Reconnect Episode 7: Jews Claim that Jesus did not Fulfill Messianic Prophesy

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Reconnect logo designed by Kyle Beshears, author of Robot Jesus.
Reconnect logo designed by Kyle Beshears, author of Robot Jesus.

Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah, because they claim he didn’t fulfill Messianic prophesy.  Andy received an email from someone arguing that there were four key prophesies Jesus did not fulfill.  The sender also listed other ways in which Jesus contradicted the Hebrew Bible.  Andy discusses this email with Crean Lutheran High School’s Old Testament teacher, Conni Schramm.  She provides a Biblical response to all of the man’s objections.  Her first response to the email is shocking, and it should serve as a reminder for all of us entering into such debates via online messaging!

How would you have responded to these objections?  The following is the email Andy received at andy@contradictmovement.org in its entirety (swear words are blanked out):

I am contacting you because one of your members noticed my Israeli Air Force shirt today and proceeded to launch into horribly misinformed evangelical nonsense.  I’ve had more enlightening conversations with Time Warner Cable technical support.  He shared his nonsensical worldview with me, and I felt I should contact you, giving you feedback on one of your flock.  Simply put, he was an idiot, but just barely intelligent enough to be _____________.

Let me speak frankly, then: Jesus of Nazareth was not the messiah.

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:

  1. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
    Second one was already standing – he’s out!
  2. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
    There was an enormous population of Jews outside Israel that stayed outside – nope.
  3. 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)
    If anything, more people were killed in his name than any other reason.
  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). – Nope.

If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be the Messiah.  Jesus failed at all four.

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)  – Yet the genealogies of the gospels CONTRADICT EACH OTHER

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)   So, he’s a dissident.
Throughout the 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!”    And a blasphemer.
Quite Frankly, sir, your evangelical organization is a sham, and the word “Contradict” in your title only refers to contradicting yourself.  You can’t hold that all parts of the bible are true if Jesus BLATANTLY contradicts the Torah, though you hold that it is the binding word of God (written by people, by the way, even Torah) even though it is contradicted by a blasphemer and political dissident who accomplished exactly nothing.  Jesus contradicts Torah, yet you worship Leviticus 18:22. YOU ARE CONTRADICTING YOURSELF! Normally, I don’t get too upset about these things.  This person was hell-bent on converting me back to idiocy, and I am hell-bent on letting you know the following:
1. That your followers are ________.  You won’t win any hearts and minds with people like that.
2. That your followers are also idiots, they are incapable of thinking for themselves save the lies with which you fill their heads.
3. I shall make it my goal to contradict your insidious movement whenever the opportunity arises.

Reconnect Episode 4: Jesus vs. Zeus

Avengers meme that confuses God and god.  There is a difference.
Avengers meme that confuses God and god. There is a difference.

Jay Clair has been a very active member on my Contradict – They Can’t All Be True Facebook page.  

I discovered that he had a blog called Blue Eyed Shy Guy.  The blog stood out to me because I am a fan of Mario 2 for the NES, and to my knowledge it was the only Mario game that featured the Shy Guy characters.  Jay explains the name of his blog at the start of the podcast.  For this show we discuss one of his blog posts that really stood out to me: “What is Meant by God?”.

The blog post originated as a reply to an Avengers meme that his brother sent him.  Many people compare belief in Jesus to belief in Zeus, basically saying, they’re both mythological gods.  Yet, Jay responds with a break down of the difference between God with a capital G and god with a lower case g.  Doing such shows that belief in Jesus is nowhere near the same as belief in Zeus.  His work also shows that there isn’t as many proposed Gods to consider if someone is evaluating the world’s religions for truth.

Click here to listen to Episode 4: Jesus vs. Zeus (Right click to download).

Click here to listen on iTunes.

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Reconnect Episode 3: Scientology’s Robot Jesus

Kyle's book, Robot Jesus and Three Other Jesuses You Never Knew.
Kyle’s book, Robot Jesus and Three Other Jesuses You Never Knew.

Click here to listen to Episode 3: Scientology’s Robot Jesus (Right click to download).

Click here to listen to Reconnect on iTunes!
Kyle Beshears is the author of Robot Jesus and Three Other Jesuses You Never Knew.  Robot Jesus is the Jesus of Scientology.  The other three Jesuses are Big Brother Jesus (Mormonism), Archangel Jesus (Jehovah’s Witness), and Silver Medal Jesus (Islam).  For each of these religions he shares their origins, history, teachings, and practices.  Each chapter ends with tips for communicating the Real Jesus of the Bible to each of these religious groups.

Click here to download a free chapter of Robot Jesus, which just so happens to be the chapter on Scientology and Robot Jesus.

