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Divinity of Christ

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Where do Christians find the Divinity of Christ? In the man? in the word? or in the spirit?

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All three.

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He referred to himself as the I am. Specifically, he told the teachers of his day that "before Abraham was, I AM" They wanted to stone him for it.

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.they wanted to stone him for making a bed ridden man whole on the sabath.

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This question seems to come up a lot.

Ultimately it comes down to faith, do you believe?

Faith isn't something thats debatable, it is by deffinition the evidence of things hoped for the substance of things not seen.

To me, that says faith isn't tangible, and as such science, logic, nor debate touches it.

That doesn't demean it in any way in my mind.

Similarly, the bible says "render that which is caesar's unto caesar"

which I take to mean, the things of the world will be what they are. Things of the spirit like faith, aren't something the world can affect.

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He referred to himself as the I am. Specifically, he told the teachers of his day that "before Abraham was, I AM" They wanted to stone him for it.

Matthew 23:12.

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Think about it.

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This question has been argued since the first century. Christians have killed each other over it. Somehow, I doubt the issue is going to be settled on UM.

Doug

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Credentials. If there are no credentials to support the claim, it becomes a matter of subjective faith.

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Posted (edited)

Where do Christians find the Divinity of Christ? In the man? in the word? or in the spirit?

The question seems to be asked alot by many christians because over the ages many have lost the roots of their own beliefs. Even when it was being discussed in the council of Nicea, this was the case. The very 1st believers were Jews, there were no Christians as we know them today and it is this divorce from that Jewish Foundation that has caused many to question the claims of Jesus and even of many of Jesus followers in later times who did not believe him to be Divine.

The people who inherited Christianity from the 1st Jewish believers were not Jewish themselves, they were converts from the gentile populations of the world, ignorant for the most part of Jewish beliefs and traditions, and thus they in most cases were taught things that inevitably went against the very teachings reflected in the bible by their gentile teachers.

After the 1st century people who were Christians also suffered from an unprecedented form of bigotry against all Jews, even when they were converts to Christianity. Christians in many cases refused to accept anything that could be remotely connected with Judaism, even ignoring the fact that Jesus was a Jew himself. They changed many of the historic connections, like Passover and Easter, deliberatly changing the date of the latter so that it would never coincide with the former.

As such it is no surprise that the very roots that gave Jesus the very validity of his Deity were lost over time and that the argumente has arisen time and again over the centuries.

The answer to the question is simple, follow the roots and the answer is apparent. If the Jews share 60% of the entire bible with christians (Old Testament) and even the New Testament is 33% quotes from the OT, then it is evidente that we get our belief in the Deity of Jesus from the Old Testament and from Jewish beliefs at the time of the 2nd Temple.

Edited by Jor-el
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Where do Christians find the Divinity of Christ? In the man? in the word? or in the spirit?

I believe they find it written in a book.

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The question seems to be asked alot by many christians because over the ages many have lost the roots of their own beliefs. Even when it was being discussed in the council of Nicea, this was the case. The very 1st believers were Jews, there were no Christians as we know them today and it is this divorce from that Jewish Foundation that has caused many to question the claims of Jesus and even of many of Jesus followers in later times who did not believe him to be Divine.

The people who inherited Christianity from the 1st Jewish believers were not Jewish themselves, they were converts from the gentile populations of the world, ignorant for the most part of Jewish beliefs and traditions, and thus they in most cases were taught things that inevitably went against the very teachings reflected in the bible by their gentile teachers.

After the 1st century people who were Christians also suffered from an unprecedented form of bigotry against all Jews, even when they were converts to Christianity. Christians in many cases refused to accept anything that could be remotely connected with Judaism, even ignoring the fact that Jesus was a Jew himself. They changed many of the historic connections, like Passover and Easter, deliberatly changing the date of the latter so that it would never coincide with the former.

As such it is no surprise that the very roots that gave Jesus the very validity of his Deity were lost over time and that the argumente has arisen time and again over the centuries.

The answer to the question is simple, follow the roots and the answer is apparent. If the Jews share 60% of the entire bible with christians (Old Testament) and even the New Testament is 33% quotes from the OT, then it is evidente that we get our belief in the Deity of Jesus from the Old Testament and from Jewish beliefs at the time of the 2nd Temple.

Can you post any sources to support what is bolded?

