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Is Jesus the Promised Jewish Messiah

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Virtuoso
Debate details
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Religion
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Description
I would like to thank Swagnarok for agreeing to debate this with me.
--Topic--
Is Jesus the Promised Jewish Messiah?
--Rules--
1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
8. The BOP is evenly shared
9. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
10. Con must waive in R1 and Pro must waive in R5.
11. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the R1 set-up, merits a loss
--Structure--
R1. Con waives; Pro's Case
R2. Con's Case; Pro generic Rebuttal
R3. Con generic Rebuttal; Pro generic Rebuttal
R4. Con generic Rebuttal; Pro generic Rebuttal and Summary
R5. Con generic Rebuttal and Summary; Pro waives
Round 1
Published:
Thank you for accepting this debate. I waive this round per the rules. 
Published:
Intro
I thank my opponent for agreeing to hold this debate with me. Before I begin, there are some rules and terminology that we ought to agree on right here and now:
Messiah: Usually translated as “Anointed One”, an eschatological figure prophesied about in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. The savior of the Jewish people (per Judaism) and/or those people who put their trust in the one true God (per Christianity).
Rabbinical Judaism: The mainstream Jewish mode of interpreting the primary Jewish religious texts, and related materials, as compared to Christian interpretations of such.
As my opponent has stated elsewhere prior, he will likely be using sources such as rabbinical commentaries on the Old Testament (the descriptive that I’ll be preferring to use in this debate, since I’m of a Christian background). I am on board with this, as an indicator of what Judaic experts, mainstream or otherwise, have thought about their religion’s holy texts. However, I will not accept these commentaries as having equal weight to the books of the Old Testament. They are, after all, first and foremost the opinions of men. Learned men for sure, but men nonetheless. Additionally, I am on board with my opponent using sources such as the Oral Torah, but I will take these to be of questionable validity, since they basically amount to rumors and hearsay (or, more charitably, extrabiblical tradition).

It is a common claim among Christian apologists that Jesus has fulfilled a great number of Old Testament prophesies. In fact, there is a lengthy Wikipedia article about the OT prophecies that Jesus is said by Christians to have fulfilled:
Perhaps most notably, there’s Isaiah 53, which reads (according to an English translation from the Jewish website Chabad):
“Who would have believed our report, and to whom was the arm of the Lord revealed?...Despised and rejected by men, a man of pains and accustomed to illness, and as one who hides his face from us, despised and we held of him of no account. Indeed, he bore our illnesses, and our pains—he carried them, yet we accounted him as plagued, smitten by God and oppressed. But he was pained because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his wound we were healed. We all went astray like sheep, we have turned, each one on his way, and the Lord accepted his prayers for the iniquity of all of us. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he would not open his mouth; like a lamb to the slaughter he would be brought, and like a ewe that is mute before her shearers, and he would not open his mouth.”
The accompanying commentary on said website (penned by the medieval rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, AKA “Rashi”) interpreted this as the nation of Israel suffering for the sins of the world. The mainstream Christian interpretation, however, was that this was an allusion to the suffering of Jesus for the sins of humanity, and in my opinion the latter interpretation makes a lot more sense.
I am sure that my opponent has come across this kind of material many times (or at least he's prepared to come across such in this debate), and in any case there is a character cap on me so I’m not going to spend much time on this.
Instead, I’m going to move straight into my first point:
 
1.
The 613 commandments of the Mosaic Law, also called the Mitzvot, are insufficient. What we have observed is that the will of God has been revealed gradually over time. Adam did not receive the Law of Moses, nor did Noah, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. In any given generation one must make do with the revelation that has been made available.
However, we must assume that God has a specific, or ultimate, will that eventually will be made known. The assumption (as far as I know) of the Jewish people is that the specific, ultimate, permanent will of God is for the Mosaic Law to be upheld.
And that is it. Uphold the law (along with perhaps whatever general moral principles can be derived from various passages in the Old Testament, but primarily the Mosaic Law) and you’re good in the eyes of God.
There is a problem with this, however: God is a cosmic, infinite being. We know His character to be just and that He hates wickedness; we know that there is no other God besides Him. But we really don’t know much else, because we really don’t need to know much else. The oneness and all-powerfulness of God, as well as the universality of norms of justice etched into the personality of Him, make for a pretty good foundation of who He is. It is illogical to assume that His ultimate will concerns such petty things as “Should I eat pork?” or “Should I eat dairy products and meat in the same meal?” (a prohibition not actually supported by Scripture but whatever) or “Should I wear clothes made from two or more different types of fabric?”. These things do not seem to concern general moral principles at all. They are finite, relatively inconsequential things which do not pertain to the character of God. If God’s final revelation did not see the faithful move beyond such rules, then the God we worship would be a very disappointing one indeed.
At this point you might be asking why God would demand such finite, petty things from humans in the first place. The answer is twofold:
First, in delivering His will in incomplete form, one piece at a time, He was already dealing in the finite. Second, God was dealing with a finite world. For example, parting the Red Sea for the Israelites was an act with a measurable outcome, not an exercise of infinite power. But it served His purpose in that time and place well enough. We do not presume that the parting of the Red Sea was God’s end goal in itself, but rather a finite component in something bigger. However, the fact that such petty things were demanded does not make them a viable, permanent remedy for a cosmic problem.
A holy God of infinite proportions (including infinite holiness and holy sensibilities) who obviously holds humans to be morally accountable for their actions would demand nothing short of absolute holiness from us mortals. It is perhaps well enough that this demand should not be immediately fulfilled, but as an eventuality it must have happened. Unfortunately, such was and is beyond the scope of any person’s ability.
In the Old Testament, God poured out His wrath onto the disobedient Israelites on a number of occasions. Additionally, He demanded sacrifices from them to be shown mercy for their sins, as early as with Abel and Cain.
However, it is illogical also that unconsenting, unthinking animals which as far as we know are not moral actors can die for the sins of man (a punishment of relatively light proportions, might I add, unfitting for the penalty that a holy God might very well proscribe for even the lightest sin). Even if they were, it is well-attested that animal sacrifices are no longer practiced in Judaism, for the simple reason that the Jews no longer have a Temple. So modern day Jews are left without any such recourse.
A holy God cannot just let sin go unpunished. A universal reconciliation between a holy God and sinful man requires that: One. the horrific punishment for the collective sum of all human sin be paid 2. man conform to the universal standard of justice, rather than the comparatively short standard of the Mitzvot.
If Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, did not die for the sins of man, and if you are still bound only by the Mitzvot, then how is reconciliation to God possible? What resources do the Jewish people have to save themselves from their sins? Who else can do what Jesus is claimed to have done?
 
