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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 9 years ago

Isaiah 53...Is Christian or Jewish interpretation better?

I've NEVER seen a jewish apologist actually DENY that the PRE-christian ancient Jews saw Isaiah 53 as messianical. I've seen plenty of debates on Youtube, and had a few interactions myself with Jewish folk. A rabbi I interacted with played around with the meaning of "ancient", and used "ancient" POST-Christian views as somehow being the same as "ancient" PRE Christian ones.

Maybe he equivocated because he knew that it was true:

So now that you know (or have good reason to know) that Isaiah 53 was ORIGINALLY seen as messianical, how does it fit better with Christian interpretation?

There is an explanation on another page of the same website above. Take a look. Food for thought....and kosher food at that.

Anyway, someone said to me (paraphrasing): "Even if Isaiah 53 was messianical, why would we jews accept jesus if the ancient sages rejected him?"

But not ALL the jews rejected him, did they? Some did, some didn't. The same happened to the prophets.

Ask yourself this, which one of these two understandings feels like a higher law?

1) That the "promised land" is Palestine, and that at the end of time God's "chosen" (the jews) will return to Palestine.

2) That the idea of the "promised land" was a growing understanding of what God is on the part of those closest to him, and that when God finally revealed himself to the Jews, he spoke of the quiet truth that they had been imperfectly getting at all along. The TRUE "promised land" is not a renewed kingdom in "palestine", but the "kingdom of heaven". All those who do the will of God are the ones who are God's true family, and it is THIS "chosen" people which enter the promised land.

Here jew and non-jew alike find themselves equal under god, and the ancient story of the hebrews becomes a vehicle for the description of God, ending in God having the ultimate authority on who he is. Here the Jewish people are really a microcosm of mankind before God. Their relationship with god was/is EVERYONE'S relationship with God. They didn't get everything right, but they were getting at SOMETHING (just like us). What is that something good people are searching for (however imperfectly, like the jews), GOD.

A physical "promised land" in one corner of the map for one people, or a deeper more spiritual story about ALL mankind's (jews included) quest for salvation from the world expressed through an enlightened but still all-too-human group of ancient people?

what about the "laws" in Judaism?

Which ones strike you as more spiritual?

Not eating pork is considered a DIVINE law, is it not?

Not doing mundane things on the Sabbath is considered divine, is it not?

How does that compare to "Love God above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself" (that being THE 'law', end of story).

Which is more spiritual?

What about paying taxes to a theocratic state (the ultra-orthodox in Israel don't pay, nor do they even serve in the army. Why? Because Israel isn't ruled by quote-unquote God, ie, Israel is secular).

How does that compare to "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto God what is God's"

Merely on the face of it, WHICH ones do you see as somehow DEEPER?


When I've said that I'm "suspicious" of Jewish explanations, it means that I think Jews are lying to themselves, just like the muslims with regards to violence in their religion. Insulting? I never said that they were bad people for doing so. Even the most noble of muslims is probably in a 24/7 state of denial. Don't like the fact that I think you might be good people in the midst of a certain kind of self-deception? Too bad.

Update 2:

And NO I do not think you or muslims will go to hell for not being christian. People's minds and emotions go DEEP, and it is a disservice to their humanity to say: "Jesus was and is almost certainly the Son of God....what, you don't agree? Have fun in hell pal."

Ultimately, I feel sorry for good Jews stuck in a kind of complex or honest ignorance, just like I feel sorry for muslims in similar situations.

Don't care what I think? Then why the hell are you answering?

Update 3:



Jesus didn't negate the Ten commandments, he elucidated the two deeper commandments which inspired it in the first place, and which had always been at the heart at all that was truly holy (ie divine) in the Jewish saga. It is a truth in the hearts of ALL men at ALL times and places, but it was revealed in the cultural tradition of the people who were closest to God.

5 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Heh, why don't you quote these "pre-Christian" Jewish commentaries that you think state Isaiah 53 is referring to the mashiach lol It should be nice to see them since everycomentary on your Christian website lists commentaries from AFTER the time of Jesus, whihc are distorted, mistranslated and taken out of context (the worst even have entire sections added to them to create a proof where none exists). (Yes, is aCHRISTIAN website and has zero to do with Judaism and is far from Kosher!)

