The rabbis who inserted “Christ” into their Tanakh translation

Following on from Gev’s post on Christians in the Tanakh, it struck me that the word Christ, christós or Χριστός in Greek, appeared in key Jewish texts for at least over a hundred years before the birth of Yeshua, due its usage in the Septuagint – the rabbinic translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek.

The Septuagint translates the word “Anointed One” as Χριστός.

Here are some examples.

Psalm 20:6:

νῦν ἔγνων ὅτι ἔσωσεν κύριος τὸν χριστὸν αὐτοῦ ἐπακούσεται αὐτοῦ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἁγίου αὐτοῦ ἐν δυναστείαις ἡ σωτηρία τῆς δεξιᾶς αὐτοῦ

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.

Psalm 2:2:

παρέστησαν οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς καὶ οἱ ἄρχοντες συνήχθησαν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ κατὰ τοῦ κυρίου καὶ κατὰ τοῦ χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ διάψαλμα

The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed,

And in plenty of other cases.

Intriguingly, the rabbis who translated the Pentateuch placed the word Χριστός where it was not immediately obvious in the original Hebrew.

Here is the Hebrew of Amos 4:13:

כִּי הִנֵּה יוֹצֵר הָרִים וּבֹרֵא רוּחַ, וּמַגִּיד לְאָדָם מַה-שֵּׂחוֹ, עֹשֵׂה שַׁחַר עֵיפָה, וְדֹרֵךְ עַל-בָּמֳתֵי אָרֶץ–יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי-צְבָאוֹת, שְׁמוֹ

For, lo, He that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth; the LORD, the God of hosts, is His name.

Here is the same verse in the Septuagint:

διότι ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ στερεῶν βροντὴν καὶ κτίζων πνεῦμα καὶ ἀπαγγέλλων εἰς ἀνθρώπους τὸν χριστὸν αὐτοῦ ποιῶν ὄρθρον καὶ ὁμίχλην καὶ ἐπιβαίνων ἐπὶ τὰ ὕψη τῆς γῆς κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ ὄνομα αὐτῷ

Here Brenton’s Septuagint shows how different the verse appears in the Septuagint and in the Tanakh. Here the rabbis saw the word Χριστός where others did not see it.

Of course Χριστός did not mean the Messiah in every occasion – the term “Moshiach” was frequently used in the Tanakh to refer to King Saul or King David, as is the corresponding Χριστός, throughout the Torah and the books of Samuel. In Isaiah 45, the term refers to King Cyrus.

In the Psalms and the prophets, there were more times when the word Χριστός clearly did not mean Saul or David, such as in Psalm 2, where the Χριστός was designated as the all-conquering Son of God, or Daniel 9:24-27, where the timing of death of the Χριστός was prophecised.

In Amos 4:13, the word Χριστός is inserted into the Greek text of the Tanakh – not by monks or bishops, but by the leading rabbinical scholars of ancient Greece!

Gary Burge attacks Christians with a “Jewish theology” and “Jewish worldview”

Gary Burge speaking to Hank Hanegraaff at 42:13:

If I am thinking Christian-ly, how should I think about the land? Too often in my conversations with Christians, they are actually doing Jewish theology. They are working out of Genesis and Ezekiel, and they’re working out a theological view of the Middle East which is very much embedded in a Jewish worldview. And yet I am asking the next question, I am asking, did not the arrival of Christ, did not the teachings of Paul, change all this?


How does CATC2012 respond to PA treatment of Palestinian Christians?

Dexter Van Zile reported this week, that a week after PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad addressed CATC, the PA informed Palestinian church leader Stephen Khoury that his church “lacked the authority to function”, as a religious institution in the PA.

The church can still gather to pray, for now, but the PA’s decision conveyed on Saturday will have a real impact on the members of First Baptist, which endured numerous bomb attacks during the First Intifada.

“They said that our legitimacy as a church from a governmental point of view is not approved,” said Khoury’s son, Steven, who serves as an assistant pastor at First Baptist. “They said they will not recognize any legal paper work from our church. That includes birth certificates, wedding certificates and death certificates. Children are not even considered to be legitimate if they don’t have recognized paperwork.”

