Does Matthew misquote Isaiah 7:14; 9:1-2; 11:1; Hosea 11:1 and Jeremiah 31:15 to provide false prophetic support for Jesus being the Messiah? What is Midrash? Do the prophecies cited in the New Testament have a Dual Fulfillment in both the Old and the New Testament?
Jewish rabbis today who reject the Christian view that Jesus is the Messiah contend that the vast majority of the New Testament references to the Old Testament Jewish Bible are misapplied. While it is true that many of these prophecies were already partially fulfilled during the events of the Old Testament, Matthew and other New Testament writers saw aspects within these historical events that had their ultimate fulfillment within the life of ministry of Yeshua Jesus.
Scholars refer to these prophecies as “dual fulfillment” prophecies or “typologies” in which a prophecy or an event within the Old Testament provides a “type” or pattern to picture an event in the New Testament. In this case, New Testament writers and early Christians practiced what scholars today call “Midrashing” the text. In this video we examine several examples of Matthew and other New Testament midrashic references to the Old Testament and compare these examples to Jewish Talmudic midrash to demonstrate that New Testament writers did not misquote or misapply the text of the Old Testament when drawing parallels to the life and ministry of the Messiah Yeshua Jesus.
[ Music ]
Does the New Testament misquote the Jewish Bible? Welcome to another edition in our series
“Is Christianity the Mormonism of Judaism?” I’m Christy Darlington, director of Witnesses for Jesus, and in the last couple videos we have been talking about Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, and today we are going to be covering more of these prophecies and particularly those prophecies that we would call dual-fulfillment prophecies. The Jewish rabbis claim that Christianity has distorted the religion of Judaism in much the same way that Mormonism has distorted the religion of Christianity, and so they use this false parallel where they’ll try to say that Christianity is the Mormonism of Judaism, and one of the ways they do that is to look at prophecies that we Christians call dual-fulfillment prophecies or typology. They are prophecies that had their immediate fulfillment in the days those prophecies were given, so prophecies like Isaiah 7:14, a virgin shall conceive and bear a child, there was a part of that prophecy that was fulfilled in that day and age, and they will say, “See, that prophecy was fulfilled.” And they’ll say that Christianity’s use of that passage, particularly Matthew when he quotes Isaiah 7:14, they will claim that it is a misapplication of the Jewish Bible. So they’ll draw parallels to that, and then they’ll say that’s like Mormonism’s misuse of the Christian Bible.
We will be examining these claims today in our video. So let me give you a little bit of overview today in our study of the dual-fulfillment prophecies. We will be looking at Isaiah 7:14, and the quote in Matthew 1:23 about a virgin conceiving and bearing a child. We will look at Matthew chapter 2, there are several prophecies, will look at Micah 5:2: “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.” Matthew applies this. That was a quote of Micah 5:2 in Matthew 2:6. So we’ll be looking at Matthew 2:6 quote of Micah 5:2. We’ll look at Matthew 2:15, the quote of Hosea 11:1, where he quotes Hosea, saying, “Out of Egypt I have called My Son.”
We will also be looking at Matthew 2:18, which is quoting Jeremiah 31:15: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children,” when the children were killed, when Jesus was born. So we’ll be looking at that prophecy, and also Matthew 2:23 talks about how Jesus or how the Messiah would be a
Nazarene. It’s a play on words from Isaiah 11:1.
So we’re gonna look at those prophecies, and then we’re also going to look at Matthew chapter 4, where at the very beginning of the chapter Matthew says, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness and to be tempted of [by] the devil,” and we read in that passage that He was tempted, as He was in the wilderness for forty days, He was tempted by Satan, so He was tempted in the wilderness after having fasted for forty days. What is the parallel there that Matthew is drawing? We’ll look at that, and then we’re gonna look a little bit later on in that passage, we also read in Matthew 4:14-16, a prophecy from Isaiah 9:1-2. Now we’re all familiar with the Christmas song, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given and the government shall be upon His shoulders.” We’re familiar with Isaiah 9:6, this particular part of Isaiah, verses 1 and 2, are quoted in Matthew chapter 4, giving an idea that Matthew saw, in Isaiah 9, references to the Messiah. So we’re gonna look at those.
Matthew chapter 1: “A virgin shall conceive,” quote of Isaiah 7:14; Matthew chapter 2, several passages from the Old Testament; then Matthew chapter 4, the beginning part of Isaiah 9 being quoted; and, incidentally, that verse Isaiah 9:6 is not found in any direct quotation of the New Testament. The New Testament writers did not quote Isaiah 9:6 specifically, but Matthew alluded to Isaiah 9, picturing the Messiah in the beginning parts of the chapter which he quotes, and then we also see in Luke chapter 1, the particular reference of the Messiah, the government shall be upon His shoulders, and Isaiah 9:7 is referenced in Luke chapter 1. So there’s [are] a lot of parallels that mostly Matthew but other gospel writers, New Testament writers, like Apostle Paul, also reference Isaiah in reference to the Messiah; we’re also gonna look briefly at Isaiah 8:14, being quoted by the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:33, and 1 Peter 2:7, 8.
So these are what we call fulfillment prophecies, dual-fulfillment prophecies, because they had an immediate fulfillment in the day and age, but ultimate fulfillment was found in Christ. So, to begin this study, I want to talk about something that the Jewish rabbis did in the days of Christ, and also continue to do today in some of their Talmudic writings that are read by the Jews or referenced by the Jews, and the Talmud in particular, as we have noted in other videos that you guys have been watching and I’ve been putting together on this topic. The Talmud is the Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament. Now in the Talmud, we see many examples of this. This is called midrashing the text. What is midrash? Now this is taken from a Jewish website, myJewishlearning.com, and they say, “What is Midrash?” These writings which fill in gaps in biblical texts, fall into two categories. I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing this right, so please understand I’m not Jewish. So I don’t know how to read these words, but it’s halacha, h-a-l-a-c-h-a, and aggadah,
a-g-g-a-d-a-h, two categories of Midrash, and they explain what is that? What is midrash? “Midrash is an interpretive act, seeking the answers to religious questions (both practical and theological) by [plumbing] the meaning of the words of the Torah.” And then they talk about [it] comes from the root, “[(In the Bible, d-r-sh] (rash) is used to mean inquiring into any matter, including occasionally to seek out God’s word.) Midrash responds to contemporary problems and crafts new stories.” This is very important. Did you catch that? “Midrash responds to contemporary problems and crafts new stories, making connections between new Jewish realities and the unchanging biblical texts.”
So here’s the point. What the Jewish rabbis engaged in, in Jesus’s days and continuing on to today, was looking at an Old Testament passage, looking at the Jewish Bible and saying, “These stories, or this particular verse here, although it means this one thing, it can also possibly have another meaning for us today.” That’s essentially what midrashing is, and they go on and talk about the two different categories: the halacha, which is interpreting the biblical narrative, exploring questions of ethics or theology or creating homilies and parables based on the text. Aggadah means telling any midrash, which is not halacha, falls into this category.
So basically, aggadah midrash would be telling the stories in maybe a different way, but basically still retelling the story. If it’s not falling into the questions of crafting homilies and parables on the text, it falls into this other category. Now, don’t ask me to explain all the ins and outs of these different types of midrash, but the important thing I want you to understand [is] just the basic concept of midrashing, because it’s going to come into play when we look at the biblical text as given by Matthew. The quotations that Matthew pulls out of the Old Testament, in some cases, although those are pulled out of context, he’s employing this midrashic method of saying, yes, that prophecy meant this one thing, but look at how it can also apply to Yeshua Jesus, and that is essentially what Matthew does in many of these passages we are examining, and it is what the Jewish rabbis do in the Talmud, which we will examine a little bit later on after we look at these verses. You’re going to see examples of the exact same type of interpretive manner that the Jewish rabbis did in their commentaries, their Talmudic writings, and also there’s [are] other Jewish writings. They do this in many other passages.
