One of the biggest objections Jews have to Jesus Christ being Israel’s promised Messiah is the fact He has not fulfilled the Hebrew prophecies about defeating Israel’s enemies and establishing the Davidic rule of the world from a rebuilt Tempe in Jerusalem. However, the Apostle Peter spoke to that objection almost 2,000 years ago.
“But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:18-26
Jesus did fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies about Messiah’s suffering and would have fulfilled all of the other prophecies “if” Israel had repented and been converted. God would have forgiven their sins and sent Jesus Christ from Heaven back to Israel to establish the long-promised Messianic Kingdom. As we know, Israel rejected the offer and killed many of Christ’s followers in a futile attempt to destroy those “who were of the Way.” (Acts 9:2)
Most Jews and Christians agree that after a long time of trouble, God will establish Israel as the foremost nation in the world and will bring about universal peace. That’s where the Messiah comes into the picture. Some Jews believe the Messiah will be a man from the lineage of King David, with impeccable spiritual credentials, who will lead Israel to defeat the great armies of the world and bring in a time of universal peace. Some Jews believe the people of Israel will rise up with the help of God and bring in a time of lasting peace through the principles of messiah. Christians believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah of Israel and will come back to earth a second time to defeat the armies of the world and establish great peace in Israel. So, who’s right?
I’ve had the privilege of speaking with many Jewish people through the years about their Messiah. I’ve found a lot of common ground with them about prophecies concerning the Messiah. However, I’ve also come across some major disagreements. For those Jews who believe the Messiah will be a person, one thing we can agree on is that the Messiah begins life as a baby. Question is, was it the baby Jesus?
Was the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth found empty three days after he was crucified? If not, then Christianity is the biggest lie and the biggest waste of time in history. While the historicity of the empty tomb does not, by itself, constitute a convincing argument for the Resurrection, it plays an indispensable role as Jesus could not have risen from the dead if his tomb was not empty. There are several good historical reasons to accept the historicity of the empty tomb. Contrary to common belief, it is not something that needs to be taken solely on faith.
1. The belief in the empty tomb predates the Gospels and even the writings of Paul. Continue reading →
When Christians hear objections with regard to who Jesus claimed to be, they (without fail) whip out CS Lewis’ famous trilemma of “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord”. Based on Jesus’ claims of being the “I AM” of the Old Testament and the “Son of Man” who was the divine figure referenced throughout Jewish apocryphal literature, in addition to the fact that Jesus accepted worship and claimed to have the authority to forgive sins, he cannot simply be a good teacher or a prophet…yada yada yada. No good teacher or prophet would say the things that Jesus said or do the things that Jesus did…yada yada yada (not ‘yoda!). This approach is all well and good in dealing with pluralists, as I show here. But when dealing with skeptics, the Liar, Lunatic, Lord approach doesn’t work.
“How do you really know that Jesus said and did all that stuff?” The trilemma becomes a “quadlemma”. A fourth option now rears its ugly head…Legend.
So your skeptical friend just heard about something called, “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” But unlike the fiction Dan Brown created in the Da Vinci Code, this wasn’t in a movie or a novel. She just caught another sensational segment on the evening news talking about how controversial this new find is. And the media is jumping all over it.
But this really isn’t rocking anyone’s world. Especially in the academic community. Continue reading →
Religious Pluralism is a post-modern way of thinking that rejects the idea that any one religion is true, rather, all religions are equally true and equally valid ways to God. While pluralistic efforts at trying to support equality, tolerance, and dialogue may be noteworthy in some instances, there are serious philosophical, historical, and logical flaws in this type of thinking. In this post I will deal with Jesus’ claims to divinity. If it can be demonstrated that Jesus claimed to be God, then Religious Pluralism suffers a fatal blow. Why is that?