The irony, Steven said, is that the PA’s announcement comes right after the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference.

Many people have picked up on this irony, as the PA’s Prime Minister Salam Fayyad himself addressed CATC, just days before this decision came to light. Bear in mind, CATC was organised by Bethlehem Bible College, which is an evangelical Bible college. Indeed, last month Eastern Orthodox Christians on a web forum belittled CATC for being evangelical and not Orthodox, and therefore not truly representing Palestinian Christianity.

In response, CATC organisers Porter Speakman and Munther Isaac have written an article to the concerns raised about CATC and the timing of the decision about Khoury’s church.

Speakman and Isaac write:

Unlike traditional churches like the Greek Orthodox and Catholics, Evangelical churches in the Palestinian Territories are not officially recognized and therefore things like marriage documents are not considered legitimate by government authorities. They have the freedom to worship, but are not “official.”

They continue:

For the last few years, there have been many discussions between Evangelical church leaders, including those who organized and spoke at the Christ at the Checkpoint, and officials from the PA.

If the PA and CATC leadership have been in discussion, it has not born any fruit. The PA does not consider Palestinian evangelical Christians to be legitimate at all.

However, it appears that both parties consciously decided to oppose pro-Zionist theology in public.

This would explain why Salam Fayyad was not publicly challenged at all by anyone at CATC, as he gave his address to the conference.

This is Munther Isaac’s introduction to Fayyad:

“Palestinian Christians have always enjoyed the support of the Palestinian leaders. We worship with freedom and exercise our rights like all Palestinians. To emphasise this, we are deeply honoured to have the support of prime minsiter of the Palestinian Authority, Dr Salam Fayyad. Since 2007, Dr Salam has worked so hard to prepare Palestine for statehood, and his efforts in building the Palestinian economy and institutions have been described as ‘absolutely first-class, professional, courageous and intelligent’. Above all, Dr Fayyad is a man of vision, and his vision is one of prosperity and peace for the Palestinian people. And it is only fitting that his name in Arabic literally means ‘among them peace’. It is my privilege and honour to invite to us here, to the stage to speak to us, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Dr Salam Fayyad.

So Munther Isaac does not mention the PA discrimination against evangelical Christians, despite being a Palestinian evangelical at a Palestinian evangelical conference.

Consequentially, the attitude of the CATC towards Fayyad was deferential:

Speakman and Isaac further write in their article, about Palestinian churches:

The recognition does not depend entirely on the PA, and the input of the churches already recognized is as equally important. In addition, the congregational nature of the Evangelical churches and the absence of a recognized hierarchy complicate things.

This seems odd. If the recognition does not depend entirely on the PA, then who else does it depend on? Surely it does depend on the PA. It appears as if Speakman and Isaac are trying to play down the responsibilty of the PA, in the issue of church recognition. Here is their rationalisation, for inviting Salam Fayyad to CATC:

This is why efforts by Christ at the Checkpoint to highlight the Evangelical Palestinian church are so important. Having Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad come for the second time in as many conferences to speak and to see first hand what the Bethlehem Bible College and local churches are doing helps, not hinders, the churches efforts for recognition. In addition, the issue of seeking recognition for Evangelical churches in Palestine and in Israel was openly discussed during the conference.

It ought to say something, though, that Salam Fayyad has already been invited to CATC back in 2010, he then met with CATC organisers and Palestinian evangelicals, and nothing changed regarding recognition of evangelical churches. Two years later, Fayyad again is invited, and no progress has been made on the issue.

One of the stated CATC conference goals in English was to “[e]mpower and encourage the Palestinian church”. In order to do so, CATC will need to speak up for the rights of Palestinian Christians.

If they can link this to criticism of the Israeli government, then they will do so. However, if speaking up for the rights of Palestinian evangelical believers requires open criticism of the PA and of Salam Fayyad’s leadership, then will CATC provide this criticism?