Most Christian apologists simply leave it at this, which I think is somewhat disingenuous because it fails to adequately take into account the rabbinical Jewish position on the matter. Per one source that I’ve found (the online “Mechon Mamre”), animal sacrifice was a rite not actually demanded by God but which served the useful purpose of bringing one close to God, and that forgiveness for sin simply requires repentance.
That is to say, God according to rabbinical Judaism will not demand punishment for sins that one repents of. No party was ever required to pay a price for such. In my opinion, this is unjust, because repentance=/=recompense for transgression. It is simply a petition to not pay recompense (assuming a perfect and rational actor), as the humiliation and mental anguish of repentance is much less than the due penalty for many if not all transgressions against God.
Anyways, I’m now going to move on to my second point:

2.
The exclusivity of the Jewish religion is immoral.
The world’s two largest religions, Christianity and Islam, have engaged in large amounts of proselytism historically. Jews, however, have not. They have apparently made no effort to convert Gentiles to their faith, and even discourage outsiders from joining.
The modern Jewish position is that Gentiles will be given a share in the World to Come, but only if they fulfill the 7 Noahide Laws. There is a problem with this (besides the fact that it appears to be entirely an extrabiblical innovation): Jewish tradition stipulates that the upholding of the Noahide Laws by Gentiles must take place for the reason that such is recorded in Genesis 9. The reasons why Christians and Muslims act morally has little to do with the Noahide Laws, or even the Mosaic Law (the Ten Commandments aside). As for Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, etc. that’s even less the case. And the fact of the matter is, Jews have done extremely little to try and convince Gentiles not only to uphold the Noahide Laws but to do so for the aforementioned reason.
Thus, per Judaism the overwhelming majority of the world’s population will have no share in the World to Come. The religion de facto stipulates that only Jews will be allowed to partake in such, and its followers historically seemed to have treated this as being the case, looking down upon Gentiles as a consequence (something especially attested to in the Four Gospels). That only a single ethnic group, only the descendants of a certain person (Abraham), should be granted the privilege of eternal life is immoral.
Jesus was the finisher of the Law because He made the grace of God accessible to the entire world, to people from all backgrounds, of every tongue and nation. He commanded His followers to spread the Gospel to every corner of the world in Acts chapter 1 verse 8, which reads "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
 
3. Historical Evidence against a yet-to-come Messiah
There are multiple books in the Old Testament devoted to God’s spokespersons chastising the Israelites for their faithlessness. As a consequence of their continued disobedience, the Jews were taken into captivity (first by the Assyrian Empire, in the case of the northern kingdom, and then by the Babylonian Empire, in the case of the southern kingdom; only the remnant of the southern kingdom seems to have survived in the historical record).
This is consistent with Deuteronomy 28:36, which establishes that “The Lord will lead you and your king whom you will have established over you, to a nation unknown to you or your fathers” if the Jews are unfaithful to God. Conversely, earlier in this chapter God promised that if they were faithful then “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise up against you, to be beaten before you; they will come out against you in one direction, but they will flee from you in seven directions”, suggesting that if the Jews are faithful to God then they would never be taken into exile.
As far as we know, the Jews post-Babylonian Captivity were highly diligent in upholding the Mitzvot. They were not idolatrous like their forefathers. As far as we know, this has been the case near-consistently for the past 2500 years.
Then that begs the question: why were the Jews scattered across the Mediterranean world following the failed revolt of 70 AD (and then again in the failed Bar Kochba Revolt)? Besides rejecting Jesus, what might they have done that demonstrated any sort of unfaithfulness to God?
What did they do to deserve to be subject to bloody pogroms throughout the Medieval era? What did they do to deserve the things worse than this that transpired? God’s protection of the Jews against enemy plots of genocide is recorded in the Book of Esther, so why was this protection not extended across the past 2000 years? Were they not faithful, per the conventional Jewish understanding of their faith?
Conversely, in 1948 the Nation of Israel was re-established, without the intervention of a messianic figure. The first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, was in charge during the Israeli War of Independence, but there were later conflicts for which the fate of Israel hung in the balance that he did not lead Israel in, such as the Six-Day War or the Yom Kippur War. There was no single leader in modern Israeli politics who has been so crucial in its continued survival over the course of several decades as to be a possible qualifier for the Jewish messiah. And at this point, Israel is more secure than it seemingly ever has been, so it likely will not ever need a messiah as understood in the Jewish tradition.

I apologize if at any point I have misunderstood or otherwise contributed to any misunderstanding of the tenets of Judaism, or if I’ve said anything to disrespect the faith, but in any case I’ve established my opening position and now I await my opponent’s response. Thank you.

Round 2
Published:
Thank you for agreeing to debate this with me. I will be using this round to construct my case on why Jews reject Jesus as their messiah.

Framework

In this round, I hope to show several things: (1) that the Christian concept of the messiah is contrary to the Jewish scriptures; (2) that Jesus did not meet the requirements to be the messiah; and (3) that one can find atonement without Jesus

The word Messiah

The word Messiah comes from the Hebrew word moshiach, which means anointed. The Hebrew Bible uses the word moshiach on many occasions that refers to kings, priests, and prophets. For example, David calls Saul HaShem’s moshiach

Shmuel Aleph 26:9: “But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the LORD’s anointed (moshiach) and be guiltless?” 

Exodus 30:22-38 gives the procedure of anointment and how the anointing oil is to be made. Jesus was not anointed with that oil and thus cannot said to be a messiah.  

The Messianic Criteria 

In order for a person to be the messiah they must be a a Jewish male from the tribe of Judah and a descendant of David through Solomon (Jeremiah 33:17-22; 2 Samuel 7:12-16). This presents a huge issue. First, Christians claim that Jesus was born of a virgin (more on that later). This disqualifies Jesus because the tribal status passes from male to male. Since Jesus did not have a biological father, he therefore did not have a tribal affiliation and thus cannot be the messiah. Second, the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke contradict each other! Matthew’s genealogy goes from David through Solomon (Matthew 1:6-7) whereas Luke says Jesus came from David through Nathan (Luke 3:31). 

The Messiah’s Job

The Messiah will do several things: (1) bring the Jews back to Israel [Isaiah 11:12; Ezekiel 37:14]; (2) bring peace fo the Earth [Isaiah 11; Micah 4:3]; (3) rebuild the temple in Jerusalem [Ezekiel 37 through the end of the book]; (4) the entire Earth will know God [Isaiah 66:23]. 

Jesus did not fulfill a single one of these roles and thus cannot be the messiah. Furthermore, Christians counter by arguing that Jesus will fulfill these during the second coming. But there is not one verse in all of scripture that says there will be two comings of the messiah. He will get the job done the first time. 

Why we Need a Messiah

The Jewish and Christian understanding of what the messiah is are worlds apart. Christians believe that Jesus is the perfect and final sacrifice and that he came to fulfill the Torah and make it obsolete. This is far from the truth! We need a king messiah, to live in Israel, to have the Temple rebuilt so that we can perform the mitzvot that are only applicable in Israel and when there is a Temple. 

Sin, sacrifice, and atonement

Christians believe that we are so sinful that we need Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in order to find forgiveness. The Jewish response is simple. First human sacrifices can never be accepted, second sacrifices were never required for atonement, and finally no one can die for the sins of another. 

Since we have no temple in order to be forgiven is to do teshuva, repentance. In fact even when there was a temple standing teshuva was required! A sacrifice without teshuva is invalid! Hashem promised us that we will always be able to go back to Hashem. In Deuteronomy Moshe prophecies about the exile:

"Hashem will scatter you among the other races and few of you will be left among the nations where Hashem will send you; and there you will serve gods that are man's handiwork - wood and stone - which cannot see or hear and which do not eat or breathe. But from that place you will seek out Hashem your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him out with all your heart and all your being... in the later times, when you are in distress because of all these things that will have happened to you, then you will return to Hashem your God and you will start listening to His Voice, because Hashem your God is a compassionate God - He will not abandon you and He will not destroy you, because He will never forget your ancestors' covenant that He swore with them..." (D'varim 4:27-31). 

When the first temple was built Shlomo HaMelech said this:

"If they sin against You - for there is no man who never sins - and You become angry with them and give them over to an enemy and their captors carry them off captive to an enemy country, far or near... and they take the matter to heart in the country to which they will have been carried off captive and they repent and beg You in their captors' country and say 'We sinned, we acted crookedly, and we were wicked' and they return to You with all their heart and all their being in the country of their enemies who captured them, praying to You towards their own land that You gave to their ancestors—then, in Heaven, the foundation of Your abode, You will hear their prayer and their begging and you will do right by them: You will forgive Your nation for what they sinned against You and for the rebellious ways in which they rebelled against You, and You will arouse their captors' compassion for them so that they will treat them mercifully - because they are Your nation and Your inheritance whom You took out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting crucible! So may Your eyes be open to Your servant's begging and to Your nation Yisraél's begging, and may You listen to them whenever they call out to You..." (M'lachim Alef 8:46-52). 

