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1 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 Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind. 3 Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field; 4 And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, 6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal: 7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. 8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. 9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. 10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. 13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. 17 The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria. 18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes. 20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep; 22 And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land. 23 And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns. 24 With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns. 25 And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.

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1 Sarah R = "Ahaz: The son and successor of Jotham, king of Judah (2 Kings 16Isaiah 7-9; 2 Chronicles 28). He gave himself up to a life of wickedness and idolatry. Notwithstanding the remonstrances and warnings of Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, he appealed for help against Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel, who threatened Jerusalem, to Tiglath-pileser, the king of Assyria, to the great injury of his kingdom and his own humilating subjection to the Assyrians (2 Kings 16:7, 9; 15:29). He also introduced among his people many heathen and idolatrous customs (Isaiah 8:1938:82 Kings 23:12). He died at the age of thirty-five years, after reigning sixteen years (B.C. 740-724), and was succeeded by his son Hezekiah. Because of his wickedness he was "not brought into the sepulchre of the kings."- Easton's Bible Dictionary"
2 Enakshi Ganguly = ""(possessor), eleventh king of Judah, son of Jotham, reigned 741-726, about sixteen years."Source: http://biblehub.com/topical/a/ahaz.htm"
3 Enakshi Ganguly = ""Ephraim was another name for Israel. It was the name of the most important tribe (large group of relatives) in the northern country, Israel."Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"
4 Enakshi Ganguly = ""The people could stay for many months in Jerusalem because they did not need water from outside. Perhaps that is why Syria and Ephraim did not win the battle against Jerusalem."Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"
5 Enakshi Ganguly = ""the remnant shall return"Source: http://biblehub.com/topical/s/shear-jashub.htm"
6 Enakshi Ganguly = ""‘Shearjashub’ means ‘a remnant will return’. A ‘remnant’ is a small part that remains from something bigger."Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"
7 Enakshi Ganguly = "Source: http://abcparish.blogspot.com/2010_12_12_archive.html"
8 Enakshi Ganguly = ""It’ means their evil plan (verses 5-6). Isaiah wrote his book in the *Hebrew language. The *Hebrew words mean ‘it will not stand and it will not happen’. It will ‘not stand’ means that the plan will ‘fall down’ (like a weak building). In other words, the plan will fail."Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"
9 Enakshi Ganguly = "Source: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2010/20100823.htm"
10 Enakshi Ganguly = ""It means the ‘head of the country’ (capital) and the ‘head of the government’ (king)."Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"
11 Sarah R = "The Message to Ahaz - 7:3-9    Ahaz is not a worshipper of the one true God, but has fallen into idolatry and is very much afraid of the approaching attack (verse 2). In verses 3-9 God gives a message to Ahaz. In verse 3, Isaiah is commissioned to meet with Ahaz, who is inspecting water supplies in preparation for a siege. Isaiah is also to take his son with him. His son is called Shear-Jashub, meaning "a remnant will return." The reason for taking his son is not explained until verses 15-16.  In verses 4-6 the message is given, describing the plot and telling Ahaz not to be afraid. The plot consists of overthrowing Ahaz and replacing him with the son of Tabeel. Isaiah was a master of the Hebrew language and loved playing word games.  He does so here in verse 6. Tabeel means "God is good." By altering the vowel pattern very slightly, Isaiah changes this to mean "good for nothing." The one that means "God is good" will prove to be "good for nothing." Because of the Davidic Covenant, no conspiracy against the House of David can ever succeed. God clearly states this in verse 7, and in verses 8-9 God will judge the two kings involved in the conspiracy.The Signs of Deliverance - 7:10-17    The Offer of a Sign - 7:10-11  Ahaz, however, is an idolater who does not trust in God and has made his own arrangements. He has sent letters and gifts to the Assyrian Emperor, asking for assistance in his defense against these two kings. He has greater faith in the Assyrian Empire than in the God of Israel. So, in verse 10, God speaks a second time. He offers Ahaz a sign - whatever it takes to convince Ahaz not to fear, not to trust the Assyrians, but to trust in God. Whatever it takes, let him ask for it and God will do it for him. The word for "sign" does not of itself mean a miracle; it could be a miraculous or a natural sign. Within this context, however, it is clear that it will take a miracle to convince Ahaz. God offers him a sign anywhere he wants - in heaven, on earth, under the earth -whatever it takes to convince him.    The Rejection of the Offer - 7:12  In response, the idolatrous Ahaz suddenly becomes very spiritual. In verse 12 he refuses to "test" God or "tempt" Him. This is a reference to Deuteronomy 6:16, but he misapplies it. Nevertheless, it is evident that even in idolatry, Ahaz was not ignorant of the true God! Deuteronomy 6:16 warnsagainst asking for a sign, but here God is offering a sign and Ahaz is invited to respond. Ahaz does not want a sign, lest it come to pass, and he be forced to abandon his alliance with Assyria.  Then come the crucial verses, 13 and 14.    The Sign to the House of David - 7:13-14  In verse 13, Isaiah turns from addressing Ahaz as an individual and addresses the entire House of David. The English language does not distinguish between "you" addressed to one person and "you" addressed to many people. In Hebrew there is a difference, and there is a clear change between the singular "you" of verses 9,11,16,17 and the plural "you" of verses 13-14. The sign therefore is not just for Ahaz, but for the whole House of David. This becomes clearer if we state the passage again with the singular [s] and plural [pl] words indicated:7:9 . . .and the head of Ephraim is Samaria and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.  If you [s] will not believe, you [s] surely shall not last.""' 10 Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 "Ask a sign for yourself [s] from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven." 12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!" 13 Then he said, "Listen now, 0 house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you [pl] to try the patience of men, that you [pl] will try the patience of my God as well? 14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you [pl] a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. 15 "He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16 "For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you [s] dread will be forsaken. "The LORD will bring on you [s], on your people, and on your father's house such days as have never come since the day that Ephraim separated from Judah, the king of Assyria." (NASB, with comments added)                  In verse 14, the Hebrew word for "behold" is a word which draws attention to an event which could be past, present or future. However, grammatically, whenever "behold" is used with the Hebrew present participle, it always refers to a future event.  That is the case here. Not only is the birth future, but the very conception is future.  This is not referring to a pregnant woman about to give birth.     