An Evangelical Response to "The Making of the Messiah"
This paper is a refutation of the video series The Making of the Messiah, https://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=518B86510D28FE50 as it was on Jan 10, 2010. (I am not aware of any changes since then.) The speaker stated many things that are false about the Bible, and suggests many other things that are not supported by the evidence. The purpose of this paper is to provide a Christian evangelical response. Since there are eight parts to his video, this response has eight parts.
What We Know about the New Testament Authors, a Response to "The Making of the Messiah part 1"
In part 1, the speaker in the video does not deny the existence of Jesus Christ, but he questions how accurate the information is we have on Jesus. He asks what we know about the New Testament authors, and says this question is relevant to understanding the reliability of the text.
New Testament Authors
Actually we don't know anything about any author, living or dead, except what they tell us and what others tell us about them. But if someone is unwilling to believe what others say, then they cannot know anything even after they have been told. We do not know anything about the childhood, educational resume, or exact age of almost any ancient author. Tongue in cheek, the speaker did not tell us anything about his background either, so by the same standard, how can we think that anything he says is reliable?
Seriously though, the right question to ask, is what evidence we have for the reliability or unreliability of the author's work. Basically, was he honest, how precise was he, and how good were his sources of information? We can answer these with a combination of what the author tells us, what others say about the author, and corroboration by others of the events the author recorded.
In brief, biblical authors writing about Christ did not see a need to write autobiographies of themselves. Besides the New Testament though, we can learn some about the authors from what early Christians wrote about them. For example, Eusebius has an entire chapter on Mark, telling us that he was the one who carried the gospel to Egypt.
Unfortunately the early church was often under heavy persecution, and many of their writings have been lost to us. However, we still have about 4,600 pages of their writing after the New Testament and before 340 A.D. They tell us that most of the 12 apostles and a number of other early Christians were killed for their faith. But even for Christians such as John, who very likely died a natural death, early Christians as a whole had to be willing to die for what they believed in. We owe a debt to the early church for both recognizing scripture and providing a wealth of Biblical interpretation and historical information. In contrast to this, the speaker wants to compare the four canonical gospels to spurious gospels rejected by the early church.
The Letters of Paul
The speaker says that seven of Paul's letters were by the same author (Rom, 1 and 2 Cor, Gal, Php, 1 Thess, Phm). But he claims that eight other letters were by different authors (Eph, Col, 2 Thess 1 and 2 Tim, Tt, and Heb). Of course we agree that Hebrews does not claim it was written by Paul.
The speaker gives no reasons for these claims, so I assume he is just repeating what various critical scholars have said. They give four reasons, none of which hold water.
Length of the longest sentence (Eph and Col): The original Greek of the New Testament did not have punctuation, so it is problematic to estimate the length. In fact what modern scholars had as the longest sentence in Colossians (1:3-8 156 words) in Aland et al. 3rd edition of the Greek New Testament, is now four sentences in Aland et al. 4th edition. But critics still quote the sentence length from the 3rd edition, which makes their case appear stronger.
Average sentence length (Eph and Col): The way modern scholars try to split the sentences, the average sentence length in Ephesians and Colossians (37.3 and 35.2 words respectively) is longer than the average sentence length in other books (25.8, 23.4, 26.0, 21.7, 26.7, 29, 31.7, 22.7, 23.2, 24.2, and 25.8) for Paul's other letters in order. However, average sentence length is 35.8, 35.6, and 32 words in Romans 1-5, 1 Cor 1, and 2 Cor 6-10 respectively. So there is little difference between the shorter but deep books of Ephesians and Colossians, and Romans 1-5, 1 Cor 1, and 2 Cor 6-10.
Different words (2 Th, 1, 2 Tim, Tt): One could look at my writings on New Testament manuscripts, cults, and relationship with God, and use the same method to conclude that I was three different people. People use different words when discussing different topics. It is only when there are various choices of words for the same thing, and different word choices are preferred that this could be significant. For example, in the earlier letters to entire churches more names are mentioned. So should names be excluded from the count? In the pastorals Paul speaks of Timothy's mother and grandmother, and Timothy and Titus appointing elders and deacons, so should these discussions be excluded? After persecution had gone on for a while, Paul talks more about taking care of widows in the pastoral letters than in earlier letters. So should this be excluded? - and so forth.
Description of faith: It has been claimed that faith means trusting acceptance of Christ's death in Paul's earlier letters, and a set of beliefs and ideas of dogmas in the later letters. Actually it means both in both sets of letters. It means a set of beliefs and ideas in Gal 1:23; Eph 4:1; Eph 4:13
It means acceptance of Christ's death in 1 Tim 1:15; 2 Tim 3:15; Tt 3:15
Faith meaning doctrinal beliefs in Paul's earlier letters
Gal 1:23 "They only heard the report: 'The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."
Eph 4:1 "one Lord, one faith, one baptism"
Eph 4:13 "until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature,"
Faith meaning trusting acceptance in Paul's later letters
1 Tim 1:5 "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois, and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
2 Tim 3:15 "which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
Tt 3:15 "Greet those who love us in the faith."
Faith can be taken either or both ways
1 Cor 15:1-2,14,17 "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (14) And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead." ... (17) "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile..." (This emphasizes the doctrines of Christ's resurrection as well as Christ's death.)
Gal 3:7 "those of faith"
Gal 3:13 "the law is not of faith"
Gal 3:23 "before the coming of faith"
Eph 1:15 "hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus"
Eph 2:8 "by grace you have been saved, through faith"
2 Tim 2:18 "wandered away from the truth. ... they destroy the faith of some"
Tt 1:4 "son in our common faith"
So the author did not try to show any basis for separating Paul's letters except to appeal to critical scholars, who have not successfully demonstrated any basis for difference. But it would not be sufficient to show there are differences; rather one would have to show there are differences that would be more than expected given a different audience, different topics, and a later time in Paul's life.
Two Genealogies Needed of Jesus
Royal records generally tell of one genealogy, but Jesus had two. Many have seen a problem with the genealogies in Matthew and Luke of essentially different people after David. But let's ask two questions of our own. What right would Christ have to claim David's throne if He were a descendant of David? - none if He was only descended on His mother's side. This is why it was important that Jesus be the legal, adoptive son of Joseph in Matthew; people do not make claims of kingship based on the mother. On the other hand, if Mary was not from David, then what of the prophecy that Jesus was to be descended from David? This is why the biological genealogy in Luke is important. So to show that Jesus fulfilled the role of Messiah, both genealogies were required.
The problem some people have is that the genealogy in Luke does not actually say "this is of Mary". But it implies that when it says "He [Jesus] was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the Son of Heli..." Ancient genealogies in general and Jewish ones in particular were not given of women.
Heli is mentioned as the father of Jesus because as Justin Martyr (135-165 A.D.) wrote, "because of His [Jesus'] birth by the Virgin, who was, as I said, of the family of David, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham; or because Adam was the father both of Himself and of those who have been first enumerated from whom Mary derives her descent. For we know that the fathers of women are the fathers [i.e. ancestral fathers] likewise of those children whom their daughters bear." Dialogue with Trypho the Jew ch.100 (ANF vol.1 p.249)
Another early church writer who saw that one genealogy was of Joseph and the other of Mary (though he got them backwards) was Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) in The Stromata book 1 ch.21 (ANF vol.2 p.334.)
The Year of Jesus' Birth
The speaker claims that Matthew and Luke differed on when Jesus was born. He says if Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great (who died in 4 B.C.,) (Mt 2:1), he could not be born during "the" census of Quirinius in 6 to 7 A.D. (Lk 2:2)
There are many ways to show how these could fit together.
While we had only heard of one census in this region, Luke 2:2 says it was the first census while Quirinius was governor of Syria. According to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.319,414, Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 225 (in Milligan, Greek Papyri p.44-47) says that a census was taken every 14 years. Suetonius and Tacitus show that Augustus had three censuses, the second of which was 8-4 B.C. An inscription says that Quirinius was governor of Syria in 6 A.D., However, this was his second time as governor. The first time was between 12 and 6 B.C., when as governor he led a campaign against the Homanadensians in Anatolia (modern Turkey). However, we do not know which province Quirinius was governor of the first time. Saturninus was governor of Syria from 8-6 B.C., but Quirinius might have been a second, ad hoc governor for the military campaign.
Alternately, In The New Testament Documents : Are They Reliable?, (IVP) p.86-87 F.F. Bruce says that many grammarians translate Luke 2:2 as "before" Quirinius was governor of Syria, not "while".
Tertullian's view is that that the name "Quirinius" was substituted for "Saturninus" in Five Books Against Marcion book 4 ch.19 (198-220 A.D.).
As a side note, there is much about the ancient world we cannot prove. For example, Damascus coins are silent about Roman occupation of Damascus between 34 to 62 A.D. Yet, we are certain that the Romans ruled Damascus then.
What Happened at the Resurrection
The speaker sees inconsistencies in who first arrived at the empty tomb, whom did they meet there, and what happened then.
Before answering this, let me ask a question of the reader. Let's say last night you and a couple of friends went to the restaurant. Someone asks, what did you do for dinner last night?" You reply, "Last night I ate at the restaurant." He replies, "That's a lie. I saw you last night and you and a couple of friends ate at the restaurant." Reader, how would you respond to someone like that?
Your response might be similar to how I would respond to the speaker in the video. Did the gospel writers tell precisely every detail? - No. But did the gospel writers accurately tell what happened? - Yes. If someone thinks an account has to have high precision to be accurate, they come off sounding like the guy in the question to the reader.
Here is a summary of what happened after the resurrection in all four accounts. Numbered items are things that had to happen one after the other. Lettered items could have happened in any order.
