Referenced Messianic Jewish Review Blog

The official blog of the Referenced Messianic Jewish Review. The Referenced Messianic Jewish Review studies the history, composition and theology of the Messianic Jewish movement.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Is Jesus the Servant of Isaiah 53?

Is Jesus the Servant talked about in Isaiah 53?  Most Christians, including members of Messianic "Judaism", believe that Isaiah 53 discusses Jesus and use this as a primary source for their religious beliefs.  However, I believe they miss a crucial point.  The subject is called "My servant" by G-d in Isaiah 52:13 (the speech of Isaiah 53 begins in chapter 52) and 53:11.  There are a few key points to focus on here.  First, the Servant of Isaiah 53 clearly serves G-d.  By definition, the Servant is subservient to G-d.  A servant serves his master while G-d is the Ultimate Master of the Universe and serves no one. In standard Christian (including Messianic) belief, Jesus is both the Messiah and divine. 

Here is the logical problem with asserting that Jesus is the Servant of Isaiah 53.  G-d as Master of the Universe can never be called a "servant."  If Jesus is truly divine, then he cannot be the Servant.  It is false, and insulting, to refer to G-d (or any aspect of G-d) as a "servant."  So, if Jesus is part of the Trinity, he cannot be the Servant of Isaiah 53.  Then again, if you believe that Jesus is definitely the Servant of Isaiah 53, then he cannot be divine.  Again, we cannot call G-d a "servant."

For those who like math, here is the problem with asserting that Jesus is the Servant of Isaiah 53, set up as a simple syllogism.

According to Christian-Messianic belief:

G-d = Jesus
Jesus = Servant

G-d = Servant

As the Ultimate Master of the Universe, we can logically know that the conclusion that is derived from believing that Jesus is the Servant is false.  G-d is never a servant.  So, Christians-Messianics must either reject the notion that Jesus is divine if they accept Isaiah 53 to be about Jesus or reject the notion that Jesus is talked about in Isaiah 53 if they believe he is divine.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: A Contrast

Rabbi Stuart Federow of What Jews Believe ( has a new book, "Judaism and Christianity: A Contrast."  In his book, he explores the key differences between the two religions, with in depth analysis of the Biblical text. 
Rabbi Federow has a great deal of expertise on both Judaism and Christianity.  He is a passionate and knowledgeable teacher who takes confusing concepts and brings them clarity.  I highly recommend his book!