Our report here is concerning a work entitled The Jew and the Christian Missionary: A Jewish Response to Missionary Christianity by Gerald Sigal (KTAV, 1981). Sigal has practically no qualifications outside of "twenty-five years studying the doctrines and beliefs of fundamentalist missionaries and how to refute their doctrines." He has rightly discovered that many Messianic prophecies are not, to the modern eye, suitable and satisfactorily fulfilled in the life of Jesus, and many chosen by modern commentators indeed ought not be used at all in certain contexts. That they and those used in the NT are indeed applicable is a matter of first proving something else (e.g., the Resurrection) in some cases, and in accordance with variations in interpretation within first-century Jewish exegetical methods. In this regard see Glenn Miller's work on that subject.
But there are a few other things Sigal writes that need some specific attention, and indeed, we are surprised to find that in some cases he cannot even understand the OT correctly.
In this book we find all of the usual charges that we have dealt with before and need not refute in detail, but we will offer samples:
- The idea that the NT authors "restructured the life of the historical Jesus to make it conform to their preconceived ideas" of Messianic prophecy  -- see link to Miller above
- A general refusal to accept typology. For example [266-7], objecting that because the Passover lamb had nothing to do with atonement,
Jesus could not atone for sins, and should have been killed on Yom
Kippur. We of course maintain that Jesus fulfilled both
observances in combination; but even so, the point of Passover was
the averting of judgment through sacrifice, and there are clear
indications in the rabbinic literature that atonement for sin was
seen as part of the Passover program - Morr.AIMS, 62, 97.
Sigal also objects that because Jesus was beaten before the cross, he was not a perfect sacrifice. I ask in turn: Does this also mean that Jesus had to have white, woolly hair and be surrounded by herbs?
- Sigal also commits a major error in objecting that Jesus could not be a perfect sacrifice because he was circumcised, and Paul calls circumcision a "mutilation" [Phil. 3:2] and compares it to castration [Gal. 5:12]. This ignores the fact that Paul refers to it as such polemically, and in the context of one who is circumcised after accepting Christ, for whom circumcision is superfluous.
- objections of prophecies yet unfulfilled by Jesus that we would argue are to be fulfilled in the future, after the final resurrection of all men (which Sigal himself, of Jewish persuasion, likely believes in, and so cannot deny that there would be something to predict)
- A host of objections about discrepancies between the Gospels. One wonders how Sigal treats alleged discrepancies between Chronicles and the rest of the OT?
- Of things like the Lukan census and the supposed belief in a quick return of Jesus.
Sigal's source citation is lacking. The book does not have a bibliography, other than a list of less than a dozen Bible translations he consulted, and you will find a few footnotes, but nothing that shows that Sigal did the job of research adequately. Nor will you find reference to any scholar of Palestinian Judaism such as Davies, Sanders, nor even Vermes.
The book is divided into 68 sections of varying length -- some items are as small as a page. We'll check into those few entries that deserve special attention for being unique.
Ways Of Atonement?
Leviticus 17:11 tells us, "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." This has obvious readings for Christianity, but Sigal calls it a "misinterpretation".  Sigal claims that Christian missionaries have overlooked that there was a spiritual "sacrifice" necessary as well, one involving a "repentant mental attitude."
Well, perhaps the missionaries have overlooked this, but Christian theology, which Sigal has not consulted, has not overlooked it; actually I doubt if missionaries have either. The NT stresses repentance as part of the faith message quite clearly, so much so that I hardly need to give details here -- just look for the word "repent" in your concordance. But let's discuss the point of atonement.
Sin requires payment. It must be put away, eliminated, and destroyed, for it is an offense against a holy God. The payment is for the purpose of satisfying God's wrath against sin. Repentance does not satisfy God's wrath alone -- sin must still be paid for -- but it is still required of us, for of course God does not wish for us to continue in sin, and He wants us to turn our hearts towards Him.