“Midrash halacha,” this website explains, “attempts to clarify or extend a law beyond the conditions assumed in the Bible and to make connections between current practice and the biblical text. It made possible the creation and acceptance of new liturgies and rituals which de facto replace sacrificial worship after the fall of the Second Temple.” So you ask a Jew today, “Why don’t you do sacrifices?” Well, they don’t have a temple. There can only be sacrifices done where there is a temple, and in the Jerusalem temple being destroyed, that second temple was destroyed, the Jewish rabbis employed midrashing to come up with a new way of interpreting the sacrificial verses, to come up with new forms of ritual to take away sin.
So having an understanding of midrash can help us understand these passages here in the New Testament. Let’s start with Matthew 1:23. Let’s back it up a little bit. We will look at Matthew 1:20: “But when he had considered this,” speaking of Joseph, “behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.'” Now, just a little note, I’m reading from the New American Standard Bible. Whenever I’m reading the New Testament, I typically read from the NASB, although occasionally I might reference a different translation. I’ll let you know. But in the New Testament it’s NASB and then, when we get to the Old
Testament we will be reading the Jewish translation, Jewish Publication Society’s 1917 edition, and so just a little note on translation.
So we’re reading Matthew 1:20. The context is Joseph receiving a word from the angel of the Lord appearing to him and telling him, “Don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife,” even though she was pregnant and he’s like, “Why?” Verse 21: “She will bear a son; and you [shall] call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” And then we get to verse 22: “Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the Prophet.” Now here’s where Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14: “‘Behold, the Virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ which translated means ‘God with us.'”
Now, if you go over to Isaiah 7, the context is a completely different context. It is talking about a battle that was going to take place. In Isaiah 7 we read, “And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Aram, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to (wage) war against it; but could not prevail against it.”
So that’s the context Isaiah 7. It’s a specific context in the day of Ahaz, and so God’s Word comes to Ahaz through Isaiah, who says, “Thus says the Lord GOD,” verse 7, “It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass,” so you don’t need to worry. This is not gonna happen, they’re not gonna take over Jerusalem, but the the king Ahaz had trouble believing, so verse 11: “‘Ask thee a sign of HaShem thy God: ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.’ But Ahaz said: ‘I will not ask, neither will I try HaShem.’ And he said: ‘Hear ye now, O house of David: is it a small thing for you to weary men, that you will weary my God also?'”
Now here we get to the quote of Matthew 1:23 – here in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore, the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Curd and honey,” verse 15: “Shall he eat when he knoweth to refuse the evil, and choose the good. Yea, before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings thou has a horror of shall be forsaken.” So this is the sign that Isaiah gives to the King Ahaz about a young woman bearing a son, and this son, before he knows the difference between good and evil, these kings aren’t going to be an issue. They’re going to be forsaken, so these kings are gonna leave Jerusalem, there’s not going to be a battle, he doesn’t need to be concerned, and this is the sign that God gives through Isaiah to King Ahaz.
Now that’s the context of this quote about a virgin conceiving. It’s technically the word alma, which literally means a young woman shall conceive and bear a child, and it does make sense that, in the days of Ahaz, it wouldn’t have been a virgin who were to conceive, but rather a young woman, because this is going to be a child who’s going to be conceived, who is going to not even grow up before those kings dissipate. They no longer concern Jerusalem. So the context is clearly an event that took place in the days of King Ahaz, not something that would take place many years later. But what does what does Matthew see? Matthew looks at this story in the Old Testament that did take place and said, but there is another, a dual fulfillment to this passage, and he draws a connection to the Virgin Mary, who was a young woman, but she was a virgin, and so this is why Matthew translates that word young woman as virgin when he’s applying Isaiah 7:14
to his passage in Matthew 1:23. He is seeing the fact that this young woman, who, in Mary’s case, was a virgin, would conceive and bear a child and he’s saying look, he calls His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins. We see that spoken by the angel to Joseph, and Yeshua means “Jehovah saves,” so Matthew looks at these names and says, “Well, look, that’s just like the story in Isaiah 7:14,” about a young woman who was going to bear a child, and was going to call his name Emmanuel, which means “God with us,” and he says, “See the connection that what took place here in the days of King Ahaz,” essentially Matthew is saying that this was ultimately fulfilled in a greater fulfillment, a second, a dual-fulfillment prophecy that was fulfilled with Christ, so again, context, yes, we can agree that the context of this child that was born took place in the days of King Ahaz, but there was a dual fulfillment that Matthew was drawing on, and this is an example of midrashing. It’s an example of looking at the original text, looking at an incident that happened and [saying], look, but there’s a greater meaning for us today and that’s in Yeshua Jesus, who also had a young woman who bore a child.
And alma is essentially, although it means young woman, does not necessarily mean virgin or non-virgin, it can be translated virgin. If you look at the lexicon aids and the dictionaries for the word alma, they say that it can be translated virgin, but it can also be translated as a young woman who, maybe, is a young married woman. So it’s not specific to virginity, and the Jewish rabbis are right about that, but it’s not a wrong application to say that this young woman, in the case of Mary, was a virgin, hence, using the word virgin when translating Isaiah 7:14 in reference to Mary in Matthew’s context. So again, we have to keep everything in context and say [ask], what is Matthew essentially doing here? Yes, he’s taking this verse out of the original context, but he is applying this in a way that was very midrashic, in a way that said yes, this particular situation took place, but look at how it also had a dual fulfillment in the Messiah, Yeshua Jesus. And Matthew goes on with several more quotes from the Old Testament to draw parallels to incidents that happened in the Old Testament, took place or prophecies that were fully fulfilled in the Old Testament, but the ultimate fulfillment, the secondary fulfillment, secondary meaning, Matthew applies to Yeshua Jesus.
Let’s look at the next prophecy. We see in Matthew, which takes place in chapter 2 of Matthew and Matthew 2:6 says, and actually backing up a little bit, get in the context, beginning at verse 1: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.'” Now, you remember this story. I’m not going to read everything here, but the the magi had come to Herod and he’s like, “I don’t know where this king [is], what? There’s a king that’s born?” And so Herod goes and inquires of the wise men who say, “Well, yeah. Actually, this child was to be born in Bethlehem.”
So this is the context, and Matthew draws from that story here in Matthew 2 of an incident that took place when Jesus was born, and he says, “This is just like Micah 5:2.” Verse 5: “They said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what has been written by the prophet:
and you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler who shall shepherd My people, Israel.'” Now the actual quote: Micah 5:2. We’re gonna go ahead and read that now, “But thou Bethlehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days. Therefore will He give them up, until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth; then the residue of his brethren shall return with the children of Israel. And he shall stand and shall feed his flock in the strength of HaShem, in the majesty of the name of HaShem his God.”
Now Matthew, when he quotes Micah 5:2, you could see he left parts of it out. He left the part about — well, essentially, he summarizes it. He left the second half of the verse out where it says, “But thou Bethlehem Ephrathah, though [which art] be little among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel,” and then he leaves this part out: “Whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days.”
Now the Jewish rabbis point to that and say, “Well, why did he leave that out? If he put it in, it would not have fit the context for the points of Matthew’s quotation. Why did he leave the other half of the verse out?” I say: actually that is not the case. He didn’t leave that second half of the verse off when he quoted it about the goings forth from old or from ancient days. He didn’t leave that off because he was trying to hide anything; rather, he was trying to summarize these three verses here. He stops at the middle of verse two, and then he essentially summarizes his verses, the following two verses, and he comes down to: and he shall stand, to shepherd the flock, strength of Hashem, Matthew says, “For out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.”