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At the time when Jesus supposedly lived, Judaism was very popular. Roughly ten percent of the Roman Empire was Jewish. The Roman Government was understandably scared. In the year 79, when Rome effectively destroyed Jerusalem. it was such a big event that coins saying "Judaea Capta" were issued for three years! By the fourth century, when the first two church councils took place, there were scarcely any Jews left to actually consult with to compose the New Testament. The church councils literally screened hundreds of "Gospels" before selecting and editing what we have today. Remaining copies of what was rejected were destroyed, although some rare copies surface from time to time. We have no records whatsoever from contemporary writers about jesus of nazareth, none whatsoever. They voted him God at Nicea, and added the holy ghost at Constantinople. One of my favorite theories is that jesus of Naz was the unnamed "Great Teacher" mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls writings. We just don't know. The real reason that xians wanted no connection with the Jews is ignorance. If you seriously read the new testament, you will find little knowledge of the Hebrew language, Judaism or Jewish customs. The anachronisms are countless.

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Posted (edited)

Can you post any sources to support what is bolded?

Historically certified information and available to all...

Early Christianity is the period of Christianity preceding the First Council of Nicaea in 325. It is typically divided into the Apostolic Age and the Ante-Nicene Period (from the Apostolic Age until Nicea).

The first Christians, as described in the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, were all Jewish, either by birth, or conversion for which the biblical term proselyte is used, and referred to by historians as the Jewish Christians. The early Gospel message was spread orally; probably in Aramaic. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians record that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included Peter, James, and John. Paul of Tarsus, after his conversion to Christianity, claimed the title of "Apostle to the Gentiles". Paul's influence on Christian thinking is said to be more significant than any other New Testament writer.[4] By the end of the 1st century, Christianity began to be recognized internally and externally as a separate religion from Rabbinic Judaism which itself was refined and developed further in the centuries after the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple. As shown by the numerous quotations in the New Testament books and other Christian writings of the 1st centuries, early Christians generally used and revered the Jewish Bible as Scripture, mostly in the Greek (Septuagint) or Aramaic (Targum) translations, much of which is written in narrative form where "in the biblical story God is the protagonist, Satan (or evil people/powers) are the antagonists, and God's people are the agonists".

http://en.wikipedia....ly_Christianity

Jewish Christians, also Judeo-Christians, were the original members of the Jewish movement that later became Christianity.

http://en.wikipedia....ewish_Christian

The split between Judaism and Christianity did not come about simply or quickly.

It was a complex process which took some one hundred years, starting from the crucifixion [of Jesus], and which had different causes and effects depending on whether it is looked at from the point of view of Judaism or Christianity. Further, the question of legal status as seen through Roman eyes also had some relationship to the issue.

The Christian View

From the standpoint of Christianity, the schism is not difficult to trace. In the earliest Gospel texts, which picture Jesus as debating issues of Jewish law with the Pharisees, no hostility is observed. The crucifixion is said to have been carried out by the Romans with the support of some (apparently Hellenized) priests. As we trace the history of the New Testament traditions, they move from disputes with Pharisees, scribes, and chief priests [all members of various Second Temple-era Jewish sects] to polemics against the Jews and Judaism, from the notion of some Jews as enemies of Jesus to the demonization of the Jewish people as a whole.

By sometime in the first century, the New Testament redactors had clearly decided that they were no longer part of the Jewish people. Therefore, they described Jesus as disputing with all the Jews, not just some, as would be appropriate to an internal Jewish dispute. Once Christians saw Jews as the "other," it was but a short step to the notion that all Jews were responsible for the rejection of Jesus and, hence, for the failure of his messianic mission to be fulfilled.

The Jewish View

From the Jewish point of view, the matter is more complex. By this time, tannaitic Judaism [that of the early rabbinic sages, characterized by the emergence of the Oral Law] was already the dominant form of Judaism, for the Pharisees had emerged from the revolt against Rome as the main influence within the Jewish community. After the destruction, the tannaim immediately recognized the need to standardize and unify Judaism. One of the first steps was to standardize the Eighteen Benedictions, which, along with the Shema, constituted the core of the daily prayers.

At the same time, they expanded an old prayer to include an imprecation against the minim, Jews with incorrect beliefs. In this period, this could only have meant the early Jewish Christians, who observed the laws of Judaism but accepted the messiahship of Jesus. Although the rabbis continued to regard the early Christians as Jews, they reformulated this prayer in order to expel them from the synagogue, as testified to by the Gospel of John and the church fathers.