The OT observance called Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement" (more literally, the day of covering or concealing) featured the offering of the two goats, one of which was sacrificed and whose blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat for purification; the other (if I may simplify) was ceremonially laden with the sins of the people and sent into the wilderness. This served the double duty of showing first that God's wrath was appeased, and second the sins of the people were positionally speaking removed from them. [Glas.FFI]
Christians of course maintain that Jesus Christ's atoning death combined these aspects into one sacrifice. (Cf. the descriptions in the Book of Hebrews.)
In his own chapter on sin and atonement, Sigal says nothing about Yom Kippur, other than mentioning it as a time of "fasting and repentance" -- not a word is said about the double-goat sacrifice. Reading what we have above, it is easy to see why: The observance has uncomfortable parallels to actual Christian belief. With literally dozens of books written on the topic of atonement from a Christian and Jewish perspective, Sigal thinks it satisfactory to dispatch the parallels with a mere 5 pages. It is not surprising, therefore, that he doesn't succeed in his arguments,
We can see how the OT and NT are perfectly compatible, with allowances made for context. Sigal argues, however, that there are OT passages that prove that "prayer, without the shedding of blood, can and does provide a means for the atonement and forgiveness of sin." [11-2] What his cites actually prove, however, is that the blood sacrifice is meaningless without the repentance -- just as Jesus' sacrifice is meaningless as far as we are concerned if we do not recognize who he was and respond appropriately.
They also prove, quite sensibly as the writer of Hebrews saw it, that animal sacrifice was a temporary, typological measure that looked forward to the only truly suitable payment for sin, the blood of Christ; up until then, repentance (which is in essence a show of faith in [e.g., loyalty to] God) was of course of primary importance (rather than a tandem with sacrifice, as it is now with Christ), for the very reason that the authors of Hebrews argued.
Not that any of those OT figures whom Sigal cites could know this in all but the most shadowy of senses; but that is after all a typological -step that differentiates the former and the latter covenants. But let's look at these citations.
- 1 Kings 8:44-52. In this prayer of Solomon, "prayer is
given prominence as a means for remission of sin." 
So it is, but it is done in the context of Solomon's assumption that Israel might just go off and get the Levitical curses of exile put upon them, and that they won't have the Temple handy for sacrifice. This then leads into the issue of the Temple and the sacrifices itself where the Exile was concerned, and we will get into that shortly. The bottom line, however, is that there is nothing in the passage that discards or reduces the need for blood for atonement.
- Hosea 14: 3 "Take with you words, and turn to the LORD:
say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously:
so will we render the calves of our lips."
This is said to show that "prayer takes the place of animal sacrifices" . (It is Hosea 14:2 in the Hebrew Bible; hence the double citation here and those that follow.)
Actually all it does is reflect the very same thing that is reflected in Jer. 7:22 and related verses like 1 Sam. 15:22 and Ps. 69:31-2 -- that the latter has no efficacy without the former. It also reflects the inadequacy of the animal sacrifices and the need for an "ultimate" one that (unlike the scapegoat) did not need to be repeated year after year.
- Ps. 32:5. "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin."
Sigal insists that this proves that "forgiveness of sin can be achieved through prayer, the offering of the heart, rather than through an animal sacrifice."  But there is no "rather than" involved here -- it is being imposed upon the text by Sigal. At the same time, the passage says nothing about wrath and punishment being diverted.
- Num. 21:7. "The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people."
Sigal takes this passage to indicate that prayer without blood was a means of atonement. But note that this is an issue of a special judgment being averted -- it is not relevant to the "everyday" sort of sin. Here and in other places (cf. Exod. 32:30) it is a matter of God's grace lifting a given judgment. The OT does not regard this as a "normal" method of atonement.
- Num. 31:50."So we have brought as an offering to the LORD the gold articles each of us acquired--armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces--to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD."
This is a surprising citation. The "atonement" here is clearly not for sins per se, but for "souls" -- per the regulations of Ex. 30:12. It is also a special case.
