CHRISTIAN "PROOF TEXTS" and why the Christian Old Testament is NOT the Tanakh.
So don't quote the Christian Old Testament to so called 'refute' Judaism, or in a discussion with a Jew.
While traveling through a forest, a person noticed a circle marked on a tree with an arrow shot perfectly into the center. A few yards away he noticed several more targets, each with arrows in the center. Later, he met the talented archer and he asked him, "How did you become such an expert that you always get your arrows into the center of the bull's-eye?" "It's not difficult," responded the archer, "First I shoot the arrow and then I draw the circle."
When examining Christian "proof texts" that claim to point to Jesus as the promised Messiah, we should always ask the following question. "Has an arrow been shot into a circle or has a circle been drawn around an arrow?" In other words, has the passage been mistranslated, misquoted, taken out of context or fabricated?
Here are examples of several ways that missionaries "draw a circle around the arrow" to prove their point.
THE VERSE HAS BEEN FABRICATED AND DOES NOT EXIST IN the HEBREW SCRIPTURES
The easiest prophecy to fulfill is one you yourself have invented. The New Testament certainly bears witness to this principle, fabricating a number of "prophecies" out of thin air and attributing them to our Hebrew Scriptures.
The New Testament book of Matthew claims that Jesus was the Messiah since he lived in the city of Nazareth. The New Testament utilizes the following "proof text" to make its point: "He [Jesus] came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled.
"He shall be called a Nazarene.
'" (Matthew 2:23) Since a Nazarene is a resident of the city of Nazareth and this city did not exist during the time period of the Jewish Bible, it is impossible to find this quotation in the Hebrew Scriptures. It was fabricated out of thin air.
THE VERSE IS MISTRANSLATED
An effective missionary will work with crude English retranslations of earlier Greek mistranslations, and will avoid looking at the original Hebrew.
In Romans 11:26, the Christian Bible quotes Isaiah 59:20 as saying, "The deliverer will come from Zion, he will remove ungodliness from Jacob
," thus attempting to establish scriptural support for the Christian belief that the Messiah will take away our sins. How-ever, a careful examination of the Hebrew original reveals a powerful dilemma. Isaiah 59:20 actually says the opposite: "A redeemer will come to Zion and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, declares the Lord
." The Messiah's role is not to take away our sins; rather, when we turn away from our sins, the Messiah will then come! It is also noteworthy that many New Testaments translate this verse correctly in Isaiah and incorrectly in Romans.
THE PASSAGE IS MISTRANSLATED AND READ OUT OF CONTEXT
In an attempt to prove the concept of the "virgin birth," the book of Matthew 1:22-23 states: "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, "Behold a virgin shall be with child and will bear a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel,' which translated means, G-d with us
." Missionaries claim that this is the fulfillment of a prophecy recorded in Isaiah 7:14, that actually reads: "Behold, the young woman is with child and will bear a son and she will call his name Emmanuel
There are numerous inaccuracies in the Christian translation. For example:
1) The Hebrew word, "almah -
," means a young woman
, not a virgin
, a fact recognized by biblical scholars1
2) The verse says "ha'almah--
," "the young woman
," not a
young woman, specifying a particular woman that was known to Isaiah during his lifetime; and
3) The verse says "she will call his name Emmanuel
," not "they shall call
Even apart from these inaccuracies, if we read all of Isaiah Chapter 7, from which this verse is taken, it is obvious that Christians have taken this verse out of context.
This chapter speaks of a prophecy made to the Jewish King Ahaz to allay his fears of two invading kings (those of Damascus
and of Samaria
) who were preparing to invade Jerusalem, about 600 years before Jesus' birth. Isaiah's point is that these events will take place in the very near future (and not 600 years later, as Christianity claims).
Verse 16 makes this abundantly clear: "For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken
In fact, in the very next chapter this prophecy is fulfilled with the birth of a son to Isaiah. As it says in Isaiah 8:4, "For before the child shall know to cry, "My father and my mother' the riches of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria
." This verse entirely rules out any connection to Jesus, who would not be born for 600 years.
THE PASSAGE IS NOT A PROOF
Missionaries incorrectly claim that Jesus fulfilled a prophesy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. They attempt to utilize Michah 5:2 as their proof text:
"But you Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are small among the thousands of Judah, out of you will come to Me one who will be ruler in Israel, whose goings out are from ancient time, from days of old."
This verse is not a prophesy that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. The passage simply states it has been preordained that the Messiah would be able to trace his roots back to Bethlehem. This is consistent with the Biblical statement that the Messiah will be a descendant of King David, who was from Bethlehem, as seen in I Samuel 16:18.
There is another problem with this missionary proof text. A major distinction must be made between a scripture that serves as a proof
that someone is the Messiah and a scriptures that simply states a requirement
of the Messiah. A proof must be something so exclusive that only one individual can fulfill it.
For example: One criterion of the Messiah is that he must be Jewish. If an individual is Jewish, he has fulfilled this particular requirement; however, in and of itself, this is obviously not a proof that the individual is the Messiah since millions of individuals are Jewish and they all meet this criterion. Therefore, the claim that Jesus was born in Bethlehem would not prove a thing, since thousands of children were born there.
These examples demonstrate the confusion created when missionaries shoot an arrow first and then draw a circle around it. Our advice is to always take the time to examine and read passages carefully and in their entirety. If you follow this advice, the correct interpretation will be abundantly clear.
1 Some missionaries argue that in an ancient translation of the Bible called the "Septuagint," 70 great rabbis translated the word "almah--
" in Isaiah 7:14, as "parthenos--
," and that this Greek word means a virgin. This claim is false for several reasons: 1) The 70 rabbis did not translate the book of Isaiah, only the "Pentateuch," the five books of Moses. In fact, the introduction to the English edition of the Septuagint states concerning the translation, "The Pentateuch is considered to be the part the best executed, while the book of Isaiah appears to be the very worst
;" 2) In Genesis 34:2-3 the word "parthenos" is used in reference to a non-virgin, a young woman who had been raped; 3) The entire Septuagint version that missionaries quote from is not the original, but from a later, corrupted version.