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Is Jesus the Messiah?

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Virtuoso
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Religion
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Points: 39
Description
Is Jesus the Messiah? Two ancient faiths, Christianity and Judaism hash it out
Round 1
Published:
Greetings, welcome to another exciting debate art debate. I would like to say thank you to my opponent and the community as always. The debate about whether Jesus is the Messiah is one that goes back to the inception of Christianity itself. And one that continues on to this day. This debate is particularly interesting to me, a few years ago, after decades of aligning with Christianity, my father converted to Orthodox Judaism. 

When this debate comes up, there can be strong emotions on both sides, and I understand. However, our differences aside, the Jewish people are my spiritual neighbor. And, we all know what Jesus said about neighbors. So, in the spirit of good debate, as God said through the prophet Isaiah, Come, let us reason. 


In this debate, I will assume that my opponent believes the Torah and the Tanakh to be authoritative, I will also reference the Talmud several times. 


My first piece of evidence in favor of Christ being the Messiah, is one that I can guarantee my opponent has heard several times before. However, I am going try to offer a new perpective.

In the 53rd chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah, we read a prophecy concerning someone or something that, even to a staunch Judaism believer, could easily sound like Jesus. I will look at this prophecy and then offer something different about it. 

Below is the 53rd chapter of Isaiah in it's entirety, quoted from Mechon Mamre, an online Torah. Please keep in mind, the New Testament unequivocally teaches this is about Christ. 

'Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him. 3 He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed. 6 All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, though he humbled himself and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and with his generation who did reason? for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due. 9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.' 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of the LORD might prosper by his hand: 11 Of the travail of his soul he shall see to the full, even My servant, who by his knowledge did justify the Righteous One to the many, and their iniquities he did bear. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty; because he bared his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. {P}
I will ask my opponent one question, all pre-beliefs aside, do you agree that this passage could sound like it is describing Jesus Christ? If no then why?

Now, debate over this one chapter has raged for millennia, however, it is my understanding that the average Orthodox Jew, will undoubtedly say this prophecy is not a reference to Jesus Christ, this prophecy is about the nation of Israel, or Isaiah himself. It is commonplace for Jews to fundamentally reject the idea that is prophecy is about Messiah. 

This is where it gets interesting, because the Jewish Rabbis have always understood this chapter to be about the Messiah. 

Apropos the Messiah, the Gemara asks: What is his name? The school of Rabbi Sheila says: Shiloh is his name, as it is stated: “Until when Shiloh shall come” (Genesis 49:10). The school of Rabbi Yannai says: Yinnon is his name, as it is stated: “May his name endure forever; may his name continue [yinnon] as long as the sun; and may men bless themselves by him” (Psalms 72:17). The school of Rabbi Ḥanina says: Ḥanina is his name, as it is stated: “For I will show you no favor [ḥanina]” (Jeremiah 16:13). And some say that Menaḥem ben Ḥizkiyya is his name, as it is stated: “Because the comforter [menaḥem] that should relieve my soul is far from me” (Lamentations 1:16). And the Rabbis say: The leper of the house of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi is his name, as it is stated: “Indeed our illnesses he did bear and our pains he endured; yet we did esteem him injured, stricken by God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).  (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b (source))

The Babylonian Talmud records a conversation between the Rabbis asking what the name of Messiah will be, and one of them answers with a reference from Isaiah 53:4,, that the Messiah will be called leperous, confirming the fact that the Jews took this prophecy, as early as the Babylonian Talmud, to be a reference to Messiah. Not a reference to Isaiah or the nation of Israel. 


So, here's my first argument:

God spoke to the prophet Isaiah about His righteous branch, who will bear the sins of many, and be stricken for the transgressions of His people. He also spoke through Isaiah and told us this man will be despised and rejected. Jesus, for the most part, is rejected wholesale by the Jewish people. The writings of the Rabbis confirm that, at least some Rabbis believed this was about Messiah. And the belief did not come from Christianity. Jesus fits the bill for this verse more so than anything else, but we can unpack that more as we go along. 

Virtuoso, what do you make of Isaiah 53? Messiah or no? If not Messiah then why? And do you disagree with the Talmudic interpretation that this is a reference to Messiah? If so why? 


There is a lot more Tanakh I could go into, but to avoid delving into multiple things all at once, which doesn't yield a good debate, I will begin the conversation with Isaiah 53, and pointing out that the Rabbis took this to mean Messiah. 


Thank you all. 

ICXCNIKA



Published:
I want to thank my opponent for this debate. This is undoubtedly one of the most important questions one must answer in their lives. There’s a lot to cover and a lot to go through so I will forewarn you guys that my arguments are going to be fairly long and detailed. I will begin this round by giving the case against Jesus. 

Introduction: What is a messiah?

It may come as a surprise to Pro and other Christians who are reading this debate, but there is not just one messiah. The word messiah comes from the Hebrew word moshiach, which means anointed. While most translations translate moshiach as anointed one, I will translate it here as messiah to emphasize this point.

I Samuel 24:6 “But he said to his men, “God forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, to Hashem’s messiah [Saul], to stretch my hand out against him [Saul] — after all, he is Hashem’s messiah.”

2 Samuel 1:14 “So David said to him, “How can you not have been afraid to stretch your hand out to kill Hashem’s messiah?”

Exodus 4:3 “If the oil-smeared (Messiah) kohén sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring an unblemished young bull as a sin-offering to Adonai for his sin that he committed.” 

That being said, when we refer to THE Messiah, it refers to the messiah that will come at the end of days, bring peace to the Earth, bring people close to God, rebuild the Temple, and restore the Davidic throne. Let’s now move in to why Jesus cannot be this person. 

C1: The genealogies of Jesus disqualify him 

The Messiah will be a descendant of David through Solomon. Right away we come into a major issue with Jesus’ qualifications. Jewish law recognizes the tribal affiliation of the father. If the father is from the tribe of Judah and the mother is from the tribe of Levi, their children will belong to the tribe of Judah. Because the New Testament describes Jesus as being born of a virgin, Jesus is not a descendant of David and has no claim to the Davidic throne.

Objection: Joseph adopted Jesus! 

This objection fails because adoption does not change the affiliation of the child. If a person from the tribe of Judah adopts a child from the tribe of Levi, the child is still from the tribe of Levi. He would have no claim to the throne. 

Even if I were to concede that Joseph adopted Jesus, there are significant issues. Firstly, Matthew and Luke both list the genealogies of Jesus, but they are hopelessly contradictory and irreconcilable. Remember that the messiah must come from David’s son Solomon, but according to Luke he was a descendant of his son Nathan (Luke 3:31). Matthew has it listed as coming from Solomon. 

Objection: Luke is listing Mary’s genealogy and not Joseph

Firstly we don’t care about Mary’s genealogy because it is irrelevant. Second the text clearly states that it is Joseph’s genealogy and not Mary’s. Nowhere in the text does it indicate that he is listing Mary’s genealogy. 

Both genealogies also contradict the genealogies listed in Chronicles. I’ll detail more in the next round if my opponent wishes to challenge this. 

But it gets worse! Matthew states the following:

17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

14 is a significant number because it is the numerical value of David. Matthew here plainly lies in order to make Jesus the Messiah. In fact the entire book is chock full of misquotes, mistranslations, and abuses of the Hebrew Bible. 

 C2: Jesus failed to fulfill the Messianic prophecies

There are many Messianic prophecies that Jesus failed to perform. I’ll list the duties here below and provide scripture references. 

A. The messiah will build the third and final temple 

Ezekiel 37:26-28 “And I will form a covenant of peace for them, an everlasting covenant shall be with them; and I will establish them and I will multiply them, and I will place My Sanctuary in their midst forever. And my dwelling place shall be over them, and I will be to them for a God and they shall be to Me as a people. And the nations shall know that I am Hashem, Who sanctifies Israel, when My Sanctuary is in their midst forever. 

