Monday, April 15, 2013

"Who is the "son unto Me"?

2 Samuel 7:14, 1 Chronicles 17:13

--Hebrews 1:5

"I shall be a Father unto him and he shall be a son unto Me"

The first chapter of Hebrews is the only place in the Christian Scriptures which makes a serious attempt to prove the Nazarene is divine using the T’nakh.

In these parallel passages from Samuel and Chronicles, God is speaking to David telling him that he is not the one to build the Temple, his son is. Christians argue that this refers to David's "greater son", the Nazarene. However the reference is clearly to Solomon as you can tell by reading the passages.

"And Hashem informs you that Hashem will establish a dynasty for you. When your days are complete and you lie with your forefathers, I shall raise up after you your offspring who will issue from your loins, and I shall make his kingdom firm. He shall build a Temple for My sake, and I shall make firm the throne of his kingdom forever. I shall be a Father unto him and he shall be a son unto Me, so that when he sins I will chastise him with the rod of men and with afflictions of human beings." (2 Samuel 7:11-14, Stone Edition, emphasis added)

"I will raise up after you your offspring who will be from among your sons, and I shall make his kingdom firm. He shall build a Temple for Me, and I shall make his throne firm forever. I shall be a Father unto him and he shall be a son unto Me, and I shall never remove My kindness from him, as I removed it from the one who preceded you." (1 Chronicles 17:11-13)

Solomon is the one who built the Temple for Hashem. Nineteen of his descendants ruled over Judah on the throne of David. The true Mashiach will be a descendant of Solomon, the legitimate heir to David’s throne (notice that Luke records the Nazarene as having descended from Solomon's brother Nathan who was not the royal heir). If these passages referred to the Nazarene, why does it say, "when he sins"? Christianity can't even say, "if he sins" because it is impossible for the perfect Nazarene to sin. "In the famous prophecy of 2 Samuel 7 where Christ is prefigured in terms of Solomon, the expression "if he commit iniquity" cannot refer to Christ." (Protestant Biblical Interpretation, page 252).

The T’nakh itself tells us that these word were said regarding Solomon. David made many preparations for the building of the Temple and told Solomon. "My son, I had in mind to build a Temple for the Name of Hashem, my God, but the word of Hashem came to me, saying, You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a Temple for My Name's sake, for you have shed much blood upon the ground before Me. Behold, a son will be born to you; he will be a man of rest, and I shall grant him rest from all his enemies all around. His name will be Solomon, and I will bestow peace and tranquility upon Israel in his days. He will build a Temple for My Name's sake; he will be a son to Me and I will be a Father to him. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever." (1 Chronicles 22:6-10)

These verses clearly identify Solomon as the "son of God", not the Nazarene. Many Christian apologists automatically suggest that this is a dual prophecy, referring to Solomon in its plain sense but alluding to the Messiah. But if the passage applies to the Messiah and Solomon equally then it cannot show it is appropriate to worship the Messiah unless it also shows it is appropriate to worship Solomon as well, they are the same words after all. "The interpreter should take the literal meaning of a prophetic passage as his limiting or controlling guide." (Protestant Biblical Interpretation, page 253). You do no more to demonstrate that you can worship Messiah, whom the passage refers to secondarily at best, than to show you can worship Solomon (חו״ש). Even if you wished to argue, ignoring the context, that it could be understood in such a manner it certainly doesn’t predict that the Messiah is divine. You can only infer such an idea if you already accepted it. It is the result of belief in the Nazarene, not it’s cause.

Solomon, like Israel in Hosea 11:1, is described as God's son because of the unique relationship they have. Israel is God’s chosen people and Solomon is the leader of that people. He is the one who reigned after David and it is he whom David himself identifies as the subject of the prophecy according to the T'nakh itself.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Who is "David's Fallen Sukkah"?

On that day I will raise up the fallen booth [i.e. sukkah] of David; I will repair their breaches and raise up its ruins, and i will build it up as in days of old so that they upon whom My Name is called may inherit the remnant of Edom and all the nations--the word of Hashem, Who shall do this (Amos 9:11-12, Stone Edition).
According to Christian Scriptures (Acts 15:16), James cites this verse, albeit conjoined to entirely separate verses, in connection with their topic of the role on non-Jews in their new faith. It would seem from the line of reasoning James is presenting, as well as the general tenor of the Christian scripture's use of verses in the T'nakh, that James understood that David's booth (which had fallen but was risen) was a reference to the Messiah whom they believed to be the Nazarene. Indeed Herbert Lockyer (All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible) understands it is such a manner (as do many other missionaries, no doubt).

Of course those familiar with the Biblical narrative immediately recognize that the "fallen booth of David" is a reference to the Davidic dynasty which ceased to reign over most of the tribes of Israel after the reign of Solomon. As highlighted by Rabbi David Kimchi 's commentary, "Since [Amos] stated the kingdom of Ephraim would fall, he now states that, in contrast, the kingdom of David would be raised up. It is symbolized by the tabernacle [sukkah] because it affords shelter to the people." (transl. by Rabbi A.J. Rosenberg, Twelve Prophets, vol. 1, Judaica Press). The Moshiach, the Messiah, is not "the fallen booth of David" but just the opposite, he is its rectification.

In line with our previous observations, this straight-forward and obvious interpretation is also the one favored by Evangelical scholars applying normal and sound exegetical principals:

David's dynasty, which had been a protective canopy over all the people of Israel, had "fallen" with the great schism o the 10 Northern tribes from the 2 Southern tribes (1 Kings 12). This booth [i.e. sukkah] had been broken in two. But God promised to unite the two kingdoms once again under Davidic rule (cf. Jer. 30:3-10; Ezek. 37:15-28; Hosea 3:4-5). He will restore the sheltering tend, repair its broken places, building it as it used to be. ( J. F. Walvoord, R. B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, page 1451)

 While this passage is, it would seem, legitimately messianic in its meaning this does not mean that the Messiah would be "fallen".  The Messianic aspect of this passage is the reversal of this fallen state.  There is simply no need, nor any basis, to understand "David's fallen booth" as being the Messiah. Instead the Messiah will be the first king to reign over a united kingdom of Israel since the days of Solomon.