Criticising the PA would be awkward for CATC’s image. Doing so may mean that others will accuse them of being Zionists. Sooner or later, CATC will have to decide which is more important – their anti-Zionist theology and image, or their care for the plight of the Palestinian church.

One day after CATC2012, pro-Israel church deemed “no longer legitimate” by PA

Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 ended 9th March 2011. The conference programmer was Stephen Sizer, who wishes to use police resources to silence critics of his views.

It invited the Palestinian Authority prime minister Salim Fayyad, and the PFLP-supporting mayor of Bethlehem Victor Batarseh. Batarseh was blacklisted by the USA for funding the PFLP. Camera notes:

The PFLP, one of the largest factions in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) after Fatah, staged 122 attacks, murdering 18 Israelis, in 1991 alone. In 2006, the PFLP criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for condemning a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, claimed responsibility for attacking Israeli border guards after a failed attempt to kidnap a soldier, and reportedly joined with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in terrorist attempts.

Only last month, Batarseh attended a PFLP-led commemoration of the life of its founder George Habash, whom Time Magazine has called “Terrorism’s Christian Godfather.”

We previously noted how CATC 2010 welcomed Bethlehem governor Abdul Fattah Hamayel, a former Fatah member who recently put a man on trial for criticising PA medical services. We wondered why Christ at the Checkpoint was associating itself with these authoritarian, pro-violence figures.

This week we have discovered some appalling news from the Palestinian Authority which is overseen by the likes of Fayyad, Batarseh and Hamayel. Algeimer now reports:

A week after Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told an audience of Evangelical Protestants from across the world that his government respected the rights of its Christian minorities, officials from the Palestinian Authority have informed Bethlehem pastor Rev. Naim Khoury that his church lacked the authority to function as a religious institution under the PA.

The church can still gather to pray, for now, but the PA’s decision conveyed on Saturday will have a real impact on the members of First Baptist, which endured numerous bomb attacks during the First Intifada.

“They said that our legitimacy as a church from a governmental point of view is not approved,” said Khoury’s son, Steven, who serves as an assistant pastor at First Baptist. “They said they will not recognize any legal paper work from our church. That includes birth certificates, wedding certificates and death certificates. Children are not even considered to be legitimate if they don’t have recognized paperwork.”

The irony, Steven said, is that the PA’s announcement comes right after the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference. This conference, which took place from March 5 through March 9, 2012 was a gathering of approximately 600 Evangelical Protestants from across the globe (mostly from the United States) to discuss the theology of Christian Zionism, which some Evangelicals believe increases the prospect of violence in the Middle East and gives support to Israeli policies that they do not like.

During the opening night of the conference, Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad told the assembly that his government respected the rights of Christians. Palestinians celebrate religious holidays together, PA officials attend Christmas celebrations and even attend Midnight Mass for Christmas, Fayyad said.

Russ Resnik writes:

After a further conversation with Pastor Steven Khoury, I realize that the church was told that the Palestinian Authority no longer considers them legitimate and will no longer accept any paper work from them, such as baptismal or wedding certificates.

Our question is this: why does the PA no longer consider Khoury’s church to be legitimate?

Messianic Jewish speaker for CATC 2012: “I oppose all forms of anti-Semitism”

This is hugely significant.

Richard Harvey, a key Messianic Jewish participant in Christ at the Checkpoint 2012, has told the print edition of Israel Today:

My participation doesn’t mean that I agree with all the aims of the conference or the views of the conference organizers. In fact, as I will be saying in my paper, I believe in God’s continuing election of the Jewish people, which includes the Land promises, and oppose all forms of anti-Judaism, anti-Semitism and supersessionism . I am going to meet my Arab brothers and sisters in Christ to talk, listen and pray with them, to seek to model the reconciliation between enemies and the unity that we have in the Gospel.

When the CATC papers are made public following the conference, it will be very straightforward to assess the extent, to which Richard Harvey does assert his opposition to “all forms of anti-Judaism, anti-Semitism and supersessionism.”

It will also be straightforward to see how clear his challenge is, to the Checkpoint 2012 organisers and participants who are responsible for pushing theological antisemitism.