Jesus obviously failed to do this as the temple was destroyed 40 years after his death. 

B. Ingather the Jewish exiles to Israel

Isaiah 11:12 “And He shall raise a banner to the nations, and He shall gather the lost of Israel, and the scattered ones of Judah He shall gather from the four corners of the earth.”

40 years after Jesus’ death, the exile became worse! 

C. Establish world peace

Isaiah 2:4 “And he shall judge between the nations and reprove many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” 

Pretty obvious that Jesus failed to do this. In fact Jesus said that he has come to bring war, not peace! 

Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” 

Jesus’ word in Matthew has certainly been fulfilled. Many wars and persecutions have been fought in the name of Jesus. Crusades, wars, inquisitions, pogroms, and holocausts have all been done in the name of Jesus. Less than 100 years after Jesus’ death the church went from being entirely Jewish to entirely Gentile and the vicious antisemitism began to set in. 

There are many others, but I think this is enough to layout for now. 

Objection: Jesus will do this at his “second coming.”

Nowhere in scripture does it indicate that the messiah will have two comings. I’ll go more in depth on this point in my next contention.

C3: Jesus was a false prophet

Because Jesus clearly claimed to be a prophet, we can match his words against the litmus test given in the Torah. If someone claims to be a prophet, the Torah lists several litmus tests to prove if he is true or not. These are the three criteria to prove someone is false:

  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 claimed to be God and so that’s strike 1. 

Christians today claim that the Torah is no longer binding. In fact, Paul goes so far as to call it a curse! Jesus violated Shabbat on numerous occasions and even commanded someone to blatantly violate Shabbat. Here’s the text:

5 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 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. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] [b] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?” 7 “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.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 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 forbidden on Shabbat. This would be no different than had he asked him to eat pork on yom kippur. 

That’s strike 2! 

Jesus prophesied that he will return in the lifetime of the disciples and apostles. Mark 9:1 states "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.”

2000 years later and he still isn’t returning. A close reading of the Epistles clearly shows that the disciples expected Jesus’ imminent return. 

Strike 3! We all know what happens after 3 strikes. You’re out! 

Conclusion

I think I have conclusively shown that Jesus cannot be the messiah. He failed his genealogy test, failed to do the messianic prophecies, and was a false prophet. 

Over to you! 

Round 2
Published:
Hello again and a thank you to my opponent for his very in depth arguments. My opponent has given me a lot to unpack, so this next round for me will be almost entirely rebuttal. I would like to stress before we get started, that my opponent has not as of yet addressed the arguments my first round, and so I still await a response for that. 


My opponent has called into question the Messiah-ship of Christ by calling into question the legitimacy of His genealogy, my opponent calls into question that Christ truly belongs unto the line of David. 

My opponent has stated the following:

The Messiah will be a descendant of David through Solomon. Right away we come into a major issue with Jesus’ qualifications. Jewish law recognizes the tribal affiliation of the father. If the father is from the tribe of Judah and the mother is from the tribe of Levi, their children will belong to the tribe of Judah. Because the New Testament describes Jesus as being born of a virgin, Jesus is not a descendant of David and has no claim to the Davidic throne.

Objection: Joseph adopted Jesus! 

This objection fails because adoption does not change the affiliation of the child. If a person from the tribe of Judah adopts a child from the tribe of Levi, the child is still from the tribe of Levi. He would have no claim to the throne. 
My opponent has preemptively argued against the idea of Joseph adopting Jesus therefore making Jesus an heir to the throne. What my opponent now has are two options:

1. If Jesus was not born of a virgin (which my opponent does not believe He was) then there is no reason for Joseph to adopt Jesus. He is his natural born son, and therefore has a legitimate claim to the throne of David. 

2. Joseph had to adopt Jesus because Jesus was born of a virgin. If my opponent takes this route the debate is over. 

If my opponent tries to sneak in a third option, that Jesus was illegitimate and the result of an adulterous affair, I will ask my opponent, what historical evidence do you provide for that claim?

The reason that Luke has Nathan and Matthew has Solomon, can easily be explained through either the concept of Levirate marriage (Joseph's father Mattan was brother to Heli, and died childless, causing Heli to perform a Levirate marriage and raise up seed in his brother's name, solving the two lineage mystery.) Alternatively, Luke may have given us Mary's lineage through Joseph's father in law, and just simply referred to Heli as Joseph's father. 

I would also like to point out, that in Genesis 15:2, Abraham is under the impression that Eliezer, his steward will become heir and receive the inheritance, so we can see that someone's adopted son could indeed lay claim to an inheritance, although that is not the way it worked out, Abraham still thought it reasonable. 

Either way, in using this argument, my opponent is now stuck with those two options. And I will ask my opponent, which one do you accept?


Moving on, my opponent has stated that Jesus did not fulfill the following prophecies:

1. Rebuild the temple

2. Gather the exiles

3. Bring world peace. 

My opponent has also stated there is nothing in Scripture to support the idea of two comings of a Messiah. Before I unpack this, I would like to point out, that, because the prophecies concerning the Messiah can be so vastly different at times, the ancient sect of Judaism, the Essenes, actually believed there were two Messiahs coming

However, putting that aside, in regards to the two comings of Messiah, I will ask my opponent the following:

In Daniel 9:26, it is revealed to the prophet that the Messiah will die.

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

"Cut off" being idiom an for being killed (Psalm 109:13)

How can the Messiah accomplish being both a bringer of world peace, a temple builder, a gatherer of Jewish exiles, AND sit on the throne of David establishing an everlasting kingdom, all if he is going to die? This leads me back to my first argument, that the suffering servant view of the Messiah is correct, He will fulfil both roles in time. 

Moving on, my opponent states:



Because Jesus clearly claimed to be a prophet, we can match his words against the litmus test given in the Torah. If someone claims to be a prophet, the Torah lists several litmus tests to prove if he is true or not. These are the three criteria to prove someone is false:

  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 claimed to be God and so that’s strike 1
Why Jesus claiming to be God is automatically a strike is not explained. I will leave that for my opponent to elaborate on. 

Christians today claim that the Torah is no longer binding. In fact, Paul goes so far as to call it a curse! Jesus violated Shabbat on numerous occasions and even commanded someone to blatantly violate Shabbat
We claim the Torah is no longer binding because God said He will establish a new and different covenant (Jeremiah 31:31), and Deuteronomy 27:26 also agrees with Paul, that the Torah will condemn those who do not follow it in it's entirety, which is what he was referring back to.

Now, moving on to the Sabbath:

and even commanded someone to blatantly violate Shabbat. Here’s the text:

5 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 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. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] [b] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?” 7 “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.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 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 forbidden on Shabbat. This would be no different than had he asked him to eat pork on yom kippur. 
It's incredibly different. First and foremost, it is important to note that Jesus did not command this man to carry a burden for the sake of doing commerce, business, or labor, which is why the law was put in effect in the first place. The Sabbath law was there to stop people from conducting business, and doing physical labor. That's not what's happening in this verse. Jesus tells the man to carry his bed because He just healed him and wants him to go home instead of laying about in the city. Which leads me to several points and questions I would like to make and ask. 


1. If you, Virtuoso, were a doctor, and you had the power to heal someone and end their suffering, but it was the Sabbath, would you heal them and stop their suffering right then and there, or would you let them suffer one more day? 

If your answer is let them suffer one more day, is your answer consistent with what God said to the prophet Hosea?

Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. 

Yes, God wants you to keep His law, but when your choice is between following the law to the T or having mercy on your fellow human, God wants the mercy, not the sacrifice. 

Second, in Numbers 28:9, God commanded the priests to perform sacrifices on the Sabbath, which would naturally require them to labor. God commanded these men to essentially violate a law God himself put in place, but these men were not guilty and were without fault. The reason being God would allow some labor on Sabbath if it was for the purpose of good.

