Jewish Objections To Christian Usage Of Old Testament Passages 


1) Psalm 2 - This is about David, not Jesus. Psalm 89 is parallel to Psalm 2 and supports this. The concluding verse " Kiss the son..." should be translated " serve with purity" .

This Psalm speaks of the Lord's " anointed" , who was also to be His begotten son (v.2,7,6, where " set" is " anointed" in Hebrew). 'Mashiach', the Hebrew for 'messiah' means literally " an anointed one" , and therefore it is reasonable to interpret this Psalm as speaking of Messiah. It has definite allusions to the promise to David about his great descendant:


2 Sam.7

" Yet have I (God) set My king upon My holy hill of Zion"

" I will set up thy seed after thee..

Ps.2 describes how all opposing kings will be overcome by God.

establish the throne of His Kingdom...

" Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten thee"

" I will be his father, and he shall be My son" -only possible by God begetting a son of an unmarried woman.

This shows that Ps.2 is not about David, but about his promised son. That this did not only refer to Solomon is shown by David's comment that " Although my house (immediate family) be not so with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant" (2 Sam.23:5). This indicates that David looked for a future, eternal fulfilment of the promise of his seed, unrelated to any primary fulfilment it might have in Solomon. David's description of the promise as speaking of his house " for a great while to come" (1 Chron.17:17) would be irrelevant if it only had fulfilment in Solomon. Any parallels with Ps.89 are by reason of that Psalm being a commentary on the promises to David which Ps.2 also refers to. It is difficult for Jews to argue that Ps.2 has had any major fulfilment so far; David's messiah/seed was to be surrounded in Jerusalem by many armies who will resent his rule over them (v.2,3), and who will be destroyed by God's intervention on behalf of Messiah, with the result that his Kingdom is then worldwide (" the uttermost parts of the earth" , v.8). It is easy to see how this will occur when Jesus returns to earth to reign in Jerusalem as David's seed.

2) Psalm 22

a) Ps. 22 refers to the Jewish people collectively; the references to parting of garments and bones sticking out sounds like Auschwitz.

b) Jesus did not expect God to deliver him. The person in Ps. 22 did. Jesus expected to be crucified (Matt. 20:19).

This Psalm contains much language which it is impossible to apply to a group of people. It is a Psalm of David, and therefore refers primarily to the sufferings which he endured, perhaps during the time of Absalom's rebellion. In view of this, it is hard to make it refer to a group of people. If it does do so, then this must be by reason of very indirect allusion. The person referred to was surrounded by jeering spectators, who in particular mocked his spiritual claims(v.8), leading him to reflect that it was God who created him in the womb (v.9,10). The man's bones suffered greatly (v.14), burning thirst tormented him (v.15), his hands and feet were nailed (v.16), his garments were parted (v.18). The rest of the Psalm then describes how God vindicates and rescues this man from death, so that he promises to " declare Thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee" (v.22). This last verse makes it hard to interpret this person as a group of people, seeing that he declares God to " the congregation" of his brethren. The Jews admit in the Talmud that Jesus was crucified. This prophecy in Ps.22 undeniably fits the scene of crucifixion, especially of Jesus. Verse 30 mentions how " A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation" , which is very much the language of Isa.53 concerning God's suffering servant/Messiah who would save Israel from their sins by his sacrifice. This connection confirms that Ps.22 is about an individual rather than Israel generally.

However, it is true that some of the descriptions of Messiah's sufferings do have faint echoes in them of the sufferings of Israel. Jewish prison art discovered at Auschwitz indicates that many Jews who suffered there came to appreciate that what they were going through had a remarkable similarity with the sufferings of Jesus on the cross. And in their holocaust to come this will be repeated on a much greater scale, until they mourn for their Messiah whom they pierced in crucifixion (Zech.12:10). It is worthwhile highlighting the extent to which the punishments of apostate Israel came upon Jesus on the cross, seeing that there he was Israel's sin bearer, whom they only need to identify themselves with to gain the benefit of His atoning sacrifice.

Judgments on Israel

Experienced by Jesus on the Cros

Hos.2:3,6 = Matt.27:27-29; Jn.19:28

Josh.22:13 = Lk.18:33

Ps.89:30-32; Is.28:18 = Mt.27:30

Ez.22:1-5 = Jesus mocked by Gentile Roman soldiers, Mt.27:27-31

Is.50:2,6 = Mt.26:67; 27:30; Lk.18:32

Jer.18:16 = Mt.27:39

These similarities are too close to have been engineered humanly; if it is accepted that Jesus was crucified, it does not seem unreasonable to accept that the sufferings of Jesus described in the New Testament really did happen. It therefore follows that Jesus of Nazareth did bear the sin and judgments of Israel, and therefore he is their saviour-Messiah.

