“Since the oldest copies of the New Testament are in Greek, theological scholarship has studied the Greek world and its pagan philosophies and values. This has been important in the effort to understand the target audience of the Gospel. However, now is the time to create a balance that has been lacking in our century. Alongside the concentration on the study of the Greek-speaking audience, we need a new concentration on the study of the sources.
It has been amazing to us, trained as we were in Greek ways, to discover this Jewish world. It is disturbing to realize that we could have drifted so far away from this world.”- Professor and Pastor Brad H. Young.
As explained for general audiences missing advanced Torah Hebrew training: by R. Tuvia Singer.
I am asked this question frequently. After all, from a pagan Greek Roman Church world view; Why would Jeremiah foretell that the messiah will be called “God” if he is not the Almighty? There can be no doubt that Jeremiah 23:5-6 is discussing the messianic age and the messiah in these passages. Why would the messiah be given a divine name?
The answer is that there are unique people and places in the world which enable man to perceive the presence of the Almighty. These manifestations, which are not divine, are called “God” throughout the Tanach. While there are many examples, I can use to illustrate this point, one passage especially stands out because the author, language and context are identical to the verses you cited in Jeremiah 23:5-6. In Jeremiah 33:16, only ten chapters later, the prophet declares that the city of Jerusalem will be called the identical name as the messiah, “The Lord our Righteousness.”
Let’s compare these two sister passages side-by-side:
As per Rav Tuvia Singer’s very clear English presentation for your convenience.
In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely, and this is the name by which she will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness (יהוה צדקנו)
Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a Righteous Branch, and He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is His name by which He will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness (יהוה צדקנו)
In Jeremiah 33:16, the prophet declares that the city of Jerusalem will be called, “The Lord Our Righteousness.” Does this prophecy mean that Jerusalem is God? Are we to worship the city as a deity? In Isaiah 7:10, the prophet is called “God.” All of these passages use the same ineffable name of God, יהוה. There are many other examples of this linguistic pattern, which is widespread throughout Tanach.
In the Torah, the patriarch Jacob named an altar he erected “The God of Israel.” And he [Jacob] erected there an altar, and called it the “God of
Israel.” (ויקרא לו אל אלקי ישראל)
When the Almighty instructed Moses to confront Pharaoh in order to deliver the children of Israel from bondage, Moses was reluctant. He considered himself unfit for this task because of his speech impediment. The Almighty replied that Moses would be “a God” to Pharaoh, and his brother/ Aaron would be his prophet.
And the Lord said unto Moses, “See, I have made thee a God (אלהים)
to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet
The Almighty clearly stated that Moses was given the mandate to represent God in the outset of His instructions to the Lawgiver.
“Moreover, he [Aaron] shall speak for you [Moses] to the people; and it shall come about that he shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be as God (לאלהים) to him.”
As mentioned above, Isaiah is called “God” (יהוה) in his now-famous seventh chapter, when the prophet informs King Ahaz that his enemies, Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel, will not succeed in the Syro-Ephraimite War.
And the Lord (יהוה) spoke again to Ahaz, saying.
Throughout the seventh chapter of Isaiah, however, God did not have a conversation with Ahaz, for he was unworthy of receiving prophecy. Throughout these passages, Isaiah was communicating with the King. Yet, the prophet is called the name “God” because throughout his encounter with the king, he reflected the presence of God, just as Pharaoh perceived the presence of God while in the company of Moses. Judges those who teach and adjudicate the Law of God throughout the Tanach. For example, are Called “God”
Then his master shall bring him to the judges (האלהים)…
For any kind of lost thing which another claims to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the Judges (האלהים); and whoever the Judges (אלהים) condemn shall pay double to his neighbor.
What do these sacred names suggest? Those entities upon which God’s presence rests are a foil to reflect God’s holiness, and accordingly, are called “God” in the Bible. The Messiah and Jerusalem are among them.