The text specifically says "the virgin" (the NIV and NKJV are correct at this point;  the NASB like most translations says"a virgin," which is quite wrong). According to the rules of Hebrew grammar, when finding the use of a definite article (the), the reader should look for a reference in the immediate previous context. Having followed the passage from chapter 7:1, there has been no mention of any woman. Having failed with the immediate context, the second rule is the "principle of previous reference," something which has been dealt with much earlier and is common knowledge among the people. Where in Jewish Scripture or tradition is there any concept of "the virgin giving birth to a son"? The only possible reference is to Genesis 3:15. Contrary to the biblical norm, the Messiah would be reckoned after the Seed of the Woman. Why?  Because He would have no human father; His would be a virgin conception and birth.  The key point of this should not be missed. God is promising that the House of David cannot be deposed or lose its identity until the birth of a virgin-born son. Again, this requires that Messiah be born prior to the destruction of the Temple and its genealogical records in 70 A.D.The Sign to Ahaz - 7:15-17   Having concluded that Isaiah 7:12-14 is a long range prophecy concerning the birth of Messiah, that still leaves a problem. What about Ahaz? An event 700 years in the future is of little significance to him. There is however a second sign in verses 15-17, and this time it is specifically for Ahaz. The "you" in verse 16 is again singular, meaning Ahaz. Before Isaiah's son is old enough to make moral distinctions between right and wrong, the kings of Israel and Syria will be deposed and their threat removed. This was fulfilled within three years. Isaiah again uses the definite article before the term "boy." This time there is another boy mentioned in the context: Isaiah's son. The boy of verse 16 cannot be the son of verse 14 but refers back to Isaiah's son in verse 3. Why else was Isaiah commanded to take him?Summary of Isaiah 7:1-17    In Isaiah chapter 7, King Ahaz, the King of Judah, is under threat of attack. This threat is not only to him personally but to the whole House of David. Through the Prophet Isaiah, God tells King Ahaz to be at peace and to be unafraid. Two reasons are given, two signs which guarantee God's promise of security. The first sign, in verses 13 and 14, is that no attempt to destroy the House of David will succeed until the birth of a virgin-born son. The term "virgin" is required both by the Hebrew vocabulary and the context. The second sign, in verses 15 and 16, is given to Ahaz personally. God promises that the attack upon him by Israel and Syria will not succeed, and before Isaiah's son, Shear-Jashub, reaches an age of moral maturity, the two enemy kings will cease to exist. http://www.menorah.org/VIRGIN-BIRTH-OF-YESHUA-THE-MESSIAH,Immanuel.html"
12 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "God wanted to give King Ahaz a sign, something he could "see" right then and there in his lifetime. This "sign" was the birth of the Baby Immanuel spoken about in the very next chapter. A virgin birth 800 years in the future is not a sign that Ahaz would be able to see and therefore presents no "proof" to Ahaz that he would be victorious in battle. In fact, after the birth of Immanuel, Ahaz' enemies were defeated and the Kings of Syria and Israel were unable to conquer Jerusalem just as Isaiah prophesied. What good is a "sign" if you cannot see it."
13 Enakshi Ganguly = ""‘Therefore’ here means ‘because you will not ask’. Here, ‘Lord’ means ‘master’, someone with authority. It is a name for God. It shows us that he has authority over everybody. That includes Ahaz!"Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"
14 Sarah R = "This is a prophecy regarding the coming Messiah or Savior. This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus:Matthew 1:18-23 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”)."
15 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "The original Hebrew text of Isaiah 7:14 says “Therefore, my Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold, the young woman will become pregnant and bear a son, and she will name him Immanuel”. Now let us look at the Christian version of Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel”. Let us examine the problems with this verse. First, the Hebrew word for virgin [Besulah] is used in the Book of Isaiah 8 times except for the prophecy of the Virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14. In fact, the very one place where Christians say it means virgin, the word ‘Naarah’ a ‘Young Woman’ is actually used instead. While it is true, that many times throughout the bible a young woman was also a virgin, we have precedent of a rape victim being referred to as young woman as well. In Genesis 34, Dinah the daughter of Jacob was raped by Shechem son of Hamor and was referred to as a ‘Naarah’, Young Woman after the rape. This is the exact same word used for the ‘virgin’ birth in Isaiah 7:14. The Greek Septuagint mistranslated the Hebrew word for Young woman to read virgin instead. If one insists that this Hebrew word must mean virgin, than the birth of Jesus was actually the second virgin birth in history. In the very next chapter of Isaiah [Chapter 8] the woman referred to in this prophecy gives birth to a son who is called Immanuel just as the previous chapter 7:14 predicted. It would be dishonest to use the exact same word to describe only the second virgin birth of Jesus but not the first birth of Immanuel. We cannot pick and choose where to apply virgin status if the word truly means virgin. The “child that was born”, [800 years before Jesus] in Isaiah 9:6 refers to the same child born in Isaiah Chapter 8, King Hezekiah, the son of King Ahaz. Now we can understand why the government falls on his shoulders, because he is the rightful heir to the throne of Ahaz. He is the crown prince, next in line to succeed his own father. Nowhere in the New Testament was Jesus ever called Immanuel, but Hezekiah in Hebrew means “Strength of God”. His birth, was God’s way of showing that “he was with us”, both Ahaz and Hezekiah. Even a cursory reading of Chapters 7, 8 and 9 together will reveal why this can absolutely not be speaking about the birth of Jesus centuries in the future. According to Isaiah 7, King Ahaz the ruler of Judah was afraid that his two enemies to the north, Rezin King of Aram and Pekah King of Israel were getting ready to attack him and annex Judah for their own territory. God sent Isaiah on a mission to let King Ahaz know that he would be safe from his enemies. Isaiah was to tell Ahaz that a son would be born and that when he sees the birth of this child [Hezekiah/Immanuel], he would know that God was with him. Logic would tell us, that a sign to Ahaz centuries in the future is no sign at all. How can the birth of a child so far into the future be a sign to Ahaz in the here and now that he would not be defeated in battle when he would not be alive to witness it? The birth of his own son [Hezekiah] in Chapter 8 however was the visible sign that he needed for reassurance that he would not be defeated and his own son would reign after him. Refer to II Kings 16 and you will see that in fact, Rezin and Pekah attacked King Ahaz but as predicted by Isaiah could not defeat him. The son he had hoped for, King Hezekiah also called the “Prince of Peace” in the book of Kings reigned after Ahaz just as this prophecy predicted. The government fell on his shoulders and he ushered in an era of peace all throughout the land such as had never been done before. This is the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 and Chapter 8 and 9 confirm this. Nowhere in Jewish scriptures do virgins give birth, and this is a mistranslation that is clearly seen when reading Chapters 7, 8 and 9 in sequence. As such, there has never been a prophecy that the Jewish Messiah would be born of a virgin and this verse was mistranslated and taken out of context by early Christians to assign a prophecy to Jesus that had no basis in Jewish Scriptures."