 2.In this case, since both the priests and Jesus were doing good (worship and healing) why are the priests blameless and not Jesus? 




Finally, in regards to my opponents contention that Jesus predicted He would return in the lifetime of His disciples, that's just not what He was saying, a careful look at the texts explains these words. 

Mark 9:2-4  And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.

Later on in his life, Peter recalls this event, and explains:

2 Peter 1:16-18 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

What Jesus was saying there was not that He would return in their lifetime, but that they would see Him in His kingdom and majesty, as the King, as He would look when He does return in glory. Jesus fulfilled this six days later. 

The verse in Mark 9:1 is a reference to the Transfiguration, not His actual second advent.



So, my opponent has tried to give my Lord three strikes, but little did he know, I'd be playing hardball for Christ. 

Thanks guys. 

ICXCNIKA


Published:
Thank you for your response. I will forewarn you that this is going to be a pretty detailed rebuttal to your opening response. In the next round, I will defend my arguments. 

Introduction: Why we reject vicarious atonement 

Isaiah 53 is one of the most commonly used arguments. To analyze this, let’s first begin to understand why we reject the idea of God becoming incarnate and dying for the sins of the world.

A. Human sacrifice are categorically forbidden

Because Christians believe that Jesus was fully man, such a sacrifice could not be allowed because human sacrifices are forbidden. 

Vayikra / Leviticus 18:21; "you shall not give any of your offspring to pass through for Molech. And you shall not profane the Name of your G-d. I am the L-rd." 

Jeremiah 19:4-5; “For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Ba’al to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Ba’al — something I did not command or mention nor did it even cross my mind

B. One is held responsible for their own sin

No one can die for the sins of another person. This is categorically shown throughout all of scripture. Let’s bring a few passages to prove this point.

C. Sins can be forgiven without sacrifices

Now that we no longer have a temple, we can still have our sins forgiven and atone for through a process called tehsuva - repentance. The basic steps to this are: 1) regret the sin; 2) stop the sin; 3) confess the sin to God; 4) resolve not to do the sin again. This is required for atonement even if there was a sacrifice. Let’s bring some verses:

Hosea 3:4-5; “the children of Israel shall remain for many days, having neither king, nor prince, nor sacrifice, nor pillar, nor ephod nor teraphim. Afterwards shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God and David their king, and they shall come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness at the end of days.” 

Hosea 14:3; "Take words with yourselves and return to the Lord. Say, "You shall forgive all iniquity and teach us [the] good [way], and let us render [for] bulls [the offering of] our lips.” 

D’varim / Deuteronomy 4:27-31; "Adonai will scatter you among the other races and few of you will be left among the nations where Adonai 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 Adonai 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 Adonai your God and you will start listening to His Voice, because Adonai 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..." 

Melachim Aleph / 1 Kings 8:46-52; “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 (the City that You chose and the Temple that I have built to make You famous)---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…"

Scripture repeatedly talks about atonement and repentance. Not one time does it say that believe in the messiah alone can atone for sin and in no place where it mentions repentance does it mention a dying man-god. 

Christ the Passover: More issues

Since it is almost Passover and Easter, I feel this would be appropriate to throw in here in the rebuttal round. The gospels portray Jesus as the Passover sacrifice. Indeed, John goes as far as having Jesus killed on the exact same day and time that the Passover sacrifice was being slaughtered. There are a few issues with this approach.

A. The Passover lamb was not a sin offering

The Passover lamb did not atone for any sin. It would have made more since for Jesus to be compared to the Yom Kippur lamb. 

B. The lamb represented idolatry

Why did we sacrifice a Passover lamb to begin with? Every plague was a judgement against the Egyptian idols and I’m sure my opponent is familiar with this. Want to worship the Nile? Fine it’ll be turned to blood. Want to worship the sun? Fine I’ll make it dark. The lamb was no different. Shepherds were despised in Egypt because that was one of their idols:

Breshit / Genesis 46:33-34; “When Pharaoh calls you, and says, “What is your occupation?” you shall say, “Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our ancestors”—in order that you may settle in the land of Goshen, because all shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.” 

Slaughtering the lamb and smearing its blood on the doorpost was the ultimate rejection of idolatry and the Egyptian lifestyle. If you failed to smear the blood on your doorpost and slaughter the lamb you showed that you were somehow attached to Egypt’s idol worship and thus you were killed in the plague of the first born. 

Let’s use a modern day analogy. If this happened in modern day India, we would most likely have slaughtered a cow and smeared its blood on our doorpost. The Indians love and adore this idol so much that India will jail you for “beef murder” and Hindu mobs are known to have rioted over suspected beef products. Would it make since for God to then say “behold the cow of God which taketh away the sins of the world” and command us to worship his son as “the cow”? That would be absurd! 

Isaiah 53 In depth

I am sorry for the long introduction, but I feel it is necessary to fully understand our position on vicarious atonements and the Passover lamb in order to fully understand why we interpret Isaiah 53 the way we do. It should be noted that no one in the first century understood this chapter to be talking about a dying messiah. Indeed in the Gospels when Jesus foretells of his death, Peter objects to this.

The prophecy of Isaiah 53 actually begins in 52:13:

13 Behold My servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and he shall be very high.
14 As many wondered about you, "How marred his appearance is from that of a man, and his features from that of people!”15 So shall he cast down many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for, what had not been told them they saw, and [at] what they had not heard they gazed.

The question here is who is “My servant” referring to? This is one of the four “servant songs” in Isaiah and in each of them the servant is Israel. 

Yeshayahu / Isaiah 41:8; “But you, Israel My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, who loved Me…”

Yeshayahu / Isaiah 49:3; “And He said to me, "You are My servant, Israel, about whom I will boast.”

This is referring to the final redemption. Israel has been portrayed by the church and other antisemites as being disgusting and ugly. When Israel was founded in 1948, it was a total shock! How could a nation that has been far removed from their land for almost 2,000 years be returning and having the land flourish and prosper? Israel before this time was an arid dry land today it is prosperous and beautiful! 

Yeshayahu / Isaiah 53:1; “Who would have believed our report, and to whom was the arm of the Lord revealed?” 

If we cross reference every place where “the arm of the Lord” appears, it is always in the context of Israel being redeemed. Indeed this imagery is used in the previous chapter:

Isaiah 52:9-12 – (9) Burst out in song, sing together, O ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted His people. He has redeemed Jerusalem. (10) The Lord has revealed His Holy Arm to the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God!

The “arm of the Lord” in 53:1 is the same “arm of the Lord” used in 52:9-12. 

53:4; “Indeed, he bore our illnesses, and our pains-he carried them, yet we accounted him as plagued, smitten by God and oppressed.” 

This fits the Jewish people quite well. We were drawn as people with hooked noses, as an octopus, and with a distinguishing “Jewish smell” among many other things. Cross reference also with this verse:

Isaiah 49:7 – Thus said the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him who is despised of men, to him who is abhorred by nations, to him who is a slave of rulers, …

Isaiah uses that imagery of Israel previously. 

53:6 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.

The nations now realize that they are the ones who sinned. Throughout Jewish history we have prayed for our oppressors and prayed for the government of the land that we are living in. 

53:7 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.

This imagery is used elsewhere in Scripture:

Psalm 44:12, 23; “You deliver us as sheep to be eaten, and You scatter us among the nations. For it is for Your sake that we are killed all the time, [that] we are considered as sheep for the slaughter.” 

I will continue on with more analysis in the next round if my opponent wishes…but I feel that I’ve given enough info here to fully defend the Jewish interpretation. 

What about the Talmud?