King David, the founder of Jerusalem, describes how the spirit of God rests on His holy city:
‘A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korach. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, His holy mountain. As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God; God will establish her forever.
(Psalm 48:1, 8)
That men may tell of the name of the Lord in Zion, and His praise in
Likewise, Isaiah foretells that the spirit of righteousness will rest upon the messiah
The Princes of the Tribes, the Elders, Moses, David, Isaiah, the City of Jerusalem the altar are all referred to as GOD, meaning in Biblical HEBREW they represent GOD and or godliness. Period!
In the twenty-third chapter of Jeremiah, God warns that He will purge false shepherds” from the land in the messianic age, and replace them with a leader from the House of David who will “perform judgement and righteousness” (23:5). Accordingly, the messianic leader will be called “The Lord Our Righteousness.
In the thirty-third chapter of Jeremiah, God promises that flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them” (33:13) and there will be “safety and security” (33:16) in Jerusalem in the future messianic age. Thus, the city of God will be called “The Lord Our Righteousness.”
Neither the messiah nor Jerusalem is to be worshiped as God. On the contrary, the messiah will fear God (Isaiah 11:2-3), and inspire the nation to do the same. God does not fear Himself.
In the End of Days, both the city of David and the heir to David’s throne will inspire the world to perceive the righteousness of our God.
The Merciful One repeatedly warns the Jewish people to turn away from foreign gods. As a result of this sin, ten tribes were exiled by Assyria 2,700 years ago. The prophet Hosea warned the Northern Kingdom of Israel that idol worship would lead to their demise. There is, however, wonderful news conveyed in the Tanach.
Listen to the words of Isaiah:
Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.
Let him return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on him, and to our
God, for he will abundantly pardon, for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord; for as thee heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
In his warm, uplifting sermon, the prophet promises that repentance alone atones for sin. This is Judaism.
I find it difficult to understand why you have chosen this belief that Jesus was God when John’s Jesus says:
…because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.
Clearly, the author of the fourth Gospel did not regard Jesus as equal with God, as you profess to believe. Below, I enclosed some Bible references for you to study.
If you are not sure who the God of Israel is, the Bible gives us a hint in this matter. Scripture warns us that one day you will worship other gods that your fathers did not know (Deuteronomy 28) and this iniquity will bring about national disaster. So, ask yourself this question. “Did my great grandfather worship Yeshua ben Josef as God? If the answer to that question is “no” then it is time to come home to your God and your people.
Extensive list of Bible references
You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no image, there was only a voice.
You are the ones who have been shown, so that you will know that God is the Supreme Being, and there is none other besides Him!
Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other!
You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you!
See, now, that I, I am He — and no god is with Me.
I Samuel 2:2
There is none holy as the Lord. There is none beside Thee; neither is there any Rock like our God.
I Kings 8:27
For will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have built?
I Kings 8:60
So that all the nations of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other!
II Kings 19:19
Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God. (See also Psalm 113:5)
“To whom then will you liken God? To what likeness will you compare Him?
“To whom then will you liken me, that I should be his equal? Says the Holy One.
I am the Lord, that is My name, and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images!
“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no Savior.”
So said the Lord, Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty, “I am the first and I am the last; apart from Me there is no God! Who then is like Me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare it and lay it out before Me… Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
Thus, said the Lord, your Redeemer, the One who formed you from the womb,
“I am the Lord Who makes everything, who stretched forth the heavens alone, Who spread out the earth by Myself.”
I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God… I will strengthen you… in order that they know from the shining of the sun and from the west that there is no one besides Me; I am the Lord and there is no other!
… Who announced this from before, who declared it from the distant past? Is it not I, the Lord, and there is no God apart from Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all you end of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other!
To whom shall you liken Me and make Me equal and compare Me that we may be alike?
Remember the first things of old, that l am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like Me.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but Me, no Savior except Me!
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and I am the Lord your God, there is no other; and My people shall never be ashamed.
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why should we betray, each one his brother, to profane the covenant of our forefathers?