Ezekiel 33 also states the following:

“Now you, son of man, say to the house of Israel; So have you spoken, saying: For our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and because of them we are melting away, so how can we live? Say to them: As I live, says the Hashem/God, I do not wish for the death of the wicked, but for the wicked to repent of his way so that he may live. Repent, repent of your evil ways, for why should you die, O house of Israel! And you, son of man, say to the members of your people: The righteousness of the righteous will not save him on the day of his transgression, and the wickedness of the wicked-he will not stumble upon it on the day of his repentance of his wickedness, and a righteous man cannot live with it on the day of his sinning. When I say of the righteous that he will surely live, and he relied on his righteousness and committed injustice, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered, and for the injustices which he committed he shall die. And when I say of the wicked man, "You shall surely die," and he repents of his sin and performs justice and righteousness,The wicked man will return the pledge, he will repay the theft; in the statutes of life he walked, not to commit injustice-he will surely live, he will not die. All his sins that he sinned will not be remembered for him: he performed justice and righteousness; he will surely live. When a righteous man repents of his righteousness and commits injustice, he will die because of them. And when a wicked man repents of his wickedness and performs justice and righteousness, he shall live because of them.” 

Here we are presented with two people: A wicked man who repents and becomes righteous and a righteous man who repents and becomes wicked. God forgives the wicked man and forgets his sins. 

Ezekiel 18:20 says that the person who sins will die. No person is able to die for the sins of another. 

There is not a single verse in all of the Hebrew Bible that says faith in the messiah alone is the only method of atonement. Not one!

Conclusion

Jesus cannot be the Messiah. He failed to have the basic qualifications of the messiah and failed to do even one of the Messianic prophecies. 

As a Jew, I believe with perfect and complete faith that the messiah will one day come. Even though he tarries, I will await his coming every day. 

Resolution negated.

Published:
My opponent has made several arguments, and I’ll jump right into answering them:
 
1. Anointing
It should be noted that anointing was a mere act of symbolism. That the Messiah should be able to fulfill a certain function or objective has little to nothing to do with whether or not oil is poured on his head. It was a mere indicator of one’s status; to have such a deed performed on one by a figure generally regarded as holy lent credence to one’s status as being favored by God to perform X function (king, deliverer of the people, etc).
Were Jesus (or anyone else, for that matter) anointed by, say, the high priest of His day, then He likely would have been recognized by the Jewish people as the Messiah. They would have followed Him to the grave, as the Romans would have surely retaliated with the full arm of their military might in one of the bloodiest exchanges the Mediterranean world had seen in decades, if not centuries. Under the conventional framework, Jesus would have either proven Himself by prevailing militarily and establishing a lasting, independent Jewish state or shown Himself to be a fraud by losing to the Roman army.
However, Jesus did not operate under the conventional Jewish framework. The Gospels record that in His day there were those who wanted Him to lead them as the Messiah. But He did not heed the demands of the crowd, because the crowd misunderstood the true nature of the Messiah. The Messiah was not meant to be served but to serve. He was born into humble circumstances to one day suffer horrifically for the sake of humanity. In doing so, He conquered sin and the grave.
His glory is not readily apparent to the lost children of this world, but rather to those who seek Him diligently that glory will be slowly revealed. It is what the world regards as foolishness, because this world values physical beauty and aesthetics over the spiritual. That is why the Messiah came in the way that He did. That is why the Pharisees, the proud leaders of the Jewish nation at that time, could not recognize Him, and why they saw fit to put Him to death. It was to those of a poor and contrite spirit that flocked to Him and acknowledged Him as the Messiah. One day He will return in splendor, and the entire world will see Him for what He is. But that time has not come yet.
Ironically, then, Jesus actually was anointed, twice: once by a woman (not a person of great credibility) who poured expensive ointment on His head, and the other time by a sinful woman who wet His feet with her tears, then wiped His feet with Her hair, and then poured ointment on His feet. But because of who He was He could not receive such a great honor in His life from figures with much greater credibility because of the effects that would have.
 
2. Lineage
The Bible mentioned that the Messiah would be a descendant of David. Again, however, this is largely a matter of symbolism. Whether the Messiah is a descendant of King David or of Adolf Hitler should not affect His ability to perform X function.
The Bible records that both Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus, were descendants of King David. However, Jesus was not a biological son of Joseph, which would seem to give Him no fatherly lineage.
Though in the Bible lineage was traced through the paternal line, this seems to have been mainly a matter of convention. There is no reason why the Messiah could not trace His lineage through the maternal line. Additionally, however, Jesus was legally the son of Joseph through the fact that Joseph was married to Jesus’s mother. We do not normally dispute that a man’s adopted son is his son.
 
3. The Messiah’s Role
The Second Coming of Christ is alluded to quite frequently in the NT, so I assume what my opponent means is that the Second Coming of the Messiah is not mentioned in the OT.
Be that as it may, the OT did not (to my knowledge) claim that the Messiah would “get the job done the first time”. What matters is whether the Messiah gets it done eventually. If the Jews are still content to wait on the Messiah to come after 2500 years of waiting then it should not be too much of a stretch to wait for Christ to come again and bring the rest of the yet-unfulfilled Biblical prophecy to fruition.

4. The Nature of Sacrifices
Atonement can be thought of as paying back a moral/spiritual debt. In the “real world”, we accept that a third party with sufficient sums of money can pay back somebody’s debt. Why this same logic is not being applied here I do not know.
There are several reasons why human sacrifices were not traditionally accepted: First, it was an abomination in God’s eyes because it more or less amounted to murder. Human beings, capable of good and evil and thereby able to consent, normally would not consent to being sacrificed for the sins of another. Children were often manipulated into being a sacrifice for their parents (especially in the surrounding pagan cultures), without understanding ahead of time what their sacrifice would entail, making it invalid as the child did not truly have a choice, not being adequately informed (either by virtue of omission, deliberate or otherwise, or by virtue of the child’s natural inability to wholly grasp the situation even if such was explained to him or her). Second, human beings, capable of good and evil and thereby being capable of moral guilt, are all sinful and therefore inadequate as sacrifices, since they’d be trying to pay off somebody else’s debt when they still hadn’t paid back their own.
Jesus consented to the death and suffering that He endured, and to being made to pay for the sins of the human race. Being God, He fully understood what that entailed. Per scripture He was without sin. Therefore, His sacrifice cleared all of these hurdles. I would argue, in fact, that a human sacrifice was required for the very reason that an animal cannot consent. But obviously no ordinary human sacrifice would do, so it had to be the sacrifice of a divine human, or of God, being both pure enough to sacrifice and of great enough value that His sacrifice could cover the sins of a great multitude. The conventional understanding of Judaism resolves to address this issue simply by sacrificing more animals, but as I’ve shown this is insufficient.
 
5. “Righteous People”
In Psalms 14 David declares that “The Lord in Heaven looked down upon the sons of men to see whether there is a man of understanding, who seeks the Lord. All have turned away; together they have spoiled; no one does good, not even one.” True human righteousness is nonexistent; some individuals are described in the Old Testament as being righteous, but the New Testament clarifies that they were “counted righteous” through their faith in God (as is any believer), not that they were literally righteous people (that is, those whose good “outweighed their evil”, because just one human sin outweighs a lifetime of good works).
If everyone must die for his own sin, then we’re all royally f**ked. A more sensible reading of passages like Ezekiel 18:20 is that each person will be held accountable for his own sin, but with the possibility of atonement one day occurring in some form or another. Otherwise Judaism is a self-defeating religion, as it establishes that atonement for sin is not possible.

