The Instigator
jat93
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
InquireTruth
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

Jesus is not the Messiah as foretold by the Old Testament.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
InquireTruth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/17/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,926 times Debate No: 12774
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (5)

 

jat93

Pro

Jesus Christ is not the Messiah that is spoken of throughout the Old Testament. There are various tasks/qualifications for the "Messiah-ship" laid out in the Old Testament and, from what we know about Jesus and his life, he did not complete them. There is no legitimate reason to believe that Jesus is or ever as the Messiah, but there are many legitimate reasons to believe otherwise. My main arguments will be presented further in the next round.
InquireTruth

Con

===========
Introduction:
===========

In order for my opponent to affirm the resolution he must prove that, given the Old Testament, there is no possibility that Jesus was the Messiah. If my opponent cannot eliminate the possibility then he cannot affirm the resolution as he has stated it. As he has given no arguments in his opening round, I will use my first round to make some clarifications.

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Messianic Prophecy:
===========

Messianic prophecy is not clearly labeled in the Old Testament, in fact, what is considered messianic prophecy is determined largely by context. With this in mind, it is not hard to imagine that there are many disputes over what is and is not to be considered messianic prophecy. I hope these disputes do not hamper the focus of this debate.

What scholars DO know about messianic prophecy in the OT is that there are particular tensions or contradictions among them. Some of these tensions are as follows:

>How will the Messiah both come upon clouds (Dan. 7:13) and come lowly upon a donkey (Zech. 9:9).
>How is he to lead Israel to greatness while simultaneously being rejected by it?
>How is the Messiah to be the ultimate champion of all - a conquering king (Psalm 110) - yet also rejected and killed in weakness (Isa 53:5-7)?

Scholars now understand, just as early writers of the Talmud understood, that these tensions can be resolved one of three ways.

Resolution 1. There exists two different Messiahs that the contrasting prophecies apply to.

Resolution 2. The two contrasting prophecies are conditional -- insofar as the set of prophecies that are fulfilled are dependent upon circumstance.

Resolution 3. The contrasting messianic prophecies apply to the same person but will be fulfilled at different points in time.

If my opponent can adequately show that, under the three possible hermeneutical lenses, there is no possible way that Jesus was(is) the Messiah, he will have affirmed the resolution.

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Resolution 1
===========

Prophecy of the death of the Messiah caused later proponents of Judaism to posit two messiahs - one from the line of David and the other from Joseph (1). Raphael Patai, a Hungarian-Jewish ethnographer and historian reported on this peculiarity:

"Scholars have repeatedly speculated about the origin of the Messiah ben Joseph legend and the curious fact that the Messiah figure has thus been split in two. It would seem that in the early legend, the death of the Messiah was envisaged, perhaps as a development of the Suffering Servant motif. A prophecy of Daniel, written about 164 B.C.E... some two centuries later, the author of 4 Ezra unmistakably refers to the Messiah, belief in whom had developed in the meantime, when he puts words in the mouth of God to the effect that after four hundred years (counted from when?), MY son the Messiah shall die (4 Ezra 7:27-30) (2)."

Patai stated further that, "When the death of the Messiah became an established tenet in Talmudic times, this was felt to be irreconcilable with the belief in the Messiah as the Redeemer who would usher in the blissful millennium of the Messianic age. The dilemma was solved by splitting the person of the Messiah in two (3)."

This duel-Messiah tradition is also evident in the Qumran Community's beliefs, as found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (4).

This theory is unique as it allows for Jesus to be the Messiah son of David - inasmuch as he fulfilled all prophecy regarding the brutalized and rejected Messiah. The prophecy regarding a triumphant and conquering Messiah would be fulfilled by the Messiah son of Joseph. Given that there is very little textual warrant for this view, I myself put no faith in it. This view, on the other hand, garners very early Jewish support and remains a distinct possibility.

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Resolution 2
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Jeremiah 18 very plainly teaches that prophecy is conditional (there is also early rabbinic literature that confirms this). This means that my opponent will have present strong evidence as to why the supposed unfulfilled prophecy is necessarily unconditional.

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Resolution 3
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This resolution is by far the strongest, as it conforms best with all the evidence. There were certain predictions in the OT the required fulfillment before 70AD - Jesus fulfilled all necessary prophecies. Moreover, the tensions between the dichotomy of suffering servant and conquering king are easily resolved by a second coming. Ironically enough, orthodox Christian theology has always held to the view of a second coming - one of which Jesus will come and reign as king.

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Conclusion
===========

If my opponent can present verifiable proof that Jesus could not have possibly been messiah given any of the aforementioned resolutions he will have soundly defeated me. I await his forthcoming arguments with due anticipation.

