The Jews have a saying that “Christianity is like the Mormonism of Judaism.” This claim is based upon the following premises:
POINT 1. G-d is NOT a man (Hosea 11:9) and just as Mormonism reduces God to man so that men can become gods, so Rabbi Tovia Singer and other Jews today claim that the Christian Deification of Jesus Christ is a blasphemous distortion of the true nature of G-d. If we get the character of God wrong, we get everything else wrong. So, any discussion on beliefs MUST begin with the character and nature of God. Hence, before we can discuss whether Jesus is the Messiah, we must FIRST start with this number one foundation of Judaism vs Christianity and ask the question: Did God Become a man?
COUNTER POINT 1: While God is by nature not a “man,” we see that He appeared as a man in the person of the Angel of the LORD several times in Scripture. In Exodus 3:14 we see this “Angel” (In Hebrew it means messenger, not necessarily a created angel) appears to Moses as a flame in a burning bush and also as a “man” several other times throughout the Old Testament. For example at Genesis 22:11-14 we see “the angel of the LORD” appearing to Abraham to “provide” a substitute ram for sacrifice in place of Abraham’s son Isaac whom “God” had commanded Abraham to offer in the land of Moriah (Genesis 22:1-2). This “angel” says, at verse 12, “for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” More Scripture from the Old Testament where God appears as the “angel of the LORD” and “man” are as follows:
- GENESIS 32:24, 28 & HOSEA 12:3-5: The “angel” of Hosea 12 who wrestles with Jacob and prevailed against him is called a “man” and “God” at Genesis 32.
- JUDGES 13:3-17 & ISAIAH 9:6: The “angel of the LORD” (Judges 13:3, 15-17) appears to Manoah and his wife as “a man of God” (Judges 13:6, 10-11) and “the angel of God” (Judges 13:9), and calls Himself “Wonderful” at Judges 13:18 which is the same name Jesus, the Messiah is called at Isaiah 9:6.
- ZECHARIAH 3:1-4 & EXODUS 23:20-21: The “angel of the LORD” who is called the “LORD” (verse 2) stood up to defend Joshua against Satan’s accusations and took away Joshua’s sins and “iniquity” (verse 4). This same “angel of the LORD” removed pardoning transgression because God’s name is “in Him” in Exodus 23:20-21.
- GENESIS 48:16 & ISAIAH 63:9; ISAIAH 47:4 & JOB 19:25: The “angel” who “redeemed” Israel (Genesis 48:16 and Isaiah 63:9) is also called the “LORD of hosts” “Redeemer” and “Holy One of Israel” at Isaiah 47:4, Job 19:25 and Acts 2:27.
- EXODUS 3:2-5, 14 & JOSHUA 5:13-15: The “man” who appeared to Joshua and was told to remove his sandals because the ground where he was “standing is holy” (Joshua 5:13-15) is the “angel of the LORD” (Exodus 3:2-5) who is appeared to Moses as “God” (Exodus 3:14) and who required Moses’ sandals to be removed because he was standing on “holy” ground.
- GENESIS 16:7-13: The “angel of the LORD” who spoke to Hagar is the “God who sees” (verse 13).
- GENESIS 28:13-20 & GENESIS 31:11-13: At Genesis 28:13-20, Jacob made a vow to God at Bethel after the LORD appeared to him. Then at Genesis 31:11-13, the “angel of the LORD” appeared to Jacob saying: “I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me…” (verse 13).
- ZECHARIAH 12:8: “In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, …and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them.”
POINT 2. Even if G-d appears a “man” sometimes in Scripture, Rabbi Tovia Singer argues that this “man” is only a representative for G-d, NOT G-d Himself because Moses is called “a god to pharaoh” (Exodus 7:1) so he likens all appearances of G-d as a man in the Old Testament as merely “representatives” of G-d, not G-d Himself.
COUNTER POINT 2: While it is true that individuals, such as Moses appeared as “a god” to the Egyptian pharaoh who thought of himself as a representative for the Egyptian “god” Ra, there is a significant difference because God Almighty was required to become man, not just appear as a man. This requirement it is rooted in the Jewish understanding of KINSMAN REDEEMER.
The Hebrew term (ga’al) for redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues. God (the angel of the LORD) is called “kinsman-redeemer” (ga’al) at Genesis 48:16 and many other passages (see above). Yet, according to Jewish Law, the person who “redeems” property or a person (Leviticus 27:9–25, 25:47–55) MUST be a kinsman, a RELATIVE. He CANNOT be from an entirely different family (see example of Ruth and Boaz). This is WHY Scripture teaches that God does not delight in the blood of bulls and of goats (Isaiah 1:10-20 ). It is because these animals cannot truly redeem humankind. Only a Redeemer who is of the Human Family can “Redeem” Humankind.
