'al worship when it comes to the nature of the Holy One.

Genesis 33:25-30:

The issue here is that Christian scribes intentionally mistranslated the text to further their polytheistic beliefs. Here is a solid translation:
Genesis 33:25: And Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.
26 When he saw that he could not prevail against him, he touched the socket of his hip, and the socket of Jacob's hip became dislocated as he wrestled with him.
27 And he [the man or angel] said, "Let me go, for dawn is breaking," but he [Jacob] said, "I will not let you go unless you have blessed me." So he said to him, "What is your name?" and he said, "Jacob."
28 And he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have commanding power with [an angel of] God and with men, and you have prevailed."
29 And Jacob asked and said, "Now tell me your name," and he said, "Why is it that you ask for my name?" And he blessed him there.
30 And Jacob named the place Peniel, for [he said,] "I saw an angel face to face, and my soul was saved."
Context matters! Note that verse 28, taken out of context and without the added comment in brackets (i.e. with [an angel of] God) MAY seem to Christians to imply that Jacob had literally wrestled with God (and God could not beat him?! Come on!) but the next verses clarifies it. Jacob asked for the name of the man-angel. He knew the Name of God so why would he have asked this?
And again, a man who could wrestle God and prevail? Please. The whole idea, when read as Christians do, smacks of the Greek myths.
Understand that these things were written for a strictly monotheistic people who understood God's omnipresent nature. God has no form and no man can see Him, let alone physically wrestle with Him. The Torah makes this abundantly clear.

The Messianic Requirements MUST Be Met:

Even if HaShem did take on physical form, which the Bible clearly states He does not,Yeshua met NONE of the main biblical requirements to be the Messiah.
This remains the real issue.
The biblical Messiah MUST be a human being, descended from David and Solomon on his father's side (Isaiah 11). The Jesus story told by the Church denies any human decent on his father's side and therefore from the very beginning disqualifies him from being the Messiah. We can't just ignore the prophets and give him a "do-over." He did not meet the requirements.
See my study See HERE.

Isaiah 56:3-8:

Isaiah 56:3-8 is referring to the days of HaMashiach (the Messiah). Once he is reigning the Gentiles will ALL abandon their religions and THEN "My House will be a House of prayer for all people." Since the Messiah has not yet come (we know this because NONE of the major prophecies have been fulfilled -- a few people have come closer than Jesus, but NONE have met the requirements thus far), and since the Gentiles are still practicing their own religions, and the Third Temple has not yet been built where they are to come and worship, then it is clear that this prophecy remains unfulfilled.

Psalm 65:2-5

Psalm 65:2-5 is not a prophecy. It is David praising HaShem: These verses actually work against the Christian claims because the Psalmist says clearly that HaShem alone grants redemption:
Psalm 65:2. Silence is praise to You, O God in Zion, and to You a vow is paid.
3. You, Who hearken to prayer, to You all flesh shall come.
4. Words of iniquities have overcome me; as for our transgressions, You shall atone for them.
5. Praiseworthy is he whom You choose and draw near to dwell in Your courts; let us be sated with the goodness of Your house, the sanctity of Your Temple.
6. With awesome deeds, through [Your] charity You shall answer us, God of our salvation, the trust of all the distant ends of the earth and the sea.
7. Who sets mountains with His strength, Who is girded with might...
10 You [HaShem] remember the earth and water it; You enrich it greatly with the stream of God which is full of water; You prepare their corn for so do You prepare it.
This Psalm is a thanksgiving and praise to HaShem alone. There is nothing Messianic here.

Isaiah 42:8:

I am HASHEM, that is My Name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to the graven images.
HaShem will never share His glory with Jesus or anyone else.

Deuteronomy 32:9:

See now that it is I! I am the One, and there is no god like Me! I cause death and grant life. I strike, but I heal, and no one can rescue from My Hand!

Other good versions say: "... there is no god with Me..." ONLY HaShem is God and when the Messiah comes he too will be a servant of HaShem. May that day come soon!


Isaiah 53

In Prophet Isaiah chapter 52-54 the prophet reveals essential information about the Jewish People and about our responsibilities as the Elect of HaShem under the conditions of the Eternal Covenant. They need to be properly understood in their complete biblical context. Many Christians believe chapter 53 offers scriptural evidence for the sufferings and execution of Jesus, as well as for his deification. This is because they do not read the entire context of this prophecy. I find absolutely no information in these verses about the Messiah (whether Jesus or any other claimant) and certainly nothing that disavows biblical monotheism as Christianity does. The Jewish and Christian interpretations of these chapters could hardly be farther apart! In our attempt to understand this section of Scripture, we must begin with the context at Isaiah 52:1 and take the literal sense and meaning of the texts throughout all three chapters. In order to understand Isaiah, one really needs to study it chapter by chapter and verse by verse as many of its themes run through several chapters, some through the entire book. Remember, the chapters and verses were added later to assist in studying. Don't let the added chapter divisions confuse you. They were not part of the original texts. Therefore the section breaks are meaningless as far as the teachings are concerned. On this page there is not room for this study. I invite you to go HERE for this study. The Suffering Servant is the collective Jewish people.