R1a. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary [the mother of James], Salome, and the women start to travel to the tomb. Mt 281b; Mk 16:1-3; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1
R2a. There was an earthquake as the angel hurled away the stone. The guards became like dead men. Mt 28:2-4
R2b. The angel hurled away the stone. Mk 16:4; Lk 24:2
R1b. No body found, and two "men" speak to the women. Lk 24:3-8; Jn 20:2
R3. The morning that Jesus rose, an angel appears to the women and tells them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee. Mt 28:5-7; Mk 16:5-8
R4a. While the women were hurrying back, Jesus also appears to the women and tells them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee. Mt 28:8-10
R4b1. When the women returned from the tomb, the disciples do not believe the women. Lk 24:9-11
R4b2. Peter and John run to the tomb, John gets there first. Lk 24:12; Jn 20:3-9
R4b3. Then the disciples return to their homes [in Jerusalem]. Jn 20:10
R4c. The guards tell the priests; the priests then bribe the guards. Mt 28:11-15
R4d. As Mary wept, two men, and then Jesus, appear to Mary Magdalene. Mk 16:9-11; Jn 20:11-18
R5. The same day on the road to Emmaus, Jesus appears to two disciples (not of the eleven disciples). He stays with them until evening. Mk 16:12; Lk 24:13-29
R6. Immediately the two disciples rushed back to Jerusalem (7 miles away) and tell the 11 disciples. Mk 16:13; Lk 24:33-35
R7. In Jerusalem, the evening of the same day that Jesus rose, while the two are talking to the disciples, Jesus appears, 1st time, to ten disciples. Jn 20:19-23
R8. Other disciples tell Thomas they have seen Jesus. Jn 20:25
R9. Eight days later, Jesus appears, a second time, to the eleven disciples including Thomas. Mk 16:14; Jn 20:19,26-31
R10. Jesus appears to them (3rd time), by the Sea of Tiberias [Galilee]. They catch 153 fish. Mt 28:19-20; Jn 21:1-14.
R11a. Three times, Jesus asks Peter if Peter loves Him. Jn 21:15-23
R11b1. Jesus appears to more than 500 followers. 1 Cor 15:6
R11b2. Jesus appears to James his brother. 1 Cor 15:6
R12. In Galilee Jesus appears to the disciples and gives great commission. Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:15-18
R13. They return to Jerusalem, either staying there or at Bethany, a suburb.
R14. While they are eating, Jesus commands them to remain in Jerusalem until they received power from on high. (Lk 24:49; Acts 1:4). They obey this command. Lk 24:52
R15. Jesus leads them to Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem on slope of the Mt of Olives. Lk 24:50
R16. Forty days after the resurrection (Acts 1:3), Jesus ascends to Heaven in the clouds. Mk 16:19; Lk 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11
R17a1. Returning to Jerusalem, the apostles remain in the temple. Lk 24:52-53
R17b. The 11 apostles choose Matthias to replace Judas. Acts 1:15-26
R18. In Jerusalem on Pentecost (50 days after the Passover), the apostles are filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2
R19. After this, the apostles travel freely. Mk 16:20
Paul and the Mosaic Law
The speaker says that Paul openly taught against the Mosaic Law. Actually Paul explicitly said that the law was "good" (1 Tim 1:8-9a. See also Rom 3:1-2). But not just Paul, but also Peter and the Council of Jerusalem agreed that believers did not have to follow all of the Mosaic Law. But while the dietary and ritual aspects of the Mosaic Law were superseded, Paul and the others with one voice would say that moral aspects, such as forbidding murder, stealing, adultery, etc. were still to be obeyed today.
Women and Jews
The speaker says that Paul said less than flattering things about women and Jews. Actually he did not say unflattering things about women. He said they could not be elders in the church, and it was proper that they have head coverings. He said that Jewish people were against Jesus, and many were, but he was certainly aware that most of the people in the church when he became a Christian were of Jewish background.
Summary: We know what we need to know about the New Testament authors; not that we know everything about their personal lives, but we know they wrote reliably on Jesus and early Christianity. We know this because we rely on the witness of the early church.
There are no difficulties or alleged contradiction in the Bible that cannot be resolved. To see the answers to over 8,600 questions on the Bible you can visit www.biblequery.org.
Bible verses from the NIV unless otherwise noted.
Old Testament References in the New Testament, a Response to "The Making of the Messiah part 2"
The speaker in this video claims New Testament authors misquoted or distorted the Old Testament to make their point in six places. Then he has one more general objection about the law which I have split into two parts. First here are answers to the six objections.
Rom 10:11 "As the Scripture says, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (NIV)
First a small correction: the speaker says the NIV does not give any Old Testament reference, but the NIV does in fact have a reference to Isaiah 28:16.
The Old Testament scripture referenced, Isaiah 28:16, says, "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed."
The speaker has two objections here: a) Romans says "dismayed" vs. while Isaiah [in the Masoretic text] says "put to shame" and b) a cornerstone is an inanimate rock vs. Paul is using it to refer to Jesus, a person.
a) Dismayed: The speaker is wrong to claim Paul distorted or changed this quote. Romans 10:11 is like the Septuagint's "no way be ashamed", not the Masoretic text. In some many other places too, New Testament quotes are closer to the Septuagint than the Masoretic text.
The word for "dismayed" in Isaiah 28:16 in the Masoretic text is chuwah (Strong's 2363), which literally means "make haste" as the KJV has. This makes sense if you understand "shall hurry" as in hurry from battle in defeat. However, it also refers to emotions, such as being "greatly disturbed" in Job 20:2. So the Masoretic text and the Septuagint have a similar meaning here, but the Septuagint is a little more precise and easier for a non-Hebrew speaker to understand. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.182 for more info.
b) Cornerstone can be a living being: The LORD is a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes people fall in Isaiah 8:6. So the speaker is not correct to think Isaiah cannot use a rock as a metaphor for a person.
Furthermore Psalm 118:22 says, "The stone the builder rejected has become the capstone;". The Psalmist is not teaching us about buildings; this is a metaphor that fits naturally with the Messiah.
Heb 10:5 has "body" in quoting Psalm 40:6 where the Masoretic text says, "ears". This time the speaker is cognizant that the Septuagint text says "body" too. One has to recognize that the Masoretic text is not always the correct one; it can have small mistakes too. In the case of Psalm 90:6, ancient translations by Symmachus and Theodotion also support the Septuagint. (The Dead Sea scrolls do not have Psalm 40:6). The speaker has a second objection, that Psalm 40:6 cannot refer to the Messiah since Psalm 40:12 says, "my sins have overtaken me". The prophet David was likely referring to himself in Psalm 40:12. On the other hand, though Christ was always sinless, the guilt of our sins was truly put upon Christ as a sacrifice for us.
Eph 4:7-8 has "gave gifts" and Psalm 68:18 has "received gifts" but there are other differences too. Ephesians has "he" vs. "you" (singular) and "when he ascended" vs. "having ascended". Paul might not just be loosely paraphrasing Psalms here. Paul usually starts of his scriptural quotes with "It is written", but Ephesians 4:7-8 is different with "It says". These match very closely the oral tradition in the Aramaic Targum on the Psalter and the Syriac Peshitta. Early rabbis applied this verse to Moses, saying he received the law in order to give it to the people. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.57 for more info.
On Jn 7:38 the New Testament originally did not have punctuation. Using the same Greek words, John 7:38 has two possible meanings depending on how you punctuate it.
In the east, early Christians punctuated it as the NIV says: "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
In the west, early Christians punctuated it as: "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me; and let him drink, who believes in me." This is the preferred punctuation according to the .NET Bible study note p.2047. Also, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.857 says this is the best choice because it shows Jesus/God as the source of living water, not the believer.
Now there is no Old Testament verse that matches the eastern view. But there are plenty of Old Testament passages that match the western view and say to drink from the water of God's salvation.
In particular, Isaiah 12:3 says, "You will draw water from the wells of salvation." This verse was said at this feast, so this was probably the verse Jesus was referring to.
Lk 24:26-27 says, "Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?' And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." The speaker objects that no Old Testament verse explicitly speaks of the crucifixion, etc. But Luke 24:26-27 does not claim it is quoting an Old Testament verse; rather it says Jesus is using the Old Testament to explain his suffering. It does not specify which passages Jesus used, but He may have used Psalm 110:1; Isaiah 9:6; Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 11:2; Micah 5:2; Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and Daniel 9:20-27. All of these were considered Messianic by Jewish writers. Here are the Old Testament references, the New Testament references, and references to Jewish writings.
Lord said to my Lord. Psalm 110:1; Mt 22:43-45; Mk 12:36-7; Lk 2:11; 20:42-44. Midrash Tehillim, Commentary on Psalms, (200-500 A.D.) recognizes it as Messianic.
Child called Mighty God, Prince of Peace, etc.. Isaiah 9:6. This is Messianic according to the Yemenite Midrash 349-350 and the Pereq Shalom p.101
Seed of the woman will crush Satan's head. Gen 3:15. This is Messianic according to Targum Pseudo-Jonathan
Spirit of the Lord will be on Him. Isa 11:2; Mt 3:16; Mk 1:10-11; Lk 4:15-21,32; Jn 1:32. Isaiah 11:2 is Messianic according to Targum Isaiah and the Babylonian Talmud
Born in Bethlehem in Judah. Mic 5:2; Mt 2:1,5-8; Jn 7:42; Lk 2:4-7. Targum Isaiah says Messianic
The scepter will not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes. Gen 49:10; Lk 3:23,33 Gen 49:10 is Messianic according to Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, Targum Jonathan, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Targum Onkelos, Dead Sea Scroll Commentary, and the Aramaic Targum. Jews lost the right to execute people in 11 A.D. according to the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin chapter 4.
Isaiah 53 is Messianic according to Targum Jonathan (See The New Testament Background p.314-315 for more info.) In later times, the Tractate Sanhedrin and Talmud Bavli also mention this. (Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus vol.2 p.224,307). In the Middle Ages, the Jew Nachmanides, in his debate with a Catholic, said that Isaiah 53 referred to the Messiah, but claimed that the Messiah was willing to die, but did not actually die. (Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus vol.2 p.226)
Asked why God forsook Him. Psalm 22:1; Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34 Pesikta Rabbati 37:2, written about 845 A.D. (Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus vol.2 p.230,309).