My opponent’s misuse of Jewish texts is quite common. Simply put, this is an aggadah, a non-legalistic exegetical texts that should not and cannot be taken literally. Indeed if Pro wishes to use this literally, then it backfires significantly. Sophiee makes this point well:

“Midrash Aggadah teachers (rabbis) take an old topic and apply it to provide some new insight or idea to it a twist. It is not meant to be taken literally and many are puns and interesting rabbit trails, nothing more. So, no, Sanhedrin 98b is not "proof" that the ancient Jewish commentators "with one accord" said that Isaiah 53 spoke only of the messiah. Some people just can't take a joke!” [source


Addendum: Strike 1

I will just touch up on this here as my opponent asked me to. I gave Jesus 1 strike for claiming to be God and leading people away to idolatry. The Talmud states that any man who claims to be God is a liar. In order to understand idolatry, we need to go back to Sinai. Idolatry is defined as worshipping anything apart from God - and even more specifically anything that our forefathers did not know. 

Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:32-36 ;’You have been shown in order to know that God, He is the Supreme Being. There is none besides Him. From heaven he let you hear His voice in order to teach you, and on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words amid the fire.' 

Did we know a triune God at Mt Sinai? No. Therefore worshiping such a thing is idol worship.
Did we know Jesus at Sinai? Nope. 

If God wanted to communicate with the people that He is a trinity and that Jesus is God, then he would have done so then. 

Conclusion

I think this is the longest and most detailed rebuttal I have ever written in my long history of debating. I had to unpack a lot in this round and I feel that I have done so successfully. I’ve had the floor long enough and so I will be defending my arguments in the next round. 

Back to you! 

Round 3
Published:
Welcome back to our very in depth and exciting debate concerning the Messiah - ship of Jesus Christ. I would like to say I do not at all mind long, in depth arguments on my opponent's part. I would like to say thank you to my opponent for his very in depth analysis of this issue. My opponent has given me a lot to unpack, so in this round, I will start off with rebuttal, and then go from there into the Isaiah 53 question. 


My opponent begins with several statements regarding the Jewish view of vicarious atonement. Let's dive into this. 

A. Human sacrifice are categorically forbidden

Because Christians believe that Jesus was fully man, such a sacrifice could not be allowed because human sacrifices are forbidden. 
Vayikra / Leviticus 18:21; "you shall not give any of your offspring to pass through for Molech. And you shall not profane the Name of your G-d. I am the L-rd." 

Jeremiah 19:4-5; “For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Ba’al to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Ba’al — something I did not command or mention nor did it even cross my mind. 


I have heard this argument from the Jewish religion several times now, and to be honest, I just don't think this has much, if any merit to it. The verses my opponent has cited simply do not refer to the general concept of human sacrifice. These verses are quite specific in that they forbid the act of burning your children to pagan deities. Since Jesus was not a child, was not sacrificed against His will, and was not burned to a pagan deity, these verses categorically do not apply.

In fact, throughout the Torah and Tanakh, we see several types of vows where one could be consecrated to G-d for their entire life. The Nazarite vow for example. Although the subject was not dying, it still, in some sense could be considered an "offering" to the L-rd. And the subject offered was human.
One final thought on this. In Isaiah 53, it is said the subject will be pour out his soul for an offering.

Now, my opponent believes this is Israel, and I believe this is Jesus, however, Jesus is fully human, and Israel is a group of humans. Either way, there is some type of human offering in view here. I do not think my opponent can escape this. 

My opponent states:

Sins can be forgiven without sacrifices

Now that we no longer have a temple, we can still have our sins forgiven and atone for through a process called tehsuva - repentance. The basic steps to this are: 1) regret the sin; 2) stop the sin; 3) confess the sin to God; 4) resolve not to do the sin again. This is required for atonement even if there was a sacrifice. Let’s bring some verses:

Hosea 3:4-5; “the children of Israel shall remain for many days, having neither king, nor prince, nor sacrifice, nor pillar, nor ephod nor teraphim. Afterwards shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God and David their king, and they shall come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness at the end of days.” 

Hosea 14:3; "Take words with yourselves and return to the Lord. Say, "You shall forgive all iniquity and teach us [the] good [way], and let us render [for] bulls [the offering of] our lips.” 

D’varim / Deuteronomy 4:27-31; "Adonai will scatter you among the other races and few of you will be left among the nations where Adonai 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 Adonai 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 Adonai your God and you will start listening to His Voice, because Adonai 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..." 

Melachim Aleph / 1 Kings 8:46-52; “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 (the City that You chose and the Temple that I have built to make You famous)---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…"

Scripture repeatedly talks about atonement and repentance. Not one time does it say that believe in the messiah alone can atone for sin and in no place where it mentions repentance does it mention a dying man-god. 





Ok, so, a lot to unpack here, I am going to work in reverse. My opponent states that not once is there a mention of a G-d man dying for our sins. I have a strong suspicion that if there WERE a reference to a G-d man dying for our sins, say in, oh I don't know, Isaiah.....ohhh, 53, my opponent would contest it. The point here is I believe my opponent is somewhat presupposing what he is trying to prove.


Nevertheless,

My opponent has stated that we can be forgiven without sacrifices, and my opponent offers several verses in support of this. However, I think both me and my opponent can agree, these were rare exceptions to the glaring rule. If G-d inspired Moses and Aaron to set up and entire priestly caste, and build an entire temple...twice, for the sole purpose of the sacrificial system, I would say banking your soul and forgiveness with G-d on an exception to the rule is not a wise decision. 


Finally, the area of my opponent's prologue I find the most issue with is this statement:

One is held responsible for their own sin
No one can die for the sins of another person
This, I believe, can be shown to be simply not the case, using the Torah. What my opponent is ignoring here is the Levitical concept of the scapegoat, which, was built entirely on the idea of substitutionary atonement. 

Leviticus 16:20-22 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:
21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:
22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.


We find in these verses a truth, that is mind bogglingly astonishing. Sin can be transferred. My opponent's contention that one is responsible for their own sins is true in a sense, however, G-d's judicial system of forgiveness requires that sin be transferred (to an innocent party) and literally removed. My opponent's worldview ignores this. And I will add, the concept of "bearing iniquities" is seen again in Isaiah 53. 

So I do not believe my opponent's arguments in this case are exegetically sound. For sake of space, I will just briefly touch on my opponent's section about Christ being our Passover, my comments in parentheses. 

. The Passover lamb was not a sin offering...(True)

The Passover lamb did not atone for any sin. It would have made more since for Jesus to be compared to the Yom Kippur lamb

. (Indeed, He was, the concept of Christ being our Passover Lamb is spoken of in one place in particular in 1st Corinthians. However, Christ being compared to the sacrifice of Yom Kippur is seen in great detail in the 8-10th chapter of the Book of Hebrews.)

B. The lamb represented idolatry.

 Let’s use a modern day analogy. If this happened in modern day India, we would most likely have slaughtered a cow and smeared its blood on our doorpost. The Indians love and adore this idol so much that India will jail you for “beef murder” and Hindu mobs are known to have rioted over suspected beef products. Would it make since for God to then say “behold the cow of God which taketh away the sins of the world” and command us to worship his son as “the cow”? That would be absurd! 


I would say if Moses went on to write several books about the importance of cows blood and their role in the sacrificial/forgiveness system, the ides of a "cow of G-d" would be far less out there. If you look at the Passover story in isolation from the rest of what the Bible says about lambs, it would only then not make a lot of sense. 

ISAIAH 53: MY RESPONSE

Now, in order to avoid using up way to much space here, instead of rebutting my opponent's interpretation of Isaiah 53 point by point, I am going show why I believe my opponent's position is simply not possible. 

My opponent acknowledged the "arm of the Lord" imagery. Now here's the thing. We do not have to debate over what this chapter is about...IT TELLS US.
"To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" is the opening line. This chapter is about the arm of the Lord, it continues... for HE shall grow...who shall grow? The previous line, the arm of the Lord. I think my opponent will agree so far. 

