An Interview with Prof. Michael Rydelnick on the Messianic Hope and Then Insights on the Messianic Psalms

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In the first hour, Dr. Brown interviews Dr. Michael Rydelnick, professor of Jewish studies at Moody Bible Institute, on his important book The Messianic Hope and then discusses some of the key Messianic psalms in the second hour. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.


Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Jesus Yeshua said, “If you believed in Moses you believe in Me, because he spoke about Me.” Study the scriptures, ask God for insight, and God will reveal Yeshua the Messiah to you from the pages of the Torah and the Old Testament.

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: The Word of God is so incredibly rich and the more I study the original languages and the more I dove into the Hebrew texts the more amazed I was to see how powerfully Jesus Yeshua was presented there for our Jewish people.



Michael Rydelnik’s, The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? [Book] and Dr. Brown’s Radio Interview

with Prof. Rydelnik [CD]! PLUS Receive the 2 DVD Debate with Rabbi Shmuley moderated by Sid Roth, all for $30! Postage Paid!

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  1. I’m excited for today’s show. I’ve heard a lot about Dr. Michael Rydelnick and his book, “The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic?” One thing in particular was his way of demonstrating that Rashi went out of his way to disagree with traditional Jewish interpretations of Messianic texts and in Rashi’s words, in his comments on Psalm 21, “Our Rabbis (Mid. Ps. 21:1) interpreted it as referring to the King Messiah, but the matter may correctly be interpreted further as referring to David himself, in order to refute the sectarians, who became bold because of it.” Said Rashi..

    So going against traditional Jewish interpretation in order to refute the “sectarians” … Very interesting point that Dr. Rydelnick has brought to my attention. The typical response to this is that the sectarians here are not referring to Christians.. In any case, based on what I’ve heard it’s an excellent book and I am planning on getting it, along with that debate between Rabbi Shmuley and Dr. brown.


  2. And He opened their minds to the Scriptures of the suffering and exaltation of Messiah.

    Psa 40:7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me:

    Hbr 10:7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'”

  3. Good word by professor Dr Rydelnick, and he teaches at the famous Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He brought up that the Septuagint says Gabriel for the Hebrew El Gibbur, I immediately had to check my Septuagint Greek text, which goes like this, “καλεῖται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ( called his name) μεγάλης βουλῆς ἄγγελος” – (Pele Yoetz El)they translate as angel of the great council, Pele Yoetz El, does not mean that to me. The Apostolic Polyglot text is far truer to the original Hebrew to me, plus the Septuagint does not even translate half the verse.
    In Hebrew its, ” פלא יועץ אל גבור אביעד שר שלום׃
    Dr Brown why is the Septuagint seems to be a terrible transaltion, leaving out alot in this verse?
    Latin Vulgate calles the Messiah, “Admirabilis consiliarius Deus fortis =(Powerful God) Pater futuri saeculi Princeps pacis.”

    My orginal purpose to search this was to verify what the professor was talking about when he said that the Septuagint was saying El Gibbur was translated as Gabriel but I don’t see what the professor was trying to say. Gabriel means the Gibur El (strong man of God or Almighty God)- and El Gibur means God the Mighty One, but the Septuagint does not say Gabriel so not sure what is implied but the Apostolic Polygot says, “θαυμαστός σύμβουλος (Amazing Councelor)
    θεός ισχυρός (Mighty God) a good translation of El Gibbur. and the Latin follows suit with this translation “Deus Fortis” so why do we have the Septuagint lacking and why is the Apostolic Polyglot which is based on the Septuagint have a more accurate reading, why did it not stay true to the main Septuagint? I don’t understand the Gabriel comment by the professor other that Gabriel basically means El Gibbur. I wanted to see if Gabriel was really written in Greek which it is not after looking it up because it would be funny to see a Jehovah Witness try to tell me now that Michael the archangel name was not used instead Gabriel’s name was used. But I don’t quite grasp what the professor from Moody was trying to say. If you have time Dr. Brown to understand my ignorance, I will try to look up why the discrepencies in the Septuagint and the Apostolic Polyglot is.

  4. Eliyahu,

    Thanks for your post! Actually, I didn’t hear the professor say Gabriel — as in the name — but I’ll have to listen again to see what he was saying. He was right, of course, about the LXX not interpreting the MT of Isaiah in its full Messianic sense.

  5. Jake,

    If it was initially spoken of Hezekiah, it was not in any fulfilled in him and thus becomes a prophecy to the line of David, fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah. I deal with this in vol. 3 of my series on Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus.

  6. Eric,

    I don’t think the Rashi mentioned by Dr. Rydelnick says or means what is implied by your quote above, assuming you accurately quoted Dr. Rydelncik

    First, neither Rashi nor any of the other traditional rabbinic commentaries have any problem with applying the Psalm in question to the Messiah. A simple review of the commentaries that appear on that page, in any annotated Jewish publication of Psalms will demonstrate that. (Of course it requires that one can read Hebrew, a skill that Dr. Rydelnick has apparently not mastered.) So the whole theme of the comment is misplaced.