In addition, the tannaim enacted laws designed to further separate the Jewish Christians from the community by prohibiting commerce and certain interrelationships with them.

Hereafter, it is possible to trace the process of separation from the end of the first century C.E. until the period of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135 C.E.), when the tannaim outlawed the writings of the early Christians, declaring that Torah scrolls or texts with divine names copied by Christians had no sanctity. This was clearly a polemic against the Gospels, which must have been circulating in some form by now.

In the time of Paul, about 60 C.E., the decision to open Christianity to gentiles had taken place, and the tannaim grad­ually found themselves facing a church whose members were not Jews from the point of view of halakhah [Jewish law]. To the rabbis, they were not Jews with incorrect views about the messiah but gentiles who claimed to be the true Israel. For this reason, the tannaim began to see the Christians as the other, not as Jews who had gone astray.

This process was complete by the Bar Kokhba period [a brief period of Jewish sovereignty following the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba against the Romans in 132 CE]. Jewish Christianity had been submerged, while Gentile Christianity had gained the ascendancy. Since it was now virtually the only form of Christianity the rabbis encoun­tered, they termed the Christians notzerim ("Nazarenes"), re­garding them as a completely separate and alien religious group.

The Roman View

The third point of view, that of the Romans, can be traced as well. The Romans at first regarded the Christians as part of the Jewish people. When Christianity spread and took on a clearly different identity, as acknowledged by both Jews and Chris­tians, the Roman government modified its view. The emperor Nerva (96-98 C.E.) freed the Christians (probably including the Jewish Christians) from paying the fiscus judaicus, the Jewish capitation tax decreed as a punishment in the aftermath of the revolt of 66-73 C.E.

Clearly, the Romans now regarded the Christians as a separate group. The way was paved for the legitimization of Christianity as a licit religion. The decline of the old pagan cults, coupled with the tremendous success of Christianity, would eventually lead to the acceptance of the new faith as the official religion of the Roman Empire in 324 C.E.

l-schiffman.jpg Lawrence H. Schiffman is the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Yeshiva University.

http://www.myjewishl...an_Schism.shtml?

Edited by Jor-el
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He referred to himself as the I am. Specifically, he told the teachers of his day that "before Abraham was, I AM" They wanted to stone him for it.

What did he mean by that do you think? Also, since he was before Abraham, do you believe it's possible Jesus existed from the beginning of time? I know it sounds complicated, but I've heard from Near Death Experiences (read I mean) that Jesus existed before in spirit form and some of these people were shown this. Do you believe this? I don't think it would necessarily contradict the Holy Bible since it does point out of a Savior (Jesus), who is to come before he existed in human form.

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What did he mean by that do you think? Also, since he was before Abraham, do you believe it's possible Jesus existed from the beginning of time? I know it sounds complicated, but I've heard from Near Death Experiences (read I mean) that Jesus existed before in spirit form and some of these people were shown this. Do you believe this? I don't think it would necessarily contradict the Holy Bible since it does point out of a Savior (Jesus), who is to come before he existed in human form.

How do you reconcilie the above with the following verses?

John 1:1-4

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

Colossians 1:15-18

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the supremacy.

Hebrews 1:3

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

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Can you post any sources to support what is bolded?

Try looking up the Bar Kochba Rebellion. At that time there were two camps - those who believed Jesus was the Messiah and those who believed Simon bar Kochba was the Messiah. The Jews of the time were looking for a Messiah - a MAN of God - who could lead a sort of supernatural revolt against Rome. The Messiah was a man, but because Jesus was long dead, he didn't exactly fit the requirements of being the Messiah. In order for him to be a Messiah, they had to bring him back from the dead; hence, Jesus had to transcend death. If he did that, he must be a god. Subsequent events proved that bar Kochba was NOT the Messiah, leaving Jesus as the winner.

Doug

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Try looking up the Bar Kochba Rebellion. At that time there were two camps - those who believed Jesus was the Messiah and those who believed Simon bar Kochba was the Messiah. The Jews of the time were looking for a Messiah - a MAN of God - who could lead a sort of supernatural revolt against Rome. The Messiah was a man, but because Jesus was long dead, he didn't exactly fit the requirements of being the Messiah. In order for him to be a Messiah, they had to bring him back from the dead; hence, Jesus had to transcend death. If he did that, he must be a god. Subsequent events proved that bar Kochba was NOT the Messiah, leaving Jesus as the winner.