Killed 32/33 A.D. Dan 9:20-27+Neh 2:1-10 (445/4 B.C.) Daniel is Messianic according to Maimonides in Igeret Teiman, Rabbi Moses Abraham Levi in The Messiah of the Targums, Talmuds and Rabbinical Writers
Mt 12:5 says, "Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?" The speaker objects to the fact that that is not a quote of any verse in the Law (Genesis through Deuteronomy). The speaker overlooked the fact that this was not claimed to be given by Jesus as a quote of anything. Jesus was making the logical deduction that that according to the Law, the priests did their priestly work on the Sabbath and that was still proper and pleasing to God.
End of the Law
Mt 5:17 Jesus says He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Yet Paul consistently teaches that the law is now done away with. For example, in Romans 10:4 Paul says, "Christ is the end of the law..."
Five points to consider in the answer.
1. At no time did Jesus agree to follow the Pharisaic extensions that they used as a "hedge" around the law.
2. Before his crucifixion, Jesus and His disciples did in fact obey the Old Testament laws, in their true intent.
3. Jesus said not one thing but three: 1) He did not come to abolish the law, 2) He came to fulfill the law. It is disingenuous to use Mt 5:17 to say that Christ did not abolish the law without continuing to the next verse, where the important third point is. Matthew 5:18 say, "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
4. At the cross, when Jesus said "it is finished", not only was His suffering unto death finished, but the old way of obeying the law was too.
5. The speaker is wrong to lay the blame for not obeying Old Testament food, Sabbath, and other laws at the feet of Paul. Prior to that God showed Peter in a vision that food laws were no longer to be followed, and the apostles taught that prior to Paul. Peter and the whole council of Jerusalem were on board with Gentile believers not obeying Jewish laws in Acts 15:6-21
Psalm 119:152 says that the law lasts forever. It does; the demands of the law did not go away. Jesus did not abolish the law, but fulfilled the demands for us. Now since Christ kept all God's requirements in the law perfectly for us, we follow in the new way of the Spirit, not the old way of the written code.
Attitude Towards the Law
The speaker pointed out that Psalm 119 (and other places) shows we are to love and cherish the law. Yet Paul [allegedly] calls the law a curse in Galatians 3:13.
While the law was fulfilled and not to be followed anymore, even Paul recognized the continuity in pleasing God with the precepts behind the law. First we need to clear up some misinformation, and then three points.
Paul did not call the law a curse. Rather, he acknowledged that the law had curses for those who disobeyed. Paul said, "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law..' [Paul is quoting the law from Deuteronomy 27:26 here.] Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, 'The righteous live by faith.' The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, 'The man who does these things will live by them.' Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'" (Galatians 3:10-13)
The curse Paul talked about was in Old Testament times too. Deuteronomy 30:15-20 says the law set before them life and death, depending on their obeying or not.
The respect and value of the law is in the Paul's letters too. Paul respected the law, and said it had a good purpose. "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." (Galatians 3:23-25)
Romans 3:1-2 "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God."
In 1 Tim 1:8-9a Paul says, "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful,..."
Jesus also taught that no one was righteous by obeying the law, and Paul likely got this from Jesus' teaching. In Matthew 19:25 "When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, 'Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Even stronger, Jesus told the law-observing Pharisees in John 8:24 "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."
In Summary ...
In each of the six verses the speaker brings up, Paul accurately gives the meaning of the Old Testament, though a couple are closer to the Septuagint text than the Masoretic text. Both Jesus and Paul respected the law, and both said the law would be "fulfilled". However, before his crucifixion, Jesus said that nothing in the law would go away, until all was accomplished.
Bible verses from the NIV unless otherwise noted.
How Jesus Fulfilled Being the Messiah, a Response to "The Making of the Messiah part 3"
The speaker in the video agrees that the Old Testament prophesies a future Messiah, or anointed one, with special significance. He says that Jesus missed the mark as the messiah. The speaker correctly says that verses such as Isaiah 2:2 that mention "in the last days", or verses about the future King, branch, or root of Jesse are messianic, but he rejects Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 as Messianic. Then he says basically that Jesus did not fulfill the messianic verses that Christians say Jesus will fulfill in His Second coming. Finally the speaker falsely claims the Old Testament gives no hint that the means of salvation will change, especially that faith will be its cornerstone. We will first show why Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are in fact messianic, and then discuss the other points.
Psalm 22: The speaker claims Psalm 22 is ruled out as a messianic prophecy because Psalms is not a prophetic books. The Jews divided the Old Testament into the Torah, prophets, and writings, and Psalms is in the third category. He also says that Psalm 22 was a present description of the writer [David], not a future prophecy of someone else.
The speaker is mistaken in two ways.
First, though the Jews did not consider the book of Psalms in their second category (the Prophets), and it is not primarily prophecy, it is undeniable that the book of Psalms has prophecies in it. Prophecies in Psalms (many of them non-Messianic) are Psalm 2:8-9; 11:6; 22:27-31; 50:1-15; 55:23; 60:6-8; 67:7; 68:21; 69:35-36; 72:16-17, 110:2-7, etc. Psalm 96:13 says, "For he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth." How can someone think that nothing in Psalms can be a prophecy?
Second, the speaker claims Psalm 22 describes the situation back then. Actually it part matches, but part does not match at all. David's bones were never out of joint; Jesus' were out of joint (we would say hyper extended) by means of the crucifixion. David's hands were not "pierced/lion-like", Jesus' wrists were, which would cause the hands to curl. David's tongue did not cling to his mouth; Jesus would have from the excessive thirst of crucifixion. Nobody divided David's garments or cast lots for his clothing; they did for Jesus. Finally, since the speaker claims Psalm 22 was only a description of the present, how could he reconcile that with Psalm 22:27 "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you." This not only was not fulfilled whenever David wrote this Psalm, this was not fulfilled during the life of any Old Testament king.
Finally, while the speaker cannot see this as a specifically messianic prophecy, Jews themselves have recognized this as one. The Jewish Pesikta Rabbati 37:2, written about 845 A.D. references Psalm 22 as a Messianic prophecy. Calling the Messiah Ephraim, it says, "Ephraim our True Messiah!... and you were put to ridicule and held in contempt by the nations of the world because of Israel, and you sat in darkness and blackness and your eyes saw no light, and you skin cleft to your bones, and your body dried out was like wood, and your eyes grew dim from fasting, and your strength became like a potsherd. All this because of the sins of our children...." (Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus vol.2 p.229-231, 309)
Isaiah 53: The speaker objects to Isaiah 53 being a Messianic prophecy because it does not explicitly say the Messiah, root of Jesse, etc. He adds that it is one of four "servant songs", the other three being Isaiah 42:1-7; 49:1-6; and 50:4-9. He comments that Isaiah 53 is in the past tense, and says past tense was not used in other Messianic prophecies. Finally the speaker erroneously claims that Isaiah 53 was not cited in the New Testament.
1) While Isaiah 53 does not explicitly say "Messiah" or an equivalent term, neither does Zechariah 12:1-14. Yet this is in the last days, and the speaker agrees that "last days prophecies" are messianic. So this is no reason to rule out Isaiah 53 as messianic.
2) The "servant songs" is a rather curious point he brings up. Christians have no objection to "conceding" that the one discussed in Isaiah 53 is likely the same as in Isaiah 42:1-7; 49:1-6;and 50:4-9, because Christians believe these other three passages are messianic too.
3) Past (and past perfect) tense have been used in other Old Testament prophecies too. Jeremiah 31:15; Habakkuk 3:3-13 are a few prophecies in the past tense.
4) The speaker mistakenly says that Isaiah 53 was not cited in the New Testament. Isaiah 53:4 is quoted in the New Testament in Matthew 8:17 as "spoken by Isaiah the prophet".
Isaiah 53 could not refer to the Jews/Israelites because of four reasons:
A person: The Messiah was a man or sorrows (53:3), with an appearance (52:2) and no children (53:8)
Take on others' sins as a guilt offering (53:10), took upon himself our infirmities and sorrows (53:4), suffered reproach as though struck by God (53:4) pierced and crushed for our sins (53:5).
Died and yet see his seed: assigned a grace with the wicked and the rich (53:9) yet we will see his offspring (53:10)
Unlike Isaiah 53, the Jewish people never said they were going to take on other people's sins as a guilt offering (53:1), intercede for the sins of others (53:12), or bore our infirmities and sorrows (53:4). The Jewish people would not say about themselves "The punishment that brought peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." (53:5f)
The video author claims that the speaker(s) of Isaiah 53 are the kings in Isaiah 52:15. This cannot be right, because Isaiah 52:15 says that the kings shut their mouths. Isaiah 53 is referring to the servant in Isaiah 52:13-14 and the speaker is poetically the people for whom the suffering servant took up their infirmities and sorrows, and pierced for their transgressions and iniquities in Isaiah 53:4-5.
The author of the video claims that Isaiah 53:11 does not refer to Jesus because Jesus' wisdom did not justify many. (Isaiah 53:11). Actually he only quotes part of the phrase. It says, "by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. It says he is righteous, by his knowledge he will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
This can be taken two ways.
Objective clause with the following clause: "by knowledge of him" is how the "[Jewish] Masoretic accentuation, representing of course the Jewish traditional understanding, links it with the words that follow it." The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.304 gives this as an option. Thus our knowledge of, and/or knowing the suffering servant provides justification.
Subjection clause with the preceding clause: "by his knowledge" Knowledge in Hebrew and was not restricted to just knowing facts, but also following moral knowledge. If a sinful man had died for our sins, it would have done no good whatsoever.
Of course, if both senses are true, and the Hebrew could be understood both ways, then maybe both are correct.
On another point, though the speaker in the video did not make the claim that Isaiah 53 referred to the author himself, others have done so, and we can cover that here too. There is no evidence that Isaiah thought he was setting judgment on the earth (Isaiah 42:4), or that he felt he had labored in vain (Isaiah 49:4), or that he himself was given for a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:6), or that he personally fulfilled Isaiah 53.
Furthermore, some Jewish authorities have recognized that Isaiah 53 is in fact Messianic. The earliest one is Targum Jonathan (See The New Testament Background p.314-315 for more info.) In later times, the Tractate Sanhedrin and Talmud Bavli also mention this. (Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus vol.2 p.224,307). In the Middle Ages, the Jew Nachmanides, in his debate with a Catholic, said that Isaiah 53 referred to the Messiah, but claimed that the Messiah was willing to die, but did not actually die. (Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus vol.2 p.226)
Many messianic prophecies unfulfilled: The speaker recognizes that many prophecies, such as Isaiah 11:6-9; Ezekiel 37:24; Zechariah 14:9; Zephaniah 3:13, are what Christians say will be fulfilled in Christ's second coming. He correctly says that the second coming of Christ is not taught in the Old Testament and concludes that if Jesus did not fulfill all the prophecies in the first coming then He cannot be the messiah.