Of course, there are many forms of antisemitism to oppose at Christ at the Checkpoint 2012.

There is Shane Claiborne, who thinks “the cross lost” when Bonhoeffer tried to kill Hitler. CATC 2012 awarded its blogging prize to Keith Giles, who compares Israel with Pharisees who just persecute Christians. CATC 2012 allies with Dr Jim West, who admires Nazi theologian Kittel.

CATC is being organised by Alex Awad, who has previously shared a platform with terrorist reps and a Holocaust denier, and Rev Stephen Sizer, whose writings have recently been scrutinised and critiqued for anti-Jewish racism by Rev Nick Howard in the British magazine Standpoint.

Richard Harvey will have to share a platform with Ben White, who has previously stated:

I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are.

It seems to me that Richard Harvey has given himself an impossible task – not least because Checkpoint 2012 organiser Sizer appears to see Richard Harvey as a heretic due to his Zionism.

So it is difficult to see how Dr Harvey can oppose “all forms of anti-Semitism” at Checkpoint 2012, without tackling the antisemitism of Christ at the Checkpoint itself.

RPP’s further challenge to Darrell Bock

Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, Darrell Bock replies to this post:

Actually I did reply to her. I noted that I came in for one day to speak at the Conference and argue for Israel’s right to the land at the conference and take questions. So I did not hear the other addresses other than one by Lynn Hybels. The implication I did not reply and respond is simply wrong and misrepresents what took place.

So basically, Dr Bock did not challenge Pastor Raheb’s racism, because he was not present. Fine.

Here’s a further challenge then, to Dr Bock:

In the light of Viola Larson’s information about Mitri Raheb’s racist speech, and knowing what you know now about support for terrorismracism and antisemitism at Christ at the Checkpoint, would you attend another one of their conferences?

Christ at the Checkpoint 2012, Dr Jim West & pro-Nazi theology

Meet Dr Jim West, Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at the Quartz Hill School of Theology and Pastor of Petros Baptist Church, Petros, Tennessee:

He is supportive of the Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 conference, which is likely to be full of antisemitism, racism and replacement theology. He is also a fan of Stephen Sizer.

Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 will be hosted by Bethlehem Bible College. Raed Salah supporters Stephen Sizer and Ben White are due to speak there. Sizer is listed as an organiser.

Bethlehem Bible College has a worrying track record on antisemitism. They sent lecturer Alex Awad to represent the college, and share a platform with Hitler-admirer and Holocaust denier Frederick Tobin in Indonesia. Stephen Sizer also attended this conference in Indonesia, as did Iranian Holocaust denier and Faurisson admirer Jawad Shabarf.

Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 has a Facebook page and a Twitter page.

Here is what CATC tweeted recently:

A blog post from @drjewest on why he’s supporting the Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 conference

Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 also issues a request for its supporters to follow Dr West on Twitter.

Dr West’s blog post accuses Christian Zionists of being heretics. Dr West has previously written that Jews and Christian Zionists are co-conspiring to produce “the sickest sorts of behaviors” in Israel.On Israel selling arms to Argentina during the Falklands, he wrote:

If hatred of Jews is antisemitism, Jewish hatred of Brits must be antibriticism. I wonder how many antibritites there are in Israel. […] It’s high time for Jews the world over to denounce antibriticism. That sort of ethnic hatred is intolerable in today’s world. It has no place here among the decent.

You can see already, why Christ at the Checkpoint organisers are interested in his writings. But there’s more. Here is Dr West on Martin Luther. Whilst he appears to denounce the work in his first paragraph, West then reveals his hand:

Luther didn’t hate the Jews- even when he wrote his tirade.  He hated falsehood. And he hated falsehood whether it was found in Rome or Wittenberg. Those poorly informed historical ignoramuses who repeatedly denounce Luther as an anti-semite are simply wrong.  They know nothing of Luther nor anything of the history of the Church.  All they know is their own biases and prejudices.

Here are some excerpts from Luther’s tirade against the Jews, On the Jews and their Lies:

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