Doug

Sorry Doug but I must disagree with your statemets above.

1. Many Jews believed that the Messiah was not just a man, as can be seen from the following:

Targum Jonathan to the Prophets:

"The prophet announced to the house of David that: 'A boy has been born unto us, a son has been given unto us, who has taken the Torah upon himself to guard it; and his name has been called by the One who gives wonderful counsel, the Mighty God, He who lives forever: "Messiah," in whose day peace shall abound for us. He shall make great the dignity of those who labor in the Torah and of those who maintain peace, without end; on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to build it in justice and in righteousness, from this time forth and forever. This shall be accomplished by the Memra of the Lord of Hosts.'"

Babylonian Talmud (Tract Derech Erez Zutha):

"Rabbi Hose the Galilean said: Also the name of the Messiah is called Peace, for it is written (Isaiah 9:6): 'Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'"

Midrash Rabbah (Debarim 1):

"The Rabbis lay the following words in the mouth of the patriarch Jacob: "I have still to bring forth the King Messiah as it is written: 'Unto us a child is born.'"

Iggereth Teman (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon writes to Jacob Alfajumi):

"God named Him (the Messiah) with six names as He says concerning Him: '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, Counsellor, God, Mighty, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'. That He calleth Him God in a distinctive manner, is to say with it, that His glory surpasses that of all other children of men."

Aben Ezra:

"There are some interpreters who say that 'Wonderful, Everlasting Father' are names of God and only 'Prince of Peace' is the name of the child. But according to my view the interpretation is right (which says): all are the names of the child."

Targum Isaiah:

"The prophet saith to the house of David, A child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and He has taken the law upon Himself to keep it, and His name had been called from of old, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, He Who Lives Forever, The Anointed One (or Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us.

Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b:

Rab (Abba Arika) said:

--"The world would not have been created except for David."

(Rabbi) Samuel (bar Abba) said:

--"For Moses!"

Rabbi Johanan (bar Nappacha) said:

--"For the Messiah!"

What is his name?

The school of Rabbi Shila said:

--"His name is Shiloh, for it is said:

--'until Shiloh come' (Gen 49:10)!"

The school of Rabbi Jannai said:

--"His name is Yinnon, for it is said:

--'He shall endure forever,

before there was a sun his name is Yinnon' (Ps 72:17)!"

The school of Rabbi cHanina said:

--"His name is cHanina, for it is said:

--"as I will not give you favor [chanina]' (Jer 16:13)!"

Others say his name is Menachem, the son of Hezekiah, for it is said:

--'For the comforter [Menachem] is far from me,

the one who revives my soul" (Lam 1:16b)!"

But the rabbis say:

--"His name is the leper teacher, for it is said:

--'Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows

yet we deemed him stricken [nago'a: "plagued", esp. leprosy],

laid low by God and suffering" (Isa 53:4)!

(The common theme between all these extracts? The Messiah was not just a man. He was somehow Divine....)

2. It was not the Jews who tried to bring back Jesus from the dead, at the time of the Bar Kochba revolt (132-135 C.E.) the resurrection of Jesus was already widely established in Christianity which by this time had definitively separated itself from Judaism as a religion in its own right rather than a minor Jewish sect.

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Matthew 23:12.

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Think about it.

Is telling the truth about yourself exalting yourself? Hypothetically or in reality?

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Posted (edited)

Sorry Doug but I must disagree with your statemets above.

1. Many Jews believed that the Messiah was not just a man, as can be seen from the following:

Targum Jonathan to the Prophets:

"The prophet announced to the house of David that: 'A boy has been born unto us, a son has been given unto us, who has taken the Torah upon himself to guard it; and his name has been called by the One who gives wonderful counsel, the Mighty God, He who lives forever: "Messiah," in whose day peace shall abound for us. He shall make great the dignity of those who labor in the Torah and of those who maintain peace, without end; on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to build it in justice and in righteousness, from this time forth and forever. This shall be accomplished by the Memra of the Lord of Hosts.'"