    Lets show a couple of the misrepresentation:

    The first quote from the Tamud- it is discussing possible names, and that is one of FIVE opinions given.

    Lets take a look at another. the third one quoting Targum Yonatan from Isaiah 52:13, and neglecting the fact that in Isaiah 52:14 he states it is the nation of Israel as he does in Isiah 53:10.

    And so you can go through these quotes and show how they have been distorted and misrepresented- and the fcat that there are a multitude of Jewish interpretations that contradict these quotes is completely ignored

    Source(s): Orthodox Jew; acting Rabbi
  • 9 years ago

    Why does Judaism bother you, or Christians, so much? If we are wrong, then we'll end up going to "hell." Organizations like Jews for Jesus make me sick. We do not make organizations like Christians for Hashem because we respect your beliefs.

    Even if it was intended as Messianic prophecy, which it wasn't (specifically chapter 52 and 54.)

    The Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David (Gen. 49:10, Isai. 11:1, Jerem. 23:5, 33:17; Ezek. 34:23-24). Many Christians try to prove Jesus' genealogy through Mary, but a person's genealogy is exclusively through one's physical father (#’s 1:18). The New Testament claims Joseph came from Jeconiah, but according to Jeremiah 22:30, King Jeconiah was cursed and could never have a descendant.

    Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies: Build the Third Temple(Ezek. 37:26-28). Bring the Jews back to Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6). Bring world peace(Isaiah 2:4) Bring belief in the God of Israel as the eternal one(Zech. 14:9).

    The Torah is eternal, anyone coming to change the Torah is a false prophet (Deut 13:1-4). Christians believe the 10 commandments no longer apply, because of Jesus, but God says "This is a law for all generations" (Exod., Levit., #’s). Therefore, Jesus is a false prophet. God sometimes grants powers of miracles to test the people (Deut 13: 4) and they clearly failed. God promised never to reject or break his covenant with the Jews (Levit. 26:44).

    Most importantly, if a person makes a prophecy that doesn't come true, they are a false prophet (Deut. 18:21-22). Through that alone, prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the endless new testament prophets are not to be trusted fully, if at all.

    Israel is not the land of God's true people. Too many secular Jews, Christians, and Arabs. These people bring down the image of Israel. Individually, there are many righteous people.

    God requires three things from a believer: the covenant of circumcision, keep the Sabbath, and the commandments. The torah is filled with some 613 laws, Christianity adopted many.

    --EDITED for clarity: Jesus says "keep MY commandments" not THE ten commandments. The commandments of Jesus are distinct from the ten commandments. John 8:36: "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." Jesus nullifies the ten commandments for the Christians, many believe because of the cross (idolatry...), which does not keep with the torah.

    Jesus is not, and will never be, the Hebrew messiah.

  • 9 years ago

    You seem very confused.

    Of course, The Jewish interpretation is better.

    It fits with what Isaiah had been saying and if one simply reads the entire thing, in order, it is pretty clear he is talking about the Jewish people.

    And of course, it cannot be Jesus because he simply fails to meet the description.

    Whether it is having biological children, or suffering in silence, or being considered unattractive, Jesus fails to fit the description.

    You also don't get Judaism or the Jewish view of the messiah.

    The Jewish laws are spiritual. And they include loving your neighbor. That is the core of Judaism. So, if you think you are going to convince Jews that this is a good idea, we agree with you. It came from Judaism. All the best parts of your beliefs do.

    While some early Jews, the Nazarenes, did believe Jesus might be the messiah, they flatly rejected notions of him dying for anyones sins, virgin birth etc... as Paul's heresies.

    All Jews agreed, those that believed in Jesus and those that didn't... that the Jewish messiah will fulfill the messianic prophecies e.g., peace on earth, no one will argue about religion any longer, no one will sin any longer etc...

    We feel sorry for you.

    You are clearly earnest and believe in your statements.

    Earnestness is not proof against false ideas.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    There are some Jewish sources that say Isaiah 53 is messianic, but so are all of the Servant Songs of Isaiah, of which Isaiah 53 is one. The thing is, "messianic" in this sense means, "of or related to the messianic era" and not "of or related to messiah ben David."

