Have you ever wondered why the bulk of Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah? As you read through this article, imagine that a man arrives on the scene who DOES appear to fulfill these prophecies.
I am fully convinced that the Antichrist will attempt to present himself as the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. Remember that satan knows the Biblical prophecies, and will try to duplicate them well enough to fool even the elect – if it were possible (Matthew 24:24).
I believe that satan, as part of his great deception (2 Thessalonians 2) may try to woo Israel, and through them, the world, that he is their anticipated “messiah”. As for the wooing of Israel, in the sense of pursuing her, I want you to consider Messianic tradition. From wikipedia:
Jewish tradition alludes to four messianic figures. Called the Four Craftsmen, each will be involved in ushering in the Messianic age. They are mentioned in the Talmud and the Book of Zechariah. Rashi in his commentary on the Talmud gives more details. Rashi explains that Messiah ben Joseph is called a craftsman because he will help rebuild the temple. Nahmanides also commented on Messiah ben Joseph’s rebuilding of the temple. The roles of the Four Craftsmen are as follows. Elijah will be the herald of the eschaton. If necessary, Messiah ben Joseph will wage war against the evil forces and die in combat with the enemies of God and Israel. According to Saadia Gaon the need for his appearance will depend on the spiritual condition of the Jewish people. In the Sefer Zerubbabel and later writings, after his death a period of great calamities will befall Israel. God will then resurrect the dead and usher in the Messianic Era of universal peace. Messiah ben David will reign as a Jewish king during the period when God will resurrect the dead. With the ascendancy of Rabbinic Judaism the Righteous Priest has largely not been the subject of Jewish messianic speculation. Most Jews believe that the Third Temple will be built during this era.
The following is an article from a Jewish website (aish.com – Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus) which explains why Jews don’t believe that Jesus is the Messiah. I have highlighted significant phrases in teal. In green, I have inserted Jack Kelley’s responses to these arguments – taken from gracethrufaith.com- Why Do Jews Reject Jesus as the Messiah.
Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus
Source Articles: aish.com by Rabbi Shraga Simmons – Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus – http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html
with commentary inserted from Jack Kelley’s articles at gracethrufaith – Why Do Jews Reject Jesus as the Messiah Part 1, https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/tough-questions-answered/jews-reject-jesus-messiah/, and Part 2 https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/tough-questions-answered/jews-reject-jesus-messiah-part-2/
Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.
Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.
Biblical verses “referring” to Jesus are mistranslations.
Jewish belief is based on national revelation.
But first, some background: What exactly is the Messiah?
The word “Messiah” is an English rendering of the Hebrew word Mashiach, which means “anointed.” It usually refers to a person initiated into God’s service by being anointed with oil. (Exodus 29:7, 1-Kings 1:39, 2-Kings 9:3)
(1) Jesus Did Not Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies
What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? One of the central themes of biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4, 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)
Specifically, the Bible says he will:
Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all the world – on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).
If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be the Messiah.
Because no one has ever fulfilled the Bible’s description of this future King, Jews still await the coming of the Messiah. All past Messianic claimants, including Jesus of Nazareth, Bar Cochba and Shabbtai Tzvi have been rejected.
Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming. Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the Bible no concept of a second coming exists.
Response: What they mean here is that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies of the Kingdom Age. But they ignore the hundreds of Messianic prophecies that Jesus did fulfill. These prophecies were meant to help them identify the Messiah when He came. Here are a few examples:
He was born in Bethlehem as foretold in Micah 5:2.
He was born of a virgin as foretold in Isaiah 7:14.
He came from the tribe of Judah as foretold in Genesis 49:10.
He was the Son of God as foretold in Psalm 2:7.
He was the son of David as foretold in 2 Samuel 7:14-16.
He had a special anointing of the Holy Spirit as foretold in Isaiah 11:2.
He gave sight to the blind and caused the lame to walk as foretold in Isaiah 35:5-6.
Had the leaders of Israel recognized Him and allowed Him to be the ultimate sacrifice for their sins, as foretold in Isaiah 53:4-5, He could have fulfilled the Kingdom prophecies at that time as well. Since they didn’t, He went back to Heaven after His resurrection to await their call for His return as foretold in Hosea 5:15.