The claim that " Jesus did not expect God to deliver him" reveals a poor knowledge of His words. He definitely did expect God to deliver him: Matt.16:21,27; 19:28; 20:18,19; 26:27-29,31,32,64.

3) Psalm 110:1 - " The Lord said to my lord" . The Talmud interprets David's lord as Abraham, not Jesus. The rest of the Psalm refers to God's advice to Abraham before his battle with the four kings in Gen. 14.

To say that this refers to Abraham is ludicrous. " The Lord (God) said unto my (David's) Lord, Sit thou at my right hand" (110:1). The person referred to is therefore David's 'lord', who was asked to sit at the right hand of God, in Heaven. There is no record of Abraham ever being promised that he would go to heaven. This person was to be ordained a priest by God : " Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek" (v.4). Yet we are told that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek and was blessed by him (Gen.14:19,20), showing that Melchizedek was both separate from and superior to Abraham. " Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies" (Ps.110:2) recalls the promise to Abraham that his seed would " possess the gate of his enemies" (Gen.22:17,18). Again, Ps.110 must refer to Abraham and David's seed, who would be a king-priest after the order of Melchizedek, rather than to Abraham personally.

The seed of Abraham sitting at God's right hand in Heaven, until He is revealed in glory to rule a world now subdued under God's command, fits in neatly with the Christian concept of Jesus having ascended to Heaven, where he now sits awaiting His return to the earth to establish God's perfect Kingdom here. At that time " Thy people (Messiah's people of Israel) shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning" (110:3), suggesting a major repentance and spiritual rebirth of Israel at this time. Again, this undeniably ties up with Jesus returning from Heaven to be accepted by a repentant Israel.

8) Micah 5

a) Micah 5:1,2 parallels 1 Sam. 17:12 - it is saying that David, the ancestor of Messiah, was born in Bethlehem.

b) Micah 5:5 says Messiah is to bring peace - which Jesus did not.

This passage is widely recognized amongst Jews as having application to Messiah, the great seed of David. To argue that it is only about David is surely just being contrary. The Jewish Soncino commentary is explicit in its support of a Messianic meaning. It says the chapter is " A prophecy of the Messianic King and Israel's destiny among the nations" , further commenting on verses 1-5: " This prophecy of the Messiah is comparable with the more famous 'shoot out of the stock of Jesse' prophecy in Isaiah 11. To hearten the people in their calamitous plight, Micah foretells the coming of one from Bethlehem (i.e. of the house of David) who, in the strength of the Lord, will restore Israel to the land and rule over them in God's name in abiding peace" .

The Midrash (Breishis Rabba 2:4) interprets this passage (correctly, from the Christian viewpoint) as meaning that the concept of Messiah has always been with God from the beginning.

Micah 5 is speaking of Messiah in the future tense: " Thou, Bethlehem...out of thee shall he come forth unto me (i.e. as God's very own son, implying a virgin birth?) that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting" (Mic.5:2), showing that this is about a future person, although his ancestry (" goings forth" ) goes far back. 1 Sam.17:12 just makes the point that David was from Bethlehem Ephratah -and because Messiah is to be the great descendant of David, it is fitting that he should have been born in David's city. The Hebrew phrase " mikedem" which is translated " from of old" recurs in Mic.7:20, speaking of the promises to the patriarchs (also of the seed/Messiah) " which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old" . " From everlasting" (Heb.'mime olahm') means " from ancient times" (see R.V.margin; N.I.V.). This idea of things being done from " everlasting days" occurs in Isa.63:9,11 concerning the Exodus from Egypt; in Amos 9:11 concerning David and Solomon's time; and in Mic.7:14 concerning the time of the Assyrian invasion. Thus it does not necessarily mean from eternity in absolute terms.

We have mentioned elsewhere that to fulfil all the Messianic promises, Messiah must have two major comings. Verse 1 describes how this Messiah will be treated: " They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek" . Verse 2 then refers back to how despite this (" But thou, Bethlehem..." ) He will have been born as the descendant of David who was to be Israel's king/Messiah. The prophecy continues " Therefore (because of their smiting of Messiah in v.1?) will He (God) give them (Israel) up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel...(then) he shall be great unto the ends of the earth (the Messianic Kingdom). And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land" (Mic.5:3-5). From all this it should be clear that there are two comings of Messiah; one at which he is persecuted by Israel after having been born as their Messiah at Bethlehem, followed by a period in which Israel are rejected by God until they repent, at which time Messiah will come again to save Israel from an Assyrian invasion and establish the Messianic Kingdom worldwide. Assyria has its modern counterpart in the Arab powers surrounding Israel. At any moment we will see a massive Arab invasion of Israel, and the horrors of the ensuing holocaust will lead Israel to repent of their rejection of their Bethlehem-born Messiah, Jesus. Due to this, He will then intervene on God's behalf to save them from the 'Assyrian' invasion, and then establish God's eternal Kingdom worldwide.