- Religion and Philosophy
A Short Review of a Counter-Missionary’s Claims on Zechariah 12:10
A Short Review of a Counter-Missionary’s Claims on Zechariah 12:10
by Roy Blizzard III © 2011
I saw a post recently from a lady on facebook and I went and read this supposed scholarly assessment of Zechariah 12:10 by a Jewish counter missionary. There were some major flaws in that author’s logic which then rendered the whole of his argument moot. Unfortunately, his errors are often repeated by Christians alike. To begin with he begins an attack on the English "translations" as erroneous. Well there is only one problem, not all Jewish translations are error free either.
But given that, what is the point in even discussing the English when the Text in question should be viewed only in its Hebrew context? On his page three he stated that the Gospel of John quotes "almost" verbatim from Zech. Well the fact is that John is an exact quote, not almost exact, when properly read in Hebrew. He then goes to Revelations and pulls out 1:7 and then mis-punctuates it. 1:7 should be read and punctuated as follows, "Behold, He cometh with clouds and every eye shall see Him: and they also which pierced Him and all kindreds of the earth shall wail (in sorrow) because of Him. Even so Amen." This verse shouldn't be punctuated with a semi-colon after clouds. And the clouds? This is speaking of the Clouds like the one that guided the children of Israel in the Sinai. Moving on to page 4, there he made a comment about all the verse by verse "Christian interpretations" dealing with Zechariah.
Again, who cares what a lot of undereducated commentators think about anything. There are plenty of erroneous Jewish commentators as well. We are looking at the Hebrew text and trying to decipher it, not an English or Greek text. Again on page 4 he made the comment about 2 general Jewish interpretations, and there are actually at least 3 or maybe even more, but he just wanted to deal with 2 that fit his argument. He stated, "One view has it as an historic Biblical event from the prophet's own era, while the other considers it as a prophecy of an event that will take place at some time near the commencement of the messianic era." The problem is which messianic era was he referring to? Jews throughout history have felt they were in a "messianic era", so was he speaking of the future one, or the one in Yeshua's time or the one in Akiva's time - Bar Kochba? or which one? He only wanted to deal with the predominant perspective "NOW" among Jewish commentators and you can't really do that.
He then pulled one Christian commentator out of the mix to try to prop up his viewpoint, S.R. Driver. While Driver did have an opinion, it isn't the only valid opinion and should just be regarded as such, an opinion. In fact there are many texts pulled from context in the Jewish writings that were clearly dealing with issues of that day, but somehow made their way into other discussions whether prophetic or otherwise. He then went on to discuss the Messianic prophecy in light of the Talmud. OK, the only problem is trying to decipher in the Talmud what was clearly written as a polemic against the 1st - 4th century Messianists and what wasn't. Any comments about the Messianic prophecy having not been fulfilled have to be viewed as such, a polemic unless proven otherwise.
On page 5 he used a phrase, "Since there is an ambiguity in the Hebrew text", but he didn't bring up the fact that in the 1st century Jewish mind maybe there wasn't any ambiguity. He also brought up an argument about a great hero who falls in the battle of the nations. Did he mean a character like a King David or Bar Kochba? He wasn't clear as to what was the point. He also tried to argue that the crying and mourning will lead to repentance and observance of the Torah. My text never even touches on this so I'm not sure how he assumed this. Crying and mourning probably would lead some to repentance, but others not. Again he pulled an argument out of context from Numbers and tries to apply it where it doesn't need to be. Since it doesn't need to be there his following argument was in error, as he only brought up the two latter Jewish "Messianic paradigms" and didn't mention the 1st century one (conveniently perhaps?).
This 2 Messiah paradigm was created out of a need to "replace" the believer's in the 1st century belief in Yeshua as Messiah. In the 1st century while there was a true mystery as to the Messiah, the mystery wasn't “was there to be one”, but “who was it” and” how was he to come”. Most Jews were expecting a Davidic Messiah, but the Messiah had to be based on correcting that which was corrupted in Genesis and that could not be corrected as a Davidic King but only as the Messianic suffering servant. On page 6 he again only gave the "current" perspective on Zechariah and failed to mention any other earlier viewpoint since the parameters of the game were changed since about 30 AD. and the Rabbinical viewpoint after Jesus’ death controlled the interpretations.
On page 7 he tried to argue about the ME, Him and I. This is just ridiculous arguing for nothing as Hebrew often mixes pronouns, so what, just read it in Hebrew. John's gospel just quotes it exactly and at his time there was clearly no "new religion", they were almost entirely Jews or proselytes operating within the framework of the synagogue. Nothing he quoted out of this section made any sense. He should have been aware that no translation we have of the Text actually translates it, but transliterates the text so his point was moot again. The text in question in Hebrew he mis-dealt with it as well as he omited some critical wording. It should read, "and they will look TO ME because of the fact they pierced him, and they will mourn over him as one mourns over a son who dies and they will make a bitter cry over him as a firstborn son when the mother births him”. His argument about John and the RSV was just wrong because who cares again what the English text says.
Again “Chol” - ALL in Hebrew can mean all the inhabitants of the earth or some of the inhabitants of the earth who were standing close by or any number of things. Chol is very ambiguous as is much in Hebrew. You can't say for sure here what proportion of the inhabitants of Jerusalem would mourn at that time. Again, it could be somewhat metaphorical in nature. We can't know for sure. On page 10 after again wasting a lot of time on a moot point arguing about “Et Asher”, he made another error in assumption that the text couldn't refer to the events at a crucifixion based on an ENGLISH Translation of the word day!!!! Which one of the at least 23 definitions are we going to use here? The one hour day, the 24 hour day or the 1000 year day of our Lord, or any other variation?
Again, he misused the text and then erroneously claimed Yeshua didn't fulfill something. He then goes on to argue poorly about a firstborn son not referring to Yeshua. His argument was so weak all you have to do is ask yourself, "on the other hand, why not." In reality he forgot (maybe somewhat conveniently again) to explain the Hebrew terms “son and firstborn” in a Messianic context as used by the Rabbi's in the 1st century, which are clearly different than he is letting on so as to trick you into trying to buy his argument. Again it goes to the heart of the "mystery" of the Messiah which the Rabbi's clearly acknowledged. On the last page, in my opinion, he really pulled the rabbit out of the hat about like Bullwinkle always did, as he attributed the writings only to Zechariah, Not God. Was God writing through Zechariah or not? If God didn't inspire and communicate to us through Zechariah what he meant, then why am I writing this argument anyway? All in all I would give this so called scholar an "F" on this paper and tell him to go back to school, at least on this subject!