The second coming was a mystery not revealed to Old Testament saints. However, there are no verses that rule out a second coming, so nothing precludes Christ coming back and fulfilling the prophecies associated with the second coming.
Faith in the Old Testament was a cornerstone of belief too, contrary to what the speaker teachers. Paul points out the importance of faith in the Old Testament in discussing Abraham in Romans 4. The writer of Hebrews, in Hebrews 11:3-38 also demonstrates how faith was important in the Old Testament. The prophet Habakkuk said in Hab 2:4b "but the righteous will live by his faith" Job 13:15a is a well-known verse: "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;". Psalm 20:7 says, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." Other Old Testament verses that teach the importance of putting our trust in God are 2 Sam 22:3,31; 2 Ki 18:22; 1 Chr 5:20; Psalm 2:12; 4:5; 5:11; 7:1; 9:10; 11:1; 16:1; 17:7; 18:2,30; 25:2,20; 31:1,6,19; 34:22, etc.
Change means of salvation: The speaker incorrectly says, "Curious, isn't it that God suddenly and drastically changes the means of salvation without mentioning it through His prophets, especially given that faith is the cornerstone of Christianity." Perhaps he forgot about Jeremiah 31:31. Pardon the extra-long quote, but Jeremiah had a lot to say about this change of covenant. "'The time is coming', declares the LORD, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,' declares the LORD. 'This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,' declares the LORD. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,' declares the LORD. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Isaiah 62:2 also hints at a change when it says the God's people will be called by a new name.
In Summary ...
There are no valid reasons for ruling out Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 as messianic prophecies. The speaker recognizes that the second coming prophecies are not fulfilled [yet], but gives no reason from the Old Testament why the Messiah could not have a second coming. Finally, he missed the Old Testament telling us there will be a new and different covenant.
Bible verses from the NIV unless otherwise noted.
The Good News After the Bad News, a Response to "The Making of the Messiah part 4"
Prior to understanding the good news of salvation, a person has to understand the bad news that all are lost to Hell without God's salvation. In this video the speaker seems to focus on what he does not like in the Bible. This paper responds by correcting a few false things he teaches, but mostly pointing out that things can be true, even if someone does not like them. Specifically, the speaker does not like the sternness of God, especially with respect to Hell, God's rights, and then he says a few things about family, women and Jews.
The Sternness of God
The speaker has a valid argument that the passage about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:30-31) shows that that God is not all-forgiving. Of course, if demons and some people go to Hell, that also proves that God is not all-forgiving. Some may see a problem with this and their concept of God in Christianity, but it is only a problem with their own concept. God is the most loving being in the universe, but the Bible never said God is all-forgiving, or all-loving for that matter. People who die and go to Hell would not consider God all-forgiving. The speaker is correct in stating that the Bible shows God is loving, pointing out John 3:16, but while God is very loving, it is not to the point of denying his other attributes. God is just, and is also the most wrathful being in the universe too. He can be gentle enough to make a bubbling spring, and harsh enough to flood the world.
We can see why Paul wrote in Romans 11:22a "Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness." We should not sugarcoat what the Bible says about God's anger, and that Hell is a terrible place to be in.
The speaker says that in Matthew 10:34-37 Jesus denied His role as a peacemaker. This is not correct. While Jesus never claimed to be a peacemaker with unrepentant people who rejected God, or give peace on this earth, Jesus was a different kind of peacemaker. He gave us peace with God, and He gave us His peace (John 14:27; 16:33). Paul has an extensive discussion on Jesus as a peacemaker in this reconciliation with God in Ephesians 2:11-18.
And Jesus commanded us to be at peace with each other in Mark 9:50b. Paul said we are ambassadors to men in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. Hebrews 12:14 says as far as is possible, be at peace with all men.
In the parable of the wheat and tares [weeds] in Mt 13:40-42, the Bible uses an image of fire. The speaker is not being truthful in saying this parable shows anybody gloating in people suffering. But on the other hand, the parable does emphasize the seriousness of evil and rejecting God.
Suppose you were born and lived all your life on an island that was going to be hit with hurricane in a few days. It is not your fault you were born there. But if people called you to get on the evacuation plane, and you instead went the other way, it's only your own fault that you died in the hurricane.
Hell is worse than physical death in a hurricane. Everyone who was born, Jesus excepted, has done things to disqualify them from every going to heaven. The only place for us would be the alternative: Hell. But God came to rescue us; He tells us to get in the boat with Jesus. If someone chooses not to get in the boat, then sadly, eternal destruction is what they chose.
Hell and the Lake of Fire
Our lives are a brief moment in time compared to eternity; if we briefly experience pain, or a premature death, that is nothing compared to an eternity in Hell. In a sense, other discussions about God's punishment and discipline in this life are small points compared to the existence of Hell.
While Hell and the Lake of Fire are different, the Lake of Fire is the ultimate destination. The speaker does not differentiate between the two in his discussion, but the points are the same whether talking about one or the other.
The speaker does not like the idea that God has the right to send people to Hell. That is understandable. The Lake of Fire is the terrible place where man's freedom to choose to be separate from God drifts away in the justice of its consequences.
But imagine for a moment there being no Hell, or Heaven, or afterlife. Let's say there are two people: a sadistic dictator who became extremely rich and lived a long life, and one of the children who was tortured and killed under his rule. When both die, should both have the identical destiny, or non-existence as atheists say? A person might conclude, "why not do all the evil you can get away with, because you will never be punished for what you did to your victims?" In fact, there would be no reward for virtue either.
Some wicked people have lived long and wealthy lives, dying peacefully after causing suffering to many. How can these people receive justice? Martin Gardiner, the former editor of Scientific American magazine, wrote in The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener why he believed in an afterlife. His point was that if you believe everyone will receive justice, and many people die without receiving anything approaching justice, you have to believe in an afterlife, where justice will be done. It is interesting that Gardiner is actually an agnostic, and still comes to this conclusion.
Understanding Eternal Punishment
Given that God has both great love and great wrath, how are we to understand the Hell and the Lake of Fire? We can think of punishment after death in terms of five complementary metaphors: a cosmic trash dump, a judgment, a quarantine, infinite growth, and a time warp of destruction.
A chosen destiny: Look at Hell from the perspective of a wicked person: Imagine Hitler being in heaven, without ever repenting of what he did. Imagine millions being forced to live with a Holy God forever, against their will. Can you even imagine this? I can't. Rather, I think that if someone finally says they do not want to love, serve, and worship God forever, God reluctantly says "OK". God will build a separate universe just for them, and they can do whatever they want in that universe. This universe we call Hell. Of course God is the source of all love and goodness, and they not experience those things there. They may have former friends with them in Hell, but without the love, they will not be their friends anymore. People are not the only residents of that universe. Demons and others will be there with them. So a person in Hell did not directly choose the suffering of Hell, but they chose the path of rejecting God and led them to their destiny.
A trash dump: One of the most common words Jesus used for "Hell" is Gehenna. Gehenna was actually the trash dump outside of Jerusalem. They would pile the refuse out there, and when it got high enough to stink, and there were enough rats and other creatures, they would burn it. Hell can be thought of as a cosmic trash dump of those who choose to be unfit to be with God in Heaven.
A judgment: We should not practice cruelty to any creatures, but cruelty to an ant is different than cruelty to a dog, or a human. In law, murdering a citizen is different than assassinating a president or king. In other words, the severity of the sin is partially gauged by who or what you are sinning against. That would make sins against the most holy God have far, far greater seriousness than sins against others.
A quarantine: I want to keep out of my house what is filthy and causes disease. I have the right to refuse entry to those who would want to hurt my family. If I think I have that right, does not God have the same right for His house?
Infinite growth: Imagine someone having a sin in this life, such as greed or lust. Imagine having the desire for that sin grow by 0.01% per year. Now imagine that the person has been in Hell for a million years, and has the certain knowledge that the sinful desire can never be satisfied.
A time warp of destruction: The Bible gives hints that time with God in Heaven is not the same as we experience time on earth (2 Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:4; Titus 1:22; possibly Revelation 11:7). Time in the afterlife in general could be significantly different. The Bible speaks of the smoke of their torment and Lake of Fire as forever, but it also talks of "perishing" and "destruction". Given that God gave us eternal souls, and that He gave us the sobering ability to choose to be apart from Him forever, some evangelicals have seen perhaps a merciful mitigating of the infiniteness of sin. Destruction does not have to mean annihilation (which is against eternal punishment) but rather an asymptotic loss of consciousness or sanity.
Some of these previous metaphors are not intended as Biblical definitions of how the Lake of Fire has to be, but rather, not unbiblical descriptions of what it might be like.
Women, Family, and Jews
The speaker repeatedly says that Paul is down on women. Paul taught that women had different roles in the church: they could not be elders, but he also taught that there were women deaconesses. Paul taught that it was proper for women to cover their heads in church. But Paul also taught the equality of value and worth of men and women in God's eyes. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26-28) Paul's statement is especially interesting in the culture in which he lived. Greek culture generally looked down on women, and males and sons were worth more than daughters. Given the worth of sons, Paul calls all believers, male and female, "sons" of God in Christ Jesus.
On family the speaker quotes Jesus' words in Luke 14:26, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple." Jesus immediately goes on to say "And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:27)
"Hate" here is used to mean "love less", as it does in Deuteronomy 21:15, when it speaks of a man who loves one of his wives more than the other. In teaching on the cost of discipleship, Jesus uses it to refer to one's own life too. No Jew who would interpret Jesus' words as against the Mosaic Law; which said to honor your mother and father. The parallel passage in Matthew 10:37 shows that Jesus' point is that we are not to love our parents more than we love God.