- Is. 6:6-7. "Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."" That Isaiah is forgiven "by means of a live
coal that touched his lips" is said to prove that "No shedding of
blood is required, only the contrite heart and the will of God."
Really? Isn't being touched on the offending area with a live coal also indicated as necessary, then? (Watch out for sexual sins!) It is erroneous to use this passage for the determination of doctrine when it is clearly a "special case".
- Ps. 51:16-19 [14-17 KJV]. "Deliver me from bloodguiltiness,
O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."
Sigal quotes these verses as showing "explicitly that cleansing from sin may be achieved by a contrite heart". But he fails to quote the two next verses, which show rather that sacrifices will only be accepted as righteous if one has such a heart, which is what we have argued all along.
- Jer. 29:12-13. "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
This is the verse set which we will use to tie it all together. It is the Christian contention (viz. the Hebrews verse above) that it was the final and incomparable sacrifice of Christ that fulfilled the Levitical blood requirement for all time, although this does not (as Sigal seems to think) reduce the need for repentance. Sigal notes that poor people could substitute something as inexpensive as flour for their offering if that was all they could afford (Lev. 5:11-13); what then of the blood requirement, he asks?
First of all, I should point out that Sigal also offers an interpretation of Leviticus, one not uncommon actually, that animal sacrifice was only for "sins committed without intention" ; as proof he cites (but does not quote) Lev. 4:2, 13, 22, 27; 5:5, 15. But not one of these cites shows such a thing at all. Lev. 4 only says what to do if one sins in ignorance; it does not exclude or say anything at all about willful sin.
Willful sin, as Sigal rightly points out, results in expulsion from the community (Num. 15:30), though what sort of sin or attitude this involves is an open question -- there are very few citable Biblical examples of such a thing (cf. 1 Sam. 3:14). But the blood atonement would still be needed to divert the wrath of God.
When Sigal insists that "It is clear from the Scriptures that sin is removed through genuine remorse and sincere repentance"  he only gets half the matter done. Sin is not exactly "removed" thusly, for it is not paid for -- and yes, repentance is still required. And Sigal knows this well enough, for he later recognizes that on the Day of Atonement, "the sacrifice was offered for the express purpose of obtaining forgiveness of sin for the entire nation."  And yet, in this chapter in which he tries to disclaim a Christian parallel, Sigal says nothing at all about the Yom Kippur sacrifice.
We are left with this: Sigal, I suggest, is deliberately trying to obfuscate by not dealing with the Yom Kippur parallels. Nor does he wish to tell us about ceremonies derived from Yom Kippur apart from the Temple cultus, such as one reported by the Glasers called kapparot which, while rare today, is still performed among the orthodox in Judaism. Each person takes a white fowl and waves it three times over his head, saying: "This is a substitute for me; this is an exchange for me; this is my atonement. This cock (or hen) shall be consigned to death, while I shall have a long and pleasant life and peace." [Glas.FFI. 112]
It can hardly be argued that this is anything but a ceremony of substitutionary sacrifice -- and the parallels to Christian belief are too obvious to miss. Small wonder Sigal leaves his reader without much knowledge of Yom Kippur.
We are left with a sort of "argument by outrage" from Sigal in which he answers the Christian claim that the 70 AD Temple destruction was part and parcel of the judgment caused by the rejection of Jesus. "If that is so," Sigal asks, "what of the generations living in Babylonia during the first exile? Did God write them off as generations lost in sin with no means of atonement or forgiveness?" 
Sigal may as well ask that same question of the Deuteronomic curses, which clearly indicate that Jewish religious places would be eliminated and strongly suggest that Israel would not be in any condition to perform any kind of cultic rites. We answer, of course, that with or without the Temple, the sacrifices pointed towards the only Sacrifice that was truly adequate -- which is why things like meal and prayer were able to substitute when more expensive items weren't available. Since they were not the "ultimate" sacrifice, there wasn't any problem.
