Monday, November 30, 2020

A Response To Tovia Singer On Isaiah 9

He recently posted a video on the subject that's already gotten more than five thousand views and a lot of comments. I've posted a response in the comments thread, in which I address the claim that the verses should be translated with a past tense that undermines Jesus' fulfillment of the passage, the idea that Hezekiah fulfilled it, and some other issues. The replies I've gotten so far aren't of much significance. My web browsers aren't showing my comments after my original post unless I'm logged into my Google account. I don't know why or whether that's normal. But I didn't say a lot in those other comments, since there isn't much to respond to. If you want to read what I wrote in my later comments, you may have to be logged into a Google account.


  1. I am able to read your comment on youtube.

    I find that many of the objections critics have regarding how the NT quotes and applies the OT are resolved by an appeal to the Pardes/PaRDeS Jewish hermeneutics. I first learned about it from Messianic Jew Arnold Fructenbaum's 3rd [of 21] lecture on the Jewish Life of Christ: [
    lecture 3]. I've linked to all 21 lectures Here.

    Critics might argue that appealing to them is cheating, but IF the Pardes method really does goes back to the 1st century, then it's a legitimately Jewish way of doing exegesis that resolves many problems of the problems.

    Arnold Fruchtenbaum argues [in his article How the New Testament Quotes the Old Testament] the following four ways.

    Literal Prophecy Plus Literal Fulfillment: Pshat
    The first category is known as “literal prophecy plus literal fulfillment,” reflecting the rabbinic pshat, which refers to the simple meaning of the text. The example of this first category is found in Matthew 2:5 6.

    Literal Plus Typical: Remez
    The second category of quotations can be labeled “literal plus typical.” In rabbinic theology it was known are remez or “hint.” An example of this category is found in Matthew 2:15.

    Literal Plus Application: Drash
    The third category is “literal plus application,” correlating with the rabbinic drash. The example of this category is Matthew 2:17 18.

    Summation: Sod
    The fourth category is “summation” or “summary.” The meaning of sod is “secret” or “mystery” or “something unknown.” The example of the fourth category is found in Matthew 2:23.

  2. Hi Mr Engwer,

    Just casual reader of the blog here. I clicked the link to Rabbi Singer's video and I made sure that I was signed in to a google account, but I still cannot see any of your further responses in the comment thread. Any chance the channel's owner has filtered your comments out, and would it be possible to reproduce them somewhere on this blog?

    1. Hi Goh,

      I think it's a problem with YouTube. It seems that if I hit "REPLY" under the comment I want to respond to, it only shows me my response when I'm logged in to my Google account. But if I hit "REPLY" under the original post in the discussion, my response is visible regardless of whether I'm logged in. I just tried that latter approach with my second response to Tovia Singer, and that response to him is visible for me regardless of whether I'm logged in.

      Here are all of my responses to the commenters in the thread so far. First, in response to Hrvatski Noahid:

      I didn't appeal to the New Testament as an "authority to interpret the Jewish Bible". Rather, I was responding to what Tovia Singer said about the New Testament and the early Christians near the beginning of the video above. See 3:00 in the video.

      And my first response to Devorah Abrahamsdotter:

      Devorah Abrahamsdotter, you aren't interacting with much of what I said, and you aren't giving us much reason to agree with your assertions.


      Devorah Abrahamsdotter, I addressed the past tense issue, and you aren't interacting with what I said.

      In response to Tovia Singer:

      Tovia Singer, I know that you were focused on the closing of the passage, but you also made references to the passage as a whole: "the question is what's going on in Isaiah 9" (5:14), "Isaiah chapter 9" (5:26), "Isaiah 9 is all very, very poetic" (11:13). You keep referring to the earlier context leading up to chapter 9. You cite the language about a "great light" (16:11) at the opening of the passage, and you apply it to what was done through Hezekiah. So, your focus on verse 6 doesn't change the fact that you appealed to other material as well.

      The later verses of the passage are expanding on what's said earlier about that great light. It makes no sense to claim that Jesus and/or early Christians saw Jesus as the light of Isaiah 9, but didn't see him as the king referred to at the close of the passage. In addition to the connection between the light and what follows in the passage, the king is described as sitting on the throne of David forever. It's clear that the early Christians considered Jesus a descendant of David and the Messiah who would rule on David's throne forever (e.g., Luke 1:32-33). The New Testament's references to Jesus as the light of Isaiah 9:2 and the Davidic Messiah imply that they thought Isaiah 9:6 applies to Jesus. The fact that they don't explicitly apply it to Jesus isn't significant in this context. Whether the New Testament quotes a verse and applies it directly is only one line of evidence among others that we have to take into account. An application of Isaiah 9:6 to Jesus can be implied without being explicitly stated. My earlier citation of John 7:41-8:12 illustrates that point. In 8:12, Jesus is identifying himself as the light of Isaiah 9:2 in response to objections related to Davidic ancestry (7:41-42) and his Galilean background (7:41, 7:52). The reason why Jesus responds to such objections by identifying himself as the light of Isaiah 9:2 is that doing so addresses both the Galilean objection (discussed at the opening of Isaiah 9) and the Davidic ancestry objection (discussed at the close of the Isaiah 9 passage under consideration). In other words, Jesus doesn't separate the closing of the Isaiah 9 passage from its opening, but instead portrays himself as the son of David who's a light to those walking in darkness in Galilee. To suggest that Jesus was viewed as the light of Isaiah 9:2 and the Davidic Messiah of verse 7, but without having verse 6 applied to him, doesn't make sense.

    2. Cool, thanks for this as well as your hard work on these insightful blog posts!

    3. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Good stuff as always, Jason

  4. Could Jason be being "shadow banned"?

  5. I'm pretty sure he hid your comments. There's a Catholic YouTube channel that did that to me.