While some might not like it, the people who plotted against and arrested Jesus were Jewish leaders. On the other hand not only the twelve apostles, but the vast majority of the church, prior to Paul's missionary journeys, were of Jewish background. So we have to distinguish between being of Jewish ethnic background and a follower of the Jewish religion. As a follower that religion, Paul, prior to becoming a Christian, and others, were actively seeking out and killing Christians. Contrary to what the speaker said, Paul acknowledged that the law is good and was useful in Romans 3:1-4,20 and 1 Timothy 1:8-9 says, "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, ...."
The people of the Jewish religion, which Paul straightforwardly said was from God, should have welcomed Jesus, but instead they rejected their Messiah. Of course, most Jews today would not say they rejected their Messiah, because most Jews do not accept Jesus as their Messiah. But to hold the view that most Jews are mistaken, and that most Jews rejected the Messiah, does not mean a person is anti-Semitic.
The Bible teaches about God's wrath, Hell, and God's rights. It also teaches that women were not to be elders in the church, we should not love our family more than God, and that the leaders and many people in the Jewish religion did not accept Jesus. However, even when a teaching is not pleasing to our ears does not affect the truthfulness of the teaching.
Bible verses from the NIV unless otherwise noted.
How Jesus Fulfilled Being the Messiah, a Response to "The Making of the Messiah part 5"
In the video I counted seven main reasons the speaker gave why he thought Jesus was not the fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifices.
1) The Messiah did not need to die or sacrifice himself,
2) The Passover was not a sin sacrifice
3) Jesus was not exactly like the Passover sacrifice, or any other Old Testament sacrifice,
4) Inanimate objects, like wheat or jewelry were legitimate sacrifices too,
5) One person could not be a sacrifice for another
6) God's sacrificial law was eternal
7) They could not have the sacrifice prior to the offense.
This response will simply answer all his seven reasons in order.
1) The speaker claims that no prophecy says that the Messiah needed to die or sacrifice himself to accomplish His mission.
Answer) This is incorrect. Actually, Daniel 9:26, in the middle of the prophecy of seventy weeks, says that the Anointed One (=Messiah) will be cut off. Isaiah 53:5 says, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:6 goes on to say "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Now while I do not see any way the speaker could deny Daniel 9 was a Messianic prophecy and I don't think he does), the speaker said he did not see Isaiah 53 as Messianic. Regardless of what he sees though, Jewish teachers have seen Isaiah 53 as Messianic as the in Targum Jonathan. Later Tractate Sanhedrin and Talmud Bavli also mention this. (Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus vol.2 p.224,307).
2) The speaker points out that the Passover lamb was not a sin sacrifice.
Answer) Two points to consider in the answer.
a) Jesus fulfilled the Passover sacrifice AND the sin sacrifice. Even if the Passover sacrifice had nothing to do with sin, Jesus fulfilled both aspects. The Passover sacrifice was about blood (Exodus 12:13,23) and substitutionary death. In the Passover sacrifice something in every single house died. Either it was a firstborn person or a lamb. The lamb was a bloody substitute for a person.
b) The Passover actually was a sin sacrifice implicitly. God could have been just and simply killed the firstborn, or all the born, for every household, because all have sinned. But God choose to accept the sacrifice of a lamb in place of a firstborn person. God probably did that, and had the Israelites commemorate this for 1500 years, as an object lesson that they needed a bloody sacrifice to take their place. Did the blood of a lamb really equal the blood or death of a human? Hebrews 10:1-7 shows us that it actually is not equal or sufficient to take away a person's sins. It was merely a covering of their sins, until the real sacrifice, a perfect human, who was both God and man, volunteered to be the once and for all sacrifice.
3) The speaker says Jesus was not the Passover sacrifice because he was not exactly like it. He gives examples that there was one lamb per family (Exodus 12:3-4), the sacrifice was at the Jewish temple (Deuteronomy 12:11), the sacrifice was killed and eaten (Exodus 12:8-12), and so on.
Answer) The speaker has a small mistake and a big mistake. A small mistake is that the Passover was celebrated both before and after there was a temple, so Jesus not dying in the Temple does not disqualify Him as a Passover sacrifice.
The big mistake is that nothing in the Bible would require Jesus to be exactly like the Passover sacrifice; after all, Jesus did not need sheep's wool and hooves. Rather the Passover sacrifice was a "type" of Jesus' sacrifice. To claim that Jesus could not be like a Passover sacrifice because people did not roast and eat Jesus' human body is rather extreme of the speaker.
3b) The speaker mentions that if Jesus was crucified on Friday, He and the disciples did not even celebrate the Passover at that time.
Answer) Jesus and the disciples had the Last Supper on Thursday after dark, on the Day of Preparation. The celebrated the Passover a day early (like some Jewish sects did), probably because a day later Jesus knew He would be otherwise occupied.
4) While Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins, the speaker correctly points out that inanimate (non-bloody) objects also were acceptable sacrifices. Flour, grain, money, jewelry, and prayer were offered to God at various times as sacrifices.
Answer) While this is true, these objects were offered in addition to blood sacrifices, not instead of blood sacrifices. So flour, grain, money, etc. were also offered to God, but Hebrews 9:22 is still true, in Old Testament times and now, that there had to be the shedding of blood.
5) The speaker points out in Exodus 32:31-34 that God rejected Moses' offer to sacrifice himself for the people, implying that one person cannot be a sacrifice for another. Even though prior to the Mosaic Law God did command a human sacrifice once, in the end he stopped Abraham from going through with it.
Answer) First allow me to make this apparent difficulty even harder, then we will see the simple solution to all of it. One might think that enough righteous people could atone for someone's sin. Yet that is not the case: Ezekiel 14:14,20 says that even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the land, they could only help save themselves. But mysteriously, if one or even all three of these people could not be a sacrifice for another, why could an animal and its blood be a suitable sin offering?
The answer is that the animal, being an animal, never sinned. To illustrate this, the animal had to be without defect, with a defect being symbolic of sin. But even the most righteous person, up to the time of Jesus, had sinned. No human could ever be a sacrifice for sin - except One. And He had to be sinless and volunteer to do so. (See Heb 12:2.)
6) The speaker mentions that Psalm 19:7 says the law was perfect, and Psalm 119:152 says that the law was eternal. This is similar to the speaker's point in part 2, and the answer is similar too.
Answer) God's Law is eternal. Jesus did not break the Law, but rather fulfilled it. They needed a high priest in Old Testament times, so do we today. But their priest was from the Aaronic order, and ours is of a higher order: Melchizedek. (Heb 6:20-7:22) They needed sacrifices; and we need a sacrifice today. They sacrificed animals over and over, and our High Priest only needed to sacrifice Himself once (Heb 7:27-28; 9:25-28; 10:1-10). But for people who refuse to accept Jesus as their Savior and High Priest, the Law, with its curses, is still binding on them today.
"So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." (Galatians 3:23-25)
1 Timothy 1:8-9a says, "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful,..."
Jesus told the law-observing Pharisees in John 8:24 "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."
Finally, Ezekiel 40:38-43 suggests that even during the Millennium the sacrifices of the Law will still be done; people have seen the purpose of this as a memorial.
7) The speaker says that sacrifices for sin were always done after the offense. In other words, there was no concept of "prepaying" for future sins not yet committed.
Answer) While this is true for individual sin offerings, and uncertain and questionable for offerings for the community, this is a moot point. God could set up the "ultimate sacrifice" any way he wanted to. A person could not do an animal sacrifice for himself for a future sin, but God could choose to have another, (sinless) person sacrifice for all sins, past, present, and future.
Summary: The speaker seems to have a real problem with God not meeting his expectation of Jesus not being exactly like an Old Testament animal sacrifice in every way. May I suggest that his problem here is not so much with God, but rather with the additional requirements he wants to pin on a sacrifice for God, not spelled out in the Bible.
The speaker seems confused on who gets to make the rules on what is a suitable sacrifice for sins. The speaker does not make the rules, God does. Jesus did not have to have any similarities to any sacrifices and He could still be a sacrifice for us. However, God choose to set up the Old Testament sacrifice system as a type of Jesus' sacrifice. The Passover, the sin offering, the near-sacrifice of Isaac, were all types of Jesus' sacrifice. Jesus' sacrifice resembled those, but it was fundamentally greater.
Bible verses from the NIV unless otherwise noted.
"Jesus is Coming Soon, a Response to "The Making of the Messiah part 6"
The speaker first talks about Old Testament prophecies of Christ's first coming, and points out New Testament prophecies he does not see fulfilled.
O.T. Prophecies of dying and resurrection
The speaker both begins and ends his video with his point that there are no Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah dying and rising again. But as said before, two prophecies that prove Jews themselves recognized as Messianic and spoke of the Messiah (= Anointed One) dying and/or rising are Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9:20-27. Also Zechariah 12:10, while not actually saying He was killed, prophesies Jews in the future mourning the "one they have pierced."
The speaker conjectures the idea of a dying and resurrected messiah came from pagan mythology, specifically Osiris, Adonis, and Tammuz. It is hard to say just one thing about the speaker's comments, because the speaker has "an error within an error".
The first error, which the speaker expounds in part 8, is that early Christians would just think of resurrection in a spiritual sense, and that they only invented a bodily resurrection of the Messiah later. However, Osiris, Adonis, and Tammuz, according to the pagan beliefs, were resurrected in a physical sense. So if Christians invented the concept of bodily resurrection that contradicts his claim that they borrowed from earlier religions.
His second error is saying that Osiris, Adonis, and Tammuz were messiahs. They were in no way considered messiahs, because there was no concept of a "messiah" in Egyptian, Greco-Roman, or Sumerian/Babylonian mythology, or the concept of a savior either.
It is especially interesting that the speaker tries to throw in Tammuz as a messiah. According to the myth, Tammuz's wife, Inanna/Ishtar, foolishly went to the underworld alive, thinking she could get out. When her magic items to get out were taken from her, she could only get out if she told the galla (demons) to take someone else instead. She looked at different gods until she found her husband happily sitting on her throne, not mourning. She told the demons to get him. He fled from place to place, but eventually the demons found him hiding with his sister, and they forcibly drug him alive into the underworld. Later Inanna/Ishtar changed her mind, and let Tammuz (god of flocks and apparently vegetation) be alive for six months while his sister would be dead in his place. It strains credulity to think the speaker really believes Christian got the idea of a physical resurrection from this. Rather, it is my guess that the speaker was not familiar with what he was talking about.