16 Sarah R = "The first person to apply this verse to Jesus' birth was not a "Christian" as we think of it today but a Jewish man named Matthew, who wrote, "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”)" (Matthew 1:22-23).The people who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek and translated the Hebrew here to "virgin" were also not Christian, but Jewish scholars. The Greek translation, or Septuagint, was written around 300 BC - three centuries before Jesus' birth.A quote from a more modern-day Jewish Semitic scholar, C.H. Gordon: "“The commonly held view that “virgin” is Christian, whereas “young woman” is Jewish is not quite true. The fact is that the Septuagint, which is the Jewish translation made in pre-Christian Alexandria, takes ‘almah to mean ‘virgin’ here. Accordingly, the New Testament follows Jewish interpretation in Isaiah 7:14. Little purpose would be served in repeating the learned expositions that Hebraists have already contributed in their attempt to clarify the point at issue. It all boils down to this: the distinctive Hebrew word for ‘virgin’ is betulah, whereas ‘almah means a ‘young woman’ who may be a virgin, but is not necessary so. The aim of this note is rather to call attention to a source that has not yet been brought into the discussion. From Ugarit of around 1400 B.C. comes a text celebrating the marriage of the male and female lunar deities. It is there predicted that the goddess will bear a son....The terminology is remarkably close to that in Isaiah 7:14. However, the Ugaritic statement that the bride will bear a son is fortunately given in parallelistic form; in 77:7 she is called by the exact etymological counterpart of Hebrew ‘almah ‘young woman’; in 77:5 she is called by the exact etymological counterpart of Hebrew betulah ‘virgin.’ Therefore, the New Testament rendering of ‘almah as ‘virgin’ for Isaiah 7:14 rests on the older Jewish interpretation, which in turn is now borne out for precisely this annunciation formula by a text that is not only pre-Isaianic but is pre-Mosaic in the form that we now have it on a clay tablet."This quote, and a lot of other really great information about Isaiah 7:14, is available for the interested reader, here: http://www.faithandreasonforum.com/index.asp?PageID=31&ArticleID=412"
17 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "First, historians and theologians agree that the writers of the New Testament were unknown. Mathew, Mark, Luke and John were not the actual disciples who saw, lived or even spoke with Jesus but are identified as possible relatives or later students of Christianity who lived many years later, writing down what they heard over the years. Historians also agree that Mark was the first Gospel Narrative written in 70CE (40 years after the death of Jesus) and Matthew and Luke copied most of the Gospel story from Mark (who was John Mark of Rome, a possible student of Peter) with no relation to Jesus. The name of the Gospels themselves testify to this as they are not the "Gospel of Mark" but the "Gospel according to Mark" which was the terminology used when written in the third person narrative by someone other than the author.Interestingly, the Gospel of Mark (which is historically the first Gospel ) speaks nothing of the Virgin Birth as that story was added later on followers who already believed the Virgin Birth story. How is it possible that the Virgin Birth narrative was left out by the first writer of the New Testament? The obvious answer is that it was invented years later.Origen (180CE), the early Church Father in his famous work Contra Celsus, written long before the Gospels were compiled in 325CE exclaimed in his work: "For he represents him disputing with Jesus, and confuting Him, as he thinks, on many points; and in the first place, he accuses Him of having "invented his birth from a virgin," and upbraids Him with being "born in a certain Jewish village, of a poor woman of the country, who gained her subsistence by spinning, and who was turned out of doors by her husband, a carpenter by trade, because she was convicted of adultery; that after being driven away by her husband, and wandering about for a time, she disgracefully gave birth to Jesus, an illegitimate child, who having hired himself out as a servant in Egypt on account of his poverty, and having there acquired some miraculous powers, on which the Egyptians greatly pride themselves, returned to his own country, highly elated on account of them, and by means of these proclaimed himself a God."The Virgin Birth and even Jesus' divine nature was disputed long before the writings of the Gospels and the stories that Jesus was born from an adulterous union were widely rumored at that time. To make a claim that because the writers of the New Testament were Jewish gives them validity, would be akin to making the statement that the Book of Mormon, written by a Christian Joseph Smith is also a valid work which most Christians do not recognize as a legitimate addition to the Gospel. The oldest existing verifiable text is the Dead Sea scrolls for the Book of Isaiah and these scrolls do not use the word Virgin, but Young woman. Since the writers of the New Testament were practicing Christians and already believed the Virgin Birth narrative, it made sense for them to include it in the story of the Gospel even though Mark, who was closer in time to Jesus than any of the other New Testament writers did not include it himself.Lastly, If the prophesy in Isaiah 7:14 is so clear and fundamental to the coming of the Messiah, why was Joseph, a descendant of King David, totally oblivious to it. Upon discovering that his virgin wife Mary was with child he should have jumped for joy that this may be the precursor to the arrival of the Messiah, instead he also suspects her of infidelity. The obvious answer is that even Joseph, who according to Christians was supposedly knowledgeable in Jewish teachings had never heard of the virgin birth narrative himself. This is further proof for the argument that this story was invented later on and never a concept within the Jewish tradition of the Messiah."
