Answers to a Bible Skeptic

    OUTLINE
  1. Until Shiloh comes
  2. Elijah the Prophet
    1. John as literal Elijah
    2. John as Elijah in spirit
    3. Jesus considered John Elijah in the flesh
    4. John failed to carry out Elijah's mission
    5. Elijah was alleged to appear to some disciples
    6. Jesus mission opposite of Elijah's.
  3. Jesus' Geneology
    1. Jesus not descend from Joseph
    2. Two geneologies not agree
    3. One geneology is Mary's
    4. Geneologies Erroneous
    5. Geneologies Diverge after Solomon
  4. The Trinity
  5. Non-Existent Prophecies
  6. Jesus' False Prophecies
  7. Objections to the Atonement
    1. Jesus' Atonement contradicts the righteousness which can be obtain by the law
    2. Jesus in an inappropriate Old Covenant sacrifice
    3. blood was one of many ways of obtaining an atonement
    4. Jesus was hardly a perfect man:
  8. Conclusion

1. Until Shiloh comes. (Gen 49:10)

OBJECTION

ANSWER

  1. It is very far from being certain that the term "Shiloh" has any reference to the Messiah. Many critics interpret it of "the Ephraimite city where the tabernacle was erected, after the Israelites had entered the promised land." Here, during the judges' rule, the sanctuary remained, God revealed himself, the yearly feasts were kept, and the pious assembled as at their religious centre. On this hypothesis, the sense is, "Till he, or one, come to Shiloh." That is, Judah should be the leader of the Tribes during their march through the wilderness, till they arrive at Shiloh, the centre of the promised inheritance.

  2.  

     
     
     

    Another ancient interpretation is: "Judah shall possess the sceptre till he comes to whom it belongs." So, in substance, the Septuagint (according to one reading), Aquila, Symmachus, the Peohito, Onkelos, one Arabic, and most of the ancient versions, the Jerusalem Targum, Jahn, Von Bohlen, DeWette, Krummacher, etc.

  3. Admitting the Messianic reference, the passage still furnishes little difficulty. "Judah," says Keil, "was to bear the sceptre with victorious, lion-like courage, until, in the future Shiloh, the obediencee of the nations came to him, and his rule over the tribes was widened into peaceful government of the world." In the camp and on the march, Judah too, the first place among the tribes (Num 2:2,3; 7:12; 10:14) After the death of Joshua, Judah by divine direction opened the war upon the Canaanites; David and Solomon, the same tribe gained undisputed preeminence. In further proof, it may be added that, later, this tribe gave the name "jews" to the whole people ; "Juhudim" from "jehudah". Moreover, our Lord himself - the Shiloh, upon this interpretation - came as a man of the tribe of Judah. So that unto Jesus, and in him as Shiloh, that tribe maintained an easy pre-eminence.

2. Elijah the Prophet (Malachi 3:1; 23-24)

Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall clear the way before Me;and the Lord, whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in, behold, he comes, says the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 3:1)

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of thegreat and terribel day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the land with utter destruction." (Malachi 3:23-24) [this selection is almost never included in Christian translations].

OBJECTION

A. John as literal Elijah

ANSWER

John was Elias in a figurative but not a literal sense. John's denial was that he was the literal Elias. He came in the spirit and power of the Tishbite prophet, and was the Elias of his day. Our Saviour's words, "If ye will receive it" (if ye can comprehend the meaning of the prophecy), "this is Elias which was to come," (Matt 11:14) show that a literal fulfilment was not intended.

OBJECTION

B. John as Elijah in spirit

Christians counter: John was to represent Elijah in respect of Elijah's "spirit and power" (Luke 1:17).

ANSWER

Malachi 4:5 can also be understood in this sense as it is not uncommon in the semantics of the language.
 
Take for example,
Hosea 3:5 "Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days."
and
Ezekiel 34:23,24 "I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken."

The same argument could apply to these, "David" being the proper noun. Yet these are messianic, speaking of the Messiah being King David, though in fact the Messiah is not King David himself. For in other places he is spoken of as being the "son of David", for example. This is an example of "Typology". David is a "type" of messiah. And John the Baptist is a "type" of Elijah. The semantics of the language allow for such an interpretation.

OBJECTION

C. Jesus considered John the Baptist to be Elijah in the flesh.

ANSWER

Answered above

OBJECTION

D. If John was Elijah, he failed to carry out God's commission to Elijah.

ANSWER

It doesn't say that he would effect everyone. There is no promise of an era of peace as you interpret it.