In fact, had Sigal dug a little deeper, he might have found that some like the Glasers [Glas.FFI, 128] freely admit to precedents in the OT for atonement without blood sacrifice. When Sigal cites Lev. 5:11-13, for example, which allows the poor to offer something as minor as fine flour rather than blood, he misses the point to conclude that "blood sacrifice was not essential for attaining atonement." As the Glasers realize, "This can be attributed to God's grace in not wanting to place forgiveness out of the reach of the poor. But even though there was no blood involved, the sacrifice was still required and had to be offered on the altar. It is not license for bloodless atonement outside the Temple service." [Glas.FFI, 128]
And if Sigal thinks otherwise, let him first argue with the rabbinic literature that, although it recognized the importance of a right-oriented heart, also insisted that "All must be performed as God had directed." [Morr.AIMS, 81] -- then let him tell us what would have happened if everyone had tried to offer flour as a substitute for blood, regardless of their financial condition.
Isaiah's Suffering Servant
Isaiah 53 is often pointed to as a section fulfilled by Jesus in his life and death, and it is one of the strongest fulfillments of Messianic prophecy available, so that although it is outside my normal subjective purview, I'd like to close this essay by addressing it briefly. What can Sigal say in response to the claim that Is. 53 points towards Jesus?
He of course charges the NT writers with fabrication, and dismisses typological possibilities, but does go beyond that as well to try and show that Jesus did not fulfill certain aspects of Isaiah 53.
- Is. 53:1-2 -- "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."
All Sigal can say here is that:
- There is no indication in the Gospels that Jesus was in anyway unsightly or unattractive -- which is not what this passage says; it only says that there was nothing that specially attracted attention, which the lack of physical description can only serve to corroborate.
- That in Luke 2:52 ("And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.") "it is asserted that Jesus was tall,
wise, and enjoyed popularity."
It says no such thing, even plainly read; but it is also recognized by those who know about ancient biographical practice as a standard transition phrase. (The same sort of description is used of Moses by Josephus.)
Sigal, at any rate, reads too much into the text. The word "stature" (helikia) does not imply here that Jesus was tall; it simply means either age or size (cf. Matt. 6:27) -- which any normal person grows in as he ages. The word "wisdom" (sophia) refers to "growth in moral and intellectual life" [Jns.Lk] of the sort that would also be expected from anyone like Jesus who grew older and (as firstborn of Joseph and Mary) received the most educational benefit possible.
Finally, "grace" (charis) does not imply popularity at all, merely acceptance and favor. (Not that it matters if Jesus had some "popularity" -- for more on this, see the next entry.)
- Is. 53:3 "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
Anyone who has read Meier's Marginal Jew knows well enough that Jesus fulfilled this verse to the letter; but Sigal will insist otherwise. To do so he points to the many places in the Gospels where Jesus is well-received by people.
That's all well and good, but such "positive" times were by far outweighed by the negatives. Simply making light of those who stayed on Jesus' side and did not despise or reject him, and interpreting these few followers as meaning that Jesus had popular support overall, doesn't do the job. (And really, it takes a lot of imagination to suppose that Isaiah is picturing someone whom everyone hates without exception: Isaiah's servant is rejected by "men of high status" -- to get to the point where such people know about you, you really have to start somewhere with at least a few well-placed people liking you.)
Nor does it do to cite Mark 14:1-2 in this regard:
After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.
Sigal thinks that this verse proves that Jesus had popular support (so much so that he seems to adhere to the "Jesus as Zealot" thesis in some parts of his book), but the fact is that even if Jesus had as little as .01% of the population in his favor, that would have been enough to cause problems that the authorities -- with the Roman eagle hovering over them -- would not have wanted. The passage in no way implies that Jesus had popular support. Sigal is overplaying and magnifying Jesus' supposed support.
- Is. 53:4-6 -- Sigal does not offer any refutation of Jesus' fulfillment of these verses; he merely provides an alternate interpretation, which hardly does the job.
- Is. 53:7 "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."