Even worse is the speaker referring to Greek myth of Adonis. The story has similarities to Tammuz except that Adonis was a beautiful boy loved by two goddesses, Aphrodite/Venus, and Persephone, goddess of the dead. So Zeus decreed that Adonis had to spend half the year with each of them. Adonis was finally murdered, perhaps, by another lover of Aphrodite, so he ended up with Persephone forever. Again, the speaker is attempting to say that Christians may have gotten the idea of a physical resurrection of Adonis.
Comparing Jesus to Osiris is even stranger in that there are conflicting Egyptian myths about Osiris. In the early ones the god Set is good, but in the middle and later ones Set is evil and kills Osiris and chops his body to pieces. Isis, sister of Osiris, collects the chopped pieces and magically is able to bring Osiris back to life, but only for a brief time. It is long enough for her to be impregnated by him, and later Isis gives birth to their son, the god Horus.
At the risk of being obvious, while the victims in each of these myths were temporarily brought back to life physically, they bear no other resemblance to the resurrection of Jesus. If they speaker sincerely to make some comparisons, why not mention the Elisha and Shunnamite woman's son? Or one could look to physical resurrection taught in Ezekiel and Job. Christians had to look no farther than the Jewish scriptures to see the idea of a physical resurrection.
Fulfilled and Not Yet Fulfilled Prophecies
The speaker points out that 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 says that the time is short, and that this world in its present form is passing away.
While some Christians take this to refer to Christ's Second coming, others (including myself) take this to refer to the oncoming persecution that started not too long after Paul wrote this. Paul's advice, "those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess" applies well to the time of intense persecution, not so much to Christ's return. The phrase of "form (schema) passing away", was borrowed from Greek theatre meaning the changing of a scene. Regardless of whether someone interprets this as referring to upcoming persecution or Christ's return, Paul gave no prediction here of when this passing away would be completed. Rather, Paul merely said that the world in its present form is in the process of passing away. The ancient world had a momentous change before Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. However, this multi-century process had many hardships for early Christians.
The Lord's Coming is near
The speaker mentions that Romans 13:11b says, "...our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." Hebrews 10:37 says, "For in just a very little while, 'He who is coming will come and will not delay." James 5:8 says, "the Lord's coming is near". 1 Peter 4:7 says, "But the end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray." (all from the NIV)
The speaker correctly mentions that may be one reason these verses were said was so that Christians would not be lax, since Jesus could come at any time. Right after saying no one knows the hour or day in Matthew 24:36-37 and Mark 13:32-33, Jesus said, "Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come." (Mark 13:33). Christians who learned Jesus' words would know that Hebrews, James, and Romans were not trying to predict the hour or day. Christians have a term for this attitude that the Bible fosters: "the imminent return of Christ." While we do not know the time when Christ will return, we are to live such that it could be happen at any time.
This race/generation will not pass away
Matthew 24:29-34 says, "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened." Luke 21:25-32 says essentially the same. The speaker wants listeners to assume that the Greek word here, genea, can only mean generation, and not a race or group of people.
While genea is used a "generation" in some places, it can only mean race/ethnic group, and not generation two places:
Acts 8:33 (descendants / offspring / race) "...who will recount his [Jesus'] generation?" (Green's literal translation) Generation here has to mean descendants as the Luke is quoting Isaiah 53:8b.
Luke 16:8 (kind of people) "...for the sons of this age are more prudent than the sons of light themselves are in their generation."
In the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament, the worn genea also cannot mean generation in Gen 31:3 and Num 15:14.
Outside of the Bible it has the same range of meaning. It means a "birth" in Herodotus 3:33, and "men of the same stock" in Xenophon 1,2,8. It means a "family" as early as Homer, and Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 5,1,5.
The manuscript Papyrus Oxyrhynchus I 104 is a will written in 96 A.D.. The word genea in it means the man's "issue" (i.e. sons and daughters). It also means family in the following manuscripts: PSI III 240 (2nd century A.D.), PSI IV 713 (97 A.D.), P. Hal I 1 (3rd century B.C.) and the Syll 856 (2nd century A.D.) according to Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament by J.H. Moulton and G. Milligan p.122)
In 18 places in the Bible genea can broadly mean both general and race/group: Mt 11:16; Mt 24:34; Mk 8:12; Mk 8:38; Mk 9:19; Mk 13:30; Lk 1:48; Lk 11:29; Lk 11:30; Lk 11:31; Lk 11:32; Lk 11:50; Lk 17:25; Lk 21:32; Acts 2:40; Eph 3:21; Php 2:15; and Col 1:26. In the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament, in Genesis through Ezra it can be either or both in Gen 7:1; Gen 17:9; Gen 17:12; Ex 3:15 (2 times); Ex 12:14; Ex 12:17; Ex 12:42; Ex 16:32; Ex 16:33; Ex 31:13; Ex 31:16; Ex 40:15; Lev 3:17; Lev 6:18; Lev 10:9; Lev 17:7; Lev 22:3; Lev 23:14; Lev 23:21; Lev 23:31; Lev 23:41; Lev 24:3; Num 10:8; Num 15:15; Num 15:21; Num 15:23; Num 15:38; Num 18:23; Num 35:29; Dt 32:5; Josh 22:27; Judges 2:10. It also can mean either in Lam 5:19 (2 times).
Rather than thinking genea has three meanings, it really has only one broad meaning: the same kind. It can refer to three kinds of relationships.
Latitudinal - generation
Longitudinal - family/descendants
Type - metaphorically as spiritual siblings/children
Some can see parts of these end-time passages having dual fulfillment, with the fulfillment of all the prophecies including Christ's return awaiting the future. Perhaps genea was the perfect choice of word to use here because it conveyed both immediate attention and allowed longer term aspects.
Going through the towns of Israel
The speaker quotes Mt 10:23 "you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." He correctly says it could not be Christ's ascension, and there is no discussion of the temple here, or the temple's demise.
The speaker does not mention the verses just before this. In Matthew 10:19-22 Jesus is not talking about preaching the gospel here, but fleeing persecution. Matthew 10:21-22, which "starts the clock" so to speak, after which Matthew 10:23 occurs. At that time Christians will not run out of towns to flee to before Christ returns. This will be in the future, likely during the tribulation.
Second, regardless of when this occurs, there is no evidence that the apostles were able to go through every town in Israel, so arguably this has not happened yet.
The Kingdom did come: church age at Pentecost
The speaker also brings up Mt 16:27-28 which says, "some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
The speaker repeats this in the next video, and this will be responded to more thoroughly later. However, briefly, Jesus came in His kingdom when the Holy Spirit filled the apostles at Pentecost and the church age began. Remember, Jesus said the Kingdom of God was near in many places, including Mt 3:2; 4:17; 10:7. But Jesus' kingdom was not of this world (Jn 18:36), rather the kingdom of God was within us (Lk 17:21). It would start out small like a mustard seed (Mt 13:31), and like yeast, its effects would become visible throughout the world (Matthew 13:33).
Day as a Thousand Years
The speaker says that one cannot use 2 Peter 3:8 here that a thousand years is like a day and a day is like a thousand years. He says that the Hebrew word yom, and the equivalent Greek word hmera only means a literal 12 or 24 hours.
Actually yom / hmera can mean a period of time, such as in Jeremiah 7:22-23 in coming out of Egypt, and the future Day of the Lord. Regardless though, I have not heard that argument ever used to explain Christ's imminent return, and the speaker is correct that the meanings of the word for day are not relevant here.
No one Knows the Hour
The speaker mentions that in Mt 24:36-37 Jesus said that no one know the hour of His return, not even the Son, but only the Father. The speaker sees it as a contradiction that Jesus predicted the time of His return in Mt 24:32-34.
First notice that Mt 24:36-37 directly follows Matthew 24:32-34, so this juxtaposition of two concepts was deliberate. Jesus did not say "no one will have any clue when He returns", but rather no one will know the [exact] day and hour. Jesus just before this prophesied many things that would occur prior to His coming, but told us not to bother trying to predict the exact time. In fact Jesus did not even know the exact time, at least while on earth.
The Speaker's Made up Info
The speaker in the video (but not the audio) claims believers in heaven are "laughing at this horrible chaos and destruction God has lovingly sent upon his creation" He is making this up out of thin air. There is nothing saying that Christians laugh at the fate of unbelievers.
For the record, Christians want non-Christians to go to heaven, and we "put our money where our mouth is", so to speak. Why else would Christians spend so much money, so many missionaries go to other countries, Christians endure so much persecution for preaching the gospel, etc. It is so that non-Christians can be saved.
Wars and False Prophets
The speaker says that Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24:6-8 of wars and rumors of wars before His return is not useful, because there have always been wars, even before Christ's time. While that is true, the ancient world did not see any wars like the wars in the 19th and 20th century. The swords, spears, and arrows in ancient times did not have near the destructive power as the guns, bombs, and missiles today. As bad as the wars were in ancient times, they were very "small" compared to today.
The speaker mentions Matthew 24:5 and the false prophets that must come first. While there were false prophets before Jesus, it was only after Jesus' time that one saw individual false prophets who were followed by multiple millions of people around the world. The speaker accuses Jesus of being a false prophet for three reasons: one is the speaker's logically invalid argument, a second reason is not understanding Jesus' return, and the third reason is because God did not always answer Jesus' prayers with "yes". The speaker discusses these in the next video, so we will continue in the next part.
The speaker starts off missing the fact that the Old Testament has prophecies of the Messiah dying and coming back to life. From there the speaker does not distinguish between the timing of Jesus resurrection and His second coming.
Bible verses from the NIV unless otherwise noted.
Why Jesus Was Not a False Messiah, a Response to "The Making of the Messiah part 7"
In this video the speaker says that by Old Testament standards Jesus was a false prophet because a) Jesus did not obey or teach the Mosaic Law, b) Jesus' prophecy of His return has not happened, and c) one of Jesus' prayers not completely answered as "Yes".