InquireTruth

Sources:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. The Messiah Texts, by Raphael Patai (pg. 166)
3. IBID
4. http://jewishmessiah.netfirms.com...
http://www.lighthousechurchinc.org...
Debate Round No. 1
jat93

Pro

First, I will present my initial case and then use the information provided to affirm the resolution and refute my opponent's points.

As I said originally, there are many qualifications for Messiah that Jesus simply did not live up to. These include:

- The Messiah must rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem [1], but Jesus lived when the Temple was still intact.
- The Messiah must establish the traditional Jewish law as the law of the land. [2]
- The Messiah must redeem Israel, save them from their enemies, and bring them into a state of prosperity. Not long after the death of Jesus, the Temple was burnt to the ground, Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jewish people were sent into an exile full of persecution - ironically enough, mostly by Jesus' followers - for almost 2000 years.
- The Messiah must make Israel a world power and governmental center of the world for Jews and gentiles alike. [3]
- The Messiah must return all of the exiled Jews to Israel. Jesus lived while Jews were still living there and before they were exiled by the Romans. [4]
- The Messiah must bring world peace [5] and universal awareness of God. [6]
- The Messiah must reign as king of the Jews. Jesus' career as a wandering preacher only lasted a few years until he was crucified by the Romans as a common criminal.
- The Messiah must uphold all the commandments of the Torah, and the Torah itself says that anyone who tries to change them is a false prophet and must be killed. [7] Jesus continually goes against Torah commandments and says that they are no longer valid. [8] He actively goes against the Torah many times. On the one hand, Jesus himself agrees that the commandments in the Old Testament commandments are perfectly doable. Matt 5:18 - " I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place." In Matt 5:19 �€" "Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Thus he agrees with Deut. 30 that says all God's commandments in the Old Testament are doable and within human capability.
Yet he breaks these very same commandments and teaches others to do so, so he must be least in the kingdom of Heaven. He sends two friends to steal a donkey, breaking two commandments at once by stealing and by causing others to sin. He destroys someone's 2000 pigs and never pays for them. He destroys a fig tree just because it didn't have any fruit to give him (it wasn't even in the correct season). He dishonors his mother by making her wait outside while he makes a speech disowning their relationship and claiming his audience for his family instead. He treats a woman seeking help with inexcusable hatred, comparing her and her sick child to dogs, thus disobeying more Old Testament commandments to have compassion and respect towards fellow human beings. Jesus breaks the commandments he said not to break and sets examples he said not to set. Therefore, he could not have been the Messiah.

The Temple has not been rebuilt, the traditional Jewish law has not been restored as the law of the land like it once was, Israel has not yet been redeemed, Israel is not the central government of the world, the exiled Jews have not been returned to their homeland, and there is certainly not complete world peace or universal awareness of God. Jesus failed to complete all of these tasks.

Aside from tasks which the Messiah must complete, there are certain qualifications about his genealogy that Jesus does not fit. One prerequisite for Messiah-ship is Davidic descent - the Messiah must come from the lineage of King David. Based on information provided by the New Testament itself, Jesus cannot be of Davidic descent as he is described in Romans 1:1- 3. If Jesus was indeed virgin born, Joseph had nothing to do with the conception, is not Jesus' father - God is - and thus the only human genealogy must be through Mary. Luke 1:36 says Mary was related to Elizabeth who was of the Aaronic line (Luke 1:5) and not a descendant of David through Solomon as the Messiah must be. And even if she was, the genealogy cannot be passed down through the mother. Furthermore, Matthew 1 and Luke 3 offer conflicting genealogies of how Jesus was part of the Davidic line through Joseph... but essentially this doesn't even matter, because Jesus was the "Son of God" and could not have been descended from David directly through his father's side. (See I Chronicles 17.11, Psalms 89.29-38, Jeremiah 33.17, II Samuel 7.12-16 for the "Davidic line" information.)

This is another reason as to why Jesus cannot be Messiah the son of David.

Now, instead of resolving the "three possible hermeneutical lenses" that you have provided, I'll respond to your assertion that there are contradictions which require those resolutions to begin with.

You offered Zechariah 9:9 to show that the Messiah can't both come upon clouds as predicted in Daniel and come lowly upon a donkey, and Isaiah 53: 5-7 to show that the Messiah can't both be a conquering king and rejected and killed in weakness. The fact is that Zechariah 9:9 cannot apply to Jesus, and Isaiah 53: 5-7 isn't even talking about the Messiah.

Zechariah 9:9 reads as follows - "Thy King cometh ... riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey." But if one simply takes the context of chapter 9 into account and reads the next few verses, they will see that this is referring to a military king who will rule, as the next verse says, from "sea to sea." Jesus never had a kingdom or an army, so he did not fulfill this prophecy. (Also, though not imperative, there are disagreements within the New Testament itself over whether Jesus did come "upon a donkey." Mark 11:7 and Luke 19:35 both say that he came riding upon a colt, and don't mention a donkey.)