18 Sarah R = "First, historians and theologians do NOT agree that the authors of the gospels are unknown or that they were written later. Actually a great deal of theologians and scholars believe the evidence shows that the gospels were in fact written by the disciples (Matthew and John) or people close to them (Mark and Luke), within the lifetimes of the disciples and other eye witnesses of Jesus. There are some great works on this theme by  F.F. Bruce, Craig Blomberg, Lee Stroebel and MIke Licona... too much evidence to quote now though there are some resources here at deily and lots on the web to look at for the interested reader.Second, as you noted, Mark is dated to around 50-70AD, well within the life time of young Mark, a companion of the apostle Peter (Acts 12:12), as well as within the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. Mark is the shortest of the gospels. He writes a fast-paced, highlight version of the gospels and focuses on Jesus' last week before his death and resurrection. He does not include any of the birth stories recorded in Matthew and Luke because his audience was different. He was writing to believers in Rome, who likely didn't have a Jewish background and therefore would not be familiar with the Jewish prophecies.It is interesting that you quote "Contra Celsus". This writing by Origen, an early church father, was written in about 248AD. It was written to answer writings by Celsus, who we could call the 2nd century Richard Dawkins. Celsus had written slanderous claims about Christianity as well as Judaism, as he saw Christianity birthed from Judaism. The quote you pulled refers to a make believe story within that writing of Celsus in which the "he" refers to a Jewish man who is questioning Jesus.  Here's another quote from Origen from the same writing, "But let us see the manner in which this Celsus, who professes to know everything, brings a false accusation against the Jews, when he alleges that “they worship angels, and are addicted to sorcery, in which Moses was their instructor.”  Now, in what part of the writings of Moses he found the lawgiver laying down the worship of angels, let him tell, who professes to know all about Christianity and Judaism; and let him show also how sorcery can exist among those who have accepted the Mosaic law, and read the injunction, “Neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them.” Moreover, he promises to show afterwards “how it was through ignorance that the Jews were deceived and led into error.”  Now, if he had discovered that the ignorance of the Jews regarding Christ was the effect of their not having heard the prophecies about Him, he would show with truth how the Jews fell into error.  But without any wish whatever that this should appear, he views as Jewish errors what are no errors at all.  And Celsus having promised to make us acquainted, in a subsequent part of his work, with the doctrines of Judaism, proceeds in the first place to speak of our Saviour as having been the leader of our generation, in so far as we are Christians, and says that “a few years ago he began to teach this doctrine, being regarded by Christians as the Son of God.”  Now, with respect to this point—His prior existence a few years ago—we have to remark as follows.  Could it have come to pass without divine assistance, that Jesus, desiring during these years to spread abroad His words and teaching, should have been so successful, that everywhere throughout the world, not a few persons, Greeks as well as Barbarians, learned as well as ignorant, adopted His doctrine, so that they struggled, even to death in its defense, rather than deny it, which no one is ever related to have done for any other system?"Finally, the birth of Jesus happened about 700 years after the prophecy in Isaiah, so even though Joseph may have been familiar with the prophecy, when he found out Mary was pregnant it was not his first thought. Once the angel told him, however, that the prophecy would be fulfilled through Mary's child, Joseph did not go through with his plans to divorce her because he believed."
19 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "Sarah, I suggest you open the New King James Version Bible 1982 Edition Copyright 1979 by Thomas Nelson Inc. and you will see that this bible clearly says that the Gospels are not eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus and were not written by his disciples, these are not my words, they are the words of the very Bible you hold dear. The Gospels are nothing more than hearsay of what may have happened and do not represent an accurate first person eyewitness testimony. If that was the case, why are there 4 different accounts on the resurrection of Jesus.Who saw the risen Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion? a. According to Matthew 28:1, only "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary." b. According to Mark 16:1, "Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome." c. According to Luke 23:55, 24:1 and 24:10, "the women who had come with him out of Galilee." Among these women were "Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James." Luke indicates in verse 24:10 that there were at least two others. d. According to John 20:1-4, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb alone, saw the stone removed, ran to find Peter, and returned to the tomb with Peter and another disciple.How can all these "eyewitness" accounts differ so greatly on who the first person was to see the resurrected Jesus alive, the most important doctrine in Christianity? The reason is because not a single writer of the New Testament was around to witness any of these events. Neither Matthew, Mark, Luke or John were anywhere near Jerusalem at the time these happenings took place. The Book of John was written in 200CE, well after the death of Jesus yet John is the most quoted of all the gospels yet is the furthest historically from the actual events. The argument you made earlier regarding the Virgin Birth was that it was entrenched in Jewish literature and the reason I brought Origen into the fray was because the idea that Jesus' birth was illegitimate dated back to the earliest time of the beginning of Christianity and better explains Isaiah's use of the word Almah for a woman who conceived out of wedlock. Origen himself was branded a heretic by the Catholic Church because he believed that Jesus was not a co-equal figure in the "Godhead". Yes, one of the earliest founders of Christianity did not believe that Jesus was equal to the Father.Jewish literature has many stories regarding the birth of Jesus, most notably Toldot Jeshu which describes a very different account of the Gospel narrative. As I've said in earlier posts, Christians cannot have it both ways, either the Jews are correct about our own scriptures or we are not. This is akin to you disagreeing with Albert Einstein on his own theory of relativity. The Hebrew Bible is the exclusive work of the Jewish people, every other religion has only borrowed bits and pieces of what they wanted to but ignored the very teachers who wrote and translated the work. If the Jews are correct about our own scriptures, then Jesus is the biggest hoax perpetrated on mankind.Lastly, If Isaiah prophesied the birth of Jesus as you say, then please explain to me who the baby Emmanuel is, born in the very next Chapter of Isaiah. How easily Christians ignore the birth of Emmanuel while they project all of the prophecies onto a child who was never called that name and who never fulfilled any of the messianic scriptures in Judaism."