So it wasn’t that Matthew was trying to do a direct word-for-word quote out of Micah. Rather, he’s trying to get the concepts out of Micah chapter 2, and look particularly at verse 2 and verse 4 and say: look at the parallels here. This one’s supposed to come from Bethlehem and He’s supposed to shepherd God’s people, so he pulls from those two verses. He doesn’t necessarily quote the whole thing, but had he quoted the whole thing, it would not have diminished the strength of his argument in any way. Here is why: “Whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days.”
Now what does this remind you of? Does this remind you of Daniel chapter 7, about a Son of man Who’s going to come before the Ancient of Days? You see two persons, you have this Son of man coming before the Ancient of Days, and yet it says here that this person who comes out of Bethlehem comes forth from old, from ancient of days. Who does this but God? God Himself was called the Ancient of Days. So, if Matthew had quoted this other half of the verse, it would have strengthened his argument, to not only the fact this Messiah [is] unique in shepherding God’s people, and in coming out of Bethlehem, but this Messiah comes forth from the Ancient of Days, just like we read about in Daniel chapter 7. It’s an allusion to the Messiah being from eternity past to eternity future, so that actual half of the verse strengthens the argument, it does not weaken it and Matthew, not quoting the half of the verse, wasn’t trying to hide anything, but was rather drawing a point off the passage, and essentially midrashing the text to say the concept of a shepherd coming out of Bethlehem is what is portrayed in Micah, Micah chapter 5, being quoted here in Matthew, chapter 2.
So no, Matthew’s not taking Micah necessarily out of context. He’s drawing a parallel to this ruler in Israel who’s supposed to shepherd God’s people and pointing that and applying that directly to Yeshua Jesus, here in Matthew chapter 2. The same holds true for the following passages we’re going to examine here in chapter 2 of Matthew, Matthew 2:15 and talks about how,
in the preceding verses, how Jesus had to be taken to Egypt in order to be protected against Herod, who wanted to wipe out all the babies, trying to get rid of this king of Israel, all the babies in Bethlehem, and so what happens? Jesus is taken down to Egypt. Well, what happened in the nation of Israel when there was a famine? How were they protected by God? They were taken to Egypt, and when God went to Pharaoh and said to Pharaoh through Moses, let My people go, God told Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Israel is my son.” Okay, God told Moses to tell Pharaoh, Israel is My son, therefore, tell the Pharaoh, “Let my people go, let My son go that he may serve me.”
So the context is Egypt, Israel is taken to Egypt to protect from the famine. God uses Egypt as a protection place for his son, Israel, and Matthew draws on that parallel with Jesus going down to Egypt. And then once Israel is taken out of Egypt, as we read in Hosea 11:1, says, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” Matthew draws on that parallel with God calling His son, Israel, out of Egypt and essentially applies that to Jesus here in Matthew 2:15, saying He’s (speaking of Christ) remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the Prophet: “Out of Egypt I called My son.”
Now, contextually in Hosea, it clearly says that this is the context of Israel being called God’s son out of Egypt. Matthew essentially says, yes, but there is a greater fulfillment, yes, that was fulfilled in Israel, but there’s a greater fulfillment. Look at the parallel with God’s son, Israel, being called out of Egypt and God’s Son, Yeshua Jesus, being called out of Egypt. So that’s what’s going on, again, midrashing the text, pulling a greater meaning from the original passage to appoint that to Yeshua Jesus.
Now we get down to Matthew 2:17-18, where Matthew is quoting Jeremiah 31:15. Here’s how Matthew 2:17-18 reads: “Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.'” Now, the context of Jeremiah 31:15 reads, “Thus saith HaShem: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted for her children, because they are not.” And if we read back a little bit further: “And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, saith Hashem,” And it says Rachel is weeping for her children, and then it goes on: “Thus saith HaShem: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith HaShem; and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.” Now, contextually, this is a prophecy about Israel in exile, coming out from that exile. And they will come back from the land of the enemy, and so Rachel doesn’t need to weep for her children anymore.
it’s a different situation in the Old Testament. It’s talking about Israel in Exodus coming out of that [Egypt]. Now I want you to remember what happened in Exodus when God brought Israel out of Egypt. What happened to the babies when Moses was born? Do you remember Pharaoh was afraid of the Israelite men overtaking his country, so he ordered all the baby boys to be killed. So that’s what happened when Israel was in Exodus in Egypt. Then when Moses was born, Satan tried to kill him, and so they had to hide Moses in the Nile river, and eventually, God worked it all out that he was spared, just like Yeshua Jesus was spared.
There is a parallel going on here, Moses, as the prophet, the mediator between God and men, when they exited out of Egypt, Moses served as mediator. He mediated on behalf of the people, because the people had sinned. So this person, who became like the mediator between Israel and God, essentially his life was threatened when he was first born and a bunch of babies died, and Rachel was weeping for her children. Rachel, speaking of Rachel, she was a picture of Israel, and so this is essentially Jeremiah 31 talking about Israel no longer weeping, Rachel no longer weeping, because you’re gonna come out of Exodus [Egypt].
Matthew looks back at that incident and draws another parallel to Yeshua Jesus — just like Jesus’ life was threatened when He was born, just like Moses’ life was threatened when he was born, and God brought Israel [to] Egypt to protect his son, Israel, from the famine. Now it brought Israel back to her land, and Rachel no longer had to weep because she was coming back into the land, and what is Matthew doing? He’s drawing these parallels in Matthew chapter 2, to that incident again, to Israel coming out of exile back into the land, and so God’s Son, Yeshua Jesus, came out of exile in Egypt if you will, if you want to call it exile, brought Him back into the land, and Rachel was weeping for her children because they are not. At the birth of Jesus, those children were killed in Bethlehem, just like they were killed at the birth of Moses in Egypt. So these are all parallels and shadows of Yeshua Jesus, and Matthew is drawing on specific incidences in the Old Testament and applying [them] to Yeshua Jesus, and drawing these parallels. He’s not taking these verses out of context per se, but rather drawing a secondary application, a secondary meaning, out of these passages, which is very much what Jewish rabbis did when they looked at the Old Testament, as we will see in a moment when we get into the Talmudic text.
Now we get down to Matthew 2:23, and this is a very interesting passage where Matthew draws, if you will, a play on words that is taken from Isaiah 11:1. Matthew 2:23, he says, “And came [and] lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.'” Now, is there any place in the Old Testament where the Messiah was to be called a Nazarene, specifically? You can look the Old Testament through and you won’t see a specific reference to the Messiah being called a Nazarene. So, where does Matthew get this? Well, let’s look at Isaiah 11:1, which reads in the Jewish Bible, Isaiah 11:1: “And there shall come forth
a shoot out of [the stock of] Jesse and a twig shall grow forth out of his roots.” Now, what in the world are they talking about, a shoot out of Jesse and a twig growing out of his roots? Well, if you look up the Hebrew word for twig, which many of the other translations render as a branch shall go forth out of its roots. That word for branch is netser and essentially that netser, that branch is an allusion to Messiah, Yeshua Jesus, coming out of the root of Jesse, out of Israel. Remember, Israel’s called God’s son, and then Yeshua Jesus is called God’s Son in a very specific way, and so Matthew is drawing these and pulling these prophecies together from the Old Testament, and these stories from the Old Testament and drawing a parallel to Yeshua Jesus and he’s saying, just like this twig, this branch, this netser is supposed to come out of Jesse. Essentially that’s why he’s saying he shall be called a netser Nazarene, so he’s making a play on words in Matthew 2:23 when he’s referencing Hosea 11:1 about the branch, the netser, that is going to come out of the roots of Israel.