(2) Jesus Did Not Embody the Personal Qualifications of Messiah
A. Messiah as Prophet
The Messiah will become the greatest prophet in history, second only to Moses. (Targum – Isaiah 11:2; Maimonides – Teshuva 9:2)
Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry, a situation which has not existed since 300 BCE. During the time of Ezra, when the majority of Jews remained in Babylon, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets – Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended, and thus could not be a prophet.
Response: I can’t find any Biblical support for this one. And the great Hebrew sage Mosheh ben Maimon (Maimonides), who lived 1500 years after prophecy had supposedly ended, claimed that any man has the potential to become a prophet (not just Jews). He made no mention of the need for a majority of the world’s Jewry to live in Israel in connection with this. Also there was actually about a 400 year gap between Malachi, the last Old Testament prophet and the birth of Jesus. Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah all preceded him.
B. Descendant of David
Many prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)
The Messiah must be descended on his father’s side from King David (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father – and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father’s side from King David. (1)
According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (2) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.
Response: In the first place Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1 do not specify that the Messiah has to be descended from King David on His father’s side. Genesis 49:10 simply says he will be of the tribe of Judah, and Isaiah 11:1 says he would be descended from the family of Jesse, David’s father.
But to use a fact they don’t accept (the virgin birth) to claim Jesus had no father and therefore couldn’t be descended from David defies logic. As you’ll see, they don’t believe in the virgin birth, so they must believe Jesus had an earthly father. The most obvious candidate would have been Joseph, to whom Mary was betrothed, and who was descended from David. But even if they reject Joseph, the most they could say is they don’t know who the father of Jesus was so they can’t be sure of his family heritage.
But more importantly, in Genesis 3:15 God said in effect that the Messiah would be descended from Eve. So from the earliest times it’s been known that the Messiah would be descended from a woman. The Lord’s mother Mary was a descendant of King David’s through his son Nathan.
C. Torah Observance
The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. The Torah states that all mitzvot remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)
Throughout the Christian “New Testament,” Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), “He does not observe Shabbat!”
Response: Deut. 13:1-4 was a warning against allowing false prophets to entice the people into following other gods. Jesus never did that. Also, He said, “ Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until Heaven and Earth disappear not the smallest letter or the least stroke of a pen will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matt. 5:17-18).
(3) Mistranslated Verses “Referring” to Jesus
Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text – which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.
A. Virgin Birth
The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an “alma” as giving birth. The word “alma” has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as “virgin.” This accords Jesus’ birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.
Response: It is true that the Hebrew word “alma” has been translated “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 and that the word also means “young woman”. But it wasn’t Christian theologians who first determined that “alma” should be translated “virgin”. When the Greek ruler Ptolemy Philadelphus II commissioned 70 Hebrew scholars to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek in the 3rd Century BC they chose the Greek word “parthenos” for “alma” in Isaiah 7:14. Parthenos is a word that can only refer to someone who has never had sexual intercourse. (The work of these scholars became known as the Septuagint translation and was the most widely used translation of the Old Testament during the Lord’s time.)
Also, in Isaiah 7:14 the prophet was describing a sign God would give to Israel. What kind of a sign would it be to say a young woman would give birth? It was an everyday occurrence and would have been meaningless. But a virgin giving birth would have been an unmistakably miraculous sign.
The most common Hebrew word for virgin in the Bible is “bethulah”. Why didn’t the Lord have Isaiah use that word instead of “alma” and avoid all the confusion?
It’s because when the Lord had His prophets speak an important prophecy with a fulfillment far in the future, he often had them phrase it in such a way that it could be partially fulfilled within their lifetime. In Deut. 18:22 the Lord had warned His people that if what a prophet said didn’t come true, it meant he wasn’t speaking for the Lord. A partial fulfillment during the prophet’s lifetime served as confirmation of the ultimate fulfillment and protected him against being labeled a false prophet.
In Isaiah’s case, the partial fulfillment came through his own wife. Isaiah 8 tells us she bore a son whose early life fulfilled the short term prophecies in Isaiah 7:15-17, repeated in Isaiah 8:4. And from Isaiah 8:10 we learn the name Immanuel (God with us) was first associated with him.
The Lord couldn’t call Isaiah’s wife a virgin because she wasn’t one, and besides there would only ever be one virgin birth. But He could use a word that hinted of it, and so he had Isaiah use alma. After Isaiah was long gone and they only had the ultimate fulfillment to deal with, the 70 Hebrew Scholars I mentioned above confirmed that the clear intent of the passage was to be a prophecy of the virgin birth.