Round 3
Published:
In this round I will be responding to pro’s round 1 arguments.

Re: Pro’’s intro

I want to address pro’s argument that Jesus allegedly filled over 300 messianic prophecies. So what? I proved in the last round that there are many others that are left unfulfilled, an issue that pro conceded. If there’s one prophecy unfulfilled then he cannot be the messiah.

But let’s take a look at some of these “prophecies.” All of these prophecies that he fulfilled are either: (1) based on a mistranslation; (2) taken out of context; (3) don’t even exist; or (4) are not prophecies at all! 

Matthew 1 cites Isaiah 7:14 as being a prophecy of being born of a virgin. The problem? Isaiah 7:14 does not say the child will be born of a virgin. The Hebrew text says:

הִנֵּ֣ה הָעַלְמָ֗ה הָרָה֙ וְיֹלֶ֣דֶת בֵּ֔ן וְקָרָ֥את שְׁמ֖וֹ עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל׃

Behold! The young woman is with child and is going to give birth to a son. She will call his name Immanuel. 

הָעַלְמָ֗ה (Ha’Almah) means The Young Woman, not a virgin, as Matthew wants us to believe. 

If you look at the context of Isaiah 7 it is clear that this is nothing about the Messiah. Rather the Immanuel child is a prophetic name in reference to a war that is taking place at that time and place. It is a sign to Ahav and the House of David that the kingdoms you dread will be taken out shortly.

Let’s look at one more. Matthew 2:21-23 states:

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Problem? There’s no such prophecy anywhere in T’nach that says the Messiah will be from Nazareth or will be called a Nazarene. 

Re 1: The 613 Mitzvot

Pro’s argument that the 613 mitzvot are insufficient flies in the face of Torah! Time and time again the scriptures portray the Torah as perfect. Here are just a few of the hundreds of references!

Psalm 1:8 “But his [the righteous] desire is in the Torah of Hashem, and in His Torah he mediates day and night.” 
Psalm 19:8: “The Torah of Hashem is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of Hashem is faithful, making the simple one wise. 
Psalm 119:1 “Praiseworthy are those whose way is perfect, who walks with the Torah of Hashem.” 
Proverbs 3:18 “[the Torah] is a tree of life…”

The Torah further gives a litmus test to seeing who is and who is not a true prophet. 

  1. One who claims to have been sent from God and advocates idolatry;
  2. One who attempts to abrogate the Torah; or 
  3. If a prophet’s words are not fulfilled. 
Jesus failed this test completely. First Jesus’ claim to be God flies in the face of the Torah. We did not know Jesus at Sinai so worshipping him is idolatry. Strike 1! 

Second Christianity states that the Torah is no longer binding. Jesus even commanded a person to violate Shabbat! John 5 states:

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] [b] One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

Carrying is one of the 39 categories of work that is forbidden to do on Shabbat. Jesus commanded a man to violate Shabbat, an issue the Pharisees understood quite well!  Strike 2!

Jesus also made several prophecies that were unfulfilled. Jesus claimed that he will be coming back and people who are standing there will see him return! Mark 9:1 states “And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power." 

Jesus disciples and apostles clearly believed that Jesus will return in their lifetime. The New Testament repeatedly says that Jesus is coming soon and that it is the last hour. That’s strike 3! We all know what happens after the 3rd strike! 

Re 2. The exclusivity of the Jewish Religion is immoral 

It’s important to note that Hashem wants to have a relationship with all of mankind, not just the Jewish people. The Jewish people were given the job of the priestly nation. Their job is to be a light unto the nations and bring the nations closer to Hashem. The Temple is called a house of prayer for all nations. 

God made a covenant with the nations as well. We know from the Book of Jonah that God sent a Jewish prophet to a gentile city to repent because he wants them to observe the Noahide laws and act morally. 

There are 7 laws that apply to all mankind. These laws are:

  1. Do not murder.
  2. Do not steal.
  3. Do not worship false gods.
  4. Do not be sexually immoral.
  5. Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
  6. Do not curse God.
  7. Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.

If a gentile wants to become a Jew, then he must convert. The conversion process can be long and difficult. One must learn the mitzvoth and how to observe them. They also are taught Jewish philosophy and theology. Once they are ready to convert, they appear before the beith din who will determine if they are ready. For a male they must get circumcised and then go to the mikveh. For a woman all she has to do is go to the mikveh. 

There are certain people who are forbidden to convert. Those are the Amalekites and the Moabite men. Is God going to cast them into hell because they got unlucky to be born to those nations? Of course not! They just need to follow the Noahide laws and they will be considered righteous.

The Talmud states (Bava Kamma 38) that a gentile who keeps the Noahide laws is on a spiritual level like the high priest! 

Re 3. Historical Evidence against a yet-to-come Messiah

The prophets warned us that there will be an exile coming but promises us that we will eventually return to our land. 

Unfortunately during the time of the second temple there was a lot of strife and discord amongst the Jewish people. The Sadducees who ran the Temple were in bed with the Romans and were highly corrupt. The Sadducees were also heretics who rejected the Oral Torah and rejected the concept of a messiah or the resurrection of the dead. 

The Talmud states that the temple was destroyed due to baseless hatred and lashon
Hara amongst the Jewish people. 

Israel’s birth in 1948 is just the start of the redemption. Eventually there will be a Messiah who will come to rebuild the temple and finish gathering the exiles. Israel is the first flowering of our redemption. 

May the righteous moshaich come speedily and in our days. 

Published:
Alright, so…
 
As it turns out, my opponent has made a slight error. In his Round 3 argument, he said that (and I quote):

“Isaiah 7:14 does not say the child will be born of a virgin. The Hebrew text says:

הִנֵּ֣ה הָעַלְמָ֗ה הָרָה֙ וְיֹלֶ֣דֶת בֵּ֔ן וְקָרָ֥את שְׁמ֖וֹ עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל׃

Behold! The young woman is with child and is going to give birth to a son. She will call his name Immanuel. 

הָעַלְמָ֗ה (Ha’Almah) means The Young Woman, not a virgin, as Matthew wants us to believe.”

 
This is not entirely wrong, of course. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. You see, my opponent informed me privately that the source for this translation was the Masoretic Text. This version of the OT, the most favored among Jews today, was created sometime from the 7th to 10th centuries AD.
Unfortunately, this means that, at earliest, the Masoretic version of the Book of Isaiah first appeared more than 1000 years after the life of the prophet Isaiah (and, of course, well after the life of Christ).
There exists a considerably earlier version than this, the Septuagint (often abbreviated as “LXX”), which was written for the benefit of Hellenic (Greek-speaking, and probably among other things) Jews. The Septuagint was completed sometime in the 2nd century B.C. Though not necessarily the oldest extant version of the OT (re: the Dead Sea Scrolls), the Septuagint’s greater age should certainly grant it more credibility than the Masoretic text, since the former was written significantly closer to the time of the original source material than the latter.
This is what the Septuagint reads for Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Emmanuel.”
Unfortunately, I was unable to find exactly what the Greek word for the “virgin” part was used. However, my opponent has informed me that the word was “parthenas”. Wiktionary defines “Parsenos” (from which such is derived) as: “1. young, unmarried woman; maiden 2. Virgin” (along with less relevant definitions which will not be included).
So per the Septuagint she who would conceive would be either an unmarried woman or a virgin; given that there was no pathway for a never-before-married woman to get pregnant and for that to be right in YHWH’s eyes, the clear implication is that the pregnant woman would be a virgin. Plus, it kind of goes without saying that any unmarried woman is physically capable of going and having sexual relations out of wedlock and then getting pregnant (barring medical conditions making such impossible for her), so there’d be no miracle in her getting pregnant unless she was still a virgin.
 