So it’s really fascinating to look at Matthew’s writings and quotations of the Old Testament, and see how he understood these prophecies, even though they had immediate fulfillment or these stories had immediate fulfillment in their day and age, Matthew drew many shadows and many allusions to the Messiah right out of the text of the Old Testament. And, incidentally, when you look at historical evidence for Matthew, there is some indication that Matthew may have been originally written in Hebrew, and it makes perfect sense that, if Matthew originally was written in Hebrew, he was drawing these parallels for the Hebrew people themselves, to pull out passages they were familiar with, they knew the context of these verses. He wasn’t making something up to people who are ignorant. He was saying, “Look at these these passages you grew up reading in your Jewish Bible, and look at how Yeshua Jesus fulfilled a greater fulfillment of these prophecies.”
It’s a fascinating study to look at Matthew chapter 1 and chapter 2, and then we get over to Matthew chapter 4. He draws some more parallels to Yeshua Jesus’ life and the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. In Matthew chapter 4, it begins with verse 1, with reading, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Now what happened when Jesus was in the wilderness? He was in the wilderness for how long? Forty days. How long was the nation of Israel in the wilderness? Forty years. Do you see the connection Matthew is drawing here? He’s starting to see another parallel drawn from the nation of Israel; God’s son, Israel now being applied to God’s Son personally in this individual Yeshua Messiah Jesus. Forty days in the wilderness Jesus suffered, and then He was tempted by the devil, just like God’s son, Israel, was tempted by the devil in the wilderness for forty years. So there is a parallel here in Matthew, chapter 4 and it goes on.
We get over here to Matthew 4:14-16. “This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet,” and now he’s going to quote Isaiah 9:1-2. Matthew 4:15,
“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of The Gentiles – the people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned.” So, why is Matthew drawing a parallel to Isaiah 9:1-2? As we saw at the very beginning of this video, I pointed this out. Isaiah 9:6: “Unto us a child is born,” that passage we’re all familiar with is not quoted by any New Testament writer directly, but Matthew alludes to the context of Isaiah 9 and says, “Look, a light has dawned.” And just like a light has dawned in Isaiah 9, he’s drawing a parallel to Yeshua Jesus being that light, and that’s what he goes on and talks about, how Jesus preached. [Matthew 4] verse 17: “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” So that light has dawned, that light that became the light to the Gentiles.
How did Jesus become the light to the Gentiles? Well, we non-Jewish people have accepted Yeshua Jesus as our Savior, and because of Yeshua Jesus, we now believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and so Yeshua Jesus has brought that light to the Gentiles as Isaiah 9 foretold, and Matthew drew that parallel in the beginning verses of Isaiah 9 to draw to Yeshua Jesus. And that is why a lot of Christians today will look at Isaiah 9:6 continuing on in that passage, and we’ll see Yeshua Messiah Jesus foretold in that passage.
And this is what not only Matthew who saw Messianic shadows in Isaiah 9, but also the Apostle Paul and Peter saw shadows of the Messiah in Isaiah as well, and particularly the writer of Luke in his writing and foretelling, or going through the account of Jesus and His birth in Luke 1:31-33. He quotes Isaiah 9:7 directly. So let’s take a look at that, Luke 1:31, we read the angel speaking to Mary: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Okay, so that’s 31-33. Now what is this passage alluding to? It’s Isaiah 9:7. So let’s read Isaiah 9:6-7. Even though verse 6 isn’t specifically quoted in any New Testament book, we see it alluded to here in Luke 1:6-7: “For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder and his name is called Pele-joez el gibbor-Abi-ad- sar-shalom; That
the government may be increased, and of peace there be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it through justice and through righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of HaShem of hosts doth perform this.” Now, these were transliterations of Hebrew words. His name shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father. They transliterated it here in this Jewish Bible that I’m reading, so I had a hard time reading it because I can’t read Hebrew, but Pele-joez el gibbor – I know el gibbor is mighty God – and then shalom is peace (Prince of Peace), but don’t ask me to try to read these Hebrew words. I struggle with that, but we are all familiar with verse 6 from our Bibles and verse 7 specifically talks about the government being upon His shoulders, and of peace will be no end and upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom to establish it forever. Ok, so that’s the context and again, Luke applies Isaiah 9, just like Matthew does, as a messianic foreshadowing of Yeshua Jesus, and says in verse 33, “And he [will] reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and His kingdom will have no end.” So, there is a direct parallel in the writings of Luke, as well.
And then we get over to the Apostle Paul and Peter quoting another Isaiah passage. Let’s read Isaiah 8:14 and in verse 13: “HaShem of hosts, Him shall ye sanctify, and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” This is directly quoted by Peter. “And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” Now, who is this rock of offense? This is directly applied, Isaiah 8:14, to Yeshua Jesus in the writings of Paul in Romans 9:33, “Just as it is written, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.'” (Speaking of “Him” being Jesus.)
So Paul quotes that passage, and we see Peter doing the same thing in 1 Peter 2:7-8. “This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,’ and, ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’: for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.'” So isn’t that beautiful?
We see throughout the New Testament, beginning with Matthew’s many references to the Old Testament texts and the stories of the Old Testament and applying them to Yeshua Jesus. We see the same thing in the writings of Paul and Peter, and Peter quotes other passages of the Old Testament. I can’t get into it all, but I just want you guys to see the overall theme of the New Testament is consistent with rabbinic midrashing of the Old Testament, as we will see now, when we examine these questions,
is the New Testament taking these verses out of context? As I’ve already showed you, as we read through the verses, and as we look at the Old Testament stories, even though there was direct application in the day and age that these prophecies were written, direct application to events that Israel endured and prophecies that were fulfilled, there were shadows. There were shadows that could not be fully fulfilled except in the Messiah Jesus, particularly the name that this King would have, that we’ve read about in Isaiah 9 – mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, His kingdom will be forever. How can His kingdom before ever if he’s just a human, just a single human that existed in the days of Isaiah?
I suggest to you, as New Testament writers suggest, there was an allusion to Someone greater who would live forever, a messiah who would be both Prince of Peace and King. And as we’ve seen in the rabbinic writings, the two comings of the Messiah that the rabbis would argue about, well, what about this Messiah who’s coming in the clouds in Daniel, chapter 7? And then you have this Messiah, who’s riding on a donkey – how do you reconcile that? You reconcile that in the person of Jesus who came the first time as a suffering servant, will come a second time in the future, hopefully, in our day he will come and become king of Israel forever, as the mighty God Isaiah 9:6 foreshadows.
So it’s not a misapplication to look at the Old Testament and to draw parallels to the New Testament, but yet the Jewish rabbis argue that it is. So let’s examine that next. What are the Jewish arguments against these verses?
Rabbi Tovia Singer: “So, to be clear, so some Christians do say ok, we can see the fact that the plain natural reading of the text. It’s not talking about, doesn’t seem to be talking about a virgin, Matthew changed a whole bunch, more that I’m not going to explain here. We can see that the context of Isaiah [9:]7 is clearly not talking about the Messiah being born 700 years later, but it’s about a contemporaneous event that is occurring then. But they say, hold on a moment. Now, listen carefully. They say, isn’t it true that the rabbis engaged in all kinds of midrashic homilies, where they read into texts all kinds of secondary meanings that are part of a[n] oral tradition of the Jewish people, which does not necessarily follow the natural reading of the plain text? So there is a secondary meaning and of another meaning that is a kind of, called, midrashic reading, where they’re using a kind of – or a typology. A typology means that we see something happening 27 hundred years ago, but this is really just a type of something in the future. Okay, got it? And so on.
