I am not going to write about the Pope per se because I can't really evaluate his legacy. However, it has always amazed me that a learned intelligent man like the Pope could really believe in Christianity. Did the Pope really believe that he was infallible? Because Christianity is based on Judaism it is fatally flawed. I once had a long online debate with someone from Jews for Jesus. Every proof that he brought was either a mistranslation (the most famous being עלמה translated as virgin when everyone knows that the biblical word for virgin is בתולה) or something taken completely out of context. I can understand how the average Christian believes, he reads the תנ"ך in translation and therefore it supports their theories. However, anyone who reads the תנ"ך in the original Hebrew and thinks a little will see right away that Christianity can't be.
I would like to quote some choice pieces from my debate with Mr. Jews from Jesus. I believe that everyone should know a little about this topic so that they know how to answer missionaries. It is not difficult to counter them. Be aware that the style is a little different then the one I use here because I was debating someone who knew no Hebrew and didn't believe in תורה שבעל פה.
One of the main issues is how could Jesus have been the messiah if the messiah on one hand needs to be descended from the House of David and on the other hand Jesus was born of a virgin birth. Here is part of the discussion:
[me] One of the fundamental points about the Messiah is that he must be descended from the House of David, and not only from the House of David, but a certain branch of the House of David. This presents great problems for Jesus being the the Messiah as we will see.
Christians believe that Jesus was born of a virgin birth, he had no father. As we all know lineage is paternal we see this clearly in Number 1:2
"Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by families, by fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head" (see also Number 1:18).
Therefore it is hard to see how Jesus could be from the House of David as he has no father. Christians answer that his lineage is through Joseph. Even if somehow we accepted that lineage could travel through
a NON-BIOLIGICAL parent, it wouldn't help as the purported lineage of Joseph is not from the right(Messianic) branch of King David. In Matthew, Joseph's lineage is presented as going through Jeconiah. However Jeremiah clearly states that Jeconiah was cursed and none of his descendents would asend to the throne:
24."Surely as I live," says *GOD*, "You, Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, even if you were a signet ring upon my right hand, I would cast you off!"
28.Is this man Jeconiah a broken, abominable idol, an object for which no one cares?...
30.Write this man off as if childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days, because no one descended from him shall find success in sitting in the Kingship of David or ruling any more in Judah.
The curse effectively removes Joseph, a direct descendant of Jeconiah, from ever being a claimant to the royal throne. Jesus couldn't possibly inherit the throne from him, even if we ascribe Joseph's lineage to Jesus.
Even more interesting, is that Luke gives a different genealogy where Joseph is descended from Heli. Some Christians try to answer by saying that Luke is describing Mary's lineage. However, there is no support for the notion that it is Mary's line. Besides, it is irrelevant, because lineage is paternal. Luke's genealogy presents a different problem as well, as the lineage goes from David to Nathan (not Solomon). However the Bible clearly states that the Messiah would descend from Solomon:
1 Chron 22:9-10
9.Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of peace, for I will give him peace from all his enemies, for his name shall be Solomon...
10.He shall build the HOUSE for my name, and he shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I WILL establish the throne of HIS kingdom over Israel FOREVER.
Again this lineage (not through Solomon)effectively removes Joseph, from ever being a claimant to the royal throne as God states that he established Solomon and his descendents on the throne forever. Therefore, Jesus couldn't possibly inherit the throne from Joseph, even if we ascribe Joseph's lineage to Jesus.
To sum up, we have the following problems with Jesus being the Messiah:
1) If Jesus had no father(virgin birth) then he is not from the House of David
2) Even if we allow Jesus to use the lineage of Joseph (his non-bioligical father) the lineage in Matthew goes through the cursed branch of Jeconiah and therefore cannot be the Messiah and the lineage in Luke is not through Solomon.
3) The lineages in the NT conflict
He's still of the House of David by blood through Mary. Geneology is traced throught the father, but you can still be of a given house through the mother (as illustrated by the fact that the Jews currently trace lineage through the mother due to the holocaust making lineage very difficult to trace, especially throug fathers)
Also, by being the adpoted son of Joseph, he gets the legal rights as well. He avoids the curse of Jeconiah by not beeing of his seed, but still gets the legal lineage to David through Jeseph and the blood relation to David through Mary
These are at best poor answers. Let us examine them.