Here's the problem, the arm of the Lord is ascribed supernatural power that we simply couldn't bestow upon Israel. 

Isaiah 51:9-10 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?

10 Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?

Isaiah 51:15  But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is his name.


The arm of the LORD is described as cutting Rahab, and dividing the sea for the children of Israel to pass through. Firstly, Israel as a nation did not exist when that happened, only as a nomadic people. And secondly, it is certain that the children of Israel did not divide the sea, that was certainly an act of G-d, an act of the arm of the LORD. The act of wounding the dragon is see as an act of God Almighty (Psalm 74:14, Isaiah 27:1)

THE SECOND REASON:

 The passage in question is referring to the arm of the Lord. This cannot be Israel, it is a reference to something far more ancient and far more powerful, One responsible for wonderful acts of the Almighty. Finally, in wrapping up this section, I would like to add two more things. 

My opponent states that Sanhedrin 98b cannot be taken literally. My opponent then states that the Talmud says if one claims to be God, that is idolatry. My opponent cannot have it both ways, either the Talmud is to be taken as true and applicable, or not. I find it interesting my opponent did not quote this verse from Isaiah 53:8



He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.




Virtuoso, was Isaiah writing this chapter? If so, was Isaiah a Jew? If so, the statement " for the transgression of my people" is a reference to the Jews yes?  If so, the arm of the Lord was stricken for the transgressions of the Jews, was He not? How then could this be speaking of Israel? 



In closing, my opponent stated we did not know a Triune God at Sinai, or Jesus at Sinai. The problem is, if your worldview does not allow for revelation after Sinai, you end up with Sadduceeism.  The God revealed to Daniel was not the same imagery as the one at Sinai, (Daniel 9) or the same imagery as Isaiah 6. The God revealed to Abraham came to him in the form of three men. 

My opponent cannot, in good faith, exclude the God that Daniel saw or Ezekiel saw as being "idolatrous" because that imagery was not used at Sinai. NO imagery was revealed at Sinai, and yet, later on, we find out a lot more about God. 



Unfortunately, I am running low on battery for my laptop, and have been having some computer issues tonight, but I believe I have covered the bases sufficiently. 

I think it is sound to say that the prophecy of Isaiah 53 finds it's fulfillment in Christ. I can elaborate more on these parallel's in my next round. Thank you all!


ICXCNIKA






Published:
Thanks, pro for the response! Note that I will be defending my opening case in this round. 

Defense C1: Jesus’ Genealogy Disqualifies Him

My opponent drops two major points: (1) that the genealogies contradict the ones in Chronicles; and (2) That Matthew lies about “14 generations” between various events. This is particularly important because I noted the significance of the number 14. Please extend this across the board. There’s a full chart of these contradictions on page 5 of this source: http://thejewishhome.org/counter/Genealogies.pdf. It’s way too long to copy and paste everything. (3) My opponent drops the issue of why Luke’s genealogy is not that of Mary. I answered this objection in round 1 and he failed to adequately answer it here. 

The Levritical marriage defense actually makes things far more complicated than at first glance. Uri Yosef notes (same source that I linked above): 

“The Law of Levirate Marriage is stated in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. This Law states that, when a married man dies and leaves no heirs to carry on his name, and if the deceased has an unmarried brother, then this brother must marry the widow and (attempt to) have children. In the absence of an eligible brother, a close male relative on the father's side may qualify (as was the case of Boaz, a kinsman of Elimelech, who married Ruth [see Book of Ruth]). The first-born son of such a marriage is regarded as if he was the son of the deceased brother, and is named accordingly. It is important to note that, in the case of the two brothers, they must have at least a common father, i.e., they must be paternal brothers. The Law of Levirate Marriage does not apply to uterine brothers, i.e., brothers who share only a mother; children born of such a union are considered illegitimate. The Law of Levirate Marriage also contains provisions for the case when the surviving eligible brother refuses to fulfill his obligation. [Note: The term "levir" is a Latin word that means a husband's brother, thus it is not used in the Hebrew Bible.]” 

My opponent then gives a false dilemma. He states: 

1. If Jesus was not born of a virgin (which my opponent does not believe He was) then there is no reason for Joseph to adopt Jesus. He is his natural born son, and therefore has a legitimate claim to the throne of David. 

2. Joseph had to adopt Jesus because Jesus was born of a virgin. If my opponent takes this route the debate is over.
  
The obvious answer is number 1. As Christianity picked up more gentiles, Christianity slowly began to adopt pagan beliefs. One of the most common ideas in mythology is gods coming down and impregnating women. This idea is completely foreign to Jewish scripture. The text that Matthew abuses is Yeshayahu / Isaiah 7:14 

הִנֵּ֣ה הָעַלְמָ֗ה הָרָה֙ וְיֹלֶ֣דֶת בֵּ֔ן וְקָרָ֥את שְׁמ֖וֹ עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל׃

The key here is “ha’almah” which always means young woman. The way I translate this verse is as follows: “Look at that young woman! She is with child and will give birth to a son. She will call his name Immanuél (God is with us).” The next word words הָרָה֙ very clearly mean that she is pregnant in the present time. We can prove this by looking at other places where this word appears: 

B'réshit / Genesis 16:11 - "...you are with child [הִנָּךְ הָרָה hinnach harah] and are about to give birth to a son..."

B'réshit / Genesis 38:25 - "...I'm with child [אָנֹכִי הָרה anochi harah] by the man these things belong to…"

Yirm'yahu / Jeremiah 31:7 - "..., the woman with child  הָרָה וְיֹלֶֽדֶת harah v’yoledet]..."

This one is particularly important as Yeshayahu uses the same word וְיֹלֶ֣דֶת following הָרָה. 

So the idea of a virgin birth is clearly foreign to the Scriptures. However, when we analyze the claims of the New Testament, Jesus is clearly portrayed as being born of a virgin [1] and so I must analyze Jesus in this light. 

The Encyclopedia Judaica notes the following on adoption [2]: 

Adoption is not known as a legal institution in Jewish law.

In the Book of Esther, Esther is called by her name twice. In both places (Esther 2:15 and 9:29) she is called Esther daughter of Avihayil, not Esther daughter of Mordechai. 


Defense C2: Jesus failed to fulfill the Messianic Prophecies 

Let’s begin to unpack Daniel 9. First, it should be noted that the New Testament does not cite Daniel 9 as being a messianic prophecy. This is fascinating because if this was a slam dunk prophecy that many Christians think it is, why doesn’t the New Testament seem to know about it? Second, my opponent mistranslates Daniel 9:26. His translation:

Daniel 9:26, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” 

The proper translation: “And after threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off and shall be no more; and the people of the prince that shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, unto the end of war desolations are determined.” 

The word karet is a word that means to be cut off. It’s a punishment in the Torah for very serious sins (one of which is eating chometz on pesach). 

Daniel 9 actually speaks of two different “messiahs.” The first is Cyrus (cross reference with Isaiah 45:1) the second is King Agrippa. 

Defense C3: Jesus was a false prophet

Let’s address the three strikes I gave Jesus. 

Strike 1: Jesus claim Divinity

My opponent misrepresents my argument. The Torah clearly states that God will send us prophets and gives us a criteria for how to test their claims. However, the Torah also states that God revealed Himself entirely to us. Since we did not know Jesus as a god at Sinai, we cannot worship him. Similarly, we did not know Buddha at Sinai so thus we cannot worship him. None of the prophets that Pro mentioned ever claimed Divintiy. If they did, then that would immediately prove that they are a false prophet. 

Key question to pro: If someone comes up to you and claims to be God, would you follow that person? What if they did a miracle in front of you and claimed to be God? Would you follow that person? Even if a man rises from the dead and then claims to be God, we cannot follow that person. 