B. Suffering Servant
Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the “suffering servant.”
In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews (“Israel”) are regarded as one unit. Throughout Jewish scripture, Israel is repeatedly called, in the singular, the “Servant of God” (see Isaiah 43:8). In fact, Isaiah states no less than 11 times in the chapters prior to 53 that the Servant of God is Israel.
When read correctly, Isaiah 53 clearly [and ironically] refers to the Jewish people being “bruised, crushed and as sheep brought to slaughter” at the hands of the nations of the world. These descriptions are used throughout Jewish scripture to graphically describe the suffering of the Jewish people (see Psalm 44).
Isaiah 53 concludes that when the Jewish people are redeemed, the nations will recognize and accept responsibility for the inordinate suffering and death of the Jews.
Response: This is a very weak claim because in Isaiah 52:13 the context clearly shifts to a discussion of “my servant” and the singular personal pronouns “he”, “him”, and “his” from there to the end of Isaiah 53 all refer to the phrase “my servant.” There really isn’t any way to read Isaiah 53 literally other than to see it as referring to a male person. Trying to make the singular third person pronoun represent Israel leaves one with the problem of defining who the first person plural pronouns “we”, “us”, and “our” (the people speaking) represent, because it’s obvious from the context that it’s Israel.
In addition, this claim puts Israel in the position of dying for the sins of others to bring them peace (Isaiah 53:4-6). Does anyone really believe that? Besides, Isaiah 53:8 says “He was stricken for the transgressions of my people”. Whether these words are attributed to God or to Isaiah, isn’t Israel “my people”?
Finally a clear reading of Isaiah 53 so accurately describes the rejection, suffering, death, and resurrection of the Messiah, it’s been said that more Jewish people have been converted to Christianity by this one chapter than by all the rest of the Bible.
The verse in Psalms 22:16 reads: “Like a lion, they are at my hands and feet.” The Hebrew word ki-ari (like a lion) is grammatically similar to the word “gouged.” Thus Christianity reads the verse as a reference to crucifixion: “They pierced my hands and feet.”
Response: According to the Strong’s Concordance the Hebrew word in Psalm 22:16 is “karah”. It appears 16 times in the Old Testament and means to dig, make, open, or pierce.
Also, Zechariah 12:10 tells us that near the end of the Great Tribulation the Lord will pour out a spirit of grace and supplication on the Jewish people, saying, “And they will look upon Me, who they pierced.” Here a different Hebrew word is used and both the Jewish and Christian Bibles agree that it means “pierced”. It’s a second source that confirms the manner in which the Messiah would die.
(4) Jewish Belief is Based Solely on National Revelation
Throughout history, thousands of religions have been started by individuals, attempting to convince people that he or she is God’s true prophet. But personal revelation is an extremely weak basis for a religion because one can never know if it is indeed true. Since others did not hear God speak to this person, they have to take his word for it. Even if the individual claiming personal revelation performs miracles, they do not prove he is a genuine prophet. All the miracles show – assuming they are genuine – is that he has certain powers. It has nothing to do with his claim of prophecy.
Judaism, unique among all of the world’s major religions, does not rely on “claims of miracles” as the basis for its religion. In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of “miracles” to charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah (Deut. 13:4).
Of the thousands of religions in human history, only Judaism bases its belief on national revelation – i.e. God speaking to the entire nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense He’ll tell everyone, not just one person.
Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8):
The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the miracles he performed. Whenever anyone’s belief is based on seeing miracles, he has lingering doubts, because it is possible the miracles were performed through magic or sorcery. All of the miracles performed by Moses in the desert were because they were necessary, and not as proof of his prophecy.
What then was the basis of [Jewish] belief? The Revelation at Mount Sinai, which we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears, not dependent on the testimony of others… as it says, “Face to face, God spoke with you…” The Torah also states: “God did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us – who are all here alive today.” (Deut. 5:3)
Judaism is not miracles. It is the personal eyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago.
Response: God did speak to the people once, and they asked Him not to ever do that again, but to appoint prophets to speak for Him (Deut. 18:15-18). Thereafter God only spoke to the nation through those He appointed as prophets.