20 Sarah R = "Okay, so let's take this one at a time. I have had many Bibles in my lifetime and have yet to see one that denies the gospels are eyewitness accounts, but if you say you've seen that, I will take your word for it. I can only imagine what the editors' reasons were for adding that in there, but it doesn't concern me really because it is the Word of God itself which is inspired, not what an editor adds into it.As for the evidence, I think it speaks for itself. Most scholars and theologians believe the gospels are from the traditionally held authors. There are some skeptical scholars who hold that the gospels were written by disciples of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but even if so, that still puts it as only one or two removes from the eyewitnesses. Judaism, as I'm sure you can attest to, was then and perhaps still is a very oral tradition culture, and the people would have large portions or even the entire Hebrew Scriptures memorized. It would not be too surprising therefore, if the eyewitnesses of Jesus were also able to keep the memories of Jesus fresh for a few decades (or 6 in John's case) before writing them down, especially as they were talking about them all the time. We have over 5000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament (close to 24,000 manuscripts total when you add the other languages), thousands more than we have of any other historical documents that historians and scholars consider authentic. We have a letter from Clement of Rome dated 95 AD in which he quotes from the gospels. We have others from Ignatius in 115 AD, Polycarp in 120 AD and Justin Martyr in 150 AD, quoting all four of the gospels. This means they were in circulation by that time. Another important thing to note is that these church fathers attribute authorship to the traditional authors ("Mark's gospel", "John's gospel", etc). There are about a dozen non-Christian sources from the time period that confirm many of the details of Jesus' life. Archeology has confirmed many of the places mentioned in the gospels. Three of the gospels share Jesus' prediction that the temple would fall but do not mention that it actually fell (in 70AD) suggesting it hadn't happened yet when they were written. The book of Acts, the sequel to Luke and written by the same author, also talks a lot about the temple and the disciples' ministry within it. James, Peter and Paul in their letters, make allusions to statements of Jesus and Paul actually quotes from the gospel of Luke, so it must have been written during his lifetime. It is also significant to note that the letters of the New Testament also talk about Jesus as the Messiah and as God, and most of them were written within 30-40 years of Jesus' life and death. Don't take my word for it, the interested reader should look into it for him/herself. The evidence is out there, if you want to find it.As for the resurrection, what you see as a contradiction I see more as a mere difference. Apparently when the Titanic sank some people said that it broke in half first and then sank, others said it went down whole. Do we then conclude that since there are contradicting views that the Titanic didn't sink at all? No. But, it can't have happened both ways. The resurrection accounts, however, could all be correct. For their individual purposes a few of the authors decided not to include the names of all the women who were there and others did. This is actually a good point for the proof of the resurrection, as women were not allowed to testify in court at that time and so their eyewitness meant less. If the writers were trying to "make stuff up" it would have been better to say the men found the empty tomb first.As to the book of John, we have a fragment of the book of John dated to 125AD, a bit before the date you've heard it was written. And, as mentioned before, we have the church fathers quoting it as well even earlier than that. Most scholars date John rather to about 90AD, still within the lifetime of John, who was likely a teen while traveling with Jesus.As to Origen, his views were criticized one because of the high Greek influence in his work, and two, what I think you are referring to, because he saw the godhead as a hierarchy, rather than all equal. He saw God the Father as the supreme God from whom the Son and Spirit get their power, but he did see the three as One, all existing eternally. As to the Toledot Jeshu, I googled it and the information I found said that it was written somewhere between the 6th and 9th century, hundreds of years then after the gospels of the Bible and even after the gnostic gospels. It is considered an "anti-gospel" or a parody of the gospels, kind of like all those movies that make fun of different genres. As to Emmanuel in Isaiah 8, I will lend myself to those who have studied the Hebrew much more than I have, and let them give their thoughts: "Though temporarily applied to Isaiah's son, in the full sense this is applicable only to Messiah, that Judea is His, was, and still is, a pledge that, however sorely overwhelmed, it shall be saved at last; the "head" is safe even now, waiting for the times of restoration (Ac 1:6); at the same time these words imply that, notwithstanding the temporary deliverance from Syria and Israel, implied in "Immanuel," the greatest calamities are to follow to Judah" (Jamieson-Faucett-Brown Commentary). I'm wondering if you believe the Hebrew Scriptures are inspired by God, or merely an historical account of the Hebrew people. Do you believe the Pentetauch was actually penned by Moses, or by one of his disciples' disciples' disciples hundreds of years later? Do you believe the stories of Adam, Noah, Moses, Gideon, are real, or are myths and fables? What one believes about the Hebrew Scriptures, what Christians call the Old Testament, greatly influences what one believes about the New Testament. The New Testament writers honored and treasured the Hebrew Scriptures, and thus so should we. Jesus and His disciples quoted from the Scriptures often. There are over 1000 quotes or allusions to the Hebrew Scriptures in the New Testament. I can tell it offends or even insults you that the Christian faith came out of Judaism but the two are intricately linked and cannot be separated. It is true that we have strayed far from the Jewishness of our faith and would likely benefit greatly from learning more about our Jewish roots. It is also true that there has been a great deal of tension and violence between the Jewish and Christian communities over the years. I could apologize for that and for whatever wrongs Christians have done to you to make you so against us. But I cannot apologize for Jesus or for believing in Him and in what I see as the inspired Word of God, from Genesis to Revelations. "
21 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "Sarah, I appreciate your thoughtful response but will need to be brief in mine. http://www.aboutcatholics.com/beliefs/what-are-the-gospels/The Catholic Church, the first Church of Jesus which compiled the New Testament agrees that the Gospels are not eyewitness accounts and says that the actual authors are unknown. This is the Church that gave the world the New Testament.If you believe that the New Testament is the inspired word of God, why do you not also believe that the Book of Mormon is the inspired work of God. Jospeh Smith saw the Angel Moroni and wrote down what God told him to write, does that not constitute an inspired work? Why do you not believe in the validity of Koran? was Mohammed lying when he claimed to be God's messenger? Why do you accept one book as "fact" and another as "fiction".According to the Torah which I use as my guide and which both major religions (Islam, Christianity) agree was the "first word" of God, Moses explained to the Jewish people exactly how to tell a false prophet from a true one. Moses said that when a Prophet comes to abrogate the Mosaic Laws and lead the people to "Gods they have not known", this is how we are to tell that the prophet is lying. He said that God is just testing us to see if we really love him. Are you claiming that when 2,000,000 Jews stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and God introduced himself, he said "I am Jesus who took you out of Egypt"? Of course not. None of the Jews who wrote the Hebrew scriptures ever heard that name and to them Jesus is a "God they had not known". There were many false prophets all throughout history that were able to perform miracles and which have tried to lead the Jewish people astray, Jesus was certainly not the first nor the last. In addition, Moses said that a "New Covenant" would never be given by anyone else. If according to you,  God gave a "new covenant", what's