Here is the speakers' first central point.
A] Deuteronomy 13:1-4 says that any claimed prophet who teaches people to follow or worship other gods is a false prophet.
B] Jesus [allegedly] taught people not to obey the Mosaic Law.
Therefore [the speaker says] this would make Jesus a false prophet.
The speaker's argument flawed because it is not logically valid. Not obeying the Mosaic Law is different than teaching to follow other gods.
However, on the law the speaker has two other interesting mistakes to be corrected. He also refutes a key point of one of his other videos.
Old Testament says of a Future Covenant
The speak correctly shows that the Old Testament taught that God's Law lasts forever (Psalm 119:151-152) and that God's people should not add or subtract from the Law (Dt 4:2-4). This was the covenant God made with His people. But the speaker neglects to inform his viewers that the Old Testament itself says there will be a future time when we will no longer teach the Law, but it will be written on their hearts. It said this in the response to part 3, but it bears repeating again. Jeremiah 31:31. "'The time is coming', declares the LORD, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,' declares the LORD. 'This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,' declares the LORD. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,' declares the LORD. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
Moreover, there will be a time when someone performing an animal sacrifice will no longer be pleasing to God (Isaiah 66:3). Of course the New Covenant happened after Jesus died for our sins, fulfilling the Old Covenant for us (as in Mark 5:17, which the speaker mentions).
So is the Law totally gone, and should we cut it out of our Bibles as no longer having any value? No, but its role has changed. It is no more the definition of how we relate to and obey God, because we live under the Spirit. But the law is useful for us to study today to learn about God, what things please and displease Him, and the meaning of Christ's sacrifice through the foreshadowing in the law. Furthermore, many see in Ezekiel 40-43, when sacrifices are being offered in the Millennium, a continuance of practicing the law as a memorial.
Jesus Did Not Break the Mosaic Laws
The speaker claims Jesus taught against the food laws, and that Jesus broke the law Himself. But there is no evidence that Jesus or his disciples ever ate non-kosher [i.e. unlawful] food before Christ's death. As the speaker points out, Jesus did pronounce all foods as clean in Mark 7:18-19, but Jesus did not specifically say when they could start eating all meats. Notwithstanding these two things though, the speaker is correct in saying that Jesus' pronouncing all food as clean taught against the Old Testament food laws. Christians say this because we live under the Spirit in the New Covenant, and an angel specifically told the Apostle Peter that all foods were clean in Acts 10:9-16.
The speaker shows the seriousness of breaking the Law in Moses' time with Numbers 13:32-36 saying the one who gathered wood on the Sabbath was to be put to death. But the Pharisees made intricate extra-Biblical "hedges" around the law. For example, the said a person could walk around one mile on the Sabbath but not more than that. The Pharisees accused Jesus and His disciples of breaking the Sabbath in Mt 12:1-5, by picking heads of grain, separating the husk, and eating them on the spot. But if that was really "work", then eating on the Sabbath would be work if you shelled a nut, peeled a fruit, took some fat off of meat, or broke some bread. No, Jesus kept all the Old Testament laws as God gave them, but in Matthew 12:1-5 Jesus was probably deliberate in breaking rules the Pharisees invented.
The speaker here in part 7 is refuting part of video 2 in his series. In the other video he says Jesus spoke of obeying the Mosaic Law while Paul had a different message against the Law. But in this video the speaker says Jesus was a false prophet for not upholding the Mosaic Law, in which case he would no longer be teaching a different message than Paul on this point. The speaker is contradicting himself here. Some of the speaker's confusion may be that the New Testament had four central points on the Law.
1. The Law is good (1 Timothy 1:8-9a)
2. While Jesus did not disobey the Law, Jesus deliberately disobeyed the Pharisees' additions to it
3. Christ superseded the Law when He rose
4. We still value what we learn from the Law, though we do not follow it as our Law anymore.
Jesus' Second Coming Not Fulfilled Yet
A second reason the speaker calls Jesus a false prophet is because Deuteronomy 18:20-23 says someone is a false prophet if their prophecies do not come to pass. Jesus predicted His own return in Matthew 16:27-28, and said believers would be in one fold (or sheep pen) in John 10:16.
a) Jesus prophesied His return
Matthew 16:27-28 says, "I [Jesus] tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Mark 9:1 says the same, and Luke 9:27 is only slightly different saying "kingdom of God" instead of "his kingdom".
Why focus only on these three verses? Jesus spoke quite a bit about the kingdom. He said the kingdom of God, or His kingdom, was near or at hand (Mt 3:2; 4:17; 10:7), that we should seek first (Lk 12:31), and he briefly describes it in many other places (Mt 12:28; 15:11-38; 26:29; Mk 1:15; Lk 12:9,11,31; 13:18-26; Jn 18:36).
Some people have misunderstood the kingdom of God. Here are is what Jesus said about it.
1. Even before his crucifixion Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36)
2. The kingdom had not yet come, but Jesus was telling people to be prepared for this momentous event coming very soon. This was when the Old Testament prophecy of the covenant changing in Jer 31:31 would finally be fulfilled.
3. This change would not happen invisibly; it would be accompanied by angels, mighty works for God, and seeing Jesus in glory.
4. Angels came visibly at the resurrection and ascension; no angels had appeared since Jesus' birth. Jesus' resurrection was a mighty work, as were the tongues of fire and other miracles in Acts. Jesus appeared in a glorified body, that while it could still eat fish (Lk 24:42; Jn 21:11-15) it could go through walls (Jn 20:19-20) and disappear (Lk 24:31). Jesus ascended to heaven on a cloud in Lk 24:50-53 and Acts 1:9-11.
So how did Jesus predict His Kingdom would come? The kingdom of God was within us (Luke 17:l2). It is like a buried treasure that one finds (Mt 13:44). It would visibly seem very small at first, like a mustard seed (Mt 13:31). However, like yeast, it would transform the dough of the world (Matthew 13:33). As the parable of the net shows in Matthew 13:47-50, the Kingdom of heaven is something in this life with both good and bad fish, but it also has its ultimate fulfillment at the end of the age. In the end angels will weed out of the kingdom of heaven those all who do evil (Matthew 13:41-42).
To recap, the momentous event that Jesus so often talked about was the New Covenant and the church age, when the Holy Spirit would come in power and dwell in all believers. It kingdom did come before most of the hearers had died.
b) Jesus prophesied believers in one fold
The speaker sees a problem with different Christian denominations and John 10:16. This verse says, "I [Jesus] have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also; they too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." The speaker points out that there are many different denominations call themselves Christians today.
Commentators generally agree that John 10:16 is speaking of Jews and Gentiles, not denominations. There are cults falsely calling themselves Christians, such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, etc. and they belong outside of the "sheep pen" or fold. Then there are genuine Christians, who take the Bible seriously, who are in different groups. These would include people a part of Missouri Synod Lutherans, Southern Baptists, Presbyterian Church of America, Bible Church, Assemblies of God, Anglicans, etc. These Christians all have one Shepherd: Jesus Christ. Though Christians in various organizations may differ among themselves on secondary issues, they are in one fold as far as God is concerned, and they are agreed on the primary, essential issues.
c) Jesus prophesied guidance into all truth
The speaker also mentions that the Holy Spirit will teach the disciples all things and guide them into all truth (John 14:16-17,26; 16:13).
The Holy Spirit first fulfilled this for the disciples at Pentecost, when they were preaching by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit continued to fulfill this as the apostles guided the church during the lifetimes. While Jesus was speaking directly to the disciples, we still benefit from this too by their "memoirs" preserved as the New Testament. Though the New Testament does not say everything we might like to know, it is the complete truth in that it tells us everything we need to know for salvation and having a personal relationship with God.
Jesus' Prayer Not Answered as "Yes"
Related to the last two points, the speaker accuses Jesus of being a false prophet because some of His prayers were not answered, specifically that believers have complete unity (John 17:20-22) and be guided into all truth (John 14:16-17).
The speaker concedes that technically Jesus' prayers cannot be false prophesies, because a prayer is not a prophecy. But the speaker asserts that if Jesus were from God, God should have positively answered Jesus' request.
However, Matthew 24:4-13,23-25 and Luke 21:8-9 said that there must be false prophets deceiving people, and this was prophesied before Jesus' prayer request. If these did not occur, they would be failed prophecies. As previously said, false Christs and prophets do not prove disunity among Christians, because they are not Christians. However, Matthew 24:23-25 says that even some of the elect would be deceived. So a person can be deceived before becoming a believer. As an example, I have seen a Christian, deceived by a cult and joining it, and then later coming back to Christ. In summary, Jesus' prayer would not be answered such that it made a prophecy of His to fail.
Jesus' prayer did not take away our free agency, and it did not make us sinless. Christians can still choose to divide, and Christians still sin. Paul pointed out a sinful inconsistency in Peter in Galatians 2:11-21. Paul and Barnabas had an argument over Mark in Acts 15:36-41 and separated, though 2 Timothy 4:11 indicates that Paul later had a change of heart. When we (or Jesus) pray to God, God is not required to answer our prayer as a "yes", even if we were faithful and prayed for good things. Remember Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. God, like a wise father, looks at everything and acts as He sees best.
Of course, as for believers having complete unity and being guided into al truth, this will be true in the future when we dwell with God forever.
The speaker claims Jesus was a false prophet because Jesus taught against the Mosaic Law, allegedly had false prophecies, and some of Jesus' prayers were not answered as "yes". Actually Jesus followed the Mosaic Law, and His teaching that superseded the Law does not mean He taught following other gods. Some of Jesus' prophecies came to pass in His crucifixion and resurrection. Other prophecies will only come to pass when Jesus comes again. God chooses to work through our prayers, but sometimes God in His wisdom still answers some of our prayers as "no" or "wait".
Bible verses from the NIV unless otherwise noted.
Christians Would Not Die for What They Knew was a Lie, a Response to "The Making of the Messiah part 8"
In this video the speaker basically does four things: summarizes the other videos, discusses who would die for a lie, provides a weak alternative for the resurrection, and gives a myopic view of evolving beliefs in bodily resurrection. This paper responds to these in order, except that it postpones the summary until the end.