Babylonian Talmud (Tract Derech Erez Zutha):

"Rabbi Hose the Galilean said: Also the name of the Messiah is called Peace, for it is written (Isaiah 9:6): 'Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'"

Midrash Rabbah (Debarim 1):

"The Rabbis lay the following words in the mouth of the patriarch Jacob: "I have still to bring forth the King Messiah as it is written: 'Unto us a child is born.'"

Iggereth Teman (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon writes to Jacob Alfajumi):

"God named Him (the Messiah) with six names as He says concerning Him: '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, Counsellor, God, Mighty, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'. That He calleth Him God in a distinctive manner, is to say with it, that His glory surpasses that of all other children of men."

Aben Ezra:

"There are some interpreters who say that 'Wonderful, Everlasting Father' are names of God and only 'Prince of Peace' is the name of the child. But according to my view the interpretation is right (which says): all are the names of the child."

Targum Isaiah:

"The prophet saith to the house of David, A child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and He has taken the law upon Himself to keep it, and His name had been called from of old, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, He Who Lives Forever, The Anointed One (or Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us.

Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b:

Rab (Abba Arika) said:

--"The world would not have been created except for David."

(Rabbi) Samuel (bar Abba) said:

--"For Moses!"

Rabbi Johanan (bar Nappacha) said:

--"For the Messiah!"

What is his name?

The school of Rabbi Shila said:

--"His name is Shiloh, for it is said:

--'until Shiloh come' (Gen 49:10)!"

The school of Rabbi Jannai said:

--"His name is Yinnon, for it is said:

--'He shall endure forever,

before there was a sun his name is Yinnon' (Ps 72:17)!"

The school of Rabbi cHanina said:

--"His name is cHanina, for it is said:

--"as I will not give you favor [chanina]' (Jer 16:13)!"

Others say his name is Menachem, the son of Hezekiah, for it is said:

--'For the comforter [Menachem] is far from me,

the one who revives my soul" (Lam 1:16b)!"

But the rabbis say:

--"His name is the leper teacher, for it is said:

--'Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows

yet we deemed him stricken [nago'a: "plagued", esp. leprosy],

laid low by God and suffering" (Isa 53:4)!

(The common theme between all these extracts? The Messiah was not just a man. He was somehow Divine....)

2. It was not the Jews who tried to bring back Jesus from the dead, at the time of the Bar Kochba revolt (132-135 C.E.) the resurrection of Jesus was already widely established in Christianity which by this time had definitively separated itself from Judaism as a religion in its own right rather than a minor Jewish sect.

How does what you quoted disagree with Doug's statements? Nothing that you quoted refers to a resurrection, but only a belief that some divine figure "lives forever", which could mean figuratively in the afterlife. Nothing that you wrote contradicts that other (even many) Jews living at the time may have believed Bar Kochba to be the Messiah - up until the time the revolt failed.

And nothing that you quoted suggests that Messianic Judaism, let alone Christianity, was wide-spread at the time you mention, only that some people wrote of it. That could mean it was a small cult whose writings have survived, rather than being indicative of a large religious movement.

Edited by Leonardo
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Posted (edited)

Sorry Doug but I must disagree with your statemets above.

1. Many Jews believed that the Messiah was not just a man, as can be seen from the following:

Targum Jonathan to the Prophets:

"The prophet announced to the house of David that: 'A boy has been born unto us, a son has been given unto us, who has taken the Torah upon himself to guard it; and his name has been called by the One who gives wonderful counsel, the Mighty God, He who lives forever: "Messiah," in whose day peace shall abound for us. He shall make great the dignity of those who labor in the Torah and of those who maintain peace, without end; on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to build it in justice and in righteousness, from this time forth and forever. This shall be accomplished by the Memra of the Lord of Hosts.'"

Babylonian Talmud (Tract Derech Erez Zutha):

"Rabbi Hose the Galilean said: Also the name of the Messiah is called Peace, for it is written (Isaiah 9:6): 'Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'"

Midrash Rabbah (Debarim 1):

"The Rabbis lay the following words in the mouth of the patriarch Jacob: "I have still to bring forth the King Messiah as it is written: 'Unto us a child is born.'"

Iggereth Teman (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon writes to Jacob Alfajumi):

"God named Him (the Messiah) with six names as He says concerning Him: '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, Counsellor, God, Mighty, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'. That He calleth Him God in a distinctive manner, is to say with it, that His glory surpasses that of all other children of men."

Aben Ezra:

"There are some interpreters who say that 'Wonderful, Everlasting Father' are names of God and only 'Prince of Peace' is the name of the child. But according to my view the interpretation is right (which says): all are the names of the child."