Strike 2: Violation of the Torah

My opponent drops the issue of carrying on the Sabbath day. The issue here isn’t that Jesus healed on the Sabbath day but that he commanded the person to violate Shabbat. Key question to Pro: If a man healed you and commanded you to eat pork, would you have done so? (Assuming that you were a Jewish man in 1st century Israel)? I certainly hope not! 

What about the priests? In order to understand what Jesus is talking about, we need to first understand what categories of work are forbidden on Shabbat. Among the forbidden activities are killing and burning. The priests did both on Shabbat when performing the sacrificial service. For a normal person this would be in violation of Shabbat, but the sacrificial service supersedes that. 

The idea of establishing a New Covenant is completely foreign to Scripture. God repeatedly says that the Torah will not be replaced. So what’s the “new covenant” in Jeremiah? It’s not that the Torah will be replaced with the New Testament, but rather it will be a renewal of the Torah. We know this because Jeremiah tells us exactly what this “new covenant” is going to be:

“For this is the covenant that I will form with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will place My Torah in their midst and I will inscribe it upon their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be My people. And no longer shall one teach his neighbor or [shall] one [teach] his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know Me from their smallest to their greatest, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will no longer remember.” 

This is obviously a failure on the New Testament’s behalf. Not everyone “knows the Lord.” This is pretty obvious since we are having this debate. 

Strike 3: False Prophecies

My final strike is in reference to prophecies that were unfulfilled. My opponent’s response that it’s talking about the 3 people who saw the transfiguration does not hold water based on the context of the chapter. Let’s look at Mark 9:1 one more time:

And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

Luke 9:27 tells the same story and writes, “But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 16:28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

To a Jewish listener in the 1st century, this could only mean one thing: The messianic Kingdom that was prophesied in Scripture. 

Thanks for the awesome debate! You have been a great opponent. I look forward to the final round! 

Notes and Sources
1. I find it interesting that only two Gospels write about the virgin birth. It’s also interesting that nowhere in Jesus’ life does he mention being born of a virgin. There’s actually a fascinating episode in Mark 3:21:

When his own family heard that he was there, they went out to seize him, for they said, “He’s insane!”

If Jesus was actually born of a Virgin and had a miraculous birth, why doesn’t his family know about it? If they knew about it, they wouldn’t think he was insane. 
Round 4
Published:
Hello again, it is my privilege to be back on the floor, debating this very important subject. I must thank my opponent for the amount of time and energy he has put into this debate. It truly has been a good one.


Let's begin


REBUTTAL POINT 1 (MATTHEW AND CHRONICLES)

In his first round, my opponent made a statement that Matthew and Chronicles disagree on their genealogies. My opponent cited this as a contradiction, and even went so far as to state Matthew lied to keep his 14 literary device. First and foremost, before I actually address the alleged contradiction, let me make a very important point to both my opponent and the readers. Although I do believe in Biblical inerrancy, it is important to note that, as any atheist will tell you, there are a plethora of alleged "contradictions" in the Torah and Tanakh, so I would caution my opponent to be very weary in trying to use contradictions to discredit the New Testament.

The truth of Christianity does not rest on Biblical inerrancy, which again I affirm. The truth of Christianity rests on Jesus rising from the dead. If it could be demonstrated that there were errors in Scripture, it would not discredit Christianity, it would discredit our understanding of inerrancy, because of this, I don't think it is fundamental to the resolution to even address this, however, in the spirit of good debate, and because my opponent has demanded, I will address this. With that out of the way, let's get down to business.

The verses in question are from 1st Chronicles 3:10-16 and Matthew 1:6-16. Where the alleged contradiction lies is that Matthew mysteriously, and somewhat abruptly deletes the names of three kings, which are listed in the Chronicle genealogy. Those three kings, which Matthew fails to mention are Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah. The deletion of those names, my opponent alleges, not only creates a contradiction between Matthew's genealogy and Chronicles, but is evidence that Matthew was being "creative" and deleted these names to keep with his number 14 schematic. Right?

I do not believe this is even close to the best option. And I will briefly try to explain what I believe is happening here. The three kings in question were Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah, all sons of Jezebel, the wife of Ahab. The major point I need to bring to the table.


1. God pronounced judgement on the house of Ahab, his sons in particular, that they would be cut off and perish.


2 Kings 9:8-9 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel:
9 And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah:

1st Kings 21:21 Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,


God said He would make Ahab's house like that of Jeroboam, that is important because:

1st Kings 13:34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.”

It is clear from the judgment God pronounced, that Ahab's house (his three sons whom Matthew fails to mention) would be cut off and destroyed from the face of the earth, I want my opponent to pay special attention to the phrase "posterity cut off". It get's more specific, as the idea of not mentioning someone's name whose posterity was cut off is laid out for us in the Psalms.

When speaking of wicked people, David has this to say:

Psalm 109:13 Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

Psalm 69:28 May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.

Psalm 34:16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

I think it is clear here. Matthew was not lying, or making up a literary device. He was inspired by God to keep with the judgement pronounced against the house of Ahab generations earlier, and Matthew deleting their names was simply their posterity continuing to be cut off, as God had said. That's why he deletes the names of Ahab's sons. I do not see a conspiracy here, I see a perfectly consistent Jewish practice of not mentioning evildoers. Ahab's sons in particular.

With that out of the way, allow me to move on briefly to the levirate marriage, please note I stated this was one possible explanation of why there are two different lineages. Firstly, and most importantly, the Jerusalem Talmud states that Heli was actually Mary's father (Hagigah 2:2) What I believe happened is Luke is giving us Mary's genealogy but using Joseph's name. Even if we discarded this view though, I am not sure where Uri Yosef is getting the idea they had to have a common father. That is not stated in the text of Deuteronomy. Again, though, it is perfectly reasonable that Luke used Joseph's name. That is all I have to say about that, I do not know where Uri got that idea from, as I do not see it in the relevant verses. I personally believe Luke is going through Mary, the Talmud seems to agree with this.


Moving on, I want to point out two things my opponent has stated:

"My opponent then gives a false dilemma..."

and

"The obvious answer is number 1..."


I think no matter who wins this debate, I should at least be given an award for creating the world's easiest "false dilemma"!

In all seriousness, since my opponent has chosen option number one, he agrees then that Jesus has a legitimate claim to the throne of David through Joseph. My opponent has essentially rescinded his first argument.


Getting down to Isaiah 7:14, I will say several things about this. Number one, I am not Jewish, I do not speak Hebrew, so, in the spirit of humility and staying within my bounds, I am not going to try and dispute my opponent's interpretation of the present tense linguistic structure of Isaiah 7. However, I am going to let two major Jewish Bibles do it.

Isaiah 7:14 JPS (Jewish Publication Society)
 Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14 Septuagint (http://ecmarsh.com/lxx/Esaias/index.htm)
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.

Shall give a sign and shall conceive are both translated here, in disagreement with my opponent's contention. The LXX was used for generations by the Jews, and there was no historical contention with the future tense. It is also worth noting that the LXX translates "almah" as Parthenos, which is Greek meaning virgin, again, disagreeing with my opponent.

What is to be noted in regards to the young woman translation  is the fact that this verse is that God will give the house of David a sign. A sign from God is most certainly not an everyday occurrence. What is an everyday occurrence is young women having children. Yes, "almah" can mean young woman, but with all words, their meaning is determined by context. Virgin fits the sign aspect. Young woman does not. 


In regards to Daniel 9, firstly, my opponent demands that this messianic prophecy be repeated in the New Testament. My opponent does not provide any reason why this should be the case. The New Testament teaches all of Scripture pointed to Christ ((Luke 24:25), my opponent declares that the word in question is in reference to someone being cut off for serious sin. Let me state emphatically this is perfectly consistent with Christian theology in that Christ bore the sins of mankind and was punished for them. ( 1 Peter 2:24) Secondly, the prophecy has been calculated and calculated again, the timeline always points to this "anointed one" being cut off at the time Christ was crucified. I think this prophecy alone will almost certainly lead to a separate debate between me and my opponent. For brevity, here is a chart. 