This is why God HAD to become man. He couldn’t just send a representative of Himself to redeem mankind because God is NOT a man, so therefore to fulfill the requirements to become our “Redeemer” (ga’al) He had to take on human flesh becoming the God-man. Hebrews 2:16-17: “For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
POINT 3. God is ONE God, not three Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” The idea of the Trinity is not found in the Old Testament.
COUNTER POINT 3: The Idea of the Triune God is found in the Old Testament, starting with the word “echod” for “one” being applied to a composite unity in these and many more instances:
- GENESIS 2:24: “…and they shall become one flesh.”
- GENESIS 29:20: “…served seven years…they seemed to him but a few days….”
- 1 CHRONICLES 12:38: “…all the rest also of Israel were of one mind.…”
Other passages of the Old Testament where God is revealed in multiple persons are:
- GENESIS 1:26-27: “…‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;’…And God created man in His own image.…”
- ISAIAH 48:16b: “And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”
- 2 SAMUEL 23:2-3: “The Spirit of the LORD spoke.…The God of Israel said…The Rock of Israel…”.
- ZECHARIAH 2:8-11: “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘…Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me.…behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ declares the LORD. ‘…and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.’ ”
- ZECHARIAH 12:10: “…they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him.…”
FOR MORE RESPONSES TO OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY SEE:
Book: Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity! – https://www.4jehovah.org/store/books/yes-you-should-believe-trinity/
POINT 4. Jesus did not fulfill all the messianic prophesies so therefore He cannot be the Messiah. Rabbi Tovia Singer and many of his rabbinic friends at the Jews for Judaism website ALL claim that since Jesus didn’t fulfill all of the Jewish Messianic prophecies, he could not fulfill the role of Messiah:
- Restoring the Davidic Kingdom
- Rebuild the Holy Temple
- World Peace Spreading Throughout the World
- Worldwide Resurrection of the Dead
COUNTER POINT 4: There is no single prophecy of the Messiah in the Old Testament that lists EVERYTHING the Messiah is to do. Rather, we must look at ALL of the Messianic passages to extrapolate a list of what He is going to do from those. Key Prophecies that Speak of the Messiah being “cut off” (dying) for his people must NOT be overlooked:
Daniel 9:24-27: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity… And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
- If Daniel 9’s Prophecy of the 70-weeks is to be applied to a future temple as Rabbi Singer teaches, how is this future Messiah going to be “cut off” then at that time? How can this future Messiah establish world peace “forever” and bring a “Resurrection from the Dead” if this new Messiah still has to die? Can you not see why this Messianic Prophecy MUST apply to Jesus Christ’s first coming?
- If this 70-week Prophecy applies to some FUTURE temple, is this New Messiah going to allow an “abomination of desolation” to take place in that FUTURE temple? If that temple is to be “forever,” how can that new Messiah EVER ALLOW ABOMINATION in God’s Perfect Temple?
Would a Future Messiah ever allow these things to happen in his new temple? Of course not! Would a future Messiah allow himself to be “cut off” in some type of future temple that is supposed to last “forever”? Of course not! This is WHY Jesus had to come the first time during these 70 weeks BEFORE the destruction of this last temple which Jesus prophesied would be destroyed in Fulfillment of this passage in Daniel 9 which Jesus Himself QUOTED at Matthew 24:15: “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand.”
POINT 5. Isaiah 53:5 is MISTRANSLATED with the words “from our sins” changed to “for our sins.”
COUNTER POINT 5: The Jews for Judaism website claims that Isaiah 53:5 was mistranslated with the words “from our sins” being changed to “for our sins” in the Christian Bibles, but is this verse really mistranslated? The issue stems from the fact that in the original Hebrew, there were NO vowel points. Either translation is acceptable based on which vowels are inserted by the translators.