Moreover, the idea that Judaism isn’t miracles simply doesn’t hold up under inspection. When the Israelites were resigned to certain defeat at the hands of the Egyptians, God had Moses part the Red Sea to give them an escape route (Exodus 14:15-31). When there wasn’t enough time in the day to defeat their enemies, Joshua asked God to make the sun stand still, and He did (Joshua 10:12-15). When they couldn’t decide whether to worship Baal or God, Elijah used a miracle to persuade them to follow God (1 Kings 18:16-39).
Their whole religious system was based on the evidence God regularly provided through miracles. According to their traditions, the smoke from their offerings always rose straight into heaven no matter how strong the wind was blowing or from what direction. When the scapegoat died on Yom Kippur, a scarlet ribbon tied to the Temple door always turned white to signify their sins had been forgiven in fulfillment of Isaiah 1:18. And what about the Passover, was that not a miraculous event? Their history is full of miracles God provided to give support to Israel’s faith. It’s the Church who is asked to believe on the strength of faith in God’s revealed word alone.
Waiting for the Messiah
The world is in desperate need of Messianic redemption. To the extent that we are aware of the problems of society, is the extent we will yearn for redemption. As the Talmud says, one of the first questions asked of a Jew on Judgment Day is: “Did you yearn for the arrival of the Messiah?”
How can we hasten the coming of the Messiah? The best way is to love all humanity generously, to keep the mitzvot of the Torah (as best we can), and to encourage others to do so as well.
Despite the gloom, the world does seem headed toward redemption. One apparent sign is that the Jewish people have returned to the Land of Israel and made it bloom again. Additionally, a major movement is afoot of young Jews returning to Torah tradition.
The Messiah can come any day, and it all depends on our actions. God is ready when we are. For as King David says: “Redemption will come today – if you hearken to His voice.”
(the article at aish.com ends here, but Jack Kelley continues to answer objections to Jesus as Messiah below:)
5) Christianity Contradicts Jewish Theology
a. God as three?
Claim: The idea of the Trinity breaks God into three separate beings: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).
Contrast this to the Shema, the basis of Jewish belief: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” (Deut. 6:4). Jews declare the Shema every day, while writing it on doorposts (Mezuzah), and binding it to the hand and head (Tefillin). This statement of God’s One-ness is the first words a Jewish child is taught to say, and the last words uttered before a Jew dies.
In Jewish law, worship of a three-part god is considered idolatry—one of the three cardinal sins that a Jew should rather give up his life than transgress. This explains why during the Inquisitions and throughout history, Jews gave up their lives rather than convert.
Response: This has always been a huge stumbling block in Jewish circles. But a careful examination of the Old Testament shows it shouldn’t be. Isaiah 9:6 says, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This prophecy was 750 years old when the Lord was born. It speaks of a child being born and a son being given who would be called, among other things, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father. These are titles that belong to God alone. Here we have a Son who would be called by the same names as His Father.
In Psalm 2 David wrote of God’s anointed one (the Messiah) being His King, who God would call His Son, and to whom He would give the Earth as a possession. He said everyone who takes refuge in the Son will be blessed. Certainly David was not describing a mere man, because God never spoke of a man this way.
In addition to the Son, the Holy Spirit, or Ruach haElohim, is also mentioned separately from God, beginning with the Genesis creation account. In Genesis 1:1 God is mentioned. Then in verse 2 it’s the Spirit of God, and in verse 3 it’s God again. The Spirit of God is independently mentioned 14 times in the Old Testament. So the Old Testament shows Father, Son and Holy Spirit all mentioned separately, while maintaining there is only one God. Whether in the Old Testament or the New, the Bible speaks of One God in three persons.
b. God as man?
Claim: Christians believe that God came down to earth in human form, as Jesus said: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Maimonides devotes most of the “Guide for the Perplexed” to the fundamental idea that God is incorporeal, meaning that He assumes no physical form. God is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyond space. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that God assumes human form makes God small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torah says: “God is not a mortal” (Numbers 23:19).
Judaism says that the Messiah will be born of human parents, and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, and will not possess supernatural qualities. In fact, an individual is alive in every generation with the capacity to step into the role of the Messiah. (see Maimonides – Laws of Kings 11:3)
Response: This is a case where most of this claim consists of those who don’t believe Jesus is God explaining why Jesus can’t be God. Jews and Christians alike believe that God is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyond space. He cannot be born, and cannot die.