Whom have I in heaven but You? The earth has nothing I desire besides You
Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you; O Israel, if you would listen to me! Let there be no strange god among you, nor shall you worship any foreign god.
You alone are the Lord; You made the heavens, the heavens of the heavens and all their host, the earth and all that is upon it, the seas and all that is in them, and you give life to all, and the heavenly host bow down before You.
I Chronicles 17:20
O Lord, there is none like You, neither is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears!
Who is AVDE-my Servant-Well David is, Isaiah himself, Jeremiah’s life makes him AVDE-My servant as well. In three verses a messiah is My servant and all the other times the nation is My servant.
In fact, in One Verse both the Messiah and Israel are the servant. In the general, the big picture of course G-d is our redeemer, but he works through His nation & its special leaders it is not black and white, not one nor the other. Psalms etc. says my saviors will help beat Esau. Even former Christians find it hard not to think just black and white, saved or damned. In other words, Greco Roman.
The 53rd chapter of Isaiah is the last of the four famed “Servant Songs” at the end of the Book of Isaiah. Contained in Isaiah 41-53 are four soothing “Servant Songs, which are pregnant with stunning End Time prophecy and comfort for the children of Israel.
Without hesitating, the prophet consoles his traumatized Servant by unveiling the redemption of the righteous remnant of Israel, whom the prophet repeatedly identifies as God’s servant. Isaiah 53 is the culmination of Isaiah’s moving narrative, which describes the Almighty’s servant-nation who, after a brutal and seemingly endless exile, is elevated and redeemed in the eyes of her former oppressors-the gentile nations.
The 53 chapter of Isaiah begins with an extraordinary soliloquy expressed by the surprised gentile kings of nations at the End of Days as they finally behold the righteous remnant of the Jewish people raised up and glorified.
The final redemption of Israel is not at all what her non-Jewish neighbors expected.
The astonished reaction of the gentiles to the Messianic Age is a common theme throughout the Hebrew Prophets, and the baffled reaction of the gentiles is recorded in Isaiah 53 with greater clarity than any other chapter in the Bible.
What startling news will astound the world’s leaders? What will they finally grasp that will amaze them beyond measure? Everything that they have ever heard or considered is in stark contrast to what they will finally witness in the Messianic Age. They will place their hands over their mouths in numbed bewilderment as they behold the glory of the remnant of the Jewish people, finally vindicated and redeemed by the “arm of the Lord” (53:1)
Let’s examine the introductory verses to
So shall he startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they shall see, and that which they have not heard they shall understand. Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
In Isaiah 53:2-8, the kings of nations continue to humbly express their heartfelt confession. only now they finally conclude that the nation of Israel suffered throughout their long and bitter exile as a result of the mindless sins of their own Citizens. In the past, these world leaders surmised that the Jews were stricken and Smitten by God because they stubbornly rejected the gods of the other nations. but now, as they bear witness to the glorious messianic redemption, they are astounded They will finally grasp that Israel suffered as a result of the destructive and reckless behavior of their own peoples.
From Isaiah 53:9 through the following powerful chapters, the God of Israel alone is speaking. The Gentiles are listening silently. In 53:10, the verse about which you were asking, God is enumerating the blessings that are bestowed on those who have chosen the path of devotion and “have made their souls restitution. These manifold blessings mirror the promised blessings to the faithful at the end of thee Book of Deuteronomy. In these last chapters of the Pentateuch, the Almighty promises prolonged life and children to those who are devoted to the life-giving teachings of the Torah.
And now we come to your question. In an effort to support their Christological
position, missionaries frequently argue that Isaiah 53 is speaking about Jesus. In fact, Isaiah 53 stands out as the biblical text most used by missionaries. There are, however, countless ways to prove from this chapter and the chapters that surround it that Isaiah 53 is referring to the faithful remnant of Israel and not the Christian messiah.