Here the trial of Jesus plainly shows this to have been fulfilled, but Sigal disagrees. He is also lacking knowledge of the political, religious and social implications of Jesus' Temple claim (and the witnesses' twisting of it).
But the key of course is: Was Jesus silent before his accusers? Other than objecting to variations in the trial accounts (although for the most part recognizing the truth about the nature of the trial[s], while still making a host of the usual mistakes - see here and our series on harmonization), Sigal can say nothing. He supposes that John 18:28-9, 33, and 38 prove that Jesus made no answer (Matt. 27:13//Mark 15:4) only because he wasn't present when the accusations were made. According to Roman procedure, the charges were normally read aloud before the accused.
He then argues that because Jesus answered the charges recorded by Luke 23:2 in his speech to Pilate recorded by John that Jesus therefore was not silent before his accusers. But Pilate was no accuser of Jesus: He was a judge.
Sigal further supposes that Jesus' silence before Herod is simply manufactured -- which is something that needs arguments to support, not a mere denial -- and implies that Jesus' statements to Pilate lacked humility (and thus violated Is. 53) in being a "shrewd verbal defense"  -- which of course begs the question as to whether it was actually the truth.
- Is. 53:8 "He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken."
Sigal contends first that the word rendered "prison" above (in many versions, "oppression") ought to be rendered "dominion", and from this reaches a variety of conclusions against an interpretation for Jesus. But I have not a found a single commentator that agrees with this rendering. Rather, it is agreed that "oppression" fits better with "judgment" in that the former is used to refer to arrest and imprisonment.
All that Sigal can say otherwise, regarding an "oppression" rendering, is that such a prophecy could be "applied generally to many people who suffered persecution" , which is beside the point: The point is whether or not it can apply to Jesus, period...not how many other people it can apply to.
For the rest of the passage, Sigal mostly simply offers his own interpretation, without refuting any application to Jesus, except for the last phrase of the verse, of which he says that Jesus' "afflictions came about, not because of the sins of other men, but because he pressed his messianic claims."  Sigal simply fails to differentiate between the temporal cause of Jesus' afflications and the ultimate cause or purpose behind them.
- Is. 53:9 -- "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth."
Sigal insists that the phrases regarding death "are not to be taken literally."  As proof he points to language in Ezekiel where similar phrases are used to describe "deep anguish and subjection to enemies", as in Ezekiel 37.
But there is a major genre difference between Ezekiel (apocalyptic vision) and Isaiah (prophetic poetry), as well as a difference in subject (corporate Israel vs. an individual). There is reason to see metaphor in Ezekiel, but no reason in Isaiah, other than question-begging. Much of what Sigal argues here is dependent upon his argument that the "Suffering Servant" is corporate Israel, an interpretation widely rejected by commentators in light of numerous references prior to Is. 53 to the same person that obviously cannot refer to Israel.
Other than this, Sigal tells us that the subject of Is. 53, having had his grave "set" with the wicked, cannot refer to Jesus "because it describes an imposed fate and not something accepted voluntarily by the servant." But the literal language here is "They have assigned..." The concern is what the "assigners" did; what the "assignee" thought, or whether it was "voluntarily" accepted or not, is not at issue; and if we want to be technical, since Jesus foreknew the fate of his body in the tomb of Joseph, there was nothing to voluntarily accept or reject.
Finally for this verse, Sigal recites a list of events in the Gospels to prove that Jesus had done "violence", including the Temple-clearing incident. The Hebrew word here (chamac) hardly includes things like the Temple incident -- which amounts to a prophetic demonstration. Elsewhere the word is used to describe the "violence" done by men that prompted the Flood (Gen. 6), and has implications of injustice. None of the items Sigal lists come under this category. (See more from Glenn Miller here.)