Targum Isaiah:

"The prophet saith to the house of David, A child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and He has taken the law upon Himself to keep it, and His name had been called from of old, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, He Who Lives Forever, The Anointed One (or Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us.

Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b:

Rab (Abba Arika) said:

--"The world would not have been created except for David."

(Rabbi) Samuel (bar Abba) said:

--"For Moses!"

Rabbi Johanan (bar Nappacha) said:

--"For the Messiah!"

What is his name?

The school of Rabbi Shila said:

--"His name is Shiloh, for it is said:

--'until Shiloh come' (Gen 49:10)!"

The school of Rabbi Jannai said:

--"His name is Yinnon, for it is said:

--'He shall endure forever,

before there was a sun his name is Yinnon' (Ps 72:17)!"

The school of Rabbi cHanina said:

--"His name is cHanina, for it is said:

--"as I will not give you favor [chanina]' (Jer 16:13)!"

Others say his name is Menachem, the son of Hezekiah, for it is said:

--'For the comforter [Menachem] is far from me,

the one who revives my soul" (Lam 1:16b)!"

But the rabbis say:

--"His name is the leper teacher, for it is said:

--'Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows

yet we deemed him stricken [nago'a: "plagued", esp. leprosy],

laid low by God and suffering" (Isa 53:4)!

(The common theme between all these extracts? The Messiah was not just a man. He was somehow Divine....)

2. It was not the Jews who tried to bring back Jesus from the dead, at the time of the Bar Kochba revolt (132-135 C.E.) the resurrection of Jesus was already widely established in Christianity which by this time had definitively separated itself from Judaism as a religion in its own right rather than a minor Jewish sect.

I am talking about one snapshot in time. A momentary situation in the evolution of the Jesus stories. PA and I have been over and over, ad nauseum, the poor dating of ancient writings and the development of the Gospels. Even if those are authentic quotes, they reflect only the opinion of the writer at the time he wrote. You provide no dates for this material and even if you did, I'd wonder how reliable they are. If you want to go over that, it's on a lot of old threads here on UM. I will look over this material when I have some time on the off-chance it may contain something of historical value.

Suffice it to say that I think the story of Jesus, as related by traditional Christianity, is an urban legend. It is questionable whether Jesus existed at all. Even if he did, we know almost nothing at all about him. The stories have been so muddied and distorted with the many re-tellings that it may be impossible to recover the actual history.

Doug

P.S.: Akiva ben Joseph, arguably one of the most-important rabbis of all time, lived at the time of the bar Kochba Rebellion. He was one of the reconstituted Sanhedrin. He believed bar Kochba was the Messiah. To which another rabbi, possibly a follower of the Jesus faction, is said to have replied: "Akiva, grass will grow on your grave and still the Messiah will not have come." And so it came to pass.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29

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Matthew 23:12.

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Think about it.

If Jesus is truly divine, he was not exalting himself,but speaking the truth. When we exalt ourselves over others it is usually based on untruth.

peace

mark

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How does what you quoted disagree with Doug's statements? Nothing that you quoted refers to a resurrection, but only a belief that some divine figure "lives forever", which could mean figuratively in the afterlife. Nothing that you wrote contradicts that other (even many) Jews living at the time may have believed Bar Kochba to be the Messiah - up until the time the revolt failed.

And nothing that you quoted suggests that Messianic Judaism, let alone Christianity, was wide-spread at the time you mention, only that some people wrote of it. That could mean it was a small cult whose writings have survived, rather than being indicative of a large religious movement.

All men who have claimed to be the son of god, were called Messiah until proven wrong. Thing is Christ hasn't been proven wrong.

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All men who have claimed to be the son of god, were called Messiah until proven wrong. Thing is Christ hasn't been proven wrong.

"Son of God" was a title applied to any Jewish holy man. It was more an honorary title than a formal one. It was bestowed on people by others who considered them wise. One could not take it on one's self. Christians (at least modern ones) have distorted the meaning of what was once a title of respect to support their idea that even many of them still argue about almost 2000 years later.