But instead of quoting non-biblical sources, let’s see what the Bible says, or in some cases doesn’t say. For instance, does the Bible say the Messiah will be born of human parents? No. In part one we saw that the Bible says the Messiah would be born of a woman and God Himself would call Him Son. Does it say the Messiah will not possess supernatural qualities? No. Again, in part one we saw numerous Old Testament prophecies that speak of His miraculous powers; healing the sick, giving sight to the blind and causing the lame to walk. Has there been someone in every generation who can meet these requirements? No. There has only been One.
Micah 5:2 was written about the same time as Isaiah. It tells us the Messiah King would be born in Bethlehem but that His origins were from days of eternity past.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
The Hebrew words in this passage indicate that while He would be born into the world at a point in time, He has actually existed from before time and will exist perpetually. That cannot be said of any man from any generation.
Let’s take a moment to discuss why God had to become a man. God could have easily reversed the effect of the serpent’s actions in the garden and preserved mankind’s immortality. But had He done so, He would have violated His own law, something a just God cannot do. His laws of redemption (Leviticus 25) indicate that it takes a man to redeem what men have lost, whether it be their property or their freedom. (Adam and Eve had lost both.) In some cases a next of kin is required.
And so the idea of a Kinsman Redeemer emerged. This is why God told the serpent an offspring of Eve’s would defeat Him. This theme runs throughout the Old Testament progressively narrowing the field of candidates to an Israelite from the tribe of Judah and the family of King David. But although He would be a Jewish man He wouldn’t just redeem the Jewish people. He would bring God’s salvation to the ends of the Earth (Isaiah 49:6).
In the meantime, God ordained that a substitute would suffice to temporarily set aside the sins of the people. The substitute He selected was a lamb, but it had to be a perfect specimen, without any spot or blemish. That’s because the substitute was a model or type of the real thing. It tells us the Redeemer had to be as innocent (sin free) as a lamb and a perfect specimen of mankind.
This created a problem because after Adam sinned, all of mankind was infected with a sin nature, thereby disqualifying every descendant of Adam’s from redeeming us. Man was no longer innocent and no longer a perfect specimen. The only solution was for God Himself to become a man to save mankind. So He sent His Spirit to Mary and she became pregnant with His Son. Nine months later the child was born and the Son was given in fulfillment of Isaiah 9:6. He was the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world (John 1:29). By living the life of an ordinary man, yet remaining free of sin, He qualified to be our kinsman redeemer, and gave His life so God could spare ours.
c. intermediary for prayer?
Claim: Jesus makes himself an intermediary, as He said: “No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”
In Judaism, prayer is a totally private matter, between each individual and God. As the Bible says: “God is near to all who call unto Him” (Psalms 145:18). Further, the Ten Commandments state: “You shall have no other gods BEFORE ME,” meaning that it is forbidden to set up a mediator between God and man.
Response: The context of John 14:6 is salvation, not prayer. Jesus was saying that the only way to be saved from the penalty of our sins and spend eternity in the presence of God is to believe that Jesus paid that penalty with His life.
Christians are free to pray to the Father and can add emphasis to their prayers by invoking the name of the Son, but either way we’re praying to the same God that Jewish people pray to. There is no other god before (between) us. Also the commandment cited above doesn’t mean we can’t allow Jesus to intercede for us. In the first place, the commandment does not say it’s forbidden to set up a mediator between God and man, it says we shall have no other gods. And in the second place, Jesus is not another god.
d. involvement in the physical world
Claim: Christian doctrine often treats the physical world as an evil to be avoided.
By contrast, Judaism believes that God created the physical world not to frustrate us, but for our pleasure. Jewish spirituality comes through grappling with the mundane world in a way that uplifts and elevates. Sex in the proper context is one of the holiest acts we can perform.
The Talmud says if a person has the opportunity to taste a new fruit and refuses to do so, he will have to account for that in the World to Come. Jewish rabbinical schools teach how to live amidst the bustle of commercial activity. Jews don’t retreat from life, they elevate it.
Response: I don’t understand how any Jewish person with a knowledge of Jewish history can conclude that the physical world is anything but evil, or fail to see that there is a malevolent force in this world that seems determined to eliminate the Jewish people by any means possible.