“So that’s their argument. They say, yeah it’s true, it doesn’t say it, the plain reading, the Jews are right, but Matthew is engaging in what rabbis do. Now. The truth is, this sounds like at first glance, a good argument, but what you need to do is you need to dig, and then dig a little deeper, and you find out that this is a completely fatuous claim. To begin with, all the evangelical Christians, the Protestants, they actually do accept the teachings of the Protestant Reformation, and importantly germane to this show is that they accept the solas
“which means the onlies, most importantly, Sola Scriptura. So these Christians who are missionizing Jews, all are part of the Protestant movement. They reject the authority of the Roman Catholic Church right down the line. They all insist that they don’t believe in any oral tradition. They all demand that it’s Sola Scriptura, which means the Bible alone, and that no other meaning that is not clearly expressed in Scripture can be used for confession or a doctrine of what they believe. So what they’re doing is playing a game. Now they have their standing, not on thin ice. They’re drowning under the water of the plain text of meaning, they then suddenly all becoming Labobatures and they’re going to some midrash. You can’t use – this kind of claim, midrashic thing, you reject all that.”
Christy: I’ve got to jump in here and analyze for just a minute what this popular Jewish rabbi that we’ve been featuring in many of our shows, what he’s actually saying. He just made the claim that Christians cannot use the typology or midrashing argument for Matthew’s parallels that he drew between the Old Testament or the Jewish Bible’s passages in Isaiah, and that of the life of Christ that Matthew talked about in many of his writings. He said we cannot use those parallels and call it midrashing on the basis of Sola Scriptura. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t know a single Christian, a single Protestant, who believes in the souls of the reformation who does not regard Matthew, the Gospel of Matthew, as Scripture. It’s Scripture, so how can he say that we’re to throw Matthew’s analogies to the Old Testament out on the basis of Sola Scriptura, when Sola Scriptura – Matthew is part of. The Scripture-alone beliefs of Christians, of Protestant Christians, going back to the 15th century when the Reformation occurred, Matthew was well recognized as Scripture by then. In fact, many, many centuries earlier, Matthew was accepted as authoritative Scripture. So the Christian tradition for centuries has been to accept Matthew’s writings as Scripture, so how are we to throw out Matthew’s analogies to the Old Testament on the basis of Sola Scriptura, when Matthew’s book itself is Scripture? That’s an invalid argument, but let’s just think about this on another level. Let’s consider for a moment that we’re back in the first century,
and we’re evaluating the writings of Matthew in the context of the culture, and the context of the Jewish writings, as well as the ancient Scriptures, the Hebrew Scriptures, those Old Testament Scriptures that the Jews call the Jewish Bible. As we pointed out in many examples in Matthew’s analogies, he drew on the actual context, the actual stories of the Old Testament, and pointed out the shadows, the aspects of those prophecies that could not be fulfilled in their day. For example, in Isaiah, we see shadows of a prince who would be the Prince of Peace, the government would rest on His shoulders and He would reign forever.
We also see in Isaiah this corner stone that the builders rejected. Well, who other than Jesus, who other than Yeshua our Messiah, was rejected by his people, the builders, the Jews. He saw in these passages and not just Matthew, the Apostle Paul and Peter saw in these passages aspects that could not fully be fulfilled in their original context, and they drew parallels based on those aspects that were contained within the Jewish Scriptures, within those Old Testament texts. So, far from taking Scripture out of context and making something up on those Scriptures, they actually drew from the very context, and the very ideas that were embedded within those Scriptures.
In fact, Matthew’s – even his claim that He [Jesus] shall be called a Nazarene – as you remember, that references back to the word, the Hebrew word netser, which means “branch,” this one who was coming was to be called a righteous branch or righteous twig, as the Jewish Bible renders it. And that Hebrew word is netser, and Matthew even played on the words of netser and said that’s like Nazarene, I mean similarities and sound. Of course, he was playing on the sound of the words, but indeed Yeshua is a righteous branch coming out from that root, from that tree, as we read about in Isaiah 53, so throughout Isaiah we see these parallels, and not just Isaiah, but throughout these passages in the Old Testament that Matthew references, and that Paul and Peter also reference.
There were these shadows that could not be fully fulfilled within the original context of these passages. So, even using the argument of Sola Scriptura to evaluate Matthew’s claims against the Jewish Old Testament is an invalid argument because these ideas, these shadows, came out of the Jewish Old Testament. Now let’s continue on and listen to another argument this rabbi gives against the midrashic or typology argument that Christians use to justify Matthew’s quotations of the Old Testament.
Rabbi Tovia Singer: “If we’re going to say that Matthew used the midrashic reading, if you’re gonna say that, then what claim can be falsified? Then why aren’t you Catholic? So maybe, the Catholic Church rules say: we believe that Mary was born without the stain of original sin when she was born to Anna. Why don’t you accept that, because you say Sola Scriptura,
“it means, why don’t you believe in Hari Krishna? Why don’t you then believe in Mormon? The Mormons have big claims, the fast-growing Christian sect. The reason you reject Mormonism, you ask any Christian, I was saying to you, my sweet brothers or sisters who are Christians, I say to you: sweethearts, listen to me. You know that if I ask you as an evangelical, why do you reject the claims of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints? You know what your answer is. Your answer is because the teachings of the Mormon Church, [these are] incompatible with the teachings of the New Testament. Now I want to ask you a question: would you accept from a Mormon the claim that oh yeah, it’s true, it doesn’t really say that Jesus is going to make a second coming in Jackson, Missouri, and he’s not gonna appear to Joseph Smith, but Joseph Smith was using a midrashic thing. You were to reject that as completely ridiculous, fractious and absurd. So please do understand that you can’t just go claiming midrashic reading.”
Christy: This rabbi just asked the question: if we’re going to use the midrashic method to justify the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, in Matthew’s quotations and other quotations found elsewhere in the New Testament, he said, then, “What claim can be falsified?” In asking that question, the Jewish rabbi, either unknowingly or intendedly misrepresented what midrashism really is.
I just gave you a number of examples where Matthew utilized midrashism by looking at the Old Testament passages in their original context, and drawing parallels between the Old Testament, Jewish Bible story and the New Testament story in Christ, and drawing similarities between the two. For something to be midrashed or for something to be a legitimate typology, or what we would call a dual-fulfillment near-far prophecy, there has to be a connection with the original passage that is being midrashed.
As in the case of God calling Israel his son, the nation of Israel, out of Egypt and then applying that to God’s [calling His] real Son Yeshua Jesus out of Egypt when He fled there for safety, just like the nation of Israel fled to Egypt to be saved from the famine, there are a lot of parallels that were being drawn there, between Matthew’s quotation of that incident in Matthew 2 and Hosea 11. But that is not the case in any of the examples that this rabbi gave of claims he thought could not be falsified, if we accept the midrashic interpretation that Matthew utilizes.
Examples like Mary being a virgin, a perpetual virgin, taught in Catholicism. How do you falsify the claim? Well, you do so simply by reading the text of the Scripture, which clearly teaches that she had other children. She wasn’t a perpetual virgin. That’s how you falsify those claims. It’s not a situation – the idea that Mary is a virgin in the Catholicism, is not derived from any text of Scripture. It’s Catholic tradition, that’s why we, as Protestants, reject Sola Scriptura, but that is not the case with these examples.
Again, where Matthew is quoting a text of Scripture, there is a one-to-one parallel between the actual, real incident being discussed in the Old Testament, and the real-life incident being discussed in the New Testament that Matthew is drawing a parallel to. That’s what midrashism is. It has to have a connection to the original context in the original reading and the meaning of the passage, and an application that could be a near-far prophecy fulfillment. There has to be some connection.