not to say he got upset with Christians and then gave a "new, new covenant" called the Koran. If God could choose a new people after Israel, what makes you think Christianity hasn't lost it's "chosen-ness" and was replaced by Islam instead. Are Christians much better than Jews, is Christianity today more worthy than Israel was/is? The fact that Christianity is broken and fragmented more than any other religion (30,000 different denominations all fighting and arguing with each other claiming they are the "only way") might be considered proof that it's not guided by the Holy Spirit, wouldn't you say?Lastly, I don't have anything against Christianity in general, only in your consistent twisting and misrepresentation of the Jewish scriptures. You personally admit in your commentary below that Christianity has "strayed far from the Jewishness of our faith and would likely benefit greatly from learning more about our Jewish roots." How can any serious Christian make a claim to be knowledgeable in the Hebrew scriptures when you admit yourself that Christians lack fundamental knowledge in their "Jewish Roots". It is precisely because of this lack of knowledge that Christianity makes the claim that the true God of Israel, creator of heaven, earth and the entire universe was a baby born to a virgin woman who lived 2,000 years ago. Contrary to what you wish to tell yourself, this concept is not and has never been Jewish in nature but is an adaptation of Greek mythology mixed with content pulled from the Jewish scriptures. I have great respect for all religions that teach love and tolerance, including Christianity. I have many Christian friends and I respect their opinion when it comes to Christian theology however they would never claim to be "expert" in Jewish teachings as you appear to claim to be. If you would like to continue these discussions and gain a better understanding of Judaism and Jewish scripture, I would be more than happy to discuss with you via email, or even over the phone. Please feel free to email me at Rosen_J72@hotmail.com - Thank you. Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi"
22 Sarah R = "I appreciate the invitation to email. I do like this forum though, as I hope our public debates will help others to investigate these questions and issues for themselves as well.Contrary to the article that you quoted, the Roman Catholic Church actually does have a stance on the authorship of the gospels, as they do about nearly everything. A quick search in the official Catechism of the Catholic Church as posted on the Vatican website found this, "In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways: orally, 'by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit;' in writing 'by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing.'" Pope Benedict XVI, who stepped down in 2013, wrote four books about the life of Jesus and it is clear in his books that he sees the authors of the gospels as the actual Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as the Catholic Church has for the past two thousand years. My understanding is that all Catholic churches stem their doctrine from the Pope and official Catechism of the Vatican, but maybe I'm wrong and some churches have gone their own way.I mentioned previously the evidence for the gospels being written early and by the actual traditional writers, so I won't repeat. There's actually quite a lot showing that as early as 95 AD the gospels were ascribed to the disciples Matthew and John as well as Luke and Mark. An interesting note: if there was a conspiracy to write the gospels much later and attach people's names to it for authenticity, it would have made more sense to pick different people. John, sure, because he was one of the inner three. But Matthew was a tax collector, not a highly viewed profession among the Jews, and Mark and Luke weren't even disciples. It would have made more sense in a conspiracy view to put Peter's name on one, or James the brother of Jesus, or someone closer to Jesus. This actually is support for their true authorship.While it would be true to say that the average Joe or plain Jane Christian doesn't speak Hebrew (or Greek, for that matter), Hebrew courses are required for most seminary programs for pastors in training, at least in the Protestant churches, I cannot speak to Catholic priest training. My father was a minister for nearly 40 years, studied Hebrew and read the Scriptures in Hebrew. But for the rest of us, we rely on Hebrew Christian scholars who have come up with great study tools like the Hebrew lexicon, interlinear Bible, and so forth. There are apparently over a million Jewish people as well who consider themselves Messianic Jews and Nazarene Jews and "completed Jews" and see Jesus as the promised Messiah. Therefore we can see that it would be unfair to say that Christians cannot know what they are saying because they don't speak Hebrew or aren't Jewish - because there are lots of Christians (or believers in Jesus) who do - and are.That said, I wouldn't say that Christians know the Hebrew Scriptures "better," just differently. We see them through a different lens than you do. And we could probably learn from each other.I don't think you are going to be able to convince Christians to stop using the Old Testament. After all, Jesus and His disciples revered the Hebrew Scriptures and quoted from them frequently, and they model for us the applying of the Hebrew promises to Jesus. I put a lot of faith in the Bible, it is true, as I have found the evidence compelling. I put a lot of faith in Jesus, as well, and if I am to believe in Him, then I have to believe that He is who He says :Mark 14:61b-62Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”"
23 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "Sarah, thank you for the response; I completely agree with you on the importance for people to investigate Judaism and Christianity for themselves and make up their own mind. Most importantly, people should read the scriptures and not listen to what other people think or say. Just as there are thousands of Messianic Jews, there are thousands of ex-Christians who have joined the Noahides and Judaism after investigating the Hebrew Scriptures so I don't think that one religion has the exclusive lock on converts. Judaism has always been a small religion and Israel a tiny nation. Deuteronomy 7:7 - "The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples". Having lots of followers does not make one's religion "right" and Judaism at its core does not require anyone to convert to the Jewish faith like Christianity tries to do. As a Jew, my faith isn't threatened by others beliefs because Judaism recognizes that there is truth in all faiths that teach people to be kind, do good works and love God. Isaiah 1:16-18 - Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Come now, let us settle the matter," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. The Jewish prophets were very clear, show acts of kindness to your fellow man and God will forgive your sins.  I have nothing against any religion that teaches tolerance and love, whether that religion is Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism or Christianity but I will continue to be honest with the readers when I feel that the Hebrew scriptures are being distorted. Paul himself admitted he lied about Jesus and the Hebrew scriptures  when he said in Romans 3:7 - "Someone might argue, "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" While I admire your "Paul like" zeal, Judaism believes that the end does not justify the means. It is better to live an honest life as an atheist, than a dishonest one as a "believer". Shalom Jeremiah 16:19 - O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. "
24 Sarah R = "Funny how this whole conversation started because I noted that Matthew ascribed this verse to Jesus in Matthew 1:18-23. We've kind of gotten off topic. Just to clarify though, to any patient reader who has gone through our mountain of discussion, I think the mention in the previous post of Romans 3:7 was meant to be ironic. Lest you be panicked and think, "Wait, did Paul lie?" No, no, rest assured, dear reader, that is not what Paul was saying. The first three words in the verse are "Some may argue" and refer to what Paul said a verse or two before about using a "human argument" in order to prove his point, which was that God is faithful to complete His word even when we are unfaithful to Him, but that doesn't mean we should live unfaithfully just to show Him as more faithful. Paul was a Pharisee, a student and teacher of the Scriptures, and the loved God's Word almost as much as he loved Jesus, whom he saw as the completion of God's promises."