The vowels inserted by translators of this passage determine whether it is to be translated “for our sins” or “because of our sins.” Clearly, since no ancient Hebrew manuscript contains vowel points, the claim that this verse is “mistranslated” in the Christian Bibles is FALSE. There is no way to prove which vowels were used by the original writers, so neither position can be proved or disproved. Thus, neither translation is a “mistranslation.” See: Was Isaiah 53:5 mistranslated? In most Bible translations of Isaiah 53:5, the verse states “But he was pierced for our transgressions …” but the Jewish translations differ – https://www.quora.com/Was-Isaiah-53-5-mistranslated-In-most-Bible-translations-of-Isaiah-53-5-the-verse-states-But-he-was-pierced-for-our-transgressions-but-the-Jewish-translations-differ
POINT 6. Isaiah 53 passage is speaking of the Lord’s Servant “Israel” not the Messiah Jesus
COUNTER POINT 6: If Isaiah 53 is speaking of the nation of Israel and not an individual Messiah, why do the Rabbi’s completely ignore whole sections of Isaiah 53 when they teach on it? Could it be that their interpretation of the Servant being Israel does NOT fit the context of the passage? If Isaiah 53 Speaks of the Nation of Israel:
- VERSE 5 IN THE JEWISH BIBLE: “But he was pained because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his wound we were healed.”
HOW DID THE “WOUNDS” OF SERVANT ISRAEL “HEAL” US?
- VERSE 8 IN THE JEWISH BIBLE: “From imprisonment and from judgment he is taken, and his generation who shall tell? For he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the transgression of my people, a plague befell them.”
WHEN WAS ISRAEL “CUT OFF FROM THE LAND OF THE LIVING”? Many Jews have died but they have NEVER been completely “cut off from the land of the living.” Jeremiah 31:36 states that Israel will ALWAYS have a seed!
WHO ARE GOD’S PEOPLE IN THIS VERSE 8? If Israel is “cut off” from the land of the living, because of the transgression of “my people” [God’s People Israel] was Israel “cut off” for Israel’s transgression? How can the sin bearer and the sinner be the same servant?
IF ISREAL IS BEING “CUT OUT OF THE LAND OF THE LIVING” BECAUSE OF ISRAEL’S SIN, HOW CAN ISRAEL BE SINLESS AS VERSE 9 STATES?
- VERSE 9 IN THE JEWISH BIBLE: “And he gave his grave to the wicked, and to the wealthy with his kinds of death, because he committed no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”
WHAT PERSON CAN CLAIM TO HAVE NEVER LIED (SINNED)?
- VERSE 10 IN THE JEWISH BIBLE: “And the Lord wished to crush him, He made him ill; if his soul makes itself restitution, he shall see children, he shall prolong his days, and God’s purpose shall prosper in his hand.”
Jewish Rabbis say the word “zera” for “children” or “seed” in this passage cannot refer to metaphorical “seed” (or believers), yet zera’ is used of metaphorical “seed” elsewhere in Scripture. Example: Isaiah 57:4: “Are you not children of transgression, seed of falsehood?” See more examples here: Isaiah 53 – Is offspring (zera’) literal or metaphorical? – http://www.isaiah53.com/main/forum/viewtopic.php?t=277
Notice that whenever Jewish Rabbis preach on Isaiah 53, they completely overlook these statements in the passage. Ignoring whole sections of this passage because their interpretations cannot account for these very clear statements that argue for an individual Messiah, not the nation of Israel, only indicates that the Jewish interpretation is wrong.
POINT 7. Misquotations of Old Testament verses to support Christian teachings are just Like Mormonism’s addition to the Scriptures.
COUNTER POINT 7: If these verses have support in the LXX which was completed well before Jesus was born, how can these changes be the results of the NT writers twisting the Scriptures that were already in existence? See 10 Archeological proofs the Septuagint Tanakh was translated by Jews before 150 BC – 150 BC: Completion of Greek Tanakh (Gen – Malachi)
Many of these variants between the LXX and the Hebrew OT are a result of either variations in the meaning of the Hebrew (Example Isa 7:14 “alma” which can be translated “young woman” or “virgin” – See https://knowingscripture.com/articles/is-virgin-the-correct-translation-of-isaiah-7-14). Midrashing of the text or variants in the original Hebrew manuscripts also make for variations in some of the quotations of the OT. These Scriptures are best handled by a Hebrew scholar who can dissect the source of each of these alleged “changes” which predate the Christian era. Again, if the minor “alterations” did not affect the overall meaning of Scripture, they are not “changes” like Joseph Smith’s changes that completely changed the meaning of doctrines in the Bible.
Again, when Joseph Smith made changes without any manuscript support or rabbinic tradition to support his changes that completely altered and created new doctrines that are not supported in the rest of the text of the Bible, there is NO comparison between Mormonism’s alterations of Scripture and variants found in BOTH the Old Testament and New Testament texts.
For more information on differences between the Christian translation of Old Testament verses and the Jewish Bible see:
View Answers to More Jewish Objections on Dr. Michael Brown’s You-tube Channel the Real Messiah