If there’s nothing there, you can’t say that’s midrashism, you can’t say that that is a typology. So his analogies are bogus, and the example that he gave of Mormonism supposedly midrashing an idea that Jesus was going to come to Jackson County, Missouri, that Joseph Smith claimed, he said was from midrashism? Where? Where did Joseph get that from any text of Scripture in the Bible? You can look and research Mormonism, and you will find there’s not a single example where Joseph Smith said, “This Bible verse teaches that Jesus will come back to Jackson County, Missouri.” Rather, that was a revelation you’ll read about in Doctrine and Covenants. Joseph Smith had this revelation he claimed God gave him directly, so that’s not midrashism. He’s not looking at a text of Scripture and saying well, this text of Scripture in this context means this, but it really means this today. He wasn’t midrashing a single text of Scripture of the Old Testament or the New Testament. He was making up his own scripture from his own supposed, alleged revelations from God. So, even again, another example that rabbi gave to say you can’t falsify this claim if you accept the midrashic method is invalid, because [it] had no connection whatsoever to what midrashism is, and that’s why I said this rabbi is not even accurately portraying what midrashism is.
He’s either ignorant about it, which I find that rather strange; I find that hard to believe that a rabbi would be ignorant of what midrashism really is, so I tend to lean on the side that he’s intentionally throwing out examples that are irrelevant to the issue of midrashism, to try to lend confusion to the issue, so that his unsuspecting audience, his unsuspecting viewers who are watching his videos and trying to learn about Judaism, have no idea that he’s misrepresenting what midrashism is. But as we’ve looked at the examples of Matthew, it has to have a one-to-one connection to the original passage for it to be a legitimate case of midrashsm. And yet in Mormonism, when Mormonism does pull a Scripture out of context, when Joseph Smith does pull a Scripture to try to support his ideas, we find that he not only disregards the context of those verses, but he draws parallels that have no relevancy to the original context or the original story that he is drawing or trying to make a claim to.
And so let me give you a couple of examples of how Joseph Smith misapplied Scripture, and how easy it is to falsify his claims by looking at these Scriptures in their context, and in the actual meanings of the word. An example: 1 Corinthians 15, and I’m gonna be reading the King James Bible because that’s the Bible that Joseph Smith used when he
made his claims. 1 Corinthians 15:35 says, “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” So the context is talking about a resurrected body. What body are you going to be raised in? And we’re gonna skip on down to verse 40, which is the verse Joseph Smith took out of context. “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” All right now, verse 40. There are celestial bodies, there are terrestrial bodies. Do you see any word called “telestial” in the text? You only see two words: terrestrial and celestial. Joseph Smith did not know what those words meant in the ancient King James language; the archaic King James language of “celestial” was another word for heavenly bodies. The archaic King James term of “terrestrial” is another word for earthly bodies.
Just look this up in any other translation of this passage in 1 Corinthians 15, and you will see in any other translation it says, “heavenly bodies,” “earthly bodies,” because that’s what the Greek word[s] actually mean, and what the King James actually meant in the day and age when it was written, people understood what that [those] term[s] celestial and terrestrial meant. But Joseph Smith, reading this passage, not looking at the context this is talking about, a resurrected body, he pulls this verse out of context and, not only takes these verses to mean something other than what they meant, he says celestial means it’s a kingdom. It’s not really talking about a body, a resurrected body, but rather a kingdom that you will resurrect to. And then he said terrestrial’s another kingdom, so now we have two kingdoms. But wait – he read somewhere else in the Bible where there are three heavens, so he says, well I guess there must be three kingdoms, so he made up a third kingdom, and that third kingdom he calls the Telestial Kingdom. That is a word that does not exist in the King James language. It does not exist in the King James Bible, nor does it exist in this text. There is not a single translation of 1 Corinthians 15:40 that says that there is a telestial body or a telestial kingdom, but he made it up, because he did not understand the meaning of these words, nor did he look at the context.
If you’re gonna call that midrashing, you have a real problem, because there is absolutely no connection between Joseph Smith’s application of this verse and the actual, original meaning of the verse in its context. But let’s do another example, as if that’s not enough to show Joseph Smith’s misapplication of Scripture is not midrashing. Let’s look at another example. Someone might say, well maybe this is an example of midrashing that Joseph Smith did on this text of Scripture. Is it really? Let’s look at it. Ezekiel 37 and we’re gonna just highlight a couple verses here, mainly verse 15: “The word of the Lord
came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, for Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions.” Now, Joseph Smith took these two sticks here in Ezekiel 37:16, and said all these sticks are actually talking about one stick, the Bible, and the other stick, the Book of Mormon, but is that what the context says? Is that what was the original story that is being told here? Is that what this prophecy was really talking about? Let’s read on in the context, verse 17 of Ezekiel 37:
“And joined them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before thy eyes (before their eyes). And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen” (you got to remember the context of this. Israel, the northern tribes, had been taken captive to Assyria, so God’s saying I want to take the children of Israel from among the heathens, here in verse 21), “Whither they be gone and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms anymore at all.” (Eze. 37:17-22)
So what is this talking about? Is this talking about two books thinking gonna be somehow brought into one? Is this talking about two different people groups that are separated by an ocean, the American Indians that Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon lands, the people of the Book of Mormon, the Native American Indians, that he believed were the principle ancestors of Jewish migrants to America? Is that what this passage is talking about? And then the other nation, the other stick, being a reference to the Bible’s people, that it would be the Jewish people in Israel, is this talking about two completely separate groups of people that are separated by an ocean that are somehow migrated and separated by a migration, a travel by ship over to America, is that what this is talking about, or is this, in context, talking about the nation of the
northern tribes of Israel, of the nation of Israel, and then the tribes of Judah, being split at this time of this writing, because the northern tribes have been taken captive by Assyria? Clearly as we read, the very meaning is given in the text, and there is no allusion to another group of people in America. But Joseph Smith pulled this passage out of context, and said, no, this is really talking about the Book of Mormon people and the Bible people being separated and eventually brought into one.
Now, first of all, the text itself says that these two tribes, two divisions, northern kingdom and the southern kingdom of Israel, [are] going to be brought into one nation under one king. Have the Book of Mormon people, even if you want to say that they’re Native Americans like Joseph Smith taught, had they ever been brought, have the Native Americans ever been brought into one nation that was made up of the Jews in Israel and America? Has America ever annexed the Jewish nation as one of the states, so that we could become one nation under one king?
No. So there’s absolutely no parallels here to Joseph Smith’s application of the text and the original application of the text given in the nation of Israel with the northern tribes and the southern tribes being one stick for each, combined into one nation under one king. That’s how the text was supposed to be fulfilled. If we were to draw a midrashic application to something else that would be repeated, let’s say a near-far prophecy or a dual fulfillment prophecy like what we see in Jesus Christ, Yeshua our Messiah, fulfilling these Old Testament passages, these passages we read about in Isaiah, there has to be a connection to the original application of that passage for it to be a true example of midrashing.
Just as in the case of 1 Corinthians 15 where there was absolutely no relevancy to Joseph Smith’s application of the text, so is the case with Ezekiel 37. In fact, not only is there no relevancy when we research the Book of Mormon people, the Book of Mormon lands, the cities, the coins, the battles, there is not one bit of archaeological evidence that supports a Jewish migration to America from Israel. In fact, when the DNA evidence is compiled on the Native Americans, we find that they have an Asian origin, not a Near-Eastern Jewish origin, so the very claims of the Book of Mormon that there is a group of people from Israel that this is talking about, two separate Israelites, one in America and one group in Israel, is bogus because it’s not even based on a real historical event. There’s no connection, again, to an application that could be made here from Ezekiel 37 to the Book of Mormon peoples being the Book of Mormon one stick, and the Jewish people in Israel being another stick, or the Bible’s people as a second stick. So, again, this passage that Joseph Smith
misapplied to support his claims about the Book of Mormon is not a case of midrashing, because it’s not even based on real historical facts that can be validated by archaeology.