That being out of the way, my opponent did of course point out that the virgin birth described here was apparently a physical event that happened in King Ahaz’s day, hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.
However, in Christianity and in the Gospels there is the idea that events in the Old Testament foreshadowed events that either happened in the New Testament or are prophesied in the New Testament to happen.
Here’s one example: in John 3:14, Jesus said that “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
What he was referring to, of course, was the incident recounted in the Book of Number in which the Israelites, bitten by poisonous serpents and dying because of their disobedience to God, could only be saved by gazing upon a bronze serpent erected by Moses.
We know why the bronze serpent was set up in that day and age, because the text that recounts the story tells us why. However, God also had the future in mind: the future coming of Christ, who would be lifted up onto a cross so that those who placed their faith in Him could be saved from the poisonous effects of their own sins.
Here’s another example: in Matthew 24 Jesus said that “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
The Book of Genesis tells us why God flooded the earth, why Noah was to build an ark. It had a clear purpose intended for that time. However, God also had in mind the future, in which He stood ready to damn a planet for its sins. In this future, salvation from the “deluge” of hellfire could only come through Jesus, who was the spiritual ark in this analogy.
My opponent is being a bit disingenuous, in my opinion, in assuming that the writers of the Gospels had to rely upon mistranslations to come up with the “Jesus story”. They were Jews, and of course they knew that the Immanuel prophecy was from Isaiah addressing Ahaz about events taking place in that day and age. And naturally, the writers of the Gospels would have known that their Jewish (original) audience would know this as well. They all had the OT in some form, of course, as the Jews were an extremely well learned peoples in that time (and today but I digress). They obviously regarded the passage in Isaiah it as foreshadowing, instead of trying to pass this off as something Isaiah randomly said without any context besides the coming of Christ.
When Jesus was born of a virgin, it was similar to the virgin birth in Isaiah’s day: it was a sign that God was present, that He had something to say for his people to hear. In this case, what God had to say is recorded as the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
Before I continue, I would like to address these major discrepancies between the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text. It would appear that the early medieval Jewish leaders, surrounded by a newly triumphant Christendom which often persecuted them and tried to get them to convert, recognized the need, for the good of the Jewish faith (as recognized by them as being independent of Christianity), to alter certain Biblical passages so that they seemed less likely to support the Messianic nature of Jesus, so as to prevent their peoples from coming across such on paper and being tempted to convert to the faith of the Gentiles around them.
For this reason, I would consider any argument deriving from the Masoretic Text claiming that the Christians mistranslated the Hebrew Bible to be automatically suspect on its face. It could be argued by a non-Messianic Jew that Christians draw bad conclusions from the OT, but that’s about the extent of it IMO.
 
Alright, moving on…
1. Mitzvot
God is perfect. So what God has spoken is also perfect. Seems logical. However, what God has spoken is not always the end in itself. The Mitzvot were sufficient for the purpose that they served.
The purpose of the Law of Moses was twofold: First, to give a glimpse of God’s glory, and of the standard that He required of man. Second, to make it clear that God’s law could not be followed. This latter point was struck in by the fact that the Israelites were near-consistently unfaithful for the 1000 or so years that they had the Law of Moses prior to the Babylonian captivity.
However, there’s more to it than that. For example, in Matthew 5:27-28 Jesus said: “You have heard it said, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’. But I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart.”
That is to say, holiness is not just about what you say and do, but also about what you think. By this definition of holiness and sin, everybody has sinned at some point or another, because nobody can live a full life without thinking something naughty. It just doesn’t happen. Ever.
You get glimpses of this idea in the Old Testament. Passages that suggest lusting after a woman is bad. However, you will not get this from the Mitzvot. To my knowledge, nowhere does the Law of Moses say “Thou shalt not lust”. Perhaps the closest it comes to that is “Thou shalt not covet”, but that primarily seems to concern material possessions.
It is a perfect law, perhaps, but not all-encompassing. You cannot get the entirety of your worldview from such. The mere fact that Jews derive from other materials, such as Psalms and Isaiah, to derive moral principles is proof of that.
The Christian, then, has good reason to assume that perfect conformity to the Mitzvot does not necessarily equate to perfect or even reasonable conformity to the universal standard of justice. It is then, by definition, inadequate. Neither Jesus nor his disciples tried to lay down an exact framework for how to abide by such a universal standard. Rather, they just gave some examples in some instances, because a book covering every possible contingency would fill the page length of a hundred Bibles in itself. And, frankly, we should have a spirit of discernment to tell whenever something is not right .
 
2. Exclusive Faith
To prove that Judaism supports the idea of Noahide Gentiles being righteous before God my opponent cited something from the Talmud called “Bava Kamma”. This is not in the Old Testament and is of dubious credibility.
Even if the righteous gentile doctrine is true, however, the Jew-Gentile distinction is still unjust: it assumes that God only expects certain people to live up to a certain standard of holiness, and that everyone else does not have to. Likewise, it assumes that Jews will reap the reward for this obedience whereas gentiles will get no such reward. The Jews clearly are unable to opt out of the responsibilities of being Jewish, as doing so brings only the wrath of God upon them.
At this point, we must ask two questions: First, why must only one group suffer the inconveniences of the law? Second, why must only one group be eligible to receive a reward? The dividing line is who your parents were, who your grandparents were, etc. Gentiles might be technically eligible to join (provided you live in a time and place where there are Jews in your midst, who you know about and are able to contact, and face the barrier of being circumcised as an adult), but Jews are not allowed to leave. It is simply unfair, and as such it cannot be the permanent status quo but rather a temporary situation with some divine purpose behind it.
 
3. Historical Evidence
There was indeed a prophesied exile: in 586 BC, whenever King Nebuchadnezzar invaded the southern kingdom of Judah and took its people into captivity.
But then they came back. They returned to Israel. After that, another captivity was not prophesied.
My opponent says that the Jews were exiled once more for hatred and evil speech (bigotry of attitude and behavior against Gentiles, I’m assuming). However, one would think that under those circumstances God would send a prophet to warn against that, as He had in the past prior to punishing the Jews with exile. Even just one guy to sound the warning bells, but to our knowledge, nonesuch existed, with the possible exception of Jesus.

Round 4
Published:
Thank you Pro for a great debate. In this round I will defend my opening arguments

  1. The Messianic Requirement

In my opening round I pointed out that Jesus failed to have the basic messianic requirements. The genealogies of Jesus are hopelessly contradictory and because Jesus was born of a virgin he doesn’t have a paternal claim to the throne of David. These genealogies contradict not only each other but contradict the lineage in the Tenakh.

Pro’s solution doesn’t actually solve anything! He flat out ignores this and his response is quite weak. 

First it isn’t a matter of convention that the lineage was traced through the father, it’s the law! Let’s say that a Levite marries a woman from the tribe of Judah. What tribe will their children belong to? They belong to the tribe of Levi. 

Let’s say that a Levite adopts a child from the tribe of Judah, are they now a Levite and will they be able to perform the service of the Levi’im? No! 

2. The Messiah’s Role

Pro also drops this issue entirely! There isn’t a single verse in the Tenakh (old testament) that says a messiah will come twice. The idea that “the messiah will get it done eventually” simply doesn’t work. There are a certain group of Chabad Hasidim that say that their Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, is the Moshaich (even though he’s dead). By Pro’s logic, one can easily just claim the Rebbe is the moshiach (which, of course, he is not). 

Please extend across the board. 

3. Anointment

Pro fails to attack the substance of the argument. Every king was anointed by the anointing oils. The moshiach too must be anointed as well otherwise he cannot be the moshiach. I find this one phrase quote quite telling:

Were Jesus (or anyone else, for that matter) anointed by, say, the high priest of His day, then He likely would have been recognized by the Jewish people as the Messiah. They would have followed Him to the grave, as the Romans would have surely retaliated with the full arm of their military might in one of the bloodiest exchanges the Mediterranean world had seen in decades, if not centuries. Under the conventional framework, Jesus would have either proven Himself by prevailing militarily and establishing a lasting, independent Jewish state or shown Himself to be a fraud by losing to the Roman army.