"They Who Say They are Jews" -- Revelation 2:9, 3:9:

These two referenced communities (Smyrna and Philadelphia) in particular were developing close ties to Rome, which is probably part of why they were allowed to have such wealth given the growing persecutions.
The thread John is drawing from is not the normal Pagans, it is to those who have left Paganism and associated themselves with the followers of the Jewish Way sect (the movement of the disciples). At this early period the Way was still a Jewish sect and yet these Gentile converts to the Way were not attaching themselves to Judaism, but to the mixed hybrid belief system that Constantine canonized as the Universal Church a couple of centuries later: the Nicolaitan heresies. They claimed to be Jews but their doctrines and traditions violated Torah and Yiddishkeit.
These people claimed to be Jewish (converts) but were in reality supplanting both Judaism and the Way sect. This "Nicolaitan heresy" was becoming a serious threat to the Way sect and later supplanted it completely. Eventually this hybrid Roman sect ruled the day and became Christianity. Hence we find all the Pagan holidays, dogmas, etc. within Christian religion.

The "Grafting Onto the Tree of Israel"

Romans 11:1,2 I [Paul] say then, has God rejected His people? God forbid! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew...
11:11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid!...
11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and became a partaker with them of the root and richness of the olive tree,
18 do not boast against the branches. If you boast, remember you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you.
Paul is clear that HaShem has not rejected the Jewish people nor the Covenant (verses 1,2). He is also clear that God "foreknew" the Jewish rejection of Yeshua (verse 2) and maintains the Covenant with them anyway. So without contradicting these statements of Paul one can not defend the notion that Jews must accept Jesus in order to be accepted by God, or in Christian parlance, "be saved."
To say that the Torah (the Law) was "nailed to the cross" places the branches above the tree in defiance of Paul's doctrine. To say that Jesus was god incarnation places the New Testament above the Sinai/Torah "root" and that contradicts not only Romans eleven but Jesus himself: Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law [the Torah], till all be fulfilled.

It is not you that bears the root, the root bears you!

Are Christians Noahides?

Christians wrongly believe they are practicing the religion of Paul and Jesus. In reality, they have many unsupportable views, doctrines and dogmas than neither the historic Yeshua nor his followers would have accepted. Christianity is a completely different religion than the Way sect of Yeshua's followers.
It has been argued that Paul was speaking to Gentiles who wished to connect with the Jewish people as Noahides. This seems plausible, however the 4th century and beyond religion of Christianity holds essential beliefs that disqualify them from being accepted as Noahides. Noahides must embrace the Seven Laws including the prohibition on avodah zarah This is the prohibition against idolatry and other foreign beliefs. The belief in a god-man and propitiation of sin through the sufferings of another are clearly avodah zarah under the Laws of Torah of the Jewish people. For this reason Christians can not be counted among the Noahidim.

When will Messiah come?

The rabbis give us two ways by which HaMashiach ben David may come.

Clause One:

If Klal Israel repents in a single day;
If Klal Israel observes a single Shabbat properly;
If Klal Israel observes two consecutive Shabbatot properly (based on a much discussed text but which may have other implications);

Connecting Clause:

If a generation of Klal Israel is totally innocent or totally guilty;

Clause Two:
If a generation of Klal Israel loses all hope;
If a generation if Klal Israel produces children that are totally disrespectful towards their parents and elders;

The sages say there are two ways HaMashiach ben David May come.
1. IF the Jews make serious teshuvah and call out for him with signs of repentance such as proper Shabbat observance.
Frankly I don't see that happening. The trend seems to be the opposite.
2. Due to the war of Gog and Magog, which could refer to numerous different experiences and scenarios, our enemies, led by the man "as cruel as Haman" will conquer Israel to the gates of the Old City.
From the Talmud:
Sanhedrin Folio 97a: ...Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [i.e. Messiah] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.'
Sanhedrin 97b: ... Rab said: All the predestined dates [for redemption] have passed, and the matter [now] depends only on repentance and good deeds... R. Eliezer said: if Israel repent, they will be redeemed; if not, they will not be redeemed.
R. Joshua said to him, if they do not repent, will they not be redeemed! [i.e. not so] But the Holy One, blessed be He, will set up a king over them, whose decrees shall be as cruel as Haman's, whereby Israel shall engage in repentance, and he will thus bring them back to the right path.
Mashiach ben Yosef will then lead an army consisting of both Jews and those of the divorced ten houses. This army will beat the enemy back to the point where all of the Land HaShem gave us is freed.
Then at some uncertain point and way, Ben Yosef will die. His body will either be brought to the Holy City or Mashiach ben David will go to him, and restore him to life.
Then Ben David will take to the Throne of David and become Melech HaMashiach ben David and rule. Ben Yosef will serve at his side and pleasure.
Then the Olam Haba (world to come) will begin.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov says that HaMashiach will be one of his physical descendants and will never personally fire a shot. Ben Yosef will lead the armies of Israel.
The non-Jewish nations will begin fighting their overlords and establishing their own sovereignty. They will send ambassadors to Jerusalem seeking aid from Israel. They will disavow their religious systems and the rebuilt Jerusalem Temple will the acknowledged as the holiest place on earth. There everyone will worship the One True God in peace and unity.

Why don't Jews Accept Jesus As Messiah?

Yeshua failed in all areas.
  • He did not lead to Jews back into Torah observance.
  • He did not establish Israel as a independence theocracy.
  • He did not defeat Israel's enemies.
  • He never sat as a judge or king.
  • He not rebuild the Temple.
  • He did not bring back the Jews of Babylon and other Diaspora communities to Israel.
  • He did not bring in global peace.
  • He was not, according to the Christians, a patrilineal descendant of King David -- the belief that he was God incarnate cancels him out of being the Messiah since tribal identity is always established through the bloodline of the father.

  • The list of where he failed to accomplish the requirements is quite long and there is no evidence of any successes in meeting the essential requirements. The prophets are clear about what the Messiah must do in order to be accepted. This is the main reason the First Century rabbis and those of every generations since have rejected his bid for the role.

Be the Blessing you were created to be
Don't let the perfect defeat the good

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