Ever since last year, I’ve been sharing with a Jewish friend I have. He
told me about this small book he read about why you can’t trust the
Christian Bible and why not to believe in Jesus. The thing that made me
think the most is when this little book talked about how scriptures have
been changed. One example he gave is Romans 11:26, and according to the
footnotes in my Bible, and this little book I was reading, this scripture
in Romans 11:26 was quoting Isaiah 59:20. When I compare these two
scriptures, it looks like someone tried to add to it or take away from it.
This little book said that happened because they tried to alter the
scripture to support Christian views. However, there were some more
scriptures that were in the footnotes next to isaiah 59:20-21. They were
Isaiah 27:9, and Jer 31:33-34. I read all of these and I’m not sure
whether they added these scriptures together or what. Another example
this little book gave was that in Matthew 2:23, the part where it said,
“this happened to fulfill what was said through the prophets he will be
called a Nazerene.” This author claims this prophecy was made up out of
thin air. I checked the footnotes to see if there were any reference
verses but there weren’t any. I’m not sure whether this prophecy came from
books that were not added in the Bible or whether it came out of thin air
like the book said or maybe this prophecy was just by word of mouth among
people. Can you explain the claims in this book?


I am very glad you decided to write me. Yes, I have heard each of these
arguments before. As for Romans 11:26, Paul is paraphrasing Isaiah.
Also, bear in mind that Paul is almost certainly quoting from the
Septuagint, which is the common Greek translation of the Old Testament
used by both the Jews and the Christians. It was common for the Jews and
the early Christians who were very familiar with the Old Testament to
paraphrase from the Septuagint and to conflate different Old Testament
passages. This Jewish author would only have a point if it could be shown
that the Old Testament did not prophecy that the Messiah would take away
sins. Consider a few prophecies which clearly say that the Messiah will
take away sins. Daniel 9:24 Seventy sevens are decreed for your people
and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone
for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision
and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. By the way, if you continue
with this passage, it predicts when the Messiah will come to Jerusalem
(Zion) to take away sins. Daniel’s prophecy is that the Messiah will come
to Jerusalem 490 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (458 BC, see
Ezra 7), or about AD 33 (see my book on Daniel). Another passage which
confirms that the Old Testament predicted the Messiah will take away sin
is in Jeremiah 31:31-34. This passage talks about the New Covenant and
about not remembering their sins any more. Another passage which teaches
what Paul is expressing in Romans 11:26 is Isaiah 53:1-12. Here we have
phrases such as “he was pierced for our transgressions… the punishment
that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed… For
he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. If
this author is arguing that Paul is abusing the Old Testament to teach
that the Messiah will take away sin, then how can he explain that this is
taught several times throughout the Old Testament. The fact that the
deliverer will come from Zion (Romans 11:26) is prophesied in Isaiah
59:20, but also in several other places in the Old Testament. The fact
that the Messiah will bring in a new covenant (Romans 11:27) and take away
sin is prophesied again and again in the Old Testament. This author is
just trying to confuse his readers to take their attention away from the
obvious teaching in the Old Testament. Even if Paul is quoting more than
one Old Testament passage, the author only has a legitimate point if he
can prove that the New Testament writers made up the whole idea that the
Messiah will take away sins. Obviously, this is impossible.

About Matthew 2:23, I will have to say that this one gave me a problem for
several years. I finally figured it out just a few years ago. I was not
surprised at all that this passage made sense. My research has shown that
if we give the Bible the benefit of the doubt, we will always be justified
in doing so. In the Hebrew, the word Nazareth is nazaret,the same as the
word branch. It is very interesting that God caused the Messiah, Jesus,
to be raised in Nazareth because Nazareth means branch. There are several
Old Testament passages which prophesy that the Messiah will be called the
branch, which can also be interpreted as Nazarene. It is interesting and
wonderful that Jesus was both the branch of Jesse and a Nazarene. This is
one of hundreds of amazing pieces of evidence which proves conclusively
that the entire Bible is inspired by God. The relevant passages are
Isaiah 11:1,2 Jeremiah 23:5 Zecheriah 3:8 and Zecheriah 6:12. You should
not be surprised that a Jewish person who reads the New Testament with the
sole purpose to find “mistakes” will find them. You should also be
extremely skeptical of this book. Bottom line, this person is wrong.
Jesus, as he said, fulfilled all the prophecies of the Messiah (Luke
24:44). I suggest you get a copy of my book From Shadow to Reality
( This book contains an entire chapter of fulfilled
messianic prophecies in the Old Testament and an entire chapter full
of Old Testament prophecies of the Kingdom of God which were fulfilled in
the ministry of Jesus and the early church.

Let me give you a suggestion. Get a copy of From Shadow to Reality and
ask your Jewish friend politely to be willing to read this book. One
thing I can guarantee is that he will not be able to answer the points in
this book. One of two things will happen. He will have his lack of faith
challenged, or he will conveniently start avoiding you as the case for
Jesus being the Messiah is iron clad, crystal clear, a done deal, proven,

I am guessing that this book and other things you have heard have raised
other questions. I suggest you be willing to put in the work to answer
these questions. Feel free to send any more unanswered questions to me.
I would be happy to send answers.

John Oakes, PhD

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