In Isaiah 53:10, the verse about which you were asking, the servant is promised long life and seed. Let’s explore this introductory passage to Isaiah’s fourth and final Servant Song:
And the Lord wished to crush him, He made him ill; if his soul makes itself restitution, he shall see seed, He shall prolong his days, and God’s purpose shall prosper in his hand.
For the Church, this verse presents numerous staggering problems. To begin with, Jesus did not have any biological children. In Isaiah 53:10, the blessing bestowed on the servant is expressed by the Hebrew word זרע (zerah), which means “seed.” This Hebrew word can only refer to biological offspring when used in connection with a person’s children, never metaphoric children, such as disciples. The Hebrew word that can refer to metaphoric children is בן (ben).
Missionaries, however, frequently argue against this point. They contend that the Hebrew word זרע can, in fact, be used metaphorically in the Jewish Scriptures when referring to seed. They make this assertion by pointing to the last two words of Isaiah 57:4, זרע שקר (zera sheker), which the King James Version renders as “Seed or falsehood.” They insist that “seed of falsehood” can only be understood metaphorically. After all, they contend, how can falsehood have physical seed? The King James translation of this phrase upon which they rely is, however, incorrect. Unlike
the English language, the adjective follows the noun in the Hebrew language
Therefore, זרע שקר means “false seed'” or “faithless seed,” not “”seed of falsehood.” The phrase “false seed,” where “seed” refers to physical seed, fits seamlessly into the context of this passage. In Isaiah 57:3, the prophet is addressing “children of adulterers” (זרע) who pass on their odious use of their physical seed by “pleasuring themselves under the trees” and “murder their offspring in the valleys and against the clefts of rocks” (57:5). Clearly, Isaiah is referring to physical seed when he used the Hebrew word זרע.
Moreover, we are told by Christian teachers that Jesus died when he was approximately 30 years old, less than half the expected life span of an ordinary man (Psalm 90:10). Obviously, both the blessing of a home filled with children and long life were not fulfilled in Jesus’ lifetime.
Missionaries respond to this glaring problem by explaining that Jesus had long life in his resurrection, where he lives forever. Therefore, they argue, Jesus indeed lived a very, very long life.
This response, however, does little to relieve their problem. To begin with, the
Hebrew words in this verse יאריך ימים (ya ‘arich yamim), meaning “long life” or a
prolonged life,” do not mean or refer to an eternal life which has no end, but rather a lengthening of days which eventually come to an end. These Hebrew words are therefore never applied in Tanach to anyone who is to live forever. In the Jewish Scriptures, therefore, God is never said to have long life. In fact, the words ya’arich yamim appear in a number of places throughout Jewish Scriptures, including Deuteronomy 17:20, Deuteronomy 25:15, Proverbs 28:16, and Ecclesiastes 8:13. In each and every verse where this phrase appears, these words refer to an extended mortal life, not an eternal one. When the Jewish Scriptures speak of an eternal resurrected life, as in Daniel 12:2, the Hebrew words לחיי עולם (l’chayai olam) are used.
One cannot overstate the staggering problem this text poses for the Church. Bear in mind that virtually all Christian apologists zealously espouse the doctrine of the Trinity. This core Church tenet declares that Jesus was not just a special man, but God Himself, manifested in the flesh-the second Person in the triune godhead. This is no small matter in Christian theology. I have encountered Hebrew-Christians who were expelled from Messianic conferences or denied membership in a Messianic congregation because they questioned this well-guarded doctrine.
To better understand this doctrine, we need to go back to the Council of Nicea where it officially all began. Assembled by the Emperor Constantine in 325 C.E., it was the most important council in Church history in both its scope and focus. Luther called it “the most sacred of all councils.” At the Council of Nicea it was declared that Jesus was of the same substance (Greek: homousios) as the Father.