Isaiah 53:5-7 - Again, context is needed to understand what the verses actually mean. Isaiah refers to the "servant" by name many times throughout the book. The servant in question is clearly the nation of Israel.

Isaiah 41:8 - "But thou, Israel, [art] my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. 9 - [Thou] whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou [art] my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away."

Again, 49:3 - "And said unto me, Thou [art] my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified."

And 44:21 says- "Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou [art] my servant: I have formed thee; thou [art] my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me."

Indeed, the chapter divisions didn't even exist until a few hundred years ago so the surrounding verses/chapters are very important. Throughout the bible, the nation of Israel is often referred to in the singular sense. Plus, verse 10 in the chapter can't possibly be describing Jesus. "...he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days." - Jesus lived a short, childless life.
Some Christian scholars agree with this view. The RSV (Revised Standard Version Oxford Study Edition Bible) and the New English Bible both adopt the view that the chapter refers to national Israel.

In short, I will try and show that "under the three possible hermeneutical lenses, there is no possible way that Jesus was(is) the Messiah" only if/when you have provided me with sufficient evidence that they are necessary. As of now, I see no reason to assume that the Messiah shouldn't fit or complete the prophecies that I have listed on his first try. In fact, Isaiah 42:4 says "He shall not fail or be crushed until he has set the right in the earth."

My resolution stands. I await my opponent's response. (I apologize, but I will post my sources next round due to lack of room...)
InquireTruth

Con

============
Introduction:
============

My opponent conveniently omits his sources, not allowing me to assess the verity of his claims. Given that messianic prophecy is so nebulous in nature, we actually have very good reasons for believing his arguments are but smoke and mirrors. But let's remember what I said in my opening round. My opponent must show that there is no possible way that Jesus could be the messiah given the three aforementioned hermeneutical lenses. The problem is that mostly everything my opponent listed is easily resolved given any number of the three lenses so listed. Let's take a closer look at the ones that seem to present more of a burden.

============
Messianic Prophecy:
============

"- The Messiah must rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem [1], but Jesus lived when the Temple was still intact"

This prophecy WAS fulfilled. The New Covenant as prophesied by Jeremiah (31:31-34) would consist of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Subsequently, our very bodies became temples. Jesus predicted that he would rebuild the temple in 3 days (John 2:19) and he did by virtue of his resurrection (2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19–22; 1 Peter 2:4–5).

Furthermore, even if my opponent was right, Jews still faithfully anticipate the rebuilding of a temple and this could easily be resolved by any number of the 3 hermeneutical lenses in my round 1 - either 2 different messiahs, same messiah- forthcoming date, or conditional prophecy not fulfilled due to Israel's wickedness.

Virtually all of the supposed messianic prophecy listed by my opponent can be resolved any of the 3 ways already listed - it is a wonder as to why he listed them at all.

============
Jesus disobeyed the Torah and Stole:
============

"He sends two friends to steal a donkey, breaking two commandments at once by stealing and by causing others to sin."

No, he sent his disciples with a message too, as if he had already prior contact with the owners. The disciples said to the owners, "the Lord has need of it," and the owners seemed to have no qualms. To say Jesus commanded stealing is an argument from ignorance, given that we have no context regarding the larger interaction with the owners.

"He destroys someone's 2000 pigs and never pays for them."

No he does not. The demons killed the pigs. If I am allowed into a bar and then subsequently kill all the people in it, it would not be rational to blame the person who let me in - it was my fault and my fault alone.

"He destroys a fig tree just because it didn't have any fruit to give him (it wasn't even in the correct season)."

Who cares? The tree was found by the wayside and thus had no owner. It was common for travelers to pick from such trees (1). The cursing of the tree was an important lesson for his disciples regarding the bearing of fruit. Even still, messianic authority over such things as these is not controversial among both Christian and Jewish scholars.

"He dishonors his mother by making her wait outside while he makes a speech disowning their relationship and claiming his audience for his family instead. He treats a woman seeking help with inexcusable hatred, comparing her and her sick child to dogs"

First, Jesus' treatment of Mary does not dishonor her. Mary tried to dissuade Jesus from his purpose, calling him against the will of his FATHER. In Jewish culture, it would have been Jesus' rightful place to correct his Mother on this (2)

Calling the women a little dog is only bad if you westernize the phrase. In the Hellenizing town he found the woman, Jesus' phrase would have been no different than us calling a lawyer a "bulldog." It was using an animal to illustrate a point, not degrade the woman.