Who Would Die For a Lie?
In this video the speaker correctly says that "nobody would die for what they knew is a lie" is a major argument Christians use. (This is also called the "witness of blood" argument.) However, the speaker in my opinion does not do a very good job clearly showing the points of agreement between himself and Christians on this. So here is what Christians would say and that the speaker did not disagree with.
1. The speaker provided no examples of someone who died or would die for what they knew was a lie.
2. Many people have died for lies unknowingly, thinking they were the truth.
3. Some of them should have known better; sometimes people can be self-deceived.
4. While John the Apostle may have been willing to die for what he believed in, he was exiled to the Island of Patmos and then later died a natural death.
5. Early Christian writers say that some apostles died natural deaths, but most of the disciples were killed for what they believed in.
6. Many other early Christians were killed for their beliefs. They died for what they believed was true.
After this the speaker quibbles on some uncertainty on how a few apostles died, but basically Christians and the speaker are agreed that no one would die for what they knew was a lie.
Who Said What on How the Apostles Died
The writing "Hippolytus on the twelve Apostles attributed to Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D.) (Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.5 p.254-254) says what happened to the apostles. When he says "fell asleep" that means a natural death. Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History book 2 ch.1 p.103-105 and book 3 ch.1 p.132 also records the deaths of the apostles.
Work ascribed to Hippolytus
Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History
crucified upside down
crucified upside down (based on Origen)
fell asleepin Ephesus
died in Ephesus (based on Origen)
James, John's brother
killed by sword by Herod
beheaded (based on Clem. of Alex.)
crucified upside down
crucified upside down
fell asleepin Parthia
speared in India
James son of Alphaeus
stoned to death by Jews
fell asleepat Berytus
Simon the Zealot
fell asleepin Jerusalem
beheaded under Nero in Rome
Martyred under Nero in Rome (based on Origen)
Regardless of who was killed for their faith, they spent their lives sharing the gospel and would have been willing to die for their faith.
The speaker does not claim any disciples died for what they knew was a lie, but says that maybe Jesus fooled the disciples for those years, and they were also fooled into thinking that Jesus rose from the dead. The speaker basically has to claim that, or else he has no point to make.
His Idea to Explain the Resurrection
The speaker tentatively suggests that Joseph of Arimathea might have moved the body of Jesus to a proper grave, without telling anybody else. However, the speaker's theory is unlikely for a number of reasons.
1. Jesus was already in a tomb, so he did not need to be moved, especially on the Sabbath or at night after the Sabbath.
2. If Joseph had decided to move the body, one would think he would tell at least one of the twelve disciples.
3. One person would not move a body alone. So in addition to Joseph deciding never to tell anybody, the people Joseph hired or used would all have to agree never to tell anybody.
4. It would be quite likely that the authorities would want to keep the body from being stolen after Jesus said and did all the things the crowds would have reported. It is certainly reasonable that the Bible said the authorities posted a guard.
5. Afterwards all of the 11 disciples saw Jesus, and Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that over 500 other people saw Jesus after He was raised from the dead.
We Can't Ignore what the Word "Resurrection" Means
The speaker claims the earliest Christian writings (Paul and 1 Peter) only taught the resurrection of Christ in a spiritual sense, people did not think of the resurrection in a bodily sense until later, as in the books of Luke and John.
However, the speaker ignores what the term "resurrection" meant. Jesus was not the first to inform us of the concept of a bodily resurrection. The Pharisees and all Jews (except the Sadducees) believed in bodily resurrection of the righteous. While pagan religions believed in conscious existence as a spirit after death, the Old Testament said more than that, that there would be ultimately be a physical coming back to life after being dead. In fact, there is no evidence, in the Bible, other Jewish writings, or even pagan mythology of a coming back to life spiritually only, (not physically) and it being called resurrection.
But Christians did not "invent" the idea of Jesus or someone else being physically resurrected; all they had to do is read the Old Testament, especially, Elisha and Shunnamite woman's son, Job, Isaiah, and Ezekiel's valley of dry bones.
The Shunnamite woman's son: In 2 Kings 4:18-37 a woman's son died. She traveled on a donkey to Elisha, and they both journeyed back to her house where the two of them prayed. Then the boy was physically raised back to life.
Job: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes - I, and not another." (Job 19:26-27a). Christians were no stranger to this: Clement of Rome (96/98 A.D.) mentions Job's words as referring to believers in 1 Clement ch.21 (Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 p.12).
Isaiah 27:19 says, "But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead." (NIV)
Dry bones: Ezekiel 37 is a vision of very dry bones. Ezekiel was to prophesy to them, and the flesh returned to the bones and they came back to life.
In the New Testament other people physically raised to life were Lazarus in John 11:1-2,38-44, Jairus' daughter in Mk 5:22-43; Lk 8:41-56, Dorcas in Acts 9:36-42; an Eutychus in Acts 20:7-12. However, the speaker would claim these were written after Christians taught physical resurrection, so these four New Testament examples technically do not address the speaker's argument.
Besides the Bible there are other Jewish writings, older than Paul's writing, that also show the speaker's argument is wrong. In the first and oldest section of the book of 1 Enoch, ch.22 shows that the righteous and some of the wicked will be raised. Other wicked ones who have been punished enough will not be raised. 2 Maccabees 14:37-47 also speaks of a bodily resurrection of 7 Jewish brothers and their mother put to death by Antiochus Epiphanes.
But what God teaches Satan tries to copy, so even Babylonian, Egyptian, and Greek religions believed in a bodily resurrection of certain selected individual gods or demi-gods. Furthermore, in his earthly ministry, Jesus resurrected a couple of people back to life in their mortal body. So when the speaker tries to persuade us that Paul used the term resurrection in a new, novel definition different from what every Jews and pagan would understand, that is crazy. He justifies this solely because Paul [allegedly] did not ever talk of our bodies being raised. However, Paul did in fact talk of our bodies being raised like Jesus' glorious body in Php 3:21.
Then the speaker goes on to ask the loaded question: "Why did the earliest sources apparently oppose the notion of a physical resurrection?" But as the speaker would admit that Philippians was one of the earliest books written, the question itself is a lie.
Now, let's compare the speaker's last two arguments. In this argument he says that a bodily resurrection was not taught until later in Christianity. But in the previous argument he says they may have believed Jesus' resurrection (bodily!) because Joseph of Arimathea might have taken the body. Then why would the speaker see a need for someone to steal the body, if bodily resurrection was allegedly not taught until much later? The only reason concern about someone stealing the body makes sense is if Jesus or the first disciples taught bodily resurrection.
Thus, rather than resurrection evolving from "spiritual only" in Paul's letters to being "bodily also" in the gospels, bodily resurrection was in the Old Testament prior Christ, known as a concept to pre-Christian pagans, taught by Paul and the gospels.
In summary, the fact that the disciples were with Jesus for three years, and the eleven were willing to not only die, but to devote the rest of their lives to His teaching, is still a compelling argument. If anyone would know if Jesus was real or not, it would be them. There is no alternative theory to the resurrection that holds water, and the rest of the New Testament consistently taught that Jesus bodily rose from the dead.
Summary of the Response to the Series
It is common for skeptics and so-called liberal Christians to try to say there are things wrong with the Bible and Christianity. The speaker briefly gave many of these objections. Here is a one or two sentence summary of the response to each of the eight videos.
1. Though the New Testament authors did not give us much information about themselves, we did not get their writings in a vacuum; we owe a debt to the early church for recognizing scripture.
2. When the New Testament writers quoted scripture in Greek, many times their quotes matched the Greek Septuagint, and sometimes they paraphrased.
3. Many Old Testament passages that Christians say are key Messianic prophecies were recognized as such by authoritative Jewish writers too.
4. Rather than complaining that teaching on Hell is not good news, realize that the good news is that Christ made a way to escape Hell and go to Heaven.
5. We don't need to perform the law obligations of animal sacrifices because Jesus was both high priest and sacrifice for us. Mosaic sacrifices were a type of His singular, unique sacrifice. Jesus' sacrifice did not have to be just like the animal sacrifices.
6. Some of the Old Testament Messianic prophecies as well as Jesus' prophecies will only be fulfilled during the rapture and return of Christ. It is important to see that some prophecies referred to the time of the resurrection, others later, and others God deliberately did not let us know the time.
7. Jesus obeyed the Old Testament Law before his resurrection, but He did not obey the Pharisees' extension of it. But both Jesus and the Old Testament showed that God's covenant relationship with us would be changing.
8. No one would die for what they believed was a lie. While some apostles were not end up as martyrs, several disciples and many early Christians did willingly suffer and die for their faith.
A Final Note
One might read this and get the false impression that I think the most important thing is to hold a particular belief or opinion on something.
It is estimated that about 50,000 early Christians were martyred for their faith prior to 325 A.D.. It was not because they thought Jesus was a good teacher, but in their following Jesus they would rather die than worship any other gods. These people did not just hold an opinion because it was more probable than the alternatives. Rather, they chose to have their life rest on their belief. God is not calling us merely to hold a belief, but to put our trust in that belief. Nobody would die for what they knew was a lie, but all too many people are not willing to step out and live their lives for the truth. But if a person will not live for the truth and live for God, they have nothing to die for, and ultimately nothing to live for either. I hope you come to the happiness of knowing Jesus as your Lord.
If you have any more questions about the Bible of Christianity, check for answers to over 8,828 questions on the Bible visit www.biblequery.org.
Bible verses from the NIV unless otherwise noted.
Bible textual variant are discussed at www.BibleQuery.org/OtherBeliefs/Skeptics/ResponsetoEhrman1_TextualVariants.html.
Alleged Bible contradictions are discussed at www.BibleQuery.org/OtherBeliefs/Skeptics/ResponsetoEhrman2_AllegedContradictions.html.
The canon of the Bible is discussed at www.BibleQuery.org/OtherBeliefs/Skeptics/ResponsetoEhrman4_Canon.html.
For a bibliography see www.BibleQuery.org/OtherBeliefs/Skeptics/ResponseToEhrman_ListOfReferences.html
For more info please contact Christian Debater™ P.O. Box 144441 Austin, TX 78714 www.BibleQuery.org