    Second, after Rashi relates that the Midrashic tradition is to apply the Psalm to the Messiah (which he is perfectly happy with), Rashi’s precise next words are transliterated as follows:
    “…V’nachon hadavar l’potro od al David aztmo l’teshuvat acheirim she’darshu bo she’achar she’lakach et BatSheva amar mizmor zeh”

    The most straightforward translation would be as follows:

    ’…And it is appropriate to interpret it also as referring to David for in response to others who expounded it [saying] that after David took BatSheba he uttered this psalm”

    Several observations:

    1) In context, the only word that Dr. Rydelnick could possibly have understood as meaning “sectarians” is “acheirim”. The simple fact is that the word means “others”. There are several words Rashi would more likely have used if he was referring to sectarians, in particular “minim”.

    2) In context, the only words that Dr. Rydelnick could possibly have understood as meaning “who became bold because of it” are “she’darshu bo “. The simple fact is, those words mean “who expounded it” . There is simply no way to read them as you quote Dr. Rydelnick as having read them.

    3) Most importantly, your quote of Dr. Rydelnick implies that Rashi’s comment ends with the words “who became bold because of it”. In addition to having read these words incorrectly, this is not the end of the sentence, as I showed above. The totality of the comment makes it quite clear that Rashi is not making any attempt at refutation. By ironic contrast, Rashi’s actual point here is to support an alternative interpretation offered by the “others”. He is not refuting the others. He is attempting to validate them. And not because the messianic interpretation threatens him, but simply because he sees the alternative interpretation as supportable. On a more subtle level, Rashi’s tone in this comment (as in his use of the word “V’nachon”) is clearly conciliatory not confrontational.

    This Rashi could be properly read by any Yeshiva student of the High School level, or lower. Dr. Rydelnick’s reading of it is incompetent at best. And if it is indicative of the rest of his “scholarship”, I would get too excited about him.

  7. Barry,

    I was not quoting Dr. Rydelnick.. As I said I do not yet have his book and I am planning on getting it. In fact I’ve actually already ordered it. I was quoting Rashi, you can find the translation I used here: ..

    So, I was not quoting Dr. Rydelnick, but I do think that Rabbi A.J. Rosenberg would be a bit offended of your accusations here… If Rabbi Rosenberg’s translation of Rashi is good enough for Chabad, maybe you should contact and correct them on their erroneous translation. And you may also want to contact Artscroll and tell them that Rabbi Rosenberg isn’t fit to be a translator for them.

    So again, Rabbi A.J. Rosenberg translated:
    בעזך ישמח מלך – רבותינו פתרוהו על מלך המשיח ונכון הדבר לפותרו עוד על דוד עצמו לתשובת אחרים שדרשו בו שאחר שלקח את בת שבע אמר מזמור זה


    “May the king rejoice with Your strength: Our Rabbis (Mid. Ps. 21:1) interpreted it as referring to the King Messiah, but the matter may correctly be interpreted further as referring to David himself, in order to refute the sectarians, who became bold because of it.”

    Perhaps Dr. Brown may want to chime in on the translation here. This Hebrew (or any medieval Hebrew) is pretty hard for me to understand, so I can’t say whether or not your translation is better than Rabbi Rosenberg’s. But if what you’re saying is true then I can certainly understand where you are coming from.

  8. Eric,

    Fair enough.

    And indeed I think this translation is way off.

    If Dr. Rydelnick was relying on this, then I would retract my characterization of his reading as incompetent, since it was not his. I would simply consider his scholarship sloppy.

    I will contact

    Thanks for the clarification.


  9. Just some background info on the translator here:

    “Rabbi A. J. Rosenberg’s goal is to spread Torah knowledge to people who don’t have much of a background in Hebrew. He was born in rural Pennsylvania, spent his early years in New Jersey, and moved to New York as a teen-ager. There he studied in several Orthodox Jewish schools and learned Hebrew. After a brief period teaching in Hebrew schools, he started a forty-year career of translating Hebrew Biblical texts and commentaries into English for a traditional Orthodox audience. He feels that being a native English-speaker contributes to his success. His principal employer is Judaica Press, but he also does work for Artscroll.”

  10. Barry,

    No problem at all. And I can’t say if Dr. Rydelnick was relying on that translation or not – as I do not have his book yet.

  11. Eric,

    Thanks for the info. And yes I am disappointed that this sorely lacking – and inescapably incomplete – translation came from one of my own.

    Putting it’s source aside, I stand by my reading and by the balance of my original comments regarding what one therefore can and can’t infer from that Rashi.