============
Genealogy
============

My opponent makes the claim that Jesus could not be the Messiah because he does not descend from David. This is vacuous. Jesus was legally related to Joseph and thus came from the line of David through Joseph (Matthew 1) AND descendant of David through Mary (Luke 3). Moreover, Jesus was a descendent of David through His REAL Father, God. Any one of these three is sufficient in establishing Jesus Davidic lineage. The idea that he could not have descended from David through Mary is without warrant.

============
Others
============

"But if one simply takes the context of chapter 9 into account and reads the next few verses, they will see that this is referring to a military king who will rule"

Ha, not quite. There is nothing kingly about riding upon a donkey - the passage says as much when it refers to the Messiah as gentle and riding upon a very small donkey. The passage LATER refers to conquering, with is the exact dichotomy I already referred to. This, if anything, is referring to the two-fold nature of the Messiah - and could easily be resolved given any of the 3 lenses. Colt and donkey are not mutually exclusive terms...

Isaiah 53 quite clearly does not refer to Israel given that it uses the singular pronouns "he" 18 times and "he" 13 times. Moreover, it directly contrasts Israel WITH the suffering servant in verse 8:

"By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?"

From the Babylonian Talmud: "The Messiah, what is his name? The Rabbis say, The Leper Scholar, as it is said, ‘surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God and afflicted...'" (Sanhedrin 98b).

Or the Midrash Ruth Rabbah who says: "Another explanation (of Ruth 2:14): He is speaking of king Messiah; ‘Come hither,' draw near to the throne; ‘and eat of the bread,' that is, the bread of the kingdom; ‘and dip thy morsel in the vinegar,' this refers to his chastisements, as it is said, `But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.'"

Ancient Jewish sources affirm the idea that Jews referred to Isaiah 53 as Messianic.

============
Conclusion
============
My opponent MUST show how there is no possible way that Jesus was the Messiah given the 3 hermeneutical lenses. If he cannot, then he cannot affirm the resolution as he as stated it. Saying Jesus was not the Messiah is an absolute statement that requires no possible alternative. So long as it remains possible that Jesus was the Messiah, my opponent fails.

Source:
1. http://www.christiancourier.com...
2. http://commonbreadtogether.com...
http://bible.org...
http://www.apologeticspress.com...
Debate Round No. 2
jat93

Pro

jat93 forfeited this round.
InquireTruth

Con

I would like to thank Jat93 for offering such a great debate topic and I hope to debate him in the future. Extend all my arguments.

InquireTruth
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by rl_meyer 6 years ago
rl_meyer
Interesting debate, however I see InquireTruth you say that in order to have legitimate claims your opponent needs to post his sources, but your sources are biased towards your beliefs. Is that objective? I personally do not believe Jesus was any kind of Messiah, actually I consider the Bible, the so called Old Testament and New testaments as very interesting and elaborated works of myth, no different than Greek Mythology with its Heroes , Titans and monsters. For starters, virgin births, probably taken from a Roman mystery cult called Mithraism, established prior to Christianity. Early reconstructions of the Mithras legend proposed, from Persian sources, that he might have been born of the union of Mother Earth and Ahuramazda, however the theory has not endured. Carvings illustrating the legend reinforce documentary sources that focus on Mithras being born purely from rock (saxigenus), as Athena, the daughter of Zeus and Metis, sprang from the forehead of Zeus. Alternatively, Perseus son of Zeus and Danae, which produced a son of a god, or demi-god. Therefore, you are saying you believe in a demi-god named Jesus no different from all his Greek predecessors. No different, sorry no intent to offend anyone.

Last but not least, the way you laid down the grounds of the debate, "f my opponent can present verifiable proof that Jesus could not have possibly been messiah given any of the aforementioned resolutions he will have soundly defeated me" is no different than Petitio principii (begging the question) or logical fallacy known as argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to modesty) The appeal here is to use Christian theology as an authority which, as I mentioned is biased and then, using your opponents lack of quoting sources as a sign of lack of credibility.

For the sake of argument, at least this is what your opponent should have usedas a source since it is in line with Jewish rabbinical thought http://www.aish.com....

Peace to all.
Posted by InquireTruth 6 years ago
InquireTruth
You need to post your sources as they are perhaps the biggest part of this debate. It's not quite legitimate if you do not let me verify your points.
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
jat93, you're a debate partner stealer. :(
Posted by jat93 6 years ago
jat93
I did.
Posted by InquireTruth 6 years ago
InquireTruth
Can you make the voting period something other than indefinite?
Posted by jat93 6 years ago
jat93
Yes, and qualifications about his life, how he is supposed to live it, etc... All based on the OT.
Posted by InquireTruth 6 years ago
InquireTruth
Is this debate mainly over whether Jesus fulfilled Old Testament, messianic prophecy?
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