Indeed! That’s exactly how we would have recognized who the Messiah was! But no one, not a single major Rabbi even endorsed Jesus! This is the entire functionality of what the Messiah will do and what his role is! 

4. Sin and Atonement

The Tenakh repeatedly calls people righteous. Proverbs 24:16 states: “For a righteous man can fall seven times and rise, but the wicked shall stumble upon evil.” Righteous does not mean sinless. 

Pro’s understanding that Psalm 14 means that there isn’t anyone who is righteous is refuted by the 5th verse:

There they were in great fear, for God is in the generation of a righteous man. 

Psalm 14 that Pro cites is talking about Nebuchanezzar and his men. Rashi comments:

The fool said in his heart, etc.: David recited two psalms in this Book, in one manner [with almost identical wording]: the first one concerning Nebuchadnezzar and the second one (ch. 53) concerning Titus. In this one, he prophesied concerning Nebuchadnezzar, who was destined to enter the Temple and to destroy it, with not one [man] of all his armies protesting against him. 

“There is no God”: and “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.” 

Human sacrifices have always been an abomination to God and always will be.

5. The need for a Moshiach

Pro drops this point. Extend across the board.





Published:
Ladies and gentlemen, please note that this is my final round. Per the rules of this debate, I will be waiving R5. So this will be my last chance to say my piece.
 
I have said much about the Mitzvot and about the universal standard of justice (that is, the morality that God practices and demands of humans). I have little more to say about these this round, not because I concede anything but rather because at this point I fear that I’d have very little to say on the matter that was original. I’d simply end up repeating myself, as I have already. Instead, I’ll address my opponent’s R4 arguments and perhaps raise one or two new ones of my own (which should not be too problematic, as my opponent will have opportunity to respond to such whereas vise-versa would not be the case).
 
In regards to the lineage of Jesus, my opponent brought up a hypothetical example of a Levite marrying a non-Levite woman who already had children, so as to show that paternal lineage by adoption is nonexistent in the Bible.
I should point out that there were high expectations on the Levites, on how they should behave and on the skill sets that they should possess. If, say, for instance, upon marriage a Levite became father to a 13 year old who was his new wife’s son, it would be unreasonable to expect that this person would be qualified in any way, shape, or form to serve as a priest. Such a person could quite possible make a mockery of the profession if allowed.
There is no clear cut-off point as to when a child would be too old that he was set in ways contrary to the hardcore standards of the Levites, which is probably why that prohibition existed in the first place.
The Levites were set apart presumably because they sided with Moses against the idolaters in Exodus 32. However, the practical reason was so that there was a distinctive class of people who would be raised into having the qualifications to serve as priests. It also helped prevent just anybody from serving in that capacity, to maintain a level of order and decorum to the practice.
But as for that Levite, if his wife had a six month old son at the time of marriage then I do not see why he could not be raised as a proper Levite.
Jesus, of course, being without sin or blemish, was perfectly qualified to serve as the Messiah.
 
Per my opponent, some supporters of a man named Menachem Mendel Schneerson have claimed that he was the messiah. Per my opponent, this man’s claims to being the Messiah (or the claims of his followers pertaining to the man possessing such a status) are as valid as those of Jesus.
I will admit, a lot of people have come along claiming to be the Messiah.
 
So what set Jesus apart from just any claimant? It is the track record of the movement that He founded. Let me explain:
Starting c. the 1980s-1990s, there was a great increase in public awareness about pedophiles and child molesters, leading to things like the Amber Alert system. It is acceptable in our culture now to say things like “These people are a waste of our tax dollars. Let them get raped like their victims and then put a bullet through their skulls.” Indeed, there is a near-universal consensus in the Western World and the US that child molesters are literal trash. We question their right to exist in a way that would not be acceptable for virtually any other group, even Satanists and Neo-Nazis.
So imagine that there was no common law in America, and the government was allowed to start murdering pedophiles in extremely gruesome and sadistic ways, on live television so that their humiliation and dehumanization was maximized. Imagine that this became a routine affair that began around the time of the 1990s and continued for the next 280 years afterwards.
Imagine that at the end of this 280 year period pedophilia was legalized, and then finally within a few decades most people were convinced that not only was pedophilia okay but that in fact it was your moral duty to go around boning little kids left and right.
 
The above sounds completely absurd, right? Well, that’s pretty much the story of Christianity. From its onset, Christianity was regarded as a fringe movement. The Romans believed that the Christians practiced cannibalism (based on a misinterpretation of the text establishing the Eucharist) and possibly even incest. They were blamed for the Great Fire of Rome (along with, I imagine, other things).
They regarded Christianity as such an abomination as to be totally contrary to human decency, and its adherents less than human, as many people regard pedophilia today.
The Romans went after Christianity with extreme prejudice: the graphic martyrdom stories have survived to this day. Of the 12 Apostles (not counting Judas, who betrayed Jesus, and including Matthias, who was not originally one of the 12 Disciples) only one, John of Patmos, avoided martyrdom and managed to live to an old age. The early Christians were stoned, burned alive, torn apart by wild animals in amphitheaters, hacked to death by gladiators, boiled in oil, frozen to death, etc. In fact, the persecution got worse over time before coming to a close: its climax was the Great Persecution (under emperor Diocletian), which took place just a few years shy of the Edict of Toleration under emperor Constantine.
Now, I should add that there’ve been plenty of religions that survived extreme persecution. For example, the Mandaeans in Iraq, the small remaining community of Zoroastrians in the Middle East, and of course the Jews. In each of these cases, there were survivors who went on to have children who passed on the faith.
In the case of Christianity, however, it not only survived but continued to spread. During this period of persecution, Christianity spread by means of conversion. That is, there were actually large numbers of people who found the religion appealing enough to brave hardship and possible death.
Christianity survived, spread, and ultimately took over the Roman Empire, albeit with the help of coercive means after 314 AD. It was something without precedent in history.
The Christian world was blessed by God, and they managed to more or less take over the world by the early 20th century, allowing for Christian missionaries to spread the gospel to every part of the planet.
As of October 2017, the full Bible has been translated in 670 languages, and the New Testament in 1,521 languages (per Wikipedia). Considering that the vast majority of the world’s population speak a small handful of languages, all for which there exist some sort of Bible translation, that’s not so bad at all.
The Christian world then went on, a couple of decades ago, to invent the internet, and allowed for access to such to be spread to most of the world. Now much of the world’s population is able to go online and read the Bible in their own language for themselves, for free.
The God of the Old Testament has been made known to the world by the Christians, whereas the Jews never did squat to spread that knowledge outside of their own communities, even though per the Judaism knowledge of such is necessary to be saved, even if Jewishness is not.
And of course, almost nobody outside of the Jewish community even knows who Schneerson is.
 
Alright, so, moving on…
My opponent talks about the fact that Jesus was not anointed by the Jewish religious leadership. While it should be noted that at least one fairly prominent pharisee, Nicodemus, was sympathetic to Jesus’s cause (though it seems Nicodemus was too afraid to openly endorse Him or whatnot), the NT makes it clear that the Jewish religious establishment of that day was insufferably corrupt, and if anything it would have been spiritually degrading for Jesus to accept anointment from them if offered. After all, all the people in the OT who were anointed received such at the hands of a righteous person. He was anointed by a woman who was penitent for her sins, and thus more righteous than the pharisees, and thus much more qualified to provide such for the messiah.
As I said before, if the purpose of the Messiah was to secure the political independence of Israel then the Jews do not need a Messiah, as they established the modern state of Israel without one. If the purpose of the Messiah is to rebuild the Temple (of which already existed in the time of Jesus), there’s almost nothing stopping Israel from doing so right now so the Messiah would, per this understanding, be relegated to the role of the metaphorical “guy who does the honors”.
 