In essence, according to this Christian belief, Jesus shared one being with the Father and full deity. This doctrine does not hold that Jesus was half God and half man. Rather, in the original language of this foundational Christian creed, he is “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God…”⁴
Bearing all this in mind, how can God be promised long life? Even if missionaries argue that this blessing in Isaiah 53:10 is referring to that time after Jesus’ supposed resurrection, how can God promise Himself, or give Himself anything for that matter? Moreover, how can God be promised longevity when He is eternal? How can God bestow the blessing of long life upon a messiah, who the Church insists, exists for eternity? Such a blessing would be absurd. Furthermore, why is God talking to Himself?
Finally, it is essential to carefully study the surrounding chapters of Isaiah 53 in order to grasp a clear understanding of the “Suffering Servant” The context of Isaiah 53 immediately reveals that the prophet is speaking of the nation of Israel in the Singular. It is a tragedy that few missionaries are as familiar with the 52 and 54 chapters of Isaiah as they are with the 53rd. The consequence of this unbalanced knowledge is obvious.
Isaiah 52 and 54 both serve as an indictment against the Christianization of Isaiah 53. To this day I have yet to encounter a Christian who can recite these chapters from memory. This cannot be said of Isaiah 53, which evangelicals can spout off by heart without hesitating.
The contiguous relationship between Isaiah 52 through 54 is evident because the theme, poetic structure, and motif of Isaiah 53 closely mimics the illustrative language of Isaiah 52 and 54. As in Isaiah 53, Isaiah 52 and 54 clearly identify Israel in the singular, suffering innocently as a result of the vile wickedness of the gentile nations. In addition, all three of these exhilarating chapters vividly describe the glorious redemption of Israel in full view of the gentiles, her former persecutors. For example, in Isaiah 52:4 the prophet recounts that “Assyria oppressed him [Israel] without cause.” This central theme conveyed in Isaiah 52-the nation of Israel innocently suffered as a single individual at the hands of the gentiles -is precisely the same underlying topic of Isaiah 53.
Isaiah’s motif remains unchanged in the following chapter. In Isaiah 54, the prophet recounts how Israel, spoken of in the singular, is “despised,” “forsaken,” and afflicted. These are the identical descriptions of the nation of Israel found in the previous chapter, Isaiah 53. In fact, it is so manifestly evident from these chapters that Isaiah 53 is speaking of the righteous remnant of the Jewish people, that a many Christian commentators concede that national Israel are God’s “Suffering Servant.” If Hebrew Christians would pore over the entire Book of Isaiah with the same zeal as they do Isaiah 53, few of them would have abandoned the faith of their ancestors.
Over the years, so many Hebrew-Christians have turned to me and pondered aloud as they finally decided to leave the Church, “Why weren’t you there with the answer years ago when I first got involved?”My response is always the same: “The answers to your questions were always there. I just teach the Bible.”
1.Although these passages are commonly referred to as “Isaiah 53,” this text refers to 15 verses beginning with Isaiah 52:13 and ending with 53:12. The chapter break at the end of 52:15 is artificial.
2.These verses in Isaiah’s Servant Songs include:
But thou, Israel, art My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend. Whom I grasped from the ends of the earth, and from its nobles I called you, and I said to you, “You are My servant”, I chose you and I did not despise you.
Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant and Israel, whom I have chosen So said the Lord your Maker, and He who formed you from the womb shall aid you. Fear not, My servant Jacob, and Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
Remember these, O Jacob and Israel, for thou art My servant; I have formed thee; thou art My servant, O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.
For the sake of My servant Jacob, and Israel My chosen one, and I called to you by your name.
Leave Babylon, flee from the Chaldeans; with a voice of singing declare, tell this, publicize it to the end of the earth; say, “The Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob.”
And said to me, thou art My servant, O Israel in whom I will be glorified!
- Gordon Rupp, Luther’s Progress to the Diet of Worms (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1964), pp. 66.
- The Third Ecumenical Council. (The Council of Ephesus, p. 202).
Co-Founder of the Kol HaTor-Project.
His association with the Kol HaTor Vision and Project draws from his passion for the Biblical Prophetical Promise of the Restoration of the House of Israel. Read more.