    You see... messiah means, "anointed." To be anointed, one was (usually) smeared with the Holy Oil of Anointing, and one was anointed to serve in one or two of three offices: prophet, priest, or king. Nobody among the sons of Israel could serve as all three, because the priests were to come only from the sons of Levi, while the kings were to be descendants of David through Solomon, who were of the tribe of Judah, not Levi.

    That is when we're talking about individuals. When we're talking about all Israel, they were appointed to be prophets of God to the Gentile world, and to act as their (our) priests. In this sense, God called Israel His Anointed, His messiah, His Priestly Nation. (See, for example, Exodus 19:6).

    Moreover, Isaiah himself identified the servant as Israel, and so did several other prophets. The following passages all identify Israel as God’s servant. Isaiah 43:10 (by context), 44:1, 2, 21 (twice), 45:4, 49:3; Jeremiah 30:10, 46:27, 28; and Ezekiel 28:25, 37:25.

    With that all in mind, we can read Isaiah 53 as being the dialog of the kings of the Gentiles (see Isaiah 52's last few verses), and the Gentile kings are speaking ABOUT Israel, how we (the Gentiles) little esteemed Israel, the Servant of God, and how we have oppressed Israel, and how we have sinned against Israel, and how we thought Jews were unattractive and how we thought they were rejected by God, yet in the messianic era the kings of the nations marvel that the sons of Israel are raised up as a plant from dry ground, and how they prosper and are greatly blessed by God.

    THAT is what Isaiah 53 is really about.

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  • Aravah
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    answer: B/S - desperation doesn't equal facts

    btw: the 'love thy neighbor' was a rip off of Hillel (predating Jesus) WE don't need a divine savior that needs a 2nd coming to accomplish even one of the actual prophecies.

    The well-worn claim frequently advanced by Christian apologists which argues that the noted Jewish commentator Rashi (1040 CE - 1105) was the first to identify the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 with the nation of Israel is inaccurate and misleading. In fact, Origen, a prominent and influential church father, conceded in the year 248 CE -- many centuries before Rashi was born -- that the consensus among the Jews in his time was that Isaiah 53 “bore reference to the whole [Jewish] people, regarded as one individual, and as being in a state of dispersion and suffering, in order that many proselytes might be gained, on account of the dispersion of the Jews among numerous heathen nations.”

    The broad consensus among Jewish, and even some Christian commentators, that the “servant” in Isaiah 52-53 refers to the nation of Israel is understandable. Isaiah 53, which is the fourth of four renowned Servant Songs, is umbilically connected to its preceding chapters. The “servant” in each of the three previous Servant Songs is plainly and repeatedly identified as the nation of Israel.

    Isaiah 41:8-9

    But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, "You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off."

    Isaiah 44:1

    But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!

    Isaiah 44:21

    Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.

    Isaiah 45:4

    For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I called you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me.

    Isaiah 48:20

    Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, "The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!"

    The ancient Midrash Rabba on Numbers 23 likewise attests that Isaiah 53 refers to the nation of Israel:

    “I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey” (Song of Songs 5:1): because the Israelites poured out their soul to die in captivity, as it is said, “Because he poured out his soul to die” (Isaiah 53:12).

    Christian scholars, on the other hand, are frequently in accord with the classic rabbinic commentaries on Isaiah 53. Unlike their conservative coreligionists, liberal Christians do not use or depend on Church dogma or creedal statements to interpret the Bible.

    btw: our adherence to the "law" keeps G-d forefront in our lives on a daily basis. We observe the "law" out of love. What you see as a burden (and a typical Christian mind-set) we see as our handbook to G-d.

    Source(s): 1 Midrash Rabbah (Numbers XXIII.2), Zohar (Genesis, & Leviticus), Talmud (Brochos 5a), Rashi, Joseph Kara, Ibn Ezra, Joseph Kimchi, David Kimchi, Nachmanadies, Abarbinbanel, et all 2 Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 53 3 Origen, Contra Celsum, Chadwick, Henry; Cambridge Press, book 1, chapter 55, page 50 4 Isaiah 41:11; Micah 7:15-16; Jeremiah 16:19-20;
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