My opponent points out that the OT makes mention to some people being righteous. In Genesis 15:6 it says that “And he (Abraham) believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him as righteousness.” This was in the context of God’s promise to Abraham that he would be given many descendants.
However, that was part of a general principle: those who place their faith in God shall be saved and counted righteous. This was explained later in the Book of Hebrews, chapter 11:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation…By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going…For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God…These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth…And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”
The righteous man is he who God counts righteous, not he who is actually righteous by his works.
 
I believe I already explained in previous rounds why under normal circumstances human sacrifices are abominable to God, but why the sacrifice of Jesus was holy and acceptable.
 
Before I conclude my arguments here, I would like to petition the reader who would vote on this debate not to award against me the point for sources. Though I’ve provided nothing in terms of links, I’ve cited plenty of sources which just a little bit of added effort should be enough to conjure up. Namely, I used the online Jewish website “Chabad” for OT passages and an online English version of the Septuagint for Isaiah 7:14. So please make that one a tie.
And with that, I am done. Thank you Con for this excellent debate and I’ll be looking forward to your final round of arguments.

Round 5
Published:
I want to thank Pro for his superb conduct throughout the debate. I will now respond to pro's arguments and give a voting summary.

1. Isaiah 7:14

My opponent brings the LXX into the discussion. There are significant issues with the LXX. First and foremost the original LXX was just the Torah. We know this from the Talmud (Megillah 9) and from the Letter of Aristeas. We simply do not know who created the rest of the LXX. Second the LXX was seen by the Jews as a tragic event and is one of the reasons we fast on the 10th day of Tevet (which was just a few days ago) [1]. Finally the same Septugitant uses the Greek word Parsenos to describe Dina AFTER she was raped [2].

2. Isaiah 53

Con is wrong to suggest Rashi was the first person to interpret Isaiah 53 as pertaining to the nation of Israel and not the individual Messiah. In the New Testament itself when the disciples were told that Jesus will be killed, Peter rose up and protested this statement (Matthew 16): 

21From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. “Far be it from You, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to You!” 23But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”…
If the original readers understood Isaiah 53 to be talking about the individual messiah that must suffer for the sins of the world, Peter should have just recognized this and stated "Oh this makes perfect sense! You're the suffering servant of Isaiah 53!" But that's not what happened!

Finally the church father Origen also recognized that Isaiah 53 was about Israel as a hole. Orien wrote: [3]

I remember that once in a discussion with some whom the Jews regard as learned I used these prophecies [Isaiah 52:13-53:8]. At this the Jew said that these prophecies referred to the whole people as though of a single individual, since they were scattered in the dispersion and smitten, that as a result of the scattering of the Jews among the other nations many might become proselytes. In this way he explained the text: “Thy form shall be inglorious among men“; and “those to whom he was not proclaimed shall see him“; “being a man in calamity.
3. The 613 Mitzvoth

I pointed out numerous passages that state the Torah is perfect and will not be changed. Con completely drops this. Please extend across the board. I further showed that sacrifices are not required to be forgiven. Please extend across the board.

4. The exclusivity of the Jewish religion is immoral.

Discouraging people from converting to Judaism is actually quite rational. For most of Jewish history post 1st century CE we have been persecuted, exiled, and killed for refusing to convert to Christianity. Christianity killed more Jews than Hitler, yimakh shemo v'zikhro. Second, Rabbis are not interested in making people sinners. If you convert to Judaism you are required to keep all the laws that apply to you. If you violate Shabbat or Kashrut you are sinning and harming yourself and the Jewish people. It's much better for a person to remain a Noahide than it is for them to become a Jew and sin by violating Kashrut or Shabbat.

Finally Jews were forbidden from converting people under penalty of death. Before Christianity came to power, Jews absolutely were proselytizing and many Greeks and Romans actually did convert to Judaism. Jews were forced to hear Christian preachers in their synagogues and were forced to convert.

One other point to make is that this does not prove Christianity over Judaism. Even if I concede this argument all it proves is that the Jews haven't been doing their job for the past several hundred years.

3. Historical Evidence against a yet-to-come Messiah

Pro wants to blame rejecting Jesus as a consequence of the exile. As noted before the prophets repeatedly warned about an upcoming exile. Hosea 3:4 states "For the children of Israel shall remain for many days, having neither king, nor prince, nor sacrifice, nor pillar, nor ephod nor teraphim."

This signifies a pretty long exile.

While I cannot give a definitive answer, I think one of the reasons moshiach hasn't come centuries before is because before the 1500s there were a lot of land and nations that have not been discovered. Ironically one of the things that Christianity and Islam has done is spread the idea of Monotheism throughout the entire world. Both religions, although they are both wrong, uphold the divine origins of the Torah and believe in the coming of a messiah.

Voting Issues

I will now summarize arguments that I and my opponent have previously made which I believe are key to the debate. This summary will be conducted with an eye to explaining to the voter why they ought to vote CON.

Pro has conceded that Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies. In fact pro has failed to provide a single messianic prophecy that Jesus supposedly fulfilled. Further pro concedes that the claim that the Rebbe is the moshiach is just as valid as Jesus' claim!!!!

I think it is quite clear who won the debate. PLEASE VOTE CON

Sources
3. Origen, Contra Celsum, trans. Henry Chadwick, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Book 1.55, 1965, p. 50 as quoted here: https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/is-it-true-that-jews-interpreted-isaiah-53-as-referring-to-the-messiah-before-rashi/