25 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "Question:Rav Singer,Why did you say Christians mistranslate the Scripture by saying “almah” doesn’t mean “virgin,” when their translation of virgin comes from the Septuagint’s “parthenos,” not the Hebrew “almah”? “Parthenos” does mean “virgin.”They didn’t mistranslate but used a different text. This is pretty well known. Did you not know? I don’t think this is a very good thing to have on your page.Answer:Your inquiry will undoubtedly make an enormous contribution to this work. Your question contains some of the most commonly held misconceptions regarding Matthew’s rendering the Hebrew word alma as virgin in Matthew 1:23. Highlighting your question will, no doubt, benefit countless others who are confused by the same mistaken presuppositions imbedded in your question.Your assertion that Matthew quoted from the Septuagint is the most repeated argument missionaries use in their attempt to explain away Matthew’s stunning mistranslation of the Hebrew word alma. This well-worn response, however, raises far more problems than it answers.Your contention that “parthenos does mean virgin” is incorrect. The Greek word Παρθένου (parthenos) can mean either a young woman or a virgin. Therrefore, Παρθένου can be found in the Septuagint to describe a woman who is clearly not a virgin. For example, in Genesis 34:2-4, Shechem raped Dinah, the daughter of the patriarch Jacob, yet the Septuagint refers to her as a parthenos after she had been defiled. The Bible reports that after Shechem had violated her, “his heart desired Dinah, and he loved the damsel (Sept. parthenos) and he spoke tenderly to the damsel (Sept. parthenos).” Clearly, Dinah was not a virgin after having been raped, and yet she was referred to as a parthenos, the very same word the Septuagint used to translate the Hebrew word alma in Isaiah 7:14.Moreover, the Septuagint in our hands is not a Jewish document, but rather a Christian recension. The original Septuagint, translated some 2,200 years ago by 72 Jewish scholars, was a Greek translation of the Five Books of Moses alone, and is no longer in our hands. It therefore did not contain the Books of the Prophets or Writings of the Hebrew Bible such as Isaiah, from which you asserted Matthew quoted. The Septuagint as we have it today, which includes the Prophets and Writings as well, is a product of the Church, not the Jewish people. In fact, the Septuagint remains the official Old Testament of the Greek Orthodox Church, and the manuscripts that consist of our Septuagint today date to the third century C.E. The fact that additional books known as the Apocrypha, which are uniquely sacred to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church, are found in the Septuagint should raise a red flag to those inquiring into the Jewishness of the Septuagint.Christians such as Origin and Lucian (third and fourth century C.E.) edited and shaped the Septuagint that missionaries use to advance their untenable arguments against Judaism. In essence, the present Septuagint is largely a post-second century Christian translation of the Bible, used zealously by the Church throughout its history as an indispensable apologetic instrument to defend and sustain Christological alterations of the Jewish Scriptures.For example, in his preface to the Book of Chronicles, the Church father Jerome, who was the primary translator of the Vulgate, concedes that in his day there were at least three variant Greek translations of the Bible: the edition of the third century Christian theologian Origen, as well as the Egyptian recension of Hesychius and the Syrian recension of Lucian.1 In essence, there were numerous Greek renditions of the Jewish Scriptures which were revised and edited by Christian hands. All Septuagints in our hands are derived from the revisions of Hesychius, as well as the Christian theologians Origen and LucianAccordingly, the Jewish people never use the Septuagint in their worship or religious studies because it is recognized as a corrupt text.The ancient Letter of Aristeas, which is the earliest attestation to the existence of the Septuagint, confirms that the original Septuagint translated by rabbis more than 22 centuries ago was of the Pentateuch alone, and not the Books of the Prophets such as Isaiah. The Talmud also states this explicitly in Tractate Megillah (9a), and Josephus as well affirms that the Septuagint was a translation only of the Law of Moses in his preface to Antiquities of the Jews.2Therefore, St. Jerome, a Church father and Bible translator who could hardly be construed as friendly to Judaism, affirms Josephus’ statement regarding the authorship of theSeptuagint in his preface to The Book of Hebrew Questions.3 Likewise, the Anchor Bible Dictionary reports precisely this point in the opening sentence of its article on the Septuagint which states, “The word ‘Septuagint,’ (from Lat. septuaginta = 70; hence the abbreviation LXX) derives from a story that 72 elders translated the Pentateuch into Greek; the term therefore applied originally only to those five books.”4In fact, Dr. F.F. Bruce, a preeminent professor of Biblical exegesis, keenly points out that, strictly speaking, the Septuagint deals only with the Pentateuch and not the whole Old Testament. Bruce writes,The Jews might have gone on at a later time to authorize a standard text of the rest of the Septuagint, but . . . lost interest in the Septuagint altogether. With but few exceptions, every manuscript of the Septuagint which has come down to our day was copied and preserved in Christian, not Jewish, circles.5Regarding your assertion that Matthew was quoting from the Septuagint, nowhere in the Book of Matthew does the word Septuagint appear, or, for that matter, is there any reference to a Greek translation of the Bible ever mentioned in all of the New Testament; and there is good reason for this silence. The first century Church was well aware that a Jewish audience would be thoroughly unimpressed by a claim that Jesus’ virgin birth could only be supported by a Greek translation of the Bible. They understood that if Jews were to find their Christian message convincing, they had to assert that the Hebrew words of the prophet Isaiah clearly foretold Mary’s virgin conception. Matthew could not suggest that only a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures supported his claim. Therefore, in Matthew 1:22-23, the author of the first Gospel insists that it was “spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, ‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child…’” Matthew loudly makes the point that it was specifically the prophet’s own words that proclaimed the virgin birth, not the words of any translator.Isaiah, of course, did not preach or write in Greek, and therefore throughout his life the word parthenos never emerged from the lips of the prophet. All sixty-six chapters of the Book of Isaiah were spoken and then recorded in the Hebrew language. Matthew, however, claimed that Isaiah – not a translator – declared that the messiah would be born of a virgin. No such prophecy was ever uttered by the prophet.Furthermore, this contention becomes even more preposterous when we consider that the same missionaries who attempt toexplain away Matthew’s mistranslation of the Hebrew word alma by claiming that Matthew used a Septuagint when he quoted Isaiah 7:14 also steadfastly maintain that the entire first Gospel was divinely inspired. That is to say, these same Christian missionaries insist that every word of the New Testament, Matthew included, was authored through the Holy Spirit and is therefore the living word of God. Are these evangelical apologists therefore claiming that God had to rely on a Greek translation of the Bible? Are they suggesting that God quoted from the Septuagint? Did the passing of five centuries since His last book cause God to forget how to read Hebrew that He would need to rely on a translation? Why would God need to quote from the Septuagint?Although Matthew’s mistranslation of the Hebrew word alma was recklessly crafted, it was deliberate endeavor. It was not the result of a clumsy decision to quote from a corrupt Greek translation of the Bible. The most casual reader of the seventh chapter of Isaiah recognizes that Isaiah 7:14 is not discussing the birth of a messiah at all.6The Christian editors of the Septuagint retrofitted and shaped this Greek recension so that it would comport with Matthew’s mistranslation of Isaiah 7:14; not the other way around.The prophet’s original intent regarding the young woman in Isaiah 7:14 was