    And I thank you for being gracious about it.

  12. Barry,

    First, I appreciate your literate comments!

    Second, yes, I too would have expected to see minim rather than ‘acherim, but if that’s how Rosenthal translated the term, there must be a reason. I did a search in my rabbinic database for the identical phrase — lit’shuvat ‘acherim — and in Rashi, it is only found elsewhere at Isaiah 9:6, where he dealing with how some interpret the verse in order “to answer/refute others” — clearly meaning Christians again. So, as expected, there was merit for Rosenthal’s rendering. (For the record, ‘acherim occurs 191x in Rashi’s biblical commentaries, almost always with the basic meaning of “others”; that’s why I searched for the specific phrase in question.)

  13. Dr. Brown,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond.

    And yes, the fact that this particular phrase occurs only in Isaiah 9:6, of all places, is interesting.

    But nothing more than interesting.

    With all due respect, the issue of acheirim vs. minim is but a fraction of my critique of Rosenberg’s (Not Rosenthal. Freudian slip? :)) translation. The far greater issues are:

    1) the overall context of Rashi’s comment here, and the fact that none of the traditional Jewish commentaries – including Rashi if you read him correctly – have any problem acknowledging the messianic interpretation of this psalm. (BTW, I checked what Artscroll has to say about this psalm and in their introduction they describe it as having dual meaning referring both to David AND to the messiah and they refer to Rashi as their source for this. So they too are not reading Rashi as dismissing or trying to hide the messianic interpretation.)

    2) The fact that Rosenberg’s translation seems to completely ignore the last 6 words of the Rashi which leave no choice but to read the words “Shedarshu Bo” as stating that the Davidic interpretation is that of very acheirim, Rydelnick claims Rashi is trying to refute. TO make that claim is oxymoronic.

    3)That there is simply no words in that Rashi that mean anything even remotely close to “they become bold because of it” (Did you do a similar search on “Shedarshu Bo” to see if you could find support for that?), and

    4)That when it is read in its totality and in context, Rashi is clearly validating these particular “acheirim” and their Davidic interpretation and not refuting them.

    Yes or no. In light of all of that, do you honestly believe that this Rashi is saying what the Rosenberg translation, and the Rydelnick, inference claim it to be saying? And if the answer is yes you do, I’d would be interested in hearing your reaction to my 4 points above.

    The fact that your reaction was to try to find a reason for Rosenberg’s rendering rather than simply responding to Eric by saying that Barry doesn’t know what he is talking about because Rosenberg is clearly right on the the mark, suggests to me that you don’t see it either.

    But I’ll let you speak for yourself.

    Thanks again for talking the time?

  14. Barry,

    One more note: My response to Eric was NOT that you didn’t know what you were talking about. Quite the contrary. I felt that you raised some important points, which caused me to look at the issue more deeply. Clear on this?

  15. Dr. Brown.

    Thanks again, and yes I am perfectly clear on that point and, in fact, the point I was trying to make there (although apparently not very well) was precisely the fact the you did NOT make any such statement.

    In any event, all clear, and thanks again.

  16. A great interview section of this radio program shows that when someone reads the various texts of OT reference with an open heart and mind they will conclude that Yeshua/Jesus was “the prophet like unto Moses”, and the descendant of David too, taking on the obligation of his throne ‘forever’. This then directs us to the promised Messiah.

    When Peter addresses the people of Israel after the Resurrection, and about a half generation before Titus Caesar’s legions change the status of the Jewish people from location in Jerusalem to the fateful dispersion into the nations, he addresses the essential Jewish existential questions raised in the Prophets of Old in a succinct manner of focus for all time. Tnis includes the time in which we now live.

    A read of Acts 1-3 on the Jewish question and relationship to Jesus, rather than being about the Spirit coming to the church in the age of the Gentiles, informs of the relationship of Jesus to his People, promises of restoration, and Jerusalem. This then carries us to this day with the summer near of the Return.

  17. What I appreciated especially about this program was the manner in which the participants give their own life development experience of faith in Yeshua formed within over time. They interact with one another too in a manner of heartfelt respect and dignity of expression which differs from speeches of persuasion or a considered obligation to this or that doctrine, defense of position, or conceptual sales pitch.

    Here we have the resounding excellence of believability of hearts inquiries met over sincere inquiry over individuals histories of engagement with the Jesus question. Then too the interaction of a living faith coupling in time with the inquiry of each story.

    What is certified in these two talking and listening together is about how scriptural promises become inner convictions of consequence. The body of the Messiah on earth today, and those among the Jewish people not yet accepting Yeshua as Messiah are stirred to search and find the truth. I cannot argue with the resonance of genuine testimony and change in these men’s whole way of life before finding Yeshua’s truth and afterword. It gives me hope for those up and coming Jews seeking and finding in this time and season.

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