As a friendly reminder, you must waive the next round.
Published:
Per the rules of this debate I waive now. Thank you Con.
Added:
bump
#16
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Swag might have won. Virt is simply good at debating.
#15
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--> @Swagnarok, @Ramshutu
To be fair to Swag here, he had a completely unwinnable position. I would be happy to explain a Pagan take on OT vs NT where NT's "God" is not the same as the OT's God and one where Jesus is not only Lucifer but furthermore Satan is not Lucifer, instead Satan is the God of the OT.
#14
Added:
There was also a short treatise about atonement. I won’t lie, I felt the exchange on both sides were difficult to follow on this ground, so I don’t feel It fair to offer a verdict on that point.
Cons final round appears mostly a reaffirm of the previous information he provided.
Conclusion:
This was a very detailed debate, with a lot of focus on technicalities that was rather difficult to follow at times. I feel that the lack my own detailed knowledge on the core guts of religion and Judaism means I can’t do justice to the effort put into these arguments in my RFD.
However for me, this argument boils down to a few key things:
1.) That Jesus did not fulfill key prophecies. In my view con established enough prophecies that were not fulfilled - where as pro did not do enough to convince me that these could be discounted.
2.) The anointment portion wasn’t the dealbreaker - but was hugely detrimental to pros point, this was very well argued by con.
3.) Most importantly, con outlined the requirements of what a messiah would need to be accepted. These were specific, and detailed - and even pro appeared to concede that they were not fulfilled. Pro argues that these requirements would be full-filled over two comings of the messiah. This is the argument that really swayed this for me. In my view I side with cons argument that there is no mention of two messiahs - and that this implicitly negates the resolution.
This was a really thorough debate, and very time consuming to vote on. I apologize if either feel I haven’t don’t your argument justice - which I’m sure is true to some degree.
#13
Added:
Historical: Con had claimed that the Jews need to have been returned, the temple rebuilt, and a multitude other. Pro seems to argue that at least one part of this (previous exile and return) happened. But he appears to drop must of the others.
In his first round, pro appears to argue the opposite of this, that the Jews have given the appearance of being punished, and scattered - I don’t feel I can reconcile both of pros arguments well here.
Round4: Con.
Requirement: Con points out a substantial number of messianic requirements that Jesus doesn’t meet. I find the presentation of the virgin birth and genealogy is actually quite compelling, and agree that pro did not adequately address this.
Role: con points out the issue with the second coming is not addressed by pro. I agree and consider this point dropped so far.
Annointment: con points out jesus was not anointed - con also points out an issue I missed - that pro concedes that if Jesus had been anointed he would have been recognized in an implicit acknowledgement of the importance of actual anointment. With con pointing this out - this point is damning to pros points
Sin an atonement: see next.
Need: I consider this point dropped by Pro too.
Final round:
Pro rounds off his rebuttals with a few extra points:
Jesus was successful. While pro accurately describes the success of Christianity. I don’t believe this warrants his position, success - even in the face of adversity - doesn’t mean the concept it is based on is necessarily valid.
Annointment: even if I accept pros argument that the government was corrupt, in my view this does not in my view provide warrant. That Jesus does not fulfill the prophecy and be recognized by Jews because of corruption seems nonsensical if Jesus was truly the Messiah.
#12
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Historical evidence. Con points out some conditions that would indicate the messiah has come. It may just be the fact that I’m totally goy, but this feels more of a rehash of previous points.
Round 3: pro.
Pro offers a detailed treatise in cons translation. I have to take his word that this example is muddied, as I’m even worse at Ancient Greek than I am in Hebrew. Saying that, his argument that we must consider this to have meant a virgin birth because otherwise it wouldn’t have been considered a miracle.
I think here pro has a good argument to support the Virgin Birth on this front.
Mitzvot: pros argument against the Mitzvot continues to be, in my view, outside the remit of the resolution. Importantly pro concedes the possibility that the law is perfect, but simply not fully complete. His argument appears - from my reading - that it is incomplete because it doesn’t cover some moral sin that are also considered moral sin elsewhere.
Again, in my view - even if I accept this as true, at best it confirms that Jews need a Messiah to fulfill the law (which seems not to be an issue to con).
Exclusivity: I feel pros arguement here answers itself. He appears to ask why only Jews reap all the rewards - and non Jews don’t get a reward but are also not subject to wrath. Pro appears to concede it is not exclusive, and appears to argue that not being able to leave is unfair. This does not appear to be a specially compelling argument, nor clear how it satisfies the resolution.
#11
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Second coming: pro feels very speculative here. Importantly con pointed out what the Torah said about messianic requirements that the messiah didn’t achieve - which were not covered by cons reply. As a result I’m on cons side here, as it seems that the OT said what the messiah would do - it seems by this measure the second coming would need to be the one considered messiah.
Sacrifice/sin: pro points out why a human sacrifice is acceptable. As con didn’t give me a reason to claim sacrifice is not acceptable at all, I have to side with pro here until it is clarified.
Attonement: I wasn’t fully clear what pro was arguing here - it seemed it was an argument that Judaism is a self defeating religion because atonement was impossible. This argument seems pretty nebulous to me - and doesn’t feel like pro gave me enough warrant to accept this - and even if accepted it doesn’t appear to affirm the resolution.
Round 3: Con
Prophecies. Con counters prophecies - pointing out one failed prophecy fails as the messiah. Con follows on with details of on how many of the major prophecy elements are actually misunderstood. As I’m not an expert in Hebrew, I have to accept cons position until told otherwise on this.
Mitzvot: con counters pros objections to the Mitzvot indirectly - I don’t feel that he addresses the specific insufficiencies raised by pro - by pointing out where they are not. However, what con does do very well is clearly point out three major violations that Jesus made that clearly invalidates Jesus place as the Jewish Messiah. I felt this was rather compelling.
Exclusivity is immoral: con argues that Judaism is not exclusive, and one can become part of the Jewish people through conversion and adherence of the law. I felt this was a good argument, but also that whether exclusive or not, it doesn’t affirm or disaffirm the resolution.
#10
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Round2: Con.
Anointing: con argues Jesus was not an anointed - a requirement of being Messiah. Given the phrasing - con isn’t specific as to whether the phrase “messiah” meaning anointed one was metaphorical, or specific. This would have been stronger had there been a textual requirement for anointment (IE a reference where it said The messiah must be anointed rather than the possibility of it being symbolic)
Lineage: con argues Jesus’ lineage is not correct according to one Gospel source. The weakness here is that con doesn’t argue that Luke is the more accurate gospel. So if Matthew is correct and Luke is wrong, this point would fail.
Did not fulfill prophecy: con lists three examples of major prophecies Jesus fulfills and points out that there is no reference to two messiahs - this is a very strong argument in my view.
Purpose: Con argues that the purpose of the messiah is different from that of Christianity - as more of a king - and due to these properties Jesus can’t have been the messiah.
Sins. Con pointed out that the premise of Jesus as a Christian messiah in terms of dying for sins isn’t supported by the Jewish religion. This on its face seems to be a valid point. These core points, about sacrifice however, do not have a clear warrant, in my opinion, for why they are true.
R2: pro.
Anointing: I feel pro echoed my thoughts on the anointing here, pointing out the symbolic nature of an anointing. I felt this mostly covered cons point.
Lineage: pro did little to resolve the issue here - Pro made statements about prophecy in the opening statements - so it stands to reason a failure of prophecy in this case of lineage would be substantial. I feel this didn’t address the issue con raised
#9
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Notes: I would politely request Swag to format better next time, the debate was quite difficult to read and judge as a result of the formatting! I also have to post this in reverse due to writing this on my phone.
Arguments - due to the subject matter being pretty alien, I am going to flow this RFD, rather than vote point by point.
My understanding of the contention (until someone tells me otherwise), is that Judaism defines a messiah, and pro must argue Jesus is that messiah, whereas con must argue either Jesus is not the messiah, or that Judaism doesn’t define one (unless I’m told otherwise)
Round1
Pro: messianic prophecies. Pro provides some justification of prophecies Jesus fulfills - he doesn’t go to great deal here, and does not specify this as a primary point, so I will put a pin in it.
1.) is an excellent argument for why Judaism is not complete, is imperfect, or requires a messiah. In and of itself, I don’t feel this argument justifies the resolution specifically - as it doesn’t explain why Jesus matches the requirements even if I accept it as true.
2.) I feel this suffers a similar issue with the resolution. This argument is an excellent argument for why Jesus completes Judaism (following on from 1), and a primary moral issue with Judaism - but does not, in my view, specifically affirm the resolution.
3.) Much better! This is a good argument - pro argues that Jews were promised prosperity for faithfulness - and yet this is not what happened after Jesus’ death - this strongly implies that Jews were not following the faith properly.
#8
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--> @MagicAintReal
Thanks!
Instigator
#7
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--> @Swagnarok, @Virtuoso
I will get on this within the week.
#6
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bump
Instigator
#5
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bump
Instigator
#4
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--> @Swagnarok
Here we go again... I read a lot of debates on this site where somebody claims their opponent "conceded" the debate based on some technicality... And this debate is one of them, sadly. Con claims that you "conceded" that Jesus never fulfilled a single prophecy, but reading your opening statement, it looks like the very first thing you did was link to a Wikipedia article with a list of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, as well as cited one specifically. So... did I miss something later on where you retracted that, or is your opponent just making stuff up?
#3
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This looks like a good one.
#2
#2
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Winner 1 point
Reason:
RFD from comment:
https://www.debateart.com/debates/436?open_tab=comments&comments_page=1&comment_number=8
#1
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Winner 1 point
Reason:
The debate went off topic. However, he cited as to why Jesus is not the messiah and cites the bible and Torah multiple times. I say this as a non jew.