The Messiah was supposed to be a human being, who with god's help, would throw off the Roman Empire. The last Roman Emperor in the west gave up the imperial standards in 476 AD. The last one in the east was overthrown in 1352(?). The last Holy Roman Emperor (the supposed inheritors of the Roman Empire) died in 1825. The title was considered of such low value that it was allowed to go extinct. And the last Czar (the inheritors of the Roman Empire in the east) was murdered along with his whole family in 1917. Ancient Israel died when the bar Kochba Rebellion failed; the modern one is just another version of the Crusader States and is more pragmatist than Jewish. Rome is gone. And still the Messiah has not come. And Christians are still waiting....

Doug

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Posted (edited)

First off, I'd like to send a warm hello to Jor-el. I was sincerely hoping you were still active on these forums!

You may remember me from a few years back; I used to use the nickname Brahmana. I always liked our interesting discussions in the past!! Lol I remember the one about the Virgin Mary and Revelation for example that went on for a few pages!

So, good to see you, my friend....

Now there was something I wanted to talk about briefly....

Suffice it to say that I think the story of Jesus, as related by traditional Christianity, is an urban legend. It is questionable whether Jesus existed at all. Even if he did, we know almost nothing at all about him. The stories have been so muddied and distorted with the many re-tellings that it may be impossible to recover the actual history.

I find this position very hard to accept. First of all, are we to totally discount Paul's epistles? He was writing as early as 52AD. In addition, the gospels were written within the living memory of the events they recount. Mark's gospel was written well within the lifetime of many of the eyewitnesses, while the other three gospels were written in the period when the living eyewitnesses were becoming more scarce; meaning this was precisely why it was put into writing in the first place, so that their testimony would not perish with them. Second, are we so sure that a culture that was already used to oral transmission would be as inaccurate to the facts as you suggest?

Third, we have to take your statements to their logical conclusion, then. Assuming Jesus is a mythological figure and never existed; these Apostles I suppose sat around a campfire and invented the whole thing about a Messiah. But what would have been their motive to do so? Were they so dissatisfied with Judaism? What did they stand to gain?

In modern day cults and as the Bar Kokhba revolt both demonstrate; cult leaders tend to deify THEMSELVES. THEY possess divine attributes, THEY possess secret knowledge; and they tend to do this because it gives them a sense of power and authority. A nobody is suddenly somebody, in fact he's a living god. Yet these men pointed to someone else. They are a direct contrast to someone like a Bar Kokhba; their CHARACTER witness is a polar opposite . These men cared for the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised and the lowly. They held everything in common. Theirs was a mission of self-sacrifice and not self-gain like your run of the mill cult leader.

Then we have to take that another step further. Once they had come up with their campfire tale, they were oppressed and persecuted by both Romans and other Jews. You're honestly telling me that these men were willing to go to their deaths over a fiction they invented? Would they have propagated a lie or a hoax unto death? And not just their deaths, but all the scores of followers they attracted as well? Think of all the early Christians being martyred; some fed to lions, some used as torches to light Roman roads, Paul being beheaded, Peter being crucified upside down...all this for a lie? To the skeptic I ask: what is the point of all this?? Why would these men and women defy the very natural instinct of self preservation to die for a myth or something that was just made up? Who should the burden of proof be on here?

So at the very least I feel we have to acknowledge that a historical man named Jesus existed, was some kind of teacher and probably a miracle worker or faith healer. He attracted followers. Then He was killed...and that should have been the end of it, right? Yes, we don't hear about Bar Kokhba anymore because he and his followers were slaughtered in an ancient version of Waco; and anyone that may have been on the fringes quickly learned that he wasn't at all who he said he was.

But that doesn't happen with Jesus Christ. Somehow this 'myth' persists. That should tell us something, shouldn't it? I mean, why didn't anyone mythologize about Bar Kokhba after HIS death? Why didn't they make up some stories about THAT? Surely at least some sympathizers of his would have survived. Why didn't they get together and write some myths about how he had to die in the physical form and that one day he would return with a heavenly army to wipe out the Romans? They could have added some stiff competition to those mythologizing Christians! Instead they called him the "son of lies" and the "son of deception."

And still the Christian 'myth' persisted. Why? If all He was was a false miracle worker, why wouldn't all of his followers simply abandon Him at His death like a Bar Kokhba? Why would they invent this myth of a resurrection and then go to their deaths for that same myth? I'm sorry, it just doesn't make sense!! Again, who is the burden of proof on? Would YOU go to YOUR death for something you knew was false? I sure as hell wouldn't.