My opponent states:

My opponent misrepresents my argument. The Torah clearly states that God will send us prophets and gives us a criteria for how to test their claims. However, the Torah also states that God revealed Himself entirely to us. Since we did not know Jesus as a god at Sinai, we cannot worship him. Similarly, we did not know Buddha at Sinai so thus we cannot worship him. None of the prophets that Pro mentioned ever claimed Divintiy. If they did, then that would immediately prove that they are a false prophet. 

Key question to pro: If someone comes up to you and claims to be God, would you follow that person? What if they did a miracle in front of you and claimed to be God? Would you follow that person? Even if a man rises from the dead and then claims to be God, we cannot follow that person. 
In the 18th chapter of Genesis, God reveals Himself to Abraham in the form of a man. Key question to my opponent, if He did this again, after Sinai, would you reject Him? In answer to your question, yes, I already did. He revealed Himself to His church 2,000 years  ago by coming back from the dead. 

I would like to contrast this one important statement with a point my opponent makes at the end of his argument:

What if they did a miracle in front of you and claimed to be God? Would you follow that person? Even if a man rises from the dead and then claims to be God, we cannot follow that person. 
And 

I find it interesting that only two Gospels write about the virgin birth. It’s also interesting that nowhere in Jesus’ life does he mention being born of a virgin. There’s actually a fascinating episode in Mark 3:21:

When his own family heard that he was there, they went out to seize him, for they said, “He’s insane!”

If Jesus was actually born of a Virgin and had a miraculous birth, why doesn’t his family know about it? If they knew about it, they wouldn’t think he was insane. 
My opponent has answered his own question. My opponent will not be persuaded by a man coming back from the dead, will my opponent expect Jesus' family to be persuaded because their mother may or may not have told them that Jesus was conceived before her and their father came together? 

Finally, in dealing with Jesus and the Sabbath, my opponent has asked would it be ok if Jesus healed a man and then commanded him to eat pork. This is a red herring. Jesus never commanded anyone to eat pork. My opponent has agreed to the fact that God will allow certain exceptions for work on the Sabbath. Question for my opponent here is, if God commanded the man to take up his bed and go home on the Sabbath, would it be ok for the man to do so? If so, since Christian theology teaches Jesus is God incarnate, the only way to take issue with Jesus commanding a man to take up his bed would be to presuppose Jesus  isn't divine. In which case, you are starting out with Judaism, to try and find fault with Jesus, in order to prove Judaism. Which is circular. 

Finally, I would like to once again draw attention to Isaiah 53. 

Matthew 27:12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing...

Isaiah 53:7...and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 


Matthew 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple...

verse 60..And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock...

Isaiah 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and the rich in his death, because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth



Isaiah 53:11...by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities...

Romans 5:1 Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we , being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes ye were healed...

Isaiah 53:5 but he was wounded for our transgressions, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. 

Since we have already established the arm of the LORD is not Israel, and this chapter is about the arm of the LORD, I would like my opponent to now explain why these verses parallel Christ so perfectly if they do not prophecy him? 

Thank you to my opponent, I will leave off here for now because these  responses are getting immense. Happy Easter to all my Christian brothers and sisters, the Lord is risen. And to my Jewish friends, happy Passover. 
Published:
Thank you for a fantastic debate! I'm running close on time so I will try to get as much in as I can. 

Contention 1: Jesus' Genealogy 

It is interesting that my opponent rejects Biblical inerrancy as a lot of Christians hold onto. It is fascinating that Pro suggested that Matthew is leaving out certain "wicked Kings." If this is the case, then why does Matthew mention Jeconiah who was cursed in the Tenakh

Jeremiah 22 "Inscribe this man [Coniah] childless, a man who WILL NOT PROSPER [חַלְ צִא־יֹל) LO-yitzLAH)] in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper [חַלְ צִא־יֹל ,[sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah."

Matthew also mentions the wicked king Manasses and Ahaz.

Moving on to Isaiah 7:14. First, we don't care what the Greek says; we only care about what the Hebrew says. I have proven from the Hebrew text itself why this "almah" cannot be a virgin as the woman is already pregnant. My opponent fails to address this point and instead looks at the LXX. There are several points to note:

First, even if I concede it, all that means is the LXX is thus wrong in its translation as well. 
Second, the original translation of the LXX was ONLY the Torah, NOT the rest of the Tenakh (Megillah 9). We don't know who preserved the LXX nor do we know who wrote the rest of the translation. 

Finally, the JPS is not the best Jewish translation. The translation on chabad.org reads:

Therefore, the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign; behold, the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel.

The Artscroll Tenakh that I have translates it as:

Therefore, my Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the young woman is pregnant and will bear a son, and she will name him Immanuel. 

These are two of the top-notch translations in the Jewish world today. 

I think Daniel 9 should be a whole debate in of itself. I could dedicate a whole 13,000 character argument on Daniel 9 alone. 

My opponent claims that God appeared to Abraham in the form of a man. The text clearly states it was an angel and my opponent fails to provide a reason to think it was God Himself. Abraham never worshipped or prayed to that angel. 

Finally, I am writing this perspective from the Christian point of view. My opponent still hasn't answered the main question of how Jesus could have the lineage if he was born of a virgin. 


Contention 2: Jesus was a false prophet

My opponent drops everything here so please extend across the board. This is enough of a reason to vote con.

I don't have time to respond to the rest of Isaiah 53. 

Thank you. I wish I could have given this round a better rebuttal, but I am out of time. 