OBJECTION

E. Moreover, Elijah is alleged to have appeared to some of the disciples< (Mt.10:34-35; Mk. 9:11). However:

ANSWER

All answered above.

OBJECTION

F. Jesus declared his mission to be precisely the opposite of Elijah's. (Mt.10:34-35; Lk.12:49-53)
"I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather divisio; for from now on five members in one household will be diided, three against two, and two gainst three. They will be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daugher, and ddaughter against mother; mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." (Luke 12:49-53).

ANSWER

But isn't this completely consistent with the prophecy? "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet - before the great and terrible day of the Lord" Mal 4:5 So if the Lord is Jesus in what way are his statements inconsistent with this prophecy?

3. Jesus' Geneology (Mt. 1:1-6; Luke 3:23-38)

-- According to Isaiah 11:1, the Messiah is called a "shoot" from the stock of Jesse. If Jesus is not such a "shoot", then he fails to fulfill prophecy.

OBJECTION

A. Central Problem:

ANSWER

It's worthless if you think that being the father of someone has only to do with genetics. At his time Jesus was considered to be the son of Joseph legally.

OBJECTION

B. Two geneologies (Mt. 1:1-6; Luke 3:23-38) do not agree.

ANSWER

Both. For example is it a contradiction to say I have two grandfathers? I have a grandfather on my father's side and a grandfather on my mother's side. So what's your problem?

OBJECTION CONTINUED

C. Stock reply given by Christians: One geneology (Luke's) is actually the geneology of Mary.

BUT:

  1. There is no scriptural support for this. Where does the N.T. give a geneology of Mary?
  2. Mt.1:16: "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus..."

    Lk 3:23: "And Jesus himself began to be about thrity years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,". [some Christians argue that the "as was supposed" phrase indicates the geneology given is not actually Joseph's geneology. But, this is to give the words a meaning they simply don't have; the direct Greek translation of "as was supposed" shows this to be true]

  3. The N.T. is clear that these geneologies are from Joseph; and Joseph is not the father of Jesus.
  4. Even if Luke's geneology is Mary's, her geneology is worthless insofar as establishing royal lineage, for maternal connection does not determine succession to the throne of David, which is passed only through the male line. (Moreover, Jesus had to follow the customs, for he came not to destroy the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Mt.5:17). )
  5. "There shall not be cut off to David a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel..." (Jeremiah 33:17) [By mentioning "David" and not his wife, Jeremiah is implying royal succession follows male line].

    When Athaliah sought to destroy the royal seed of David, she only killed the king's sons, evidently because the female line no right of succession [or transmission of succession]. Thus, Jehosheba, a royal daughter, could save Joash and hide him in the Temple, where her husband was a priest (2 Kings 11:1-3, 2 Chronicles 22:10-12). [She had to save Joash because she knew only he and not herself could perpetuate the Davidic line].

  6. Royal lineage can only be passed through the bloodline of the biological father; it cannot be passed through a step-father (as some Christians contend).
  7. 1 Chronicles 17:11: "I will raise up your seed after you, which shall be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom."

    Jeremiah 33:20-22: "If you can break My covenant with the day, and My covenant with the night, so that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured; so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister to Me." (Jeremiah 33:20-22). - [Thus, it is only David's seed that carries blessed royal lineage]

    [Find more]

ANSWER

There are two principal theories respecting the genealogies found in Matt 1:16 and Luke 3:23
  1. That both geneaologies are Joseph's; Matthew exhibiting him as the legal heir to the throne of David, that is, naming the successive heirs of the kingdom from David to Jesus the reputed son of Joseph; while Luke gives Joseph's private genealogy or actual descent.
  2. That Matthew gives Joseph's and Luke, Mary's geneaology. Personally I give preference to this second for the following reasons:
    1. The latter theory seems supported by several early Christian writers - Origen, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athanasius, and Justin Martyr
    2. It is indirectly confirmed by Jewish tradition. Lightfoot cites from the Talmudic writers concerning the pains of hell, the statement that Mary the daughter of Heli was seen in the infernal regions, suffering horrid tortures. This statement illustrates, not only the bitter animosity of the Jews towards the Christian religion, but also the fact that, according to received Jewish tradition, Mary was the daughter of Heli; hence, that is her genealogy in Luke
    3. This theory shows us in what way Christ was the "Son of David." If Mary was the daughter of Heli, then Jesus was strictly a descendant of David, not only legally, through is reputed father, but actually, by direct personal descent, through his mother. Jews even today inherit their Jewishness through their mother. If your mother isn't Jewish, neither are you. So biologically, the Son of God had to be born of a Jewish woman to be considered a Jew.
    4. This theory affords a very simple explanation of the whole matter. Mary, since she had no brothers, was an heiress; therefore her husband, according to Jewish law, was reckoned among her father's family, as his son. (Thus your objection against the son-in-law theory is incorrect) So Joseph was that actual son of Jacob, and the legal son of Heli.