I agree that among those whose efforts have made this world a better place there is a disproportionate number of Jewish people, and I see this as evidence that the relationship they had with God in Old testament times is still bearing fruit.
I also agree that God did not create the physical world to frustrate mankind. But to me Genesis 3:17-19 is a very clear description of how God’s perfect creation became a frustrating physical environment due to sin coming into the world.
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
6) Jews and Gentiles
Claim: Judaism does not demand that everyone convert to the religion. The Torah of Moses is a truth for all humanity, whether Jewish or not. King Solomon asked God to heed the prayers of non-Jews who come to the Holy Temple (Kings I 8:41-43). The prophet Isaiah refers to the Temple as a “House for all nations.”
The Temple service during Sukkot featured 70 bull offerings, corresponding to the 70 nations of the world. The Talmud says that if the Romans would have realized how much benefit they were getting from the Temple, they’d never have destroyed it.
Response: This is a subtle attempt to discredit Christian missionaries, in effect saying, “We don’t demand that everyone convert to Judaism, why do you demand that we convert to Christianity?”
But the historical facts do not support this “live and let live” attitude. For example King Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8:41-43 was only meant for non-Jews who came to worship the God of Israel.
And by the Lord’s own command, the “house of prayer for all nations” was only open to those foreigners who bound themselves to the God of Israel, obeyed His covenant, kept His sabbaths and offered sacrifices on His altar (Isaiah 56:6-8). This was because it was correctly believed that the salvation of Gentiles was only possible through the God of Israel. Foreigners in Israel received all the benefits of life among God’s people but were also accountable for keeping His laws.
But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things (Lev. 18:26),
Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household (Deut 26:11).
You might say that in their day, the Jewish people were as zealous for the Lord as we Christians are in ours. And there’s only one reason Christians want others to convert. It’s because that’s the only way to inherit eternal life.
7) Bringing the Messiah
Claim: Maimonides stated that the popularity of both Christianity and Islam is part of God’s plan to spread the ideals of Torah throughout the world. This moves society closer to a perfected state of morality and toward a greater understanding of God. All this is in preparation for the Messianic age.
Indeed, the world is in desperate need of Messianic redemption. War and pollution threaten our planet; ego and confusion erode family life. To the extent we are aware of the problems of society, is the extent we will yearn for redemption. As the Talmud says, one of the first questions a Jew is asked on Judgment Day is: “Did you yearn for the arrival of the Messiah?”
Response: What a difference 500 years can make in our perspective. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone today sees Islam as part of God’s plan to elevate the Torah, or that society is being moved toward a perfected state of morality and a greater understanding of God.
But on the on the issue of the world being in desperate need of Messianic redemption, we are in total agreement. And Isaiah 2:1-5 tells us that that when He comes, the Messiah will teach the world His ways, that they may walk in His path. The Law (Torah) will go out from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Between now and then the worst time the world ever has or ever will see will come and go, and Israel will be right in the thick of it. And toward the end when it will seem like all is lost, the Lord will pour out a Spirit of Grace and supplication on His people Israel, and they will look on Him who they pierced and mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son (Zechariah 12:10).
And they will say, “Come let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us. He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds. After two days He will revive us and on the third day He will restore us that we may live in His presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord, let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises He will appear. He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth (Hosea 6:1-3).
How will the Lord respond to this?
“Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their blood guilt which I have not pardoned I will pardon.” The Lord dwells in Zion. (Joel 3:20-21)
How I See This Playing Out:
- reveal Himself/speak to Israel on a national level, as the Jews are expecting. They expect the eyewitness account of every man, woman, and child (as at Mount Sinai).
At this time, the “false messiah” (antichrist) will likely arise and:
- allow / encourage building of the Third Temple
- attempt to gather all Jews back to Israel
- promise to usher in an age of world peace / perfection
- allow the spread of universal knowledge of the God of Israel
- unite humanity in religion
- appear to be the greatest prophet in history
- come when majority of world Jewry is in Israel
- be descended on Father’s side from King David
- be fully human, from a human birth (no virgin birth)
- allow, or possibly lead, full Torah observance (Old Testament covenant relationship – books of Moses)
- cause the nations to recognize and accept responsibility for poor treatment of the Jews
Further Recommended Reading:
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!