Kyle also created the Reconnect logo!  He won a design contest I ran.  His award is getting ten commercial plays on the show during this first year, so you’ll hear more about Kyle’s work via the commercials (and likely much more, since I plan to have him as a guest to cover the other chapters of his book).

Religious Syncretism – German woman takes a stand against Chrislam!

A Muslim imam is scheduled to pray to Allah at a local Christian building of worship near you in an effort of peace between Muslims and Christians… what do you do? Do you attend? Do you allow Allah of the Qur’an to be invoked in the Christian sanctuary? One German lady said that if that happens, the building is no longer a church building; it is a mosque! She interrupted the prayer and shouted that “Jesus is Lord.” She proclaimed, “Here I stand I can do no other.”

 

Christians should not partake in religious syncretism, the blending of differing religious belief systems so as they are one.

Christians can certainly pray anywhere and at any time. I have visited a Muslim mosque before during Friday noon prayer, and as a guest I was well treated and given a tour of the mosque and given an explanation of what was to transpire when I showed up early. I was given a spot in the back to sit and I was not expected to pray, though I did pray to the Christian God (the Triune Lord) during the service. I just did not give any indication that I was praying, and I certainly didn’t pray in the same physical posturing associated with Islamic prayers, because I did not want to give any indication that I was praying to the same God as the Muslims.

When a building that is designated as a place of Christian worship, has prayers offered by a Muslim leader to Allah with the expectation that prayers offered by a Christian leader to the God of the Bible will follow, it is a clear form of syncretism. Chrislam is the term I have heard used for this type of blending.

I don’t understand why the prophet Muhammad would encourage Christians to pray in mosques in Medina, because Christians pray to a God that is not one person. We pray to a God that is three in person. In fact, I have had many Muslims tell me that I worship three gods, not one God (which I was told at UCI after speaking at the interfaith discussion you hosted).

Christians who are devote to the Bible’s revelation of God, must stand for Christ being Lord. He is not just a prophet. He is the second person of the Trinity revealed to us in human flesh. In Jesus, people have seen, heard, touched, and known God. He has revealed to us who God, the Father is, and he has sent to us the Holy Spirit (the third person in the Trinity). For Christians to pray openly along with Muslims, it gives the impression to both parties that we are praying to the same God, which is far from the truth.

In fact Israel, under the old covenant were always disciplined by God when they fell into religious syncretism.

John 14:6 is very clear. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

For more examples of Chrislam, check out the following video, featuring George Bush, Brian Houston (Hillsong Pastor), and the Pope:

For more details on why all religions can’t be true, order a copy of my book, Contradict – They Can’t All Be True.

The Blind Men and the Elephant – The Response!

The following is an excerpt from my book, Contradict – They Can’t All Be True (FYI – the spacing doesn’t always transfer correctly from my PDF file to the blog):

Drawing by my friend Danny Martinez.
Drawing by my friend Danny Martinez.

A popular analogy that depicts an “all religions lead to God” form of pluralism is the story of several blind men touching various parts of an elephant and being unable to agree on a single description of the creature they’re touching. This story has connections to Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even Sufi Islam, a mystical branch of Islam. The story is found in the teachings of the Buddha within the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism. One of the most popular versions comes from a nineteenth-century poet, John Godfrey Saxe, who rewrote the story in rhyme.

Though there are minor discrepancies among the versions, they all present the same basic scenario: since each blind man is touching a different part of the elephant, they disagree on what the elephant actually is. The one touching the tail might think the elephant is a broom; the one touching the side of the elephant might think the elephant is a wall; the one touching
the elephant’s trunk might think the elephant is a snake. Individually, they each know a part of the elephant accurately, but not the sum total of the animal. They fail to grasp what the elephant actually is because of their blindness. Their dispute is futile since they are all mistaken.

It is pretty clear how this story can be used within the framework of pluralistic relativism. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and the like are all touching the same sacred elephant, God. But because all of humanity is spiritually blind, we are incapable of knowing God as he actually is. Any fighting among religious faiths is thus futile.

On the flip side, the good news within pluralism is that every religion is true based on what its adherents have experienced of the sacred reality. Since all religions have touched the sacred elephant, all religions lead to the same divine truth. Religious pluralists argue that if humanity could only come to “see” this predicament, all religious fighting could stop. We could recognize what each religion has learned about God and, by compiling the parts of the whole, come to a better understanding of who or what the nature and personhood of the sacred reality is.

The view of the divine expressed by the sacred elephant analogy is plausible and worth considering. Before considering the accuracy of its assertions, I want to stress the pluralistic uses of the story. Far from saying all religions are true, the story of the blind men and the elephant takes all religions and throws them under the bus, where they are left broken in their false perceptions of ultimate truth. As hopeful as this story can appear, in reality it just drops the bomb on absolute truth, at least absolute truth concerning God. The blind men show us that truth concerning God is unobtainable due to our limited faculties.