OBJECTION

D. Genealogies Erroneous
  1. The genealogical record used by Matthew is not taken from the Hebrew Scriptures.
    1. Mt. 1:8: "...and Asa the father of Josaphat, and Josaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Ozias." This genealogy is taken directly from the Septuagint and does not accord with what is found in the Hebrew bible.
    2. In the Hebrew Scriptures, we find that Asa's son was Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat's son was Joram, Joram's son was Ahaziah, Ahaziah's son was Joash, Joash's son was Amaziah, and Amaziah's son was Azariah (Uzziah) (1 Chonicles 3:10-11)
  2. Luke's genealogy is also erroneous.
    1. Luke inserts a second "Cainan" (the first being the son of Enos[Enosh], who is called Kenan in Genesis 5:9-14 and 1 Chronicles 1:2) between Arphaxad (Arpachshad) and his son Sala (Shelah) (Luke 3:35-36).
    2. Cainan (kenan) is not found in this position in the Hebrew text (Gen. 10:24, 11:12; 1 Chronicles 1:18, 24).
    3. Furthermore, Luke's additional use of this name is found neither in the Samaritan Hebrew text of Genesis nor in any of the Targumim. -- It is found ONLY in the Septuagint.

ANSWER

All these are resolved when you come to realize that the New Testament writers were using the Septuagint. The New Testament was written in Greek. The Septuagint was accept at the time as the greed translation of the Old Testament. So rather than making their own translation of the scriptures, the New Testament writers would merely quote directly from the accepted greek translation. The petty differences due to translation from the Hebrew have so little bearing on the meaning of the text that even the even the most literalist Jews at the time found little reason to accept its use.

OBJECTION

E. Listings Further Diverge
ANSWER
If Shealtiel's mother had no brothers, then it could be according to the law of Moses that Shealtiel be reckoned the descendant of his grandfather on his mother's side, in a similar way as Heli was also reckoned the grandfather of Jesus.
OBJECTION
F. The Curse upon Jeconiah
ANSWER
All the  sons of Josiah who had reigned had a similar curse on them in that they were all taken into captivity. The Davidic line was not cut off permanently through Jeconiah. Rather Jeremiah was referring to his immediate descendants, as the phrase "in his day" indicates. Jeconiah was taken into captivity and his sons did not reign, thus the prophecy was fulfilled.
G. Not a descendant of Solomon?

ANSWER

Joseph was indeed called Jesus' father and reckoned so by the society.

OBJECTION

4. THE TRINITY

  1. Disproof by logical contradiction

  2.  

     
     
     

    Argument #1

    1. Two things cannot be the same thing if one is different than the other. (eg. morning star, evening star)
    2. If Jesus is in any way different than God, then Jesus is not God.
    3. Jesus is different than God. [2 above]
    4. Therefore, Jesus is not God.

    ANSWER

    But what do you mean when you use the word "God" in your argument? You cannot disprove his deity by a mere tautology unless you clearly define your terms.
    Argument#2
    1. If Jesus was begotten, then he is not eternal.
    2. If he is not eternal, then he is not God.
    3. If he is eternal, then he was not begotten and he did not die, so he cannot be the messiah.
    4. Therefore, either Jesus is not God or Jesus is not the messiah.

    ANSWER

    You assume that the time between his birth and death were all there was to his existence. Yet the scripture says that "All things were made by him and without him nothing was made that has been made" John 1:3 Your logic only works if you make certain presumptions.
    Argument #3
    1. God is eternal, infinite, indivisible, omniscient, omnipotent.
    2. Jesus was begotten, so he is not eternal
    3. Jesus was clearly not infinite.
    4. Jesus was clearly divisible (eg. he had parts, he was wounded, etc.)
    5. Jesus was not omnipotent:
    6. Jesus was not omniscient:
    7. Therefore, Jesus is not God.