You wrote: " Geneology is traced throught the father, but you can still be of a given house through the mother (as illustrated by the fact that the Jews currently trace lineage through the mother due to the holocaust making lineage very difficult to trace, especially throug fathers)"
It is a yes or no question, if genealogoy is traced through the father then the mother is out. The OT clearly states that genealogy is based solely on the father.The point about Jews tracing lineage through the mother is incorrect. For someone to be Jewish their mother needs to be Jewish. However, their lineage is through the father only. This is not recent due to the Holocaust, this is the way Judaism has always been (this is recorded in the Talmud). Why this split is a different question it is based on the oral law, however it has no bearing on the discussion here because Christianity denies the oral law and goes solely with the OT (if you really want to know look in the talmud at the end of kiddushin). The fact is, from the OT alone, all you see if that lineage is paternal.
You wrote: "Also, by being the adpoted son of Joseph, he gets the legal rights as well. He avoids the curse of Jeconiah by not beeing of his seed, but still gets the legal lineage to David through Jeseph and the blood relation to David through Mary"
Unfortunately, if you think about it, this makes absolutely no sense. Even ignoring the obvious problem that lineage is only paternal, neither genealogy is fit for the Messiah (Joseph's because of the curse and Mary's because it is not from Solomon) Therefore 0 + 0 = 0. How does it help that Mary's line avoids the curse, Mary's line still can't be the Messiah because it is not descended from Solomon. What you propose to do, take the 1 point that you want from Joseph, namely descended from Solomon and throw away the rest, and take the 1 point from Mary that Nathan was not cursed and throw away the rest is laughable, the bottom line is that Joseph was descended from Jeconiah who was cursed and Mary was not descended from Solomon making neither of them nor their descendents fit to be the Messiah.
I am absolutely amazed. This is not a side issue, this relates to the basis of Christianity, yet, no one can give a clear and reasonable answer how it is even possible for Jesus to be the Messiah based on the lineage given in the NT.
[end of my comment]
Even Christians are bothered by the fact that Jesus did not fulfill any of the Messianic prophesies therefore they invented the second coming. They also claim that Jesus is the messiah because he performed miracles etc.
Again more from my debate:
But Jesus did all kinds of miracles, he raised the dead, he was resurrected, doesn't that prove that he was the messiah?
The Bible tells us what the Messiah will do. If we read the clearly Messianic prophesies we see that the prophesies focus on 2 points: 1) World Peace (Because the focus of the OT is primarily on the Jews and on Israel, this idea is often expressed by describing the future peaceful conditions in Israel) 2) Recognition of God. Another subset of the prophesies focus on the Messiah himself(in both of the above contexts). Here is 1 of the prophesies:
24 "My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes.
25 They shall dwell in the land where your fathers dwelt that I gave to my servant Jacob; they and their children and their children's children shall dwell there for ever; and David my servant shall be their prince for ever.
26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
Note how in verse 24 it says that even in the Messianic era that they will follow the law.
Another Messianic prophesy is the famous quote "they shall beat their swords into plowshares", meaning there will be world peace. No one can say by any stretch of the imagination that these prophesies have come true. When these come true we will know that person is the true Messiah.
Let us talk about miracles and the Messiah. The OT doesn't say, anywhere that the Messiah will do miracles nor does it say anywhere that we will know someone is the Messiah because he did miracles. Why not? The answer is very simple. We know from the Bible how insignificant miracles are. When Moses went to Egypt, the magicians of Pharaoh were able to duplicate at least three of the ten miraculous plagues. When Aaron changed his staff into a snake, the Egyptians did so as well. Elisha the Prophet brought people back from the dead, was he the Messiah? Elijah brought down fire from heaven was he the Messiah? Daniel was thrown in the lion's pit and survived was he the Messiah? One does not even have to be a legitimate person to be able to perform miracles. Certainly, one need not be the Messiah to perform miracles. In fact, God himself specifically says
1 "If a prophet arises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder,
2 and the sign or wonder which he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, 'Let us go after other gods,' which you have not known, and let us serve them,'
3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
God specifically says that there will arise false prophets who WILL do miracles, yet, God says don't follow them.
The bottom line is, that the Messiah has nothing to do with miracles, the Messiah will be the descendent of David who brings World Peace and Knowledge of God, as that has not happened the Messiah has not come.
[end of my comment]