I was listening to a Rabbi debate with a Christian and wanted to ask you about some of the points that the Rabbi made that the Christian didn’t respond to, if i may.
1. Christians had to “make up” the second coming of the Messiah to harmonize why Jesus did not restore peace in all nations. (is the second coming alluded to in the Old testament?)
2. That an innocent girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp would go to hell while a convicted mass murderer would go to heaven if he accepted Jesus before He died. (is there characteristics of God’s justice like that shown in the Old Testament?)
3. How did the coming descendant of David -who was himself also a Messiah (annointed-suddenly become a Messiah who is divine or heavenly (are there Old Testament verses showing that?)
4. The Rabbi also believes that God speaks “nationally” or to official representatives of people in the Old Testament in much the same way He spoke to the elders on the mountain with Moses or the prophets did to the kings. and that He did so consistently throughout the Old Testament. So Israel should recognize its Messiah according to the Rabbi based on some Old Testament verses. Jesus revealed himself “secretly” to mostly the poor and not to national Israel. He said most Jews ,especially those separated in the diaspora, did not know He lived/died at that time (is there a biblical reason or explanation for why God would change His method?)
1. First of all, it was not Christians who made up the idea of Jesus coming back. It was Jesus who told them that he would come back (Matthew 23, for example). Second of all, Jesus does fulfill the prophecies of a king who will bring peace to God’s people of all nations (Micah 4:1-5 and Isaiah 2:1-4). He restored peace between Jew and Gentile, man and woman, Roman and Greek, pagan and barbarian, slave and slave-holder (1 Corinthians 12:13). Jesus is the prince of peace and the one who brings peace between all cultures and all kinds of people, as well as peace between all people and their maker. Jesus definitely fulfilled these passages. The “second coming” is alluded to in the Old Testament, but it is not described as a second coming of the Messiah. The clearest indication of a final resurrection and the coming of the Kingdom of God at the end of time is in Daniel 12. It is not described as a “second coming” in Daniel, but then again, the term “second coming” is not found anywhere in the New Testament either, although the idea is found there, for example in Matthew 24.
2. Innocent little girls do not go to hell. If there are any Christians who teach that little children are lost and going to hell, then they are wrong. Some do teach total depravity and Original Sin, but this is not a biblical teaching. Second of all, in Ezekiel 18 it is taught that those who, after living in sin for many years, later come to repentance, then their sins will be forgiven. This is definitely an Old Testament teaching. Whether a mass murderer will have a soft enough heart to repent and be baptized is pretty questionable, but all of us are sinners and all who truly repent of their sins can be forgiven by the blood of Jesus. Part of this Rabbi’s charge is simply not correct, but the second part, in principle is true. That is the grace of God. David was a murderer (not directly, but indirectly) but God forgave him. This teaching is consistent with both the Old and the New Testaments.
3. David was anointed king of Israel, as were all the kings, but he was not a fulfillment of God’s promise to send the Messiah (anointed One) to bring in everlasting righteousness and atone for sins (Daniel 9:24). David never claimed to be the Messiah or to be the fulfillment of Messianic Prophecies, but Jesus definitely did! (Luke 24:44, John 5:39). Here your Rabbi friend is definitely confusing, both the scriptures and the Old Testament teaching of the Messiah. David is never referred to as the Messiah, but more than once the Old Testament contains prophecies that a descendent of his–the “Son of David” would be anointed as the Messiah (Isaiah 11:1, 2 Sam 7:14-16). This Rabbi seems to be very confused about the Jewish/Old Testament teaching about the Messiah. David himself said about the Messiah, “The Lord said to my Lord ‘Sit at my right hand…” David acknowledged that the Messiah would be God. In Zechariah 11:13 God describes that he would be priced at 30 pieces of silver (the handsome price at which they priced me.” This is a prophecy that God (Jesus) would be sold for 30 pieces of silver, which, of course, is exactly what happened.
4. This Rabbi is correct at least in part, that God had a habit of speaking to national leaders, but that certainly is not the only kind of people he spoke to and through. Moses was not the leader of anything when God chose him and spoke to him from a burning bush. There are dozens of times that God spoke to people and spoke to his people to and through people of the most humble origins. Gideon comes to mind, who was the most humble member of the most humble tribe, yet God spoke to him and made him a great leader of his people. If the Rabbi is claiming that God never spoke to humble people or used ordinary, humble people to lead his people, then he better study his Old Testament a bit more carefully, as there are many examples which will immediately refute this claim. It is true that Jesus was cautious, at first, to reveal who he was because he would be killed and his time had not yet come. Yet, he definitely did reveal his divine nature. In the second year of his ministry he told the people, “Before Abraham was born, “I AM.” (John 8:58). Naturally, those who did not accept Jesus’ claims picked up stones to stone him. During the first year of his ministry he told great crowds, “I am the bread of life… whoever believes in me I will raise up on the last…. who believes in me will never die. (John 6:35, 44, 47). God did not change his method. He planned for Jesus all along.
It is true that many Jews did not hear Jesus during his lifetime. It may even be a majority, although I am not sure where he gets his statistics to prove this point. I am not sure what point he is making there. By the first century, no Jew could be heard by all the Jews because they were so spread around. I see no important point to be made from this, but what he says is pretty much true. Many tens of thousands of Jews did hear Jesus preach and his miracles, signs and wonders were known throughout Judea and Galilee, that is for sure, but it is possible that many Jews living outside of Palestine did not know about him until later. It is also true that tens of thousands of Jews became Christians in the first century. By about AD 100 virtually all Jews were very well aware of what Jesus said and claimed, but in AD 30 many had not yet heard of the Messiah. Again, I do not see what this proves.