unimportant to the author of the first Gospel. Matthew was driven only by his fervid desire to somehow prove to his readers that the virgin birth was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures. Bear in mind that the author of the first Gospel — more than any other writer in the New Testament — deliberately shaped and contoured his treatise to promote Christianity among the Jews. In essence, Matthew was writing with a Jewish audience in mind. He understood that in order to convince the Jewish people to embrace Jesus as their messiah, it was essential to demonstrate his claim of the virgin birth from the Jewish Scriptures. Luke, in contrast, was writing for a non-Jewish, Greek audience and therefore makes no attempt to support his version of the virgin birth from the Hebrew Bible.In his attempt to promote numerous Christian creeds amongst the Jews, Matthew was faced with a serious quandary. How would he prove that Jesus was the messiah from the Jewish Scriptures when there is no relationship between the Jesus of Nazareth of the New Testament and the messianic prophecies of the Jewish Scriptures? How was he going to merge newly inculcated pagan myths, such as the virgin birth, into Christianity with a Hebrew Bible in which a belief in a virgin birth was unknown?In order to accomplish this daunting task, verses in the Hebrew Scriptures were altered, misquoted, taken out of context, and mistranslated by the author of the Book of Matthew in order to make Jesus’ life fit traditional Jewish messianic parameters, and to make traditional Jewish messianic parameters fit the life of Jesus. In essence, he felt compelled to claim that the Hebrew prophets themselves foretold that Jesus was the messiah. It is therefore no coincidence that, with the exception of Paul, no writer of the New Testament mistranslated the Jewish Scriptures to the extent that Matthew does throughout his Gospel. Paul’s famed misquotations from the Jewish Scriptures, on the other hand, went largely unnoticed because his audiences were, for the most part, unlettered gentiles.Ironically, the widespread Bible tampering found in the first Gospel was sparked by Matthew’s desire to convince Jews that Jesus was their promised messiah. Yet strangely, if the Book of Matthew had never been written, the Church, no doubt, would have been far more successful in its effort to evangelize the Jews. In essence, had promoters of Christianity avoided the wild Scripture tampering that clutters almost every chapter in the Book of Matthew, the Church might have enjoyed far more success among the Jews as did previous religions that targeted the Jewish people for conversion.For example, the priests of Baal did not attempt to bolster the validity of their idol worship by misquoting the texts of the Hebrew Bible, as Matthew did. As a result, the Bible reports that the idol Baal gained enormous popularity among the Jewish people. In contrast, once the nation of Israel was confronted with a corruption of their sacred Scriptures by authors and apologists of the New Testament, their apostasy to Christianity for the most part became untenable. Therefore, throughout history the Jewish people remained the most difficult nation for the Church to sway. Consequently, whereas the Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John enjoyed overwhelming success among their gentile audiences, the Gospel of Matthew played an enormous role in the ultimate failure of the Church to effectively convert the Jews to Christianity, at least the knowledgeable ones.Sincerely yours,Rabbi Tovia SingerJerome repeats this statement in his Apology Against Rufinus ii, 27 (Migne, P.L. 23, 471). ↩1.            Josephus, preface to Antiquities of the Jews, section 3. For Josephus’ detailed description of events surrounding the original authorship of the Septuagint, see Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XII, ii, 1-4. ↩2.            St. Jerome, preface to The Book of Hebrew Questions, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Volume 6. Pg. 487. Hendrickson. ↩3.            The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Excerpt from “Septuagint,” New York: Vol. 5, pg. 1093. ↩4.            F.F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments, p.150. ↩5.            The seventh chapter of the Book of Isaiah begins by describing the unfolding Syro-Ephraimite War, a military crisis that was confronting King Ahaz of the Kingdom Judah. In about the year 732 B.C.E. the House of David was facing imminent destruction at the hands of two warring kingdoms: the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Syrian Kingdom. These two armies had laid siege to Jerusalem. The Bible relates that the House of David and King Ahaz were gripped with fear. In response these two warring armies, God sent the prophet Isaiah to reassure King Ahaz that divine protection was at hand — the Almighty would protect him, their deliverance was assured, and these two hostile armies would fail in their attempt to subjugate Jerusalem.It is clear from this chapter that Isaiah’s declaration was a prophecy of the unsuccessful siege of Jerusalem by the two armies of the Kingdoms of Israel and Syria, not a virgin birth more than 700 years later. If we interpret this chapter as referring to Jesus’ birth, what possible comfort and assurance would Ahaz, who was surrounded by two overwhelming military forces, have found in the birth of a child seven centuries later? Both he and his people would be long dead and buried. Such a sign would make little sense."
26 Enakshi Ganguly = ""...notice that she will call her son ‘Immanu El’. Those two words are *Hebrew for ‘With-us [is]-God’. Even today, many mothers call their sons Immanuel."Source:http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"
27 Enakshi Ganguly = ""People had butter and honey when there was no war. So there would be no war when the boy knew the difference between right and wrong. Here Isaiah is speaking only to Ahaz, as far as we know. Here, and in verse 16, we have ‘[know the difference] between right and wrong things’. More exactly, it means: ‘The boy can choose to do good things and refuse (to do) wrong things.’ If the verse has any meaning for us, it may be this. When we first become Christians, we may not immediately be sure about the right things to do. But after we have followed Jesus for some time, he will show us. He will help us to choose between right and wrong things. So then we can choose to do good things. And we can refuse to do evil things."Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"
28 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "Before the child Immanuel came of age, Rezin the King of Syria and Remaliah the King of Israel fell before Ahaz in battle. The two lands that Ahaz abhorred (Syria and Israel) were forsaken of her Kings just as Isaiah prophesied."
29 Enakshi Ganguly = ""Only three kings had ruled over all Judah and Israel. They were Saul, David and Solomon. After Solomon’s death, the people divided their country into two countries. There were 13 tribes (very large groups of relatives) in total. 9 tribes became the northern country, called Israel. 2 tribes, Judah and Benjamin, became the southern country called Judah. Levi’s tribe lived in 48 towns in both Israel and Judah. Bible students are not sure whether Simeon’s tribe belonged to Israel or Judah. It was south from Judah. It was a long way from Israel, which was in the north. Isaiah uses the name ‘Ephraim’ for the northern country, Israel. That is because Ephraim’s tribe (very large group of Ephraim’s relatives) was the most important one among Israel’s 9 or 10 tribes. The tribes divided into two countries about 200 years before Isaiah was born."Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"
30 Enakshi Ganguly = "Source: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/ancassy.htm"
31 Enakshi Ganguly = ""‘Egypt’s river’ is the Nile river. The flies from the river were a nuisance. They carried diseases to people. Here, the ‘flies’ are a special description of the army from Egypt. ‘Bees’ are small insects that make honey. But they also sting people. Here again, the speaker is describing an army. This time, the army will come from Assyria. It seems that the *LORD will call armies from both countries."Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"
32 Enakshi Ganguly = ""Isaiah continues the special description of the armies as insects. They will ‘fly’ to Israel and Syria (and maybe Judah) and they will ‘land’ everywhere."Source: http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah7-12-gc-lbw.htm"