As Paul writes over and over again in his Epistles, their faith hinges on the resurrection event. My faith; 2000 years later, hinges on the resurrection event. I believe the eyewitnesses; those who actually lived in that time period and this word that they staked their lives on over the form critics, reductionists and 'new atheists' writing about it countless centuries after the fact.

I reject the allegations of such types because they essentially always start from the same premise: the New Testament accounts are somehow unreliable. Insert your means to discredit here: Paul made everything up, Paul is the inventor of Christianity; we don't know who wrote X Gospel, therefore X Gospel is unreliable, Y Gospel was written at 'too late of a date', therefore these sayings are probably inaccurate or made up because a culture of oral transmission can't remember things. You accuse us Christians of mythologizing; well I would accuse the same thing of YOUR ilk. You will craft any elaborate myth as to why the things in the New Testament simply cannot be true and to ultimately reject them as a legitimate piece of historical data. I see it as nothing but conjecture and speculation.

I would recommend the book "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" by the scholar and theologian Richard Bauckham to anyone that has an open mind.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Saint Paul writes: "3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."

In its greater context, Saint Paul is addressing the doubts of the people at Corinth. He is saying that indeed, our faith hinges on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that through Christ, there will be a resurrection of the dead. Without it, he tells them, your faith is futile. So he is basically CHALLENGING them here: 'look, if you don't believe ME that He was raised from the dead, just go and ASK THEM' because most of them "are still living."

I know who I believe.

Edited by Marcus Aurelius
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Posted (edited)

Marcus Aurelius

To avoid readers' confusion, your quote is from Doug, not Jor-el.

...meaning this was precisely why it was put into writing in the first place,

An interesting speculation. We don't know why Mark and Matthew were written, they don't say. Luke and Acts, probably written by the same person, have avowed teaching intent, although oddly, "Luke" doesn't claim to be aiming for the truth, but rather for an "orderly" account. John does seem to be concerned with the last man standing, but also shows a taste for putting speeches in Jesus' mouth that seem like the narrator's voice.

Second, are we so sure that a culture that was already used to oral transmission would be as inaccurate to the facts as you suggest?

What we have are Paul's written complaints about the unreliable quality of that "oral tradition" as he expereinced it. If I take Paul's word for some things, then I must take his word for that, too.

Assuming Jesus is a mythological figure and never existed; these Apostles I suppose sat around a campfire and invented the whole thing about a Messiah.

Why, no, the earliest biography of Jesus we have, Mark, was not written by an Apostle, so far as we know. Mark doesn't say what sources, if any, he used.

Since no Jesus canonical biography depicts Jesus fulfilling any Messainic task (although there are plenty of Jewish Bible passages quoted as if they were Messianic prophecies), Paul's theory, that Jesus became the Messiah in death, suffices for any Messianic interpretation of Jesus' career. The Messianic tasks are on Jesus' "to do list," as soon as he gets around to it.

...cult leaders tend to deify THEMSELVES. THEY possess divine attributes, ...

"Tend?" You mean they do, except when they don't. Many modern woo-woo cults "channel" any number of exalted spirits, ascended masters, guardians of mankind and what not. The channel is just that, a human being, a medium to use an earlier modern term.

Paul channeled Jesus. That is the origin of the cult. He did not deify himself because that wasn't his role. besides, Paul was Jewish. He didn't deify anybody, Jesus included. Mohammed channeled Gabriel. He did not deify himself. Joseph Smith chatted with God, Jesus, an angel.... He did not deify himself. The exceptions to your "tend" are enormous international enterprises.

THEY possess secret knowledge;

That's a different matter, isn't it? 2 Corinthians 12: 2-14

I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows), was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this person (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter.

If nobody may utter it, then Paul didn't. That's "secret knowledge." Paul says he's got some.

You're honestly telling me that these men were willing to go to their deaths over a fiction they invented?

We don't how any of these people died (except Stephen and James, if we accept Acts) or why (except Stephen, who wasn't killed for anything he said about Jesus).

The earliest record we have of anybody being allowed to escape death by renouncing Christ is Pliny the Younger's reference to an earlier persecution during his adult lifetime. He was born in 61 CE. The only original Apostle who supposedly survived into Pliny's adulthood also supposedly died a natural death. There are a few problems, then, with the martyrdom argument.

Why didn't they make up some stories about THAT?

Because they weren't liars?

Edited by eight bits

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