Skepticism toward God doesn’t invalidate this brand of pluralism. The problem lies within itself. Nestled within the story of the blind men and the elephant is a self-contradiction that makes the entire claim crumble in on itself. The pluralists claim that God is unknowable; every religion is wrong about its perceived understanding of the divine. However, in making this claim, the pluralists also implicitly declare they have an inside track on who God is. If no one is capable of knowing God due to our lack of sight in the realm of the divine, then what prescription glasses have enabled the pluralists to know the nature of God with such certainty? Pluralists are rejecting all exclusive truths concerning God, but making one themselves.

End of excerpt from Contradict – They Can’t All Be True.

In my book, I intentionally wrote with a non-Christian voice for the first six  chapters.  I first present what religious pluralism is and why its so dominant in our culture and society right now.  I then demonstrate how religious pluralism doesn’t actually work logically.  Responding to the elephant analogy was near the end of that section of the discussion before moving into presenting an evaluation of religious truth-claims and ultimately landing on the trustworthy nature of the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth to save us from sin and death and reconcile us into a right relationship with God!  Since I wasn’t ready to let it out of the bag that I was a Christian yet in that stage of the book writing process, I didn’t  respond to the elephant analogy the way I typically would.  The following is a more complete Christian response to this popular analogy:

A critique of this parable would contain the following points:

  1. This parable is actually claiming that all religions are false.
  2. This parable makes all aspects of life subjective.  There is no absolute, objective reality that we can be certain we are experiencing correctly.  If absolutes don’t exist in a way that we can comprehend them, morals and ethics also become subjective.  There would no longer be such a thing as right and wrong.
  3. Any exclusive religion, such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are forced to give up their claims to exclusivity to fit into the inclusive, pluralism which this parable projects.
  4. With Christianity’s exclusive claim that Jesus is the only way to salvation, all other religions would have to be false if Christianity is true, or Christianity could be false and other religions true.  This does not fit with the elephant analogy at all.
  5. The original telling of this legend has a king who sees the blind men groping at the elephant arguing about what they are touching.  The king reveals to them in laughter that they are all foolish men that they are all touching the same reality, the elephant!  This is very interesting that the original legend has a word from above revealing the truth to the blind men.  This indicates that the truth is actually discernible – we might just need some help from someone up above.
  6. The original ending of this parable lends itself very well to Christianity.  Christianity teaches that help did come from above.  That God has revealed himself to mankind through what he has created as well as through special revelation from the Scriptures and in particular through the second person of the Trinity, Jesus, taking on flesh and walking amongst us, revealing the truth to us, healing the blind and helping them see.  This revelatory claim of Christianity isn’t even considered or introduced in pluralistic uses of this parable.

Conclusion: Declare truth where truth is found!

It seems clear that all religions cannot be fully and equally true.  There are direct contradictions within the teachings of the world’s religions, such as Jesus is God (Christianity) and Jesus is not God (Islam), which eliminate the possibility that all religions are true.

This however doesn’t mean that aspects of the truth cannot be found within various religions.  Christians would do good to point these truths out from time to time.  If Christ’s claim is true that he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), then all truth would be God’s truth, no matter where it is found.  Where truth is found, declare it, use it, put it in its full context of which it is fully and directly revealed from God in the Bible.  The Apostle Paul did when he quoted the philosophers of the Athenians (Acts 17).  We can do it too!

G220 Radio – Contradict: They Can’t All Be True

I was just on a padcast show called G220 Radio.  The name comes from Galatians 2:20.  You should look that verse up, here. The show is hosted by Ricky Gantz.  He has followed the Contradict – They Can’t All Be True Facebook page for quite awhile.  He recently launched this podcast and he has a lot of great topics that I think anyone who likes this blog would be interested in hearing discussed.  The show before the Contradict episode was on Jehovah’s Witnesses and the show that will be aired next week is on interracial relationships and marriages – you know from the Bible.  I hope they address the insane idea that dark skinned people came from the descendents of Ham, because Ham was cursed to have children born to slavery.  If you want to see where people get that idea, go to Genesis 9.

For the G220 Radio episode I was on as the guest, I love that Ricky focused on Chapter 2 of Contradict – They Can’t All Be True.  Chapter 2 teaches the basic history, beliefs, and practices of the world’s five major religions via 20 key terms for each.  So 100 terms in total.  Ricky went through each of the five religions and asked me to speak on some of those terms for each religion.  I like that he did this because I took it upon myself to compare and contrast the teachings with what the Bible teaches us.  I also was able to give some good points for where the Gospel could be interjected into the teachings of other religions – in other words points at which adherents of these other religions would find the Gospel to be truly Good News for them!

Ricky also got to share some experiences he has had using Contradict in evangelism.

Give it a listen and share it far and wide.  G220 Radio: Contradict They Can’t All Be True!

G220