The very opposite is the case when we look at the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament, quoting the Old Testament stories concerning Israel’s migration into Egypt, and Jesus Christ having traveled to Egypt for protection, there were real events that took place here, and you can see in the historical records that there was, indeed, a man named Jesus who people believed is the Messiah, and many people have reported that He rose from the dead. These are accounts that are recorded both by the Gospel writers, and by even historians like Josephus. The life and times of Christ can be validated on many levels as a real, historical event, not only in the writings of people who witnessed Him, but also in the archaeological digs that can be done in the cities that He visited. We can find the very coins mentioned in the New Testament being actually verified by archeological digs today.
We cannot find a single Book of Mormon coin, we cannot find a single place where the battles that the Book of Mormon supposedly took place, large scales of battles, of numbers of people that were supposedly killed in the Hill Cumorah, and yet they have not found a single weapon uncovered in the Hill Cumorah in archeological digs. Not a single claim of the Book of Mormon can be validated by a true historical record. And thus, even if you want to try to say the Mormons’ use, Joseph Smith’s use, of Ezekiel 37 is an example of midrashing, it’s easily falsifiable just by looking at the lack of archaeological evidence for their claim.
So, again, let’s go back to the very question the Jewish rabbi just asked in his second argument against Matthew’s quotations of the Old Testament, that we can’t falsify a claim if we accept the midrashic method for the New Testament’s quotations of the Old Testament. I say, yes, we can. We can falsify the claim, we can easily falsify the claim. Are those claims consistent with the actual meaning of the text? Is there a parallel between the ancient account that’s being spoken of and then being applied to the times of Christ? And we see yes, there there are definite parallels, and there are also not only historical, real historical parallels, but we also see the allusions to something greater in the very text of the Old Testament that could only be fulfilled in the Messiah Yeshua Jesus, things like a king that would reign forever that we read about in Isaiah 9, or aspects of a
Prince of Peace, father of eternity, eternal father, someone who has an eternal nature, someone who is able to be that chief corner stone that the builders rejected. Yeshua Jesus fulfills all of these allusions, shadows, that are given in the Old Testament that seem to be pointing to something that would have a greater fulfillment, as we see fulfilled in the New Testament. So again, it’s consistent with the text of the Old Testament, it’s not inconsistent. These quotes do fit the Jewish midrashic method.
Now let’s go to the issue of examples in the Talmud, the Jewish Talmud. How did the ancient rabbis interpret their Old Testament messianic passages, and how did they apply the midrashic method in their day? We’re going to ask the question again, and consider this question: did the Christian writers take the Old Testament Scriptures out of context when they were quoting these Old Testament passages? Were they out of context, or were they consistent with the ancient Jewish rabbis’ use of midrashic or typology teachings in their writings? Let’s examine those next.
Does the New Testament misapply the ancient prophecies of the Messiah, and does the New Testament misapply the ancient stories that we read in the Old Testament to the Messiah? I’m gonna say the New Testament does not misapply anything, for two reasons: first of all, when we read in Luke 24, where Jesus is talking to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, He talks about how the Old Testament stories were pictures of Him, beginning with Moses and all the law and the prophets, Jesus taught His disciples how they foreshadowed, how they pictured His coming. And so when we read in the New Testament here in Matthew and other passages where these Old Testament stories are applied directly to the Messiah Jesus, that is not a misapplication of the Old Testament. It’s rather an understanding of what Jesus taught the disciples. We should expect to see this kind of thing done in the New Testament, because that’s what the New Testament teaches us – that the Old Testament was just a shadow of the Messiah to come, and so therefore, when you read stories of Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness, and Joseph in Egypt, you can see how those were pictures of Jesus.
Now, the first reason, not only do I say that this is not a misapplication because Jesus taught it, but the second the reason I say that is because, when we read in the ancient Jewish Talmudic literature, that’s the Talmud, where the Jews interpret their Old Testament stories and prophecies, we see the exact same thing happening, where they apply the Old Testament account of Moses to
the Messianic prophecies here in Isaiah 53 and other places. I’d like to read a few of these statements from the Jewish Talmud. You read in Sukkah 52 – I put those on the screen where the Messiah is called not just “son of David,” we see plenty of references to the Messiah being a king, like being called the son of David in the Old Testament, but the rabbis also called the Messiah “son of Joseph.” Now, where do you think they got the idea to call the Messiah “son of Joseph” or “ben Yosef” as it’s stated in some of the translations of the Talmud in Sukkah 52? I suggest to you that they were looking at those prophecies in Zechariah 12 where the Messiah is pierced, or in Isaiah 53, and Psalm 22, where the Messiah, again, experiences piercing of His hands and feet and His image is marred in Isaiah 53 and the end of 52.
They were reading those passages of a suffering servant, a messiah that would be rejected by His people Israel, and they thought of the story of Joseph and how Joseph was rejected by his brothers, sent away to Egypt, to a foreign land, and there Joseph experienced a great deal of suffering and he eventually he was raised up to the position of second-in-command next to Pharaoh. He basically became a king, and what happened when he became a king? His Israelite brothers came back and received him. It’s the same kind of thing that happens with Jesus. When we read of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53, we see the same kind of thing: Israel is rejected, he was bruised and afflicted, but we esteemed him not. Israel rejects her Messiah but later, Israel receives her Messiah.
As we read on in other prophecies they will look on Him, Zechariah 12, whom they will pierce and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son. That’s the prophecy that Sukkah 52 – the ancient rabbis are talking about when they say the Messiah is killed, but then later, He’s received, He’s received again, He’s a king, He’s the son of David. So they called Him Messiah, son of Joseph, because they saw an Old Testament story that pictured very much the prophecies of the Messiah.
I’m also going to point out some other passages in the Jewish Talmud that are very interesting, that relate to this whole idea of applying the story of Moses to the Messiah, and I have here Sotah chapter 14a, and it’s where the rabbis are discussing the death of Moses, and the fact that nobody knows where he’s buried, and the fact that Moses was not able to enter the Land of Israel. It says, “Rabbi Samlai taught: for what reason did Moses our teacher greatly desire to enter Eretz Yisrael? Did he need to eat of its produce, or did he need to satisfy himself from its goodness? Rather this is what Moses said.” Now, this is their interpretation of what Moses said; I don’t believe this is a quote in their Old Testament Scriptures. There’s no reference in the Talmud to this being
an Old Testament statement, but they say this: “Moses said: many mitzvot were commanded to the Jewish people, and some of them can be fulfilled only in Eretz Yisrael, so I will enter the land in order that they can all be fulfilled by me.” Again, that’s the rabbinic teaching on this, I don’t believe that comes from any Old Testament passage, but they go on. They state: “The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: Do you seek to enter the land to perform these mitzvot for any reason other than to receive a reward? I will ascribe you credit as if you had performed them and you will receive your reward as it is stated.”
Now they’re gonna quote an Old Testament statement, they’re gonna quote Isaiah 53:12 of Moses. Look at this, Isaiah 53:12: “Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty; because he bared his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). They’re quoting Isaiah 53, a future prophecy of the Messiah, of the suffering servant, and who are they applying it to? Moses, an Old Testament story that had already been fulfilled! Let’s read on. “Rabbi Samlai proceeds to expound on the verse “‘Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great’ to mean that he will receive reward. One might have thought that he will receive reward like the later ones and not like the earlier ones, so the verse states: ‘And he shall divide the spoil with the mighty’ meaning like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were mighty in Torah and in mitzvot. ‘Because he bared his soul unto death,’ meaning he gave himself over to death on behalf of the Jewish people, as it is stated (and again we’re quoting now the Old Testament reference to Moses in the Exodus; Exodus 32:32 they’re gonna quote): ‘Yet now, if You will forgive their sin; if not, blot me, I pray You, out of Your book that You have written.'” So this is Moses standing up on behalf of the nation of Israel, saying, ‘Yet now, if You will forgive their sin; and if not, blot me … out of your book.'” and then they go on and they say, quoting again the passage in Isaiah, “‘And he was numbered with the transgressors,’ meaning that he was counted among those who died in the desert, for, just like them, he did not enter Eretz Yisrael. ‘Yet he bore the sin of many,’ as he atoned for the incident of the Golden Calf. ‘And made intercession for the transgressors,’ as he requested mercy for the sinners of Israel so that they should engage in repentance.”