Added:
good logic on both sides. I stand by my vote decision. Bse Vote descision ev3r announced.
#59
Added:
--> @NoodIe
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: Noodle // Mod action: Removed
>Points Awarded: Tied.
>Reason for Decision: Based on the new Testament vs Old Testament obviously no. Bias from the start but Christians have a variety of apologetics to employ so this is innately a very interesting topic since so many arguments are out there... good logic on both sides.
I'll read
>Reason for Mod Action: No reason is given, rooted in the debate itself, as to why a tie was awarded. While it is good to hear that the voter is interested in the topic, mere interest is best expressed in the comments section.
************************************************************************
#58
Added:
Bump
Contender
#57
Added:
--> @Ragnar
Thanks for a great RFD
Contender
#56
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
Regarding the not enough disk space error when in fact there is a ton of space... Usually that's an error with a partition, in particular the paging file size.
Good news, it's actually an easy and free fix: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/972502/there-is-not-enough-free-space-on-partition-c-error-when-you-try-to-up
#55
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
I know next to nothing about computers but I'll take your word for it
Instigator
#54
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
Ah. And that's exactly why I bought a mac. I had way too many issues with PCs
Contender
#53
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
It's an hp notebook, it was running fine until a few months ago where it said it was trying to update windows 10 but didn't have enough disk space, which is not possible because there's literally nothing on it. Since then it won't load pages all the way, and sometimes the browser won't even work I have to restart the computer just to get online. I'm not sure about the warranty, I have to check, it's about a year and a half now
Instigator
#52
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
That's odd. What type of computer did you get? Is it still in warranty?
Contender
#51
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Well you know it's funny because I actually tried that, when I went to safe the document it said not enough dish space. Which is impossible because my laptop is relatively new. I think my laptop has a virus but I'm not sure. I lost a couple thousand characters from unexpected window closings several times, so at that point I just was trying to get the arguments posted. Sorry about the structure though, I completely understand.
Instigator
#50
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
my advice is to always use a word doc or a google doc to write your arguments in and then C&P it into the debate.
Contender
#49
Added:
--> @Ragnar, @Dustandashes
Yeah - that was my biggest struggle in the debate. It was hard to follow your argumnents and keep them organized. Notice how I made each contention a bolded headline.
Contender
#48
Added:
--> @Ragnar
Thank you for the advice. Unfortunately I was having (and still am) massive computer issues when having this debate. My tab would crash or shut down in the middle of me typing or the whole window would close unexpectedly. I literally had to email myself a round once so I would not loose it. I apologise for the disorder
Instigator
#47
Added:
Initial thoughts...
First, please use the long description to set rules, such as "that my opponent believes the Torah and the Tanakh to be authoritative, I will also reference the Talmud several times." This will avoid a lot of problems.
Second, if at all possible please use consistent headings. You can share these, number them, and expand the number as needed. Following trains of thoughts through a lot of disorganized text is not fun.
#46
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
ill work on making a good one because i have interest in this debate
#45
#6
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Firstly, i hate hate hate hate hate this disjoint structure of debate. Where round 3 refutes round 1, everything gets our of step and messed up quickly; it ends up feeling detrimental and makes the understandability. Online debates end up as an adversarial clash - it’s best to format them as such. I doubt any voters will penalize anyone for it!
This debate seems to boil down to prophecy, and whether Jesus meets the criteria to be the Jewish Messiah.
Pros opening appeared very nonspecific, that he would be despised and rejected, vilified and stricken for the transgressions of his people. This doesn’t feel limiting - in that it feels as if it could be applied to, say, Martin Luther King, or others.
In cons opening he lays out a much better and more specific case: that Jesus didn’t have the right genealogy, that he didn’t match up with core prophecies and meets the criteria of the Torah of a false prophet.
These are all targeted and fairly specific; which I have to accept over and above pros more generic claims.
Pros objections to genealogy seem reasonable to accept (Joseph was descended from David) - though he doesn’t explain the contradicting lineage.
Pro goes on to basically reject that Jesus does not need to fulfill any prophecies; there is a bit of a double standard here, as pro himself asks me to believe the prophecies when they suit his position. It’s also tenuous at best - with pro basically arguing that an ancient sect believed in two messiahs, meaning that I should accept all Jews must necessarily believe there were too. Not enough evidence was provided for me to buy that.
Pro raised some issues relating to the categorization of Jesus as a false prophet. One point was to be clarified: con argues that Jesus effectively rejected the Torah from the laws replacing it with a new set, while there may be a valid Christian reason, pro needs to do more to show why this is inline with a Messiah - it seems that Jesus was to fulfill this law, not throw it away. I do however side with pro on the example of breaking sabbath law, it seems reasonable to expect a Messiah to violate the rules to save or heal individuals.
Con goes on to explain in detail issues with the method of atonement Jesus provided - showing its out of character with Jewish beliefs (for a number of reasons). These seem fairly reasonable, but will deal with the details when I get to pros rebuttals
Con goes on to explain that a key passage of issaiah was not to be taken literally, and outlines the metaphorical meaning of the passages. Given that I feel this was weak by pro in the first place, I feel like I can buy this.
Pros counter, specifically relating to human sacrifice was well explained, and the pointing out of the scapegoat example in Leviticus law I felt was very good. In my view this eradicated a lot of the issues con raised with the conceptual necessity for a Messiah.
Pros counter to cons issues with Isaiah, isn’t entirely clear to me - and I wasn’t fully able to extract the core of why this example can’t be figurative and must be literal. Saying that, it’s less of an issue as I don’t fully find this argument convincing on it’s own.
Con reiterates a couple of the core issues he has relating to Jesus claimed divinity, and that Jesus commanded someone to violate the law.
At the end, it seems pro mostly dropped what I felt were the most compelling arguments (prophecy + false prophet), to focus on the more fringe arguments.
I felt con outlined some pretty devestating reasons why Jesus could not be Messiah, and these sort of died out with any clean resolution to those points.
The debate Got very hard to follow and seemed more targeted at other biblical scholars rather than regular voters- so I can’t claim to have understood everything but my main issue here is that con laid out some pretty specific hurdles Jesus should pass but he does not, specific things Jesus should not do - but he does. Pros only argument to support comes from Isaiah, which felt fairly weak in comparison.
For this reason: arguments to con.
Kudos to Virt for not having work issues in round 3, and Kusos to Dust for the best worst false dilemma!
#5
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
This is a weird debate given that no one could even begin to consider the cases without knowing the basics of key related myths (a definition for Jesus and for Messiah should have been included in the description).
So here's the biggie, con was the only one who offered an IF THEN TRUE. Near the end of the debate pro even made a complaint that con's arguments did not absolutely prove Judaism, which was not was this resolution was about (If Judaism is wrong, that would not prove Jesus was anything).
By con's standard (which pro engaged with such that I think he bought in to said standard), Pro wins the debate if Jesus "come at the end of days, bring peace to the Earth, bring people close to God, rebuild the Temple, and restore the Davidic throne." These points were pretty well dropped, which as they were the issue I thought was most important gives con the debate (C3 was not absolutely proven or disproven, so ended up having almost no impact; C0 was just tied; C1 also went to con... this falls pretty strongly in con's favor)
C0 (tied): The messiah is named for disease, and the Rabbis accepted this (admittedly I really did not understand this, other than it might relate to the possibility (not certainty) that Jesus is the Messiah). ... Con's rejection of this corrected a minor cherry picking (not actually against conciseness, just know where people might expand to make holes in your case) via adding on the preceding line, and making a strong connection to the history of the land (instead of a dude) he believes the passage in question referred to. But first, it awesomely went into cow-Jesus worship (it was criticizing the sacrifice connection, with India today as a stand-in). Pro gave a rather long protest to this, but the protest itself did not prove that Jesus was the messiah, it was only really about if one line from the holy books could be about a man instead of a nation.
C1 (con): The genealogies of Jesus disqualify him (wrong father to be eligible), and that the 14 generations were a lie (I was unclear on what the lie was until a source was used later).
Pro asking "what historical evidence do you provide for that claim?" is a little off-putting, given that we're talking about mythologies. Con navigated the false dilemma in a long-winded manner, ultimately defending Mary's honor against pro's claims, while maintaining the biblical denial of Joseph being father to Jesus. Somehow this side tracked into there being no errors in the bible, and that's why they had to lie to add errors... This is continued with Luke lied about who he was talking about when listing Joseph's line (which was long ago pre-refuted with how they tracked these things making only the father's side matter).
C2 (con): Jesus failed to fulfill the prophecies.
To me the previous two are semantic issues, and this is the big one. Actions are more important than who your daddy is and other issues of racism.
The general counterpoint that he could not fulfill all prophies inside his life, fell flat to me, as someone can do various things and then die after being confirmed (at least my interpretation was not that he'd die in his early childhood, but that as messiah he'd die).
The sub contentions were of course dropped, so not going into great detail on them...
C2 A.: Temple
Destroyed.
C2 B.: Gather the Jews
Exile got worse.
C2 C.: World Peace
Sharp! (sorry, had to make the pun)
C3 (mixed): False Prophet
Okay this is a cool unexpected twist. If he's a false prophet, he certainly wouldn't be the messiah. A little C.S. Lewis could have twisted this into pro's favor, but such never came, so the impact of navigating it did not tilt the debate in pro's favor but just avoided losing the debate to it.
The first strike (con)... Claimed to be God. Pro did okay here by asking why that would automatically make him a liar, but when asked failed to show any reason we should ever believe someone making this claim.
The second strike (pro) I don't understand the importance of someone not carrying light things, and pro was able to explain why carrying light things was fine so long as it was not for business.
The third strike (con) was a good one, given that his promised return was supposed to have happened a couple thousand years ago. That counterpoint of insisting that that'd see him again before they died really meant after they died, was obviously unconvincing.
#4
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Kiss my goddamn ass.
#3
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Couldn't decide either way. It probably doesn't help that I don't have a horse in this race.... so to speak.
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Please see the comments. This turned out to be 1048 words (wow!).
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
All tie cuz this debate hella long and i dont feel like analyzing it too complex