Regarding the "deceit" Sigal charges Jesus with deceit in his use of parables and indirect teaching (in which case, every ancient Oriental teacher, including many rabbis, are "deceitful" -- the Hebrew word actually has the connotation of guile and treachery; cf. Gen. 27:35) and in making false prophecies, most of which are cites we have covered elsewhere or involve fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between law and grace that would take much more space than is required here. (We suggest for this topic Nanos' Mystery of Romans and Thielman's Paul and the Law.) Exceptions are:
- Pitting John 18:21 ("Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.") against the fact that Peter used his
sword; Sigal says, "Obviously, contrary to Jesus' statement (in
John) Peter did not know that since the kingdom was not of this
world he should not fight." 
This is fasle. Sigal is simply not distinguishing between "knowing" and "not following instructions".
- Citing Luke 23:43 ("And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."), Sigal says, "Did not Jesus deliberately mislead the thief...? Jesus did not go to Paradise on that day." 
- Pitting Matthew 26:55 ("I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.") against John 8:59 ("Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.") ignores the fact that the former is said totally in the context of Passion Week, not for Jesus' entire life. And at any rate, how is this deceitful? It was absolutely true even so that Jesus taught in the Temple and that they [that is, the arresting group, most likely Sanhedrin police] never laid hold of him. The would-be stoners in John were not Temple police, or even officials as far as we know; they were just Pharisees.
- Pitting John 18:21 ("Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.") against the fact that Peter used his sword; Sigal says, "Obviously, contrary to Jesus' statement (in John) Peter did not know that since the kingdom was not of this world he should not fight." 
- Is. 53:10 -- "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand."
Here yet again, Sigal provides his own interpretation of the verse, then objects that Jesus did not fulfill his own interpretation. In essence Sigal simply offers a less literal, more metaphorical interpretation, so that of this verse, he says, "The message contained here is that the servant must feel that the suffering he has been experiencing is part of his burden and task in life in order to strengthen him inwardly. Viewing it from this perspective, he will be able to bring out his inner potential, fortify his moral fiber, and, in the end, become spiritually transformed." [59-60]
I think it is clear that Sigal is simply seeking any interpretation that he can foist upon the passage, no matter how anachronistic it is. Ideas of "inner potential" are entirely modern ones.
Other than this, Sigal objects that the assurance of prolongation of days would be meaningless to an eternal being like Jesus, and at any rate, "prolongation of days" is not the same as timeless eternity. One might suggest that a typological interpretation is still valid, and a typological vision is the best that Isaiah could manage; but that again is a matter of faith for each person. Neither I nor Sigal can "win or lose" by way of logical reasoning here.
- Is. 53:11 -- "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities."
Sigal's argument here simply repeats previous ones, including a misinterpretation of Matthew 27:46.
- Is. 53:12 -- "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
Here also the same basic arguments are repeated, with these exceptions:
- It is asked how fulfillment of this verse can be squared with
Daniel 9:26 ("After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing."), since having "nothing" seems to be contradictory.
Of course Daniel does not say anything about what happens after the events he described; we would assert that Isaiah fills in that gap.
- We have this peculiar sentence: "In Isaiah 53:12, God speaks of
the suffering servant of the Lord, who, as a result of his
selflessness, is willing to give up all he possesses in the service
of God. Clearly, it is unreasonable to say that Jesus sacrificed
himself...when, by his actions, he knowingly gained more than he
There is nothing in Is. 53:12 to indicate that the sacrifice of the servant was done without knowledge of later reward; nor does this knowledge necessarily disqualify the possibility of a selfless sacrifice. Sigal is creating an entirely artificial distinction here.
- It is asked how fulfillment of this verse can be squared with Daniel 9:26 ("After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing."), since having "nothing" seems to be contradictory.
- Is. 53:1-2 -- "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."
In the work of Gerald Sigal we find very little that is scholarly and very little that goes beyond stretches of interpretation. We also see key silences that render his explanations incomplete.
- Glas.FFI - Glaser, Mitch and Zhava. The Fall Feasts of Israel. Moody Press: 1987.
- Jns.Lk - Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Gospel of Luke. Liturgical Press, 1991.
- Morr.AIMS - Morris, Leon. The Atonement: It's Meaning and Significance. IVP: 1983.