    ANSWER

    Do you really want me to point out all the presumptions made in this argument?
    Argument #4
    1. Jesus was begotten by God, therefore Jesus was an effect (see John 1:1).
    2. Holy spirit "proceeded" from God so, therefore, is an effect.
    3. God cannot be an effect, but only a cause (otherwise, not eternal and not omnipotent)
    4. Therefore, God cannot be either Jesus or Holy Spirit.

    ANSWER

    (a) is again a presumption. More correctly, Jesus' birth was an effect. Similary for (b). So this argument is shown to be falacious.
  3. Disproof by experiential contradition
    1. " Matt. 21: 22: "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.": Jesus does not qualify this; yet, clearly no believer can, eg, move a mountain.
    2. John 14:14: "If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it."; same thing.
    3. Mark 16:17-18: "These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them."; Would you drink poison?
    4. Matthew 21:18-22: "Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain: 91Be lifted up and cast into the sea,' it shall happen. And everything you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." Again, move just one mountain!

    ANSWER

    Your experience contradicts your interpretation. Have you considered other interpretations that don't contradict your experience? Have you attempted to resolve the contradictions you see or are you only interested in creating them?

    One interpretation is that many of these promises were given to the disciples at the time in order to affirm the message. Which is somewhat the point of having Apostles back then rather than now.

    Another interpretation was that there were implied conditions of answer to prayer as indicated by "in my name" and "believing". Where the condition is not to have sufficient faith in faith, but sufficient faith in God. Futhermore it is assumed that they are praying as believers and followers of Jesus, so that the purpose of their prayers are according to God's desires and not necessarily their own.

    The relationship between the believer and God is not like a sort of witch-devil relationship which you may derive from your cultural background, but as a father-son relationship. To the Christian, praying is not like waving a magic wand. Rather it's like a son talking with his Father. To the extent that the son is in tune with his Father's desires is the extent to which he will get what he asks.

    If you want to gain an understanding of the application of prayer, why don't you go through the New Testament letters and see how the Apostles prayed for the Church.

    As for the Mark 16 section, for one thing that section is not contained in the earliest manuscripts (checkout the footnotes in you bible). Furthermore, as I mentioned, this may have been applied only to the Apostles or early disciples (checkout Acts 28:3-6 for example) Some have also interpreted the poison and serpents figuratively in that Satanic things have no effect on real Christians.


5. NONEXISTENT PROPHECIES

  1. Mark 1:2 in the Revised Standard Version says, " As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way.'" The problem with this prophecy lies in the fact that there is no such comment in lsaiah. It doesn't exist. Isaiah said nothing of the sort. (Mark should have said Malachi)
  2. ANSWER

    The quotation is from Mal 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. As to the discrepency, Robertson says that is was common to combine quotations from the prophets.
  3. Matt. 2:23 says, "He [Joseph] came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth that it might be fulillled which was spoken hy the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." The phrase, "He shall be called a Nazarene," does not exist in the Hebrew Scriptures.
  4. ANSWER

    In Jesus time, Israel was geographically broken into two parts, the northern part being Galilee, separated by Samaria. Those in the norther were not respected very much just because they were from the outskirts. Nazareth was a town in Galilee. The Messiah had to come from Galiliee according to Isaiah 9:1. And of Galilee, Nazareth may have been reputed as the town most characteristic of that region (John 1:46) So the apostle is interpreting Isaiah's prophecy in a way that people of the time would recognize its application rather than quoting it literally.
  5. Matt. 27:9-10: 30 peice of silver- quotes "Jeremiah"; but, Jeremiah didn't give this prophecy.
  6. ANSWER

    According to the Jewish writers, Jeremiah was reckoned the first of the prophets, and was placed first in the book of the prophets. Matthew, in quoting this book, may have quoted it under the name which stood first in it. The prophecy is actually found in Zech 11:12,13

    Or, the difficulty may have arisen from abridgment of the names. In the Greek, Jeremiah, instead of being written in full, might stand thus, "Iriou"; Zechariah thus, "Zriou." By the mere change of Z into I, the mistake would have been made.


6. JESUS' FALSE PROPHECIES

  1. In John 13:38 Jesus said to Peter, "The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice." Mark 14:66-68, of course, reveals that the cock actually crowed after the first denial, not the third.
  2. ANSWER

    John was obviously not being as literal as Mark was. This is probably because Mark was written directly from Peter's account. And Peter would probably want to be quite accurate as to what he went through. John's account is self-consistent if you look at the fulfillment in John 18:25-27. So where's the false prophecy?
  3. In Matt. 12:40 Jesus said, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth"

  4.  

     
     
     

    - But Jesus was killed and buried sometime on a Friday afternoon and raised sometime on the following Saturday night or Sunday morning. (See Sigal 240-1 for details)

  5. In Mark 8:31 Jesus said, "The Son of man must suffer many things ...and be killed, and after three days rise again." Note carefully! It says "after" three days he would rise again. Jesus died and was buried on a Friday evening and rose sometime during Saturday night or Sunday morning. After three days means that he should actually have arisen after three full days had passed which would have delayed the resurrection until Monday afternoon at the earliest.
  6. ANSWER

    At the time, Orientals (the Jewish cultural background), regarded any part of a day as a whole day. So being buried on Friday and rising Sunday would be considered 3 days.
  7. Matt. 16:28 "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall taste of death, tilll they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." And in Mark 9:1 he said, "Some of them that stand here which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power."
  8. ANSWER

    Matt 16:28; Mark 9:1: Luke 9:27 All come just before the transfiguration, which may have been their fulfillment.
  9. In Mark 13:30-31, which says, "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." Jesus made this statement after listing a wide assortment of events that were to occur: eg., stars of heaven shall fall, sun shall be darkened, etc., but namely:
  10. (26-7) " And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven."

    ANSWER

    According to Wuest, the word for "generation" was used in papyri manuscripts in the sense of "race, lineage." It denoted family, without individual reference. It was used in a will to speak for a person's issue, his descendants. From the context it appears to refer to the Jewish race. In which case the application is obvious and this prophecy is still for a future time.

    However, this could also refer to the first Century Christians - their words, spirit and influence. For notice the next phrase "by my words shall not pass away". In the same passage , Jesus had also promised, "Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit." Mark 13:11

    The words that make up the New Testament are the words of Jesus spoken through the apostles and prophets of the early Christian Church. They have had a major influence on the development of western civilization and still have not passed away. Each generation of Christians makes some attempt to model itself after that first generation. That generation of Christians certainly has not passed away.

  11. Matt. 17:11-13 Jesus says, "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already. . . . Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist." If John the Baptist is Elias as Jesus alleges, then the obvious question beomes: What did John the Baptist restore? The answer is . . . nothing. [Moreover, John denies being Elijah; and, John allegedly sees Elijah on the mountain, and how can John see Elijah if John IS Elijah???]
  12. ANSWER

    Dealt with this already.
  13. In Luke 23:43 Jesus said to the thief on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." But how could they have been together in paradise that day if Jesus was to lay in the tomb three days?
  14. ANSWER

    Because his spirit was not in the tomb, only his body was.

7. The Atonement

  1. Jesus' Atonement contradicts the righteousness which can be obtain by the law as expounded in the Old Testament scriptures
    1. All of the so-called "proof-texts" used by Christians of man's congenital sinfulness were put forth at a time long before Jesus when divine means of atonement were in full use by the Jews and available to all men- as clearly spelled out in the Scriptures in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
    2. To claim that man has no power to initiate the process of atonement is to claim that God contradicts Himself (for God prescribed the means of atonement to us in Ex., Lev., Deut. accounts).
    3. God's providing provisions of atonement and fellowship preclude any claim for atonement through Jesus (actually, make Jesus' claims superfluous).
    4. - "...if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
    5. Although every person may be inclined to choose sin, we need not; we can rule over sin- and this entails that sin is not an inextractable part of us:
    6. - "...sin is couching at the door; and it desires you but you may rule over it" (Genesis 4:7).
      - Whatever sins we may have had, God erases them:
      "O Yisra'el thou shalt not be forgotten by me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return to me ; for I have redeemed thee." (Is. 44:21-22)
    7. Of Jesus it is said: "For because he himself has suffered and has been tempted, he is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18).
    8. The God of Israel does not NEED to be tempted in order to forgive or in order to understand His people's suffering (Ex. 3:7: em>"...I [God] knows their pain."). So, if you believe that God is omniscient, it would be foolish to also believe that God had to LEARN some new knowledge, namely that of suffering.
    9. God forgave sin thousands of years prior to the appearance of Jesus and continues to forgive without any assistance from the latter.
    10. - Says Isaiah: "Israel is saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation" (Isaiah 45:17).

      - Says Psalm 145:18: "The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and gracious in all his works. The LORD is near to all those who call upon him to all who call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of those who fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The LORD preserves all those who love him: but all the wicked he will destroy."

    ANSWER

    I suggest you do a more thorough study of Romans and Hebrews, which clarify these issues. In brief, the atonement and forgiveness that God provided in the Old Testament was only due to the fact that he knew that he would be providing a sufficient sacrifice - that of His Son, which would demonstrate his righteousness. Otherwise it would have been unrighteous for God to have forgiven sin without requiring any payment for it.

    Furthermore, God had provided another agreement (covenant) with the Jews that if any fully obey his commandments, it would be righteousness for them (Deut 6:25) However, as Paul points out, noone has ever done this, which explains Rom 3:21

  2. Jesus in an inappropriate Old Covenant sacrifice
    1. Christian concept of atonement is based on a profound misconstrual of the Hebrew scriptures regarding sin and atonement. Hebrews 9:22 (RSV), "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins"
    2. But, the Christian concept of sin ignores the Old Testament.
    3. No judge would agree to an innocent man's being excuted for the deeds of others simply because the former agreed to do so. This is not JUSTICE. A God who wants blood, regardless from who, is not an administer of justice, but bloodthirsty.
    4. Atonement cannot be made in proxy. No substitutes are allowed; only the sinner and God can work out atonement.
    5. Consider: [From Shmuel Golding in The Light of Reason, p.32 vol.2] Another reason why Jesus could not have been an acceptable sacrifice or the lamb of God, besides the fact that different types of sins required different types of sacrifices in the Old Testament, is that:
      1. he was not burnt on the altar. Sacrifices, sin offerings for unintentional sins and guilt offerings were all burnt... and
      2. Jesus...was not eaten by the priests who must eat all the sacrifices. [and eating Jesus would have been a violation of the Law]
      3. The Law states that every man's sacrifice had to be perfect and without spot and blemish... Yet the NT tells us that Jesus was smitten, he was spat upon, he had a crown of thorns pushed into his head which rendered him torn, thus not a perfect sacrifice....
      One cannot tear the Scripture apart. If Jesus was in place of a sin offering, he must fulfill all the requirements of the sin offering. Thus, he should have been slaughtered on the altar instead of a Roman cross, perfect instead of wounded, roasted and eaten instead of buried in a tomb. [which only indicates ever more the revulsion and absurdity of a human sacrifice for others' sins.]

    ANSWER

    1. Jesus was not an Old Covenant sacrifice. Believers in Jesus do not enter into the Old Mosaic Covenant. Rather he has established a New Covenant (which actually was initialized before the Mosaic one. (Gal 3:17)) However much of Mosaic system was symbolic of the substantive reality which would come in the New Covenant, as the Hebrews 8-10 elaborates.
    2. Substitionary atonement was widely practiced in the Old Testament. Just not on humans. Under the Old Covenant atonement was made in proxy, through the blood of an animal. This being only the forerunner of the Christ.
    3. As for God as defined by the scriptures being cruel, take it or leave it. I'm sure you'll find many laws and actions of God to your disliking. Nonetheless, I think we should let God define himself rather than make him in our image.
    4. As for your "perfect" sacrifice objection, the sacrifice only had to be perfect only before the sacrifice, not during the process.
  3. "The Scriptures clearly state that blood was one of many ways of obtaining an atonement as seen
    1. in Lev. 5:11-13 where it states that flour can make atonement for the soul.
    2. Money can atone for the soul as seen in Exod 30:15-16;
    3. Jewelry can atone for the soul as seen in Num. 31:50, and
    4. in Num. 14:17-20 and in Hos.14:3 we find that prayer can atone for the soul."

    ANSWER

    Heb 10:4 "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins"

    The sacrifices under the Mosaic Law were only good as a temporary covering. However, in actual practice provisions were made for the poor who could afford expensive sacrifices. The money example was to illustrate that payment had to be made for sins. The intercessary role of the priests was symbolic of Christ's intercessary role. However, in fact, none of these actually forgave sin. They were all symbolic of and dependent on the sacrifice of the Christ. The scriptures itself says that money cannot redeem one's soul

    "No man can by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him - for the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever - that he should live eternally; that he should not see the pit" Ps 49:7-9
  4. Jesus was hardly a perfect man:<blockquote> That Jesus was supposed to be perfect was laid down in Isaiah 53:9. And, "perfect" means "that which cannot be improved upon", yet Jesus had much he could have improved upon: "Although he had done no violence, neither was there any deceit in his mouth"-- "violence" here is not qualified to "human violence", but is unqualified [this is confirmed in the Hebrew].
    1. Jesus committed violence:

    2. Whip in hand, Jesus attacked the merchants in the temple area, causing a fracas (Mt. 21:20; Mk. 11:15-16; Luke 19:45; John 2:15)
    3. ANSWER

      There are many who fail to see the difference between violence and righteous indignation; who fail to distingish a legal executioner with a murderer. Such people have difficulty with the concept of justice. The interpretation of "violence" as described in Isaiah and as applied above is inconsistent with Isaiah's description of the Messiah.
    4. Jesus caused death by drowning of a herd of swine by allowing demons to purposely enter their bodies. (Mt. 8:32; Mk. 11:16, 5:13; Luke 8:33). [and it seems odd for there to be a Jewish pig farmer is Biblical Israel- this indicates dis-credibility of NT]
    5. ANSWER

      I suppose one could blame God for all the evil in the world because He allows it in many cases. In this case it would seem to me that it was the demons, and not Jesus that forced the swine to die.

      [Jews were not allowed to eat pigs, but were allowed to raise them and sell them to foreigners. Perhaps you could clarify how this indicates a dis-credibility of the NT]

    6. Jesus destroyed a fig tree for not having fruit out of season (Mt. 21:18- 21; Mk. 11:13-14) [which is against the Law of God].
    7. ANSWER

      Maybe you could clarify where you feel it's against the Law of God to kill a fig tree. (I've heard of animal activists, but don't you think you're being a bit ridiculous?) Besides, the Law you're using only refers to fruitbearing trees, and as Jesus pointed out, this was not a tree which was bearing fruit.
    8. Jesus will knowingly bring discord, war to the world (Mt.10:34-5;)
    9. Luke 12:49-53: "I am come to send fire on the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!...Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son sgainst the father; the mother against the daugher, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her son-in-law, and the daugher-in- law against her mother-in-law." [father against son contrary to Malachi 3:23-24].

      ANSWER

      Why don't you read the book of Acts to see how this actually applied. If you were a Jew, even today and became a Christian, your family will ostracize you. Even the orthodox will hold a funeral service for family member who becomes a Christian. It's even more dangerous if your a Muslim and become a Christian. So what Jesus said was true. However, what he meant was that the Christian would suffer a great deal of hostility against them. (You may be a minor case in point) Why is it that the world is so hostile against the message of having peace with God through Jesus Christ? Why such persecution of Christians? (China - a case in point) The message itself tells why. Do you hate Christians? Why?
    10. Jesus, representing himself through parable, states: "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me" (Luke 19:27).
    11. Whether Jesus was right or not for doing violence is irrelevent to the prophesy- which says no violence- whether right or wrong.
    12. ANSWER

      Again Isaiah is refering to unjust violence as opposed to judgment.
    13. Jesus' Deceit:
      1. Jesus told Pilate: My kingdom is not of this world; if it were," my servants would fight, that I might be handed over to the Jews" (John 18:36).
        • Yet, before meeting with Pilate, Jesus ordered his disciples to buy swords if they had none (Luke 22:36) and they responded that two swords were available (Luke 22:38). Soon after, Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest, who came to seize Jesus. (Mt. 26:51; Mk. 14:47; Luke 22:50; John 18:10)
        • Thus, contrary to Jesus' statement "these know what I said" (John 18:21), Peter did not know that since the kingdom was not of this would he should not fight. (John 18:36).
        • So, either Jesus decieved Pilate or deceived Peter (by not telling him of which world was his kingdom)- Since Jesus was allegedly omniscient, he would have known exactly what Peter knew.
        • By knowing that Peter would commit violence, through this deception, Jesus was party to violence.

        ANSWER

        Jesus did no violence here. He wanted them to have swords only that he would appear as a criminal to fulfill scripture. (Does owning a gun mean that you're a violent person?) Can Jesus be held accountable for Peter's action? I think not. Furthermore, what do you suppose he meant by "his kingdom", if it is not of this world. Therefore Peter could not have been a member in it if you consider Peter a member of this world. And contrary to Peter's action, Jesus immediately healed Malchus' ear.
      2. Promises Jesus: "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom" (Mt16:28).
      3. -- When Jesus assured his disciples that the end of the world was imminent and that his own triumphant return to judge all men before the generation then living had passed away (Mt. 24:34, Mk. 13:30; Luke 21:32), he used deceit for he knew it was not true.

        ANSWER

        These were already dealt with
      4. Knowing Elijah must precede the messiah (Malachi 3:1, 23), Jesus claimed John was Elijah (Mt. 11:10-14; 17:10:13) even though John himself denied any connection with the prophet (John 1:21).
      5. ANSWER

        Already dealt with
      6. Jesus says to thief: "You will be with me in Paradise today"; Jesus did not go to Paradise on that day. [Jesus spent three days in the grave].
      7. ANSWER

        Already dealt with
      8. Jesus falsely implies that no one ever attempted to apprehend him. Jesus says: "Day after day, I sat in the temple teaching and you did not seize me" (Mt. 26:55). Yet, on one occasion they wanted to stone him while in the temple, but "he hid and went out of the Temple." (John 8:59)
      9. ANSWER

        In John 8 they didn't try to take him into custody, they just tried to stone him to death.
      10. Jesus says: The Law will exist "until heaven and earth pass away" (Mt. 5:18)- Yet, it only applies to a period of three and a half years (i.e., duration of Jesus' ministry).
        1. In the same verse, Jesus emphasizes that he whole Law would remain completely intact "until all should take place."
        2. ANSWER

          I don't see where you get the "it only applies to a period of 3.5 years ..." Perhaps you could elaborate. Otherwise I can't see the contradiction.
        3. In Mt. 5:17, Jesus declares: "Do not think I came to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill." (Sigal: If fulfilled, then why a second advent?)
        4. ANSWER

          His first coming was for justification. His second will be for judgment. That's why. There's more to God's plan than just fulfilling the Law.
        5. Yet, Jesus' disciples admit otherwise: for Paul says: "For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believes." (Romans 10:4) and in Hebrews 8:13: "In that he says, a new convenant, he has made the first obsolete and growing old is near to vanishing away."- Thus, according to the New Testament, the Law is over, yet not all has been fulfilled, for if it were accomplished there would be no need for second advent. If Jesus secretly meant the Law was now to be carried out in a spiritual sense, he deluded not only the Jews, but his own followers.
        6. ANSWER

          Paul is only saying that a means of justification, obedience to the Law is ineffective (only in the sense that noone does it, except Christ who fulfilled it). However, he says that it continues to carry on its function of revealing sin. So there's no contradiction, only a clarification.

8. Conclusion

  1. As I said already: The test for messiahship is a pass/fail test with 100% being the minimum passing score. Afterall, we are dealing in absolutes.
  2. Christians claim over 300 prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus; yet, far from making their case stronger, it puts every Christian on the thinnest ice possible. - And Jesus ups the anie by claiming to fulfill the entire Law (over 500) down to the last "jot" and "tittle".
  3. All that has to happen to cut any Christian off from God, salvation, and God's Law is just ONE failure of fulfillment. Just ONE!
  4. I think I have irrefutably proven at least ONE unfulfilled prophecy. That is all that it takes.
  5. Would you want to take that gamble??? 300:1 odds are not good odds. Consider very carefully what 300:1 odds are [higher actually if you include the Law (plus 500)]
  6. Of 300 glasses of wine, 299 glasses of wine have poison in them; one glass is not poisoned. Would you take the chance of driking one of these glasses of wine??? Would you take that chance if I told you the one unpoisoned glass has been taken out?
  7. Now, knowing how foolish it is to believe in Christianity, why would you be so eager to abandon your people, heritage, and ancestors? That you would bet your ancestors on a gamble is indeed shameful.

ANSWER

But wouldn't you have expected God to have made it very difficult to fulfill his prophecies. Wouldn't you have expected God to do improbable things just to prove that He's God? If the prophecies were easy to fulfill then you would have been arguing that anyone could have done it and therefore you set youself into a position where nothing will logically convince you. You're argument is that since it is so difficult for Jesus to have fulfilled all the prophecies, therefore he probably didn't even though you can't think or a conclusive example. Try this one for example:
Dan 9:24-26 "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and 62 weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined."
Now the comamnd to restore and build jerusalem was given in 445BCE (Before the Command Era) by King Artaxerxes in the 20th year of his reign (recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8)

From that date if you add 7 weeks and 62 weeks 69 weeks (of years) you come up with a date of 445-483 38+1 39 AD You had to add 1 because there's no 0 AD. Also you have to correct for the fact that the Biblical Hebrew Calendar was based on 360 days/year. So you have to subtract 5 days / year of the 483 years (5x483 6.6years) Then 39AD-6.6years 32.4 A.D.

Was anyone around at 32 A.D. who could have been the Messiah?


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


Jul 29,2015