Isn’t that interesting? I find Sotah 14 interesting, because they are taking a future prophecy that was given in Isaiah’s timeframe, many, many years after the Moses incident occurred and they’re saying, “Look! Look at Moses. Look at how Moses fulfilled or pictured many of the things that this prophecy in Isaiah 53 pictures of the suffering servant, of the future Messiah.”
They’re saying, “Look! Moses made intercession for the people of Israel. Moses, when he said ‘blot me out of the books’ was basically acting like he was going to bear the sins of Israel. And they’re saying that that is what Isaiah 53 is talking about. Now, I find this interesting because the current Jewish rabbis would have you believe that the New Testament Scriptures are taking stories of the Bible out of context when they point to Moses, the example of Moses, and say, “Look, look at how Jesus fulfills this example of Moses.” And Israel coming out of Egypt in the Exodus, and look at how Jesus came out of Egypt, and they’re drawing those parallels in the New Testament; yet, the ancient rabbis did the exact same thing with their future prophesies, the Isaiah 53 prophecy about a suffering servant, and they applied this and said, “Look, Moses pictured this for us, Moses bore our sins when he said, blot me out of the book, and stood on behalf of Israel and made intercession for the sins of Israel. They understood the connection of the need of somebody to act as their intercessor, as their mediator between God and man, when they were in Israel and they said, “Look, this is what the suffering servant did in Isaiah 53, what he was going to do. Moses pictured for them and they pointed to the example of the story of Moses. Now, [they’re] going to argue that the New Testament is taking these stories out of context, to apply them to the Messiah, then you have to argue that the ancient Jewish rabbis were taking the story of Moses out of context to apply it to a future suffering servant in Isaiah 53. I don’t think that any current rabbi will want to do that with their Talmud and their ancient rabbinic teachings, but yet, we see such a clear example where Moses and the exodus is applied directly to the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 53.
And it gets even better with another reference to where they look back at Egypt and the story of Moses, and apply it to the Messiah. Listen to this. I have here Sanhedrin 99a, and I want to read to you a section in this passage of the Talmud and this says, “Rabbi Eliezer says: the Messianic era will be 40 years long. It is written here with regard to the forty-year sojourn of the children of Israel in the wilderness: ‘And He afflicted you, and suffered you to hunger and fed you with manna’ (Deuteronomy 8:3); and it is written there: ‘Make us glad according to the days that You afflicted us, the years that we saw evil’ (Psalm 90:15).”
So what does this Rabbi Eliezer do? He looks back to the Exodus in Egypt and what does he apply that story to? Did you catch it? Let me read it again. “Rabbi Eliezer says: the Messianic era will be forty years long. It is written here with regard to the forty-year sojourn of the children of Israel in the wilderness: And He afflicted you, and suffered you to hunger and fed you with
manna;” he took (Deuteronomy 8:3) of the Israelites sojourning for 40 years in the wilderness and said, “Let’s apply this to none other than the Messianic era.” So when we see Matthew quoting this Old Testament passage about “out of Egypt have I called my son,” he said, “This is just like what happened with Jesus coming out of Egypt,” the rabbis did the exact same thing when they looked at the Egypt’s – the exodus of Israel out of Egypt, and they said, “Look! the Messianic era! The Messianic era be 40 years long, just like the exodus out of Egypt.”
And although Jesus probably only lived about maybe 35 years, if we say he was born in 4 BC, and different estimates of his death range from 30 A.D. to 33 A.D., so maybe the longest time He was on earth was maybe 37 years.
But still, I find it very interesting that this rabbi applied a passage of the Old Testament Exodus in Egypt, and applied it directly to the Messianic era. That shows us that the New Testament writers who did the exact same thing with the Old Testament were not taking stories out of context. They were not taking prophecies out of context, either, because just like the ancient rabbis saw shadows of the Messiah in the stories of Exodus, in the stories of Moses, they saw the New Testament was consistent with ancient rabbinic Judaism. Indeed, New Testament Christianity came out of ancient rabbinic Judaism, so it’s no wonder that we see the New Testament making similar application to Old Testament stories that the rabbis did when they expounded on their Old Testament Scriptures.
I have one more thing I want to point out to you. Isaiah 7:14 where a virgin shall conceive and bear a child, and we see that as a prophecy of the Messiah Jesus, even though that was fulfilled in the day of King Ahab, who was looking for that sign, and that sign that was going to be given was a young woman bearing a child. All of our Christian Scriptures translate that as a virgin, but the point being is, it did have an immediate fulfillment in the days of King Ahab, yet we Christians and the New Testament apply that as, again, another picture of something that was fulfilled in the Old Testament being applied directly to the Messiah.
Another example would be Isaiah 9:6, where a child shall be born to us and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God (the El gibbor), Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Again, another reference that was fulfilled immediately in the days of Hezekiah, being fulfilled ultimately in
Christ. New Testament applies these Old Testament prophecies to the Messiah, and I’m gonna suggest to you that, in many of these passages of the Old Testament, the ancient rabbis did the same thing. Maybe not in Isaiah 9:6 and Isaiah 7:14, but they did in many other passages, and here is what the rabbis had to say about how they looked at their Old Testament prophecies. “Rabbi Hiyya bar Abba says that Rabbi Yohanan says: In their prophecies with regard to redemption and the end of days, all the prophets prophesied only about the Messianic era.” Did you catch that? This is here in the Talmud, Sanhedrin 99a, “In their prophecies with regard to the redemption and the end of days, all the prophets (not just some of the prophets, all the prophets) prophesied only about the Messianic era.”
So what do we do when we have a prophecy that had an immediate fulfillment, let’s say Isaiah 7:14 or Isaiah 9:6, where there is an immediate fulfillment of a child that was born in King Ahaz’ days, or a child, a son that was given, with Hezekiah? Yet the ancient prophecies said, yes they had immediate fulfillment, but all the prophets prophesied about the Messianic era. That meant that, even though there was an immediate fulfillment in their day and age, there was a future fulfillment that the ancient rabbis were all looking for in their prophecies. That’s why they say that all the prophecies – with regard to redemption and the end of days – all the prophets prophesied only about the Messianic era. That means [they] would have [their] ultimate fulfillment in the Messianic era, and that is what we see when Jesus expounded on the statements and the stories of the Old Testament, beginning with Moses and all the prophets speaking about them concerning Himself. He was consistent with ancient rabbinic Judaism.
He was not bringing in some new religion, some so-called Mormonism view, or Mormon view, of Judaism. Christianity is not the Mormonism of Judaism, like the current rabbis try to say. Not at all. We read the writings of the ancient rabbis and we find Christianity was consistent with the teachings of ancient Judaism and, indeed, sprang out of ancient Judaism. That is not what we can say about the rabbis of today who disregard the teachings of their ancient rabbis, and try to make Christianity look like Mormonism. It’s absolutely not the case, it’s a distortion and they are not even being consistent with ancient rabbinic Judaism from which New Testament Christianity sprang out of.
So be encouraged. Any of these prophecies, even though they have an immediate fulfillment or these stories had an immediate fulfillment in the stories of Moses and the stories of Joseph, the ancient rabbis applied them to Jesus, just like New Testament Christianity does today.
FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE: