My goal is to write about certain subjects to pique interest and hopefully help to connect some dots.
Christianity started over 2000 years ago. It was founded on the Jewish bible in the belief that the Messiah had come as the fulfillment of prophecy found in the Hebrew bible. Throughout history, many Christians have been trying to convert Jews to their faith, but with little success.
Why is this the case?
The purpose of this article will explore the differences between Christians and Jews on their concepts of:
- Who God is.
- His requirements.
- Who is the Messiah and his role in the end-times?
- Sin and how it can be atoned for.
- God’s laws and whether they are relevant today.
- Whether the Jews are God’s chosen people.
Christians have challenged Jews for centuries.
However, do the Jews have any relevance in their beliefs today, or do Christian arguments against them take precedence when it comes to the differences found in their bibles?
A Historical Perspective
Over 3,000 years ago, the Jews were delivered from their bondage of slavery from Egypt and were chosen as God’s people or His ‘servant’ to be His ‘witnesses’ to the world. God would make an everlasting covenant with them (Genesis 17:7-8).
Yet now hear, O Jacob My servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen – Isaiah 44:1
Fear ye not, neither be afraid; have I not announced unto thee of old, and declared it? And ye are My witnesses. Is there a God beside Me? Yea, there is no Rock; I know not any. – Isaiah 44:8
Throughout history, the Jewish people have outlasted all the great empires as a remnant nation and have had to endure extreme anti-Semitic persecution from those who wanted them to conform to their foreign cultures and beliefs.
Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them – Deuteronomy 11:6
But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day – Deuteronomy 4:4
In 586 BCE, after the first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, the Jews were led into exile. It wouldn’t be until 70 years later that a scribe named Ezra would lead a large number of Jews back to Jerusalem to reclaim their land and rebuild their Temple. He would assemble the Jewish High Court, the Men of the Great Assembly (Anshei Keneset HaGedolah) that included Zechariah, Nehemiah and Daniel. One of the achievements of the Sanhedrin assembly was that they canonized the Tanakh (Old Testament). Books were selected that were consistent with their beliefs and the laws of the Torah that included the prophecies that were applicable to the Jewish people as well as those that would help identify the Messiah.
As the men of the assembly passed away, sages known as the Tanaaim would lead the Jewish people into the Talmudic time.
During the Second Temple Era, the Jews faced a serious challenge to their faith as the influence of Hellenism spread to Israel through the conquests of Alexander the Great. The man-centred philosophy of Greece would conflict with God’s Torah that the Jews believed in. Many would start to embrace Greek culture and these influences eventually be the foundation of Christianity that the Jews believe was birthed in Greek mythology. The belief in a God-man born from virgin that was destined to become a saviour was not something new in Greek mythology, but was foreign to Judaism.
The Christian bible containing the New Testament was written almost in its entirety in Greek. The Tanakh was written in Hebrew.
Paul upon his personal revelation would be the biggest influence on Christianity who would spread his message of redemption from the curse of the Torah through faith in Jesus Christ.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree: - Galatians 3:13
As Christianity became more prevalent, more pagan influences were introduced such as the Trinity doctrine, vicarious atonement and pagan holiday celebrations. When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, all Jewish ties were severed with the focus on appealing to the pagan nations.
Some of the official Christian holidays with pagan origins are as follows:
- The weekly ritual of Sunday worship to the Sun god.
- The celebration of the birth of a God-man born on December 25th during the Winter Solstice.
- The celebration of the resurrection of the God-man during the festival of the goddess Astarte with its fertility symbols of eggs and rabbits.
Although Christianity portrays itself as a religion of love, it has a dark past being one of the greatest threats to the Jewish people over the centuries. Church clergy imposed their will with both religious and economic oppression with atrocities that included slaughter.
Christians seek to blame the Roman Catholic Church to absolve themselves of the Crusades, the Inquisition and other pogroms. However, even Martin Luther who was the founder of the Protestant Reformation was anti-Semitic. He proclaimed that Catholicism was corrupt and offered a revised form of Christianity. It should be obvious what became of Protestant Germany and how it affected the Jewish people.
“First, their synagogues should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it. And this ought to be done for the honor of G-d and of Christianity in order that G-d may see that we are Christians... secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed... thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer books and Talmuds... fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach anymore... To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your domains, if this advice of mine does not suit you, then find a better one so that you and we may all be free of this insufferable devilish burden, the Jews...” - Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies
Christian history and the brutal persecutions towards the Jews should be obvious, but most Christians avoid these historical facts.
We have to ask ourselves,
Why was the Second Temple destroyed, and why did the Holocaust happen?
Christians are quick to respond that it was because God was angry with the Jews because they rejected Jesus as the Messiah. The New Testament is full of stories that portray them as heartless and ruthless people. No wonder Christians look at the Jewish people with contempt and resentment. Throughout history, New Testament passages have been used to incite anti-Semitism and bloodshed.
But when he [John the Baptist] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? - Matthew 3:7
You [Jews] are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. - John 8:44
The Jews, who both killed the lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but are hostile to all men! - 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15
Although some Christians did have compassion on the Jews during the Holocaust and other times of severe persecution, so did similar acts come from those of other faiths too.
Christians may wonder why it is so difficult to convert Jews to their faith. One of the clear factors is their history of anti-Semitism.
What is interesting is that nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it state that the Messiah during the Messianic era would be the second person of The Trinity called, ‘God the Son’ who would be born of a virgin whose purpose was to suffer and die as a human sacrifice for the atonement of sins of al those who would believe in him and then one day return a second time. These things are foreign to the Jews. They believe that Christians have butchered their Scriptures and have interpolated Jesus into them.
When Jews encounter Christian evangelists who want to share the ‘Good News’ with them, they do not see it as ‘good’ at all because none of what they are saying was prophesied in their Hebrew Scriptures.
Most Christians are unaware that the Jews differ with them on mostly all major theological issues.
Has There Been Christian Tampering of Scripture?
The difference between Judaism and Christianity is that Christians want the Jews to trust in the New Testament. They will say that all of the claims of Jesus being the Messiah are supported in the Tanakh (Old Testament).
However, it should be stated that the New Testament must be filtered through the Old Testament (Tanakh) first for it to be deemed true. It cannot be the other way around.
According to Jews, a careful study of the Tanakh and the New Testament reveals that the basis of Christianity is built upon painting Jesus into the passages of the Old Testament. When looking at some citations from New Testament authors more closely, it reveals some major discrepancies. It reveals evidence of mistranslated Hebrew text, eisegesis and things that seem to be made up.
This may be a hard pill to swallow for the who believe the English translation of their Christian bible is infallible.
The word ‘TaNaCh’ is a name formed by the three sections of Jewish Scripture.
- Torah (first five books)
- Nevi’im (Prophets)
- Ketuvim (Writings)
The Tanakh was canonized by the ‘Men of the Great Assembly’ around 500 BCE who placed great significance on the order of their books.
Around 800 years later, the Church would attach their New Testament to the back of the Tanakh (Old Testament) becoming the Christian bible. They would also make their own translations and rearrange the order of the books in the Tanakh to make it appear that they flowed better with the New Testament narrative.
The new order of the books meant that the Tanakh would be called the ‘Old Testament’ superseding the New Testament.
From the chart, the evidence shows that the books of the Tanakh were rearranged to end with Malachi instead of 2 Chronicles. This was changed to make an easier transition into the New Testament’s book of Matthew because Malachi does not shed a good light on the Jews.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. He will turn back [to God] the hearts of the fathers with their sons, and the hearts of the sons with their fathers, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse. - Malachi 3:23-24
According to the Christian rearrangement, this passage makes a great lead into the story of John the Baptist who would herald in the Messiah. However, in the book of John, he denies being Elijah the Prophet.
Thus said Cyrus king of Persia, “All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord God of heaven given me; and He has charged me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all His people, the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!” - II Chronicles 36:23
Are Christians ‘Proof-Texting’ the Hebrew Scriptures?
There are many citations in the New Testament that claim that Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Tanakh (Old Testament). However, according to the Jews, he did not fulfill any of them. They will say that any so-call ‘proof-text’ is either a misquote, mistranslation, eisegesis or even made up.
Either the Jews are liars or the evidence can be examined, weighed and tested to see whether their claims are true.
When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” - Matthew 2:14
The passage in the New Testament is saying that shortly after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph fled into Egypt to escape Herod as the fulfillment of a passage in the Tanakh.
And you shall say unto Pharaoh, thus says the Lord, Israel is my son, my firstborn. – Exodus 4:22
When the context of the verse in Exodus is looked at more closely, it reveals that it is not about Jesus because there are numerous examples of Israel being referred to as a singular unit. According to the Jews, the author of Matthew has taken a historical event and has transformed it into a Messianic prophecy.
“All the people gathered as one man.” - Nehemiah 8:1
“When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” - Hosea 11:1
And leaving Nazareth, he [Jesus] came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Nephthalim: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The land of Zebulon, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people, which sat in darkness, saw a great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.” - Matthew 4:13-16
The author of Matthew wanted to show that Jesus fulfilled a prophecy of the places he would start his ministry and cites Isaiah as his source.
Therefore, behold the Lord is bringing up on them the mighty and massive waters of the river-the king of Assyria and all his wealth, and it will overflow all its distributaries and go over all its banks. – Isaiah 8:7
For there is no weariness to the one who oppresses her; like the first time, he dealt mildly, [exiling only] the land of Zebulun and the land of Naftali, and the last one he dealt harshly, the way of the sea, and the other side of the Jordan, the attraction of the nations. – Isaiah 8:23
The problem with the citation in Matthew is that Isaiah 8 is about the king of Assyria’s assault on Israel’s Northern Kingdom. This led to 10 tribes being put into exile. The end of Isaiah 8 reveals Assyria’s affliction on Zebulun, Naftali and Galilee. These passages show how the king of Assyria afflicted these areas.
The Jew would ask the Christian,
What do these passages have to with Jesus?
Mistranslated Hebrew Passages
Jews will say that Christian translators of the English bibles make their Tanakh (Old Testament) appear to reference Jesus by mistranslating their Hebrew texts.
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. – Psalm 22:16 KJV
It appears in this passage that someone’s hands and feet have been pierced.
Is this a prophecy predicting the crucifixion of Jesus?
The Jews do not believe this is passage is alluding to Jesus because they can see the obvious mistranslation of their language into English. Furthermore, the context of this verse is about King David and the travails of his life of those who were pursuing him.
For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me, like a lion, my hands and feet. – Psalm 22:17 Tanakh
כִּֽי־סְבָב֗וּנִי כְּלָ֫בִ֥ים עֲדַ֣ת מְ֖רֵעִים הִקִּיפ֑וּנִי כָּֽ֜אֲרִ֗י יָדַ֥י וְרַגְלָֽי: - Psalm 22:17
The Jewish translation renders כָּֽ֜אֲרִ֗י, or ka’ari, as ‘like a lion,’ not as ‘they pierced.’
David refers to those who were pursuing him as 'lions.'
Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it to pieces with no one to save [me]. – Psalm 7:3
The Christians bible has a mistranslation because in all other texts where ka’ari is found, it is correctly translated as 'lion.'
- Numbers 24:9
- Isaiah 38:13
- Ezekiel 22:25
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. – Psalm 2:12
The Christian translation is meant to give the impression that this verse is about Jesus and those who don’t put their trust in him as the ‘Son of God’ will suffer the consequences.
Arm yourselves with purity lest He become angry and you perish in the way, for in a moment His wrath will be kindled; the praises of all who take refuge in Him. – Psalm 2:12 Tanakh
נַשְּׁקוּ־בַ֡ר פֶּן־יֶאֱנַ֚ף | וְתֹ֬אבְדוּ דֶ֗רֶךְ כִּֽי־יִבְעַ֣ר כִּמְעַ֣ט אַפּ֑וֹ אַ֜שְׁרֵ֗י כָּל־ח֥וֹסֵי בֽוֹ: - Psalm 2:12
Christian bibles have the mistranslated Hebrew word בַ֡ר, or bar that means 'purity.' It does not mean ‘son.’ Christians will say that it is based on an Aramaic translation of bar. However, it would be a farfetched notion to believe that David would put an Aramaic word into a Psalm he composed in Hebrew.
The plain reading of the Psalm is an admonition to the rulers of the world concerning their behaviour.
Cannot Reference the Source
And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth that it might be filled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’ - Matthew 2:23
Matthew states that it was prophesied that Jesus would be called a 'Nazarene.' What is interesting is that the phrase is found nowhere in the Tanakh (Old Testament) — neither does the word ‘Nazareth.’
The word Hebrew nazir can be found in Numbers 6:2 and Judges 13:5. It refers to a person who makes an oath to abstain from wine, but there is no connection to the city of Nazareth.
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me. – Matthew 27:9-10
Matthew cites Jeremiah as the foretelling of Judas betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. The interesting thing is that there is no such thing found in Jeremiah whatsoever.
The closest you will get is:
And Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Behold, Hanameel, the son of Shallum, your uncle shall come unto you, saying, Buy my field that is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption is yours to buy it. – Jeremiah 32:6-7
A passage in Zechariah comes a lot closer that Jeremiah.
And I said unto them, If you think it good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. - Zechariah 11:12-14
In the end, the Jews will say that Matthew’s citation falls flat because there is nothing in Jeremiah that describes a fulfilled prophecy that pertains to Jesus.
The Virgin Birth
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14
The English translation in the Christian bible speaks of baby being born of a virgin. Christians reference this passage as a fulfilled prophecy about Jesus. The Jews will say that they have cherry-picked this verse out of context and also have mistranslated the passage.
When reading the first 16 verses in Isaiah 7, the actual context of the passage can be better understood.
And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz... king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Aram, and Pekah... king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to fight against it, but could not prevail against it... Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. And he said, Hear now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?
[Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, the young woman is with child, and she will bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu-El.] Butter and honey shall he eat, when he shall know how to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know how to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread shall be deserted. - Isaiah 7:1-16
The Jews will say there is nothing from the context of the passage that alludes to a messianic prophecy about Jesus. The context is about the Syro-Ephraimite war. These events occurred during the lifetime of Isaiah, not something that would happen 700 years later.
Christians believe when Isaiah spoke this prophecy in the midst of war that a child would be born as a sign to them to be fulfilled 700 years into the future.
How would that have helped them at that point in time?
In Luke 1:30 it states:
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
However, there is not one reference in the New Testament where anyone called Jesus, ‘Immanuel.'
In the context of Isaiah 7:14, the meaning of Immanuel, ‘God with us’ points to God’s divine protection over King Ahaz and his people. If God had not intervened (Isaiah 7:15-16), the combined armies of Syria and the North Kingdom would have destroyed the South Kingdom of Judah (Davidic dynasty). The woman in Isaiah 7:14 was already pregnant. This was a near term prophecy that was fulfilled in the immediate time frame. The plain reading of Isaiah 7 does not speak of a miraculous virgin birth nor is it about one that would happen 7 centuries later.
The correct translation of Isaiah 7:14 from Hebrew into English is:
Therefore, the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign; behold, the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel.
לָ֠כֵן יִתֵּ֨ן אֲדֹנָ֥י ה֛וּא לָכֶ֖ם א֑וֹת הִנֵּ֣ה הָֽעַלְמָ֗ה הָרָה֙ וְיֹלֶ֣דֶת בֵּ֔ן וְקָרָ֥את שְׁמ֖וֹ עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל: - Isaiah 7:14
Christian translators changed the word הָרָה֙, or harah that means ‘is pregnant’ to ‘shall conceive’ to make an implication that Isaiah was not speaking in the present tense of a birth in the near future, but one much later.
Harah is also used in Isaiah 26:
As a pregnant woman [harah] comes near to give birth, she shudders, she screams in her pangs, so were we because of You, O Lord. – Isaiah 26:17
Moreover, Christian translators changed the word ha’alma or ‘the young woman’ to mean ‘a virgin.’ However, the word for virgin is betulah in Hebrew. If Isaiah meant ‘a virgin,’ then there would have to be a virgin birth also in Ahaz’s day — there is no mention anywhere of such an event occurring.
In the surrounding passages of Isaiah 7, there is nothing in the text that was intended to be a messianic prophecy. The actual fulfillment of these passages can be found in 2 Kings 15:29-30 and 2 Kings 16:5-9.
Jews will say a ‘sign’ is something that is witnessed (seen) such as rainbows (Genesis 9:13-17) and circumcision (Genesis 17:11). A virgin birth could not be witnessed; therefore, could not be deemed a sign. The ‘sign’ in Isaiah 7 was before the child would know to reject good and evil (15-16). This was when the two kings (Pekah and Rezin) of the enemy nations were vanquished.
There are many that will still defend the word ‘virgin’ by citing the ‘Septuagint.’ The fact is that the original Septuagint that was a Greek translation from learned Jews was only of the first five books of Moses. This is universally accepted by both Jewish and Christian scholars. This means that the book of Isaiah was not even part of the original Septuagint. What is called the ‘Septuagint’ today was forged by the Church many centuries later.
Jews see the word ‘virgin’ is a mistranslation of their bible. The Septuagint uses this same word parthenos in Genesis 34:2-4 in reference to Dinah after she was raped. Even Christian translators have rejected Mathew's mistranslation in several Bible translations (RSV, REB, NJB, NEB and NRSV).
The Jews reject the Christian doctrine of atonement through the blood of Jesus. This following verse will often be referenced for blood atonement for the soul.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul. - Leviticus 17:11
When this passage is not isolated on its own, the context becomes apparent.
And whoever there is of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among you, who eats any kind of blood; I will set my face against that soul who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. [For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.]
Therefore I said to the people of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood. And whoever there is of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among you, who hunts and catches any beast or bird that may be eaten; he shall pour out its blood, and cover it with dust.
For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for its life; therefore I said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any kind of flesh; for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off. - Leviticus 17:10-14
The context reveals the prohibition of consuming blood. It is not about the forgiveness of sins. The blood of an animal is its life force — it is not its parts that atone. Throughout the Tanakh, blood was not the only means of atonement and forgiveness.
Why Jews Reject Jesus as a Prophet
The Jewish people use the Torah as the guideline for their way of life and the principles they adhere to. It was through the Torah that they evaluated Jesus.
Christians will point to the Tanakh (Old Testament) to show the Jews where they believe Jesus is alluded to in the Torah.
I will raise them a prophet from among their brothers, like you [Moses], and will put My words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. - Deuteronomy 18:18-19
Who is a prophet like Moses?
Who is this passage speaking about?
Reading a few more verses gives the correct context.
I will raise them a prophet from among their brothers, like you, and will put My words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, who shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.
And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing follows not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken, and the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. - Deuteronomy 18:18-22
This passage establishes the authority of all future prophets who claim to speak for God. It gives instruction on how to distinguish between a true and a false prophet. If a prophecy does not come about, then it should be known that the person who claims to speak for God is false.
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we want to see a sign from you. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: For as Jonah 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. - Matthew 12:38-40
The Jews have a problem with Christians claiming that Jesus was a true prophet. According to Matthew, when he foretold his death and resurrection to them, he did not reveal himself upon his resurrection to those who doubted him.
Instead, according to a Christian having faith in Jesus is about trusting in his followers that the resurrection happened even though the prophecy was given to the ‘scribes and Pharisees.’
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. - Matthew 16:28
In this passage, Jesus is telling his disciples that he will return to set up his kingdom before some of them die. According to the Jews, this obviously did not happen as all of his disciples he spoke to ended up in the grave. For this reason, they cannot accept Jesus as the Messiah as this goes against the instructions God gave to them in Deuteronomy.
If there arises among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder, comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them’; you shall not listen to the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God tests you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 13:2-4
God allows miracle working prophets to come to test His people. Miracles are not a sign that necessitates that they are from God. The magicians of Egypt performed miracles in front of Moses. This means that miracles do not prove the legitimacy that a supposed prophet is sent by God.
The criteria for Jews evaluating people who claim to speak for God is as follows:
- Anyone who deviates from the Torah.
- Any conception of God that has not been previously known.
This is why the Jews cannot accept Christianity because it is an impeachment of their beliefs. The New Testament asserts the eternal laws of God given to them in the Torah are no longer binding, and then they are presented with a triune God that was unknown to their ancestors.
The Jews believe that the age of prophecy ended with the completion of the Tanakh. They do not recognize any prophet outside of their books and see the New Testament composed of man-made visions and revelations.
The prophet Zechariah prophesied about the Messianic era where false prophets would return to confess their errors. Notice in the following passage what is said about the prophet with the wounds in his hands.
On that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for cleansing and for sprinkling. And it shall come to pass on that day, says the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no more be remembered; and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass from the land.
And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother who bore him shall say to him, You shall not live; for you speak lies in the name of the Lord; and his father and his mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies.
And it shall come to pass on that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed everyone of his vision, when he has prophesied; nor shall they wear a hairy mantle in order to deceive; But he shall say, I am not a prophet, I am a tiller of the soil; for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth. And one shall say to him, What are these wounds in your hands? Then he shall answer, those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. – Zechariah 13:1-6
The Lineage of the Messiah
The Jews believe that the Christian Messiah is based on the misinterpretation of their Scripture.
Jews believe their Messiah will come from the seed of David versus being born of a virgin where God became the father of Jesus. Christians will present a lineage of Jesus found in the New Testament in both Matthew and Luke; however, when these two lineages are compared and contrasted with the one in 1 Chronicles 3, discrepancies start to become evident.
Both genealogies in the New Testament end with Joseph, but how can Joseph have two different lineages?
Christians will say that the lineage in Matthew is of Joseph and the other one in Luke is Mary’s, but this presents a problem.
If Joseph is not Jesus’ birth father, then that would make him his stepfather. For the seed of David to pass, it must come from father to son. It could not come through a stepfather. It would be impossible to adopt a son and transmitted to the royal line. Likewise, with the Kohanim Priests, an adopted son could not become one of them. So too, someone who is adopted by a member of a royal line cannot become heir to the throne. This means that the Messiah according to the Jews must be an actual biological member.
Mathew’s lineage also has missing names and generations when comparing with 1 Chronicles 3. Four names are missing. Matthew states that Uzziah (Azariah) was the son of Jehoram, instead of Amaziah.
Christians will say, ‘this one begat that one,’ meaning a common ancestor, not necessarily a father — this too creates a problem.
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. - Matthew 1:17
Matthew shows how Jesus’ genealogy is tied to the number 14. The numerical value of David’s name in Hebrew is also 14. However, to take a lineage of 18 generations from David to Babylonian exile and claim it is only 14 is false.
According to the Jews, even if the lineage could be passed through Joseph, Jesus could not be the candidate to be the Messiah.
And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: - Matthew 1:11
Mathew states that Joseph descended from Jechonias (Coniah) who was a former wicked king who was cursed by God as stated in Jeremiah. This means that anyone descended from Joseph could not be a candidate to David’s throne.
Is this man Coniah a despised broken vessel? An object that no one cares for? Why are they cast out, he and his seed, and banished to a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord, Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. - Jeremiah 22:28-30
Christians will attempt to say that Jechoniah repented and the curse was lifted — this is a traditional speculation that is not found in the bible.
Christian’s presuppose that because there is a discrepancy with Matthew’s lineage that Luke is tracing Mary’s. However, Mary’s name is not mentioned.
Christian’s will contend that Heli is Mary’s father. The speculation goes further where it says that Heli is the Father of Joseph, but really it means ‘father-in-law.’ The New Testament does not mention Heli at all except in the lineage.
The fact is that the royal line is only passed through the biological father, not the mother. This presents a problem with the notion of Mary’s lineage in Luke. Tribal inheritance is passed through the father. Christians will argue that there is an example that shows a father who had no sons passed on his estate to his daughters. However, transferring property and lineage are two separate things.
According to Scripture, the Davidic line must only pass through David’s son, Solomon.
As I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel, saying, assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me [David], and he shall sit upon my throne in my place... - 1 Kings 1:30
Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies around; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever. - 1 Chronicles 22:9-10
The lineage presented in Luke shows that Mary does not come from Solomon’s line, but from Nathan who was another of David’s sons who was not a royal heir.
Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David – Luke 3:31
The conclusion of the Jews is that neither Matthew’s lineage or Luke’s makes Jesus a legitimate descendant of David. Therefore, this is why they reject Jesus as the Messiah.
What the Messiah Will Accomplish
The Jews believe the Messiah will only come once and will be the revered king of God’s people in establishing God’s kingdom on earth as prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures.
And He [God] shall judge among the nations, and shall decide for many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more. - Isaiah 2:4
The Jews believe that since the time of Jesus there has not been a time of world peace, but continual war.
The Nations Will Turn to God
To You [God] nations shall come from the ends of the earth and say: Our fathers inherited utter delusions, things that are futile and worthless. Can a man make gods for himself? They are not gods! Assuredly, I will teach them, once and for all I will teach them My power and My might. And they shall learn that My name is God. - Jeremiah 16:19-21
Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men from the nations of every language, shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you. - Zechariah 8:23
Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be your nursing fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers: they shall bow down to you with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet; and you shall know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. - Isaiah 49:22-23
There is a list of things about what will happen in the time of the Messiah found in Ezekiel.
And say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from among the nations, where they have gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, nor shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all;
Nor shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them in all their dwelling places, where they have sinned, and will cleanse them; so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also follow my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, where your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell in it, they and their children, and their grandchildren forever; and my servant David shall be their prince forever.
And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
My tabernacle also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the nations shall know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. - Ezekiel 37:21-27
According to the Jews, the following will take place in the Messianic era according to their Scriptures:
- All the Jews who are exiled will return back to Israel.
- The will all be unified and turn from their idolatry.
- The descendant from the seed of David will rule over the Jews and there will be no more war on earth.
- The Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem.
- All the nations of the world will come to know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Christian Perspective on Jesus
Christians have a differing point of view. They believe Jesus is the Messiah and that his life and death are part of God’s plan. Jesus’ purpose was to ‘deal with sin’ by becoming a human sacrifice to give atonement for all those who would believe in him. He will one day return a second time to bring judgement and establish world peace.
Christians will cite Isaiah 53 and claim that it is about Jesus who went through trials, tribulations, sufferings and ‘bore the sin of many.’
The Jews have a different understanding of this chapter and believe Isaiah is speaking of God's ‘servant’ (singular) and witnesses (plural) as Israel, not Jesus based on the context of the previous chapters.
But you, Israel, are my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called you from the chief men thereof, and said unto you, You are my servant; I have chosen you, and not cast you away. Isaiah 41:8
Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant. I have formed you. You are My servant O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me. - Isaiah 44:21
And said unto me, You are my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. - Isaiah 49:3
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. - Isaiah 43:10
Isaiah identifies Israel as God’s ‘servant’ before and after chapter 53. The ‘suffering servant’ is about the persecution (Isaiah 52 and 54) of the Jewish people and their redemption in the future. A reading through Isaiah 52:13-15 reveals that God’s servant will shock the world at the time of their exaltation.
The Jewish Sacrifice vs Jesus’ Sacrifice
The Resurrection of Jesus
Jews have a problem with the resurrection story of Jesus in the New Testament because they see several problems with the narrative. They believe that if someone is resurrected from the dead it does necessitate that person qualifies to be the Messiah.
The prophet Elisha resurrected a child in the Old Testament and in the New Testament Jesus resurrected Lazarus. None of the Jewish Scriptures state that the Messiah would be resurrected form the dead.
Furthermore, the accounts in the four Gospels have inconsistencies when comparing them with each other. Christians will say that if the accounts agreed with each other, it would suggest that collusion was involved. The problem is that the Gospel authors were not eye witnesses.
When comparing and contrasting the four Gospel about Jesus’ resurrection, the following differences can be seen.
Is Christianity an Extension of Judaism?
For Christianity to be valid, the New Testament must be filtered through the Jewish Scriptures. It cannot be the other way around. For Christianity to be true, it must align with the prophecies in the Tanakh.
The most critical message of the Jewish people is the oneness of God that was revealed to them through a national revelation at Mt. Sanai.
Jews will say that Christians have a different view of God as a Trinity revealed to them from the personal revelation of ecclesiastical men. Nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures is the doctrine of the Trinity mentioned. Nowhere in the Torah is a triune God manifested in human form.
If there arises among you a prophet... saying, Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them; You shall not listen to the words of that prophet... - Deuteronomy 13:2-4
They sacrificed to powerless spirits, not to God; to gods whom they knew not; to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. - Deuteronomy 32:17
Nowhere is there a hint of Trinitarian doctrine anywhere.
Unto you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord, He is G-d; there is none else beside Him. - Deuteronomy 4:35
You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and understand that I am He: before Me there was no god formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no savior. - Isaiah 43:10-11
And there is no God beside me; a just God and a savior; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. - Isaiah 45:21-22
Yet I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt, and you shall know no god but Me: for there is no savior beside Me. - Hosea 13:4
God’s Eternal Commandments
The Jews believe that God’s commandments to them are eternal as stated in their Scriptures.
You shall keep therefore His statutes, and His commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days upon the earth, which the Lord your God has given you forever. - Deuteronomy 4:40
And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord your God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us. - Deuteronomy 6:24-25
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children; to such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His commandments to do them. -Psalm 103:17-18
Paul Vs. King David
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. - Romans 3:28
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. - Romans 10:4
The ministry of death, in letters engraved on stone... - 2 Corinthians 3:7
For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. - Galatians 2:21
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law... - Galatians 3:13
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For you are all children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. - Galatians 3:23-26
The Torah of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. - Psalm 19:8-9
Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the Torah of the Lord. Happy are those who keep his testimonies, and who seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity; they walk in his ways. You have commanded us to keep your precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep your statutes! Then I shall not be ashamed, when I gaze at all your commandments. - Psalm 119:1-6
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your Torah is the truth. Trouble and anguish have taken hold of me; yet your commandments are my delights. The righteousness of your testimonies is everlasting; give me understanding, and I shall live. - Psalm 119:142-144
For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face. - Psalm 11:7
The Lord rewards me [David] according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he recompenses me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my G-d. For all his judgments were before me; and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from my iniquity. - 2 Samuel 22:21
Jews believe that keeping the Torah is their instruction for righteousness.
Christians believe that righteousness is obtained by having faith in Jesus.
God’s Chosen People
The Tanakh clearly recognizes the Jews as God’s chosen people in the past as well as the future.
Paul in the New Testament lays the foundation for ‘replacement theology’ that all those who believe in Jesus are neither Jew nor Gentile replacing the Jews as God’s chosen people.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. - Galatians 3:28
Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own treasure among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine... - Exodus 19:5
For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a special people to Himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. - Deuteronomy 14:2
And the Lord has declared you this day to be His special people, as He has promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; And to set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, as He has spoken. - Deuteronomy 26:18-19
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.
These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother...
Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. - Galatians 4:22-31
Both Jews and Christians have two opposing views. Jews believe the concepts found in the Christian bible are foreign to them beca