1) Christianity holds that at one pointing time, the Old Testament
was the truth and the Jews were the chosen people. What changed this?
The Torah states 23 times “this is an eternal law for all generations” (to
name a few, Exodus 12:14, 12:17, 12:43, 27:21, 28:43). If the Torah was
at one point true, then this statement must prove that all of the laws in
the Torah must be kept and not disregarded or ?replaced? for eternity.
Likewise, concerning Jesus Christ, many times the Torah warns against
false prophets?what makes Jesus a ?true prophet,? not antithetical to
Torah?s warnings?

2) Does Christianity hold that it is the only true religion according
to G-d?

3) The ?correct? religion should not only have an outstanding code of
ethics, but the people who abide by the rules, should represent the most
moral group. How does Christianity explain the recent indictments of the
priests, and the high Christian percentages of amoral issues?

4) Questions on the Bible:

A) I find the genealogy of Jesus given in the Gospels confusing. Who was
Jesus? paternal grandfather? (Mathew says his grandfather was Jacob, but
Luke says it was Heli). Also, Mathew declares that Jesus was separated
from King David by only twenty-eight generations, but Luke?s list shows a
forty-three generation separation. What does this contradiction mean?

B) The genealogical line linking Jesus and King David seems to pass
through Jesus? father. But since Jesus was a product of virgin
conception, then he does not share in his father?s Davidic ancestry. How
is Jesus a descendant of David?

You ask very good questions!!

The answers:

1) I just had a student leave my office less than five minutes ago who
was asking the exact same question! This is not an easy question to
answer. The Hebrew word which is translated forever is also translated
“until the end of the age.” In that sense, the covenant with Moses did
indeed last forever. The Old Testament gives very clear testimony that
God was planning on giving a new covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-34 says; The
time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with
the house of Israel and with the house of Judah? I will put my law in
their minds and write it on their hearts? For I will forgive their
wickedness and will remember their sins no more. In the Hebrew sense,
“forever” ended when a new covenant was put into place. Jesus said that
he did not come to abolish the law (of Moses), but to fulfill the law.
That is exactly what he did. Jesus brought the requirements of the
Mosaic Law to completion through his life and his death on the
cross. Hebrews is really great on explaining this. Hebrews 10:9, “He
sets aside the first to establish the second.” Hebrews 9:13,14; “The
blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who
are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.
How much more, then will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal
Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from
acts that lead to death? For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a new
covenant?” Colossians 2:16 calls the New Moons, Sabbaths and so forth
shadows of the New Covenant reality. I go into this subject in great
detail in my new book, just published, titled From Shadow to Reality.

Jesus is a true prophet for many reasons. First of all, in Deuteronomy
13:1f it says that if a prophet predicts something and it does not happen,
they are not a prophet. Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem in
AD 70 with great accuracy (Luke 21:20). Second, God told Moses that he
would raise up a prophet “like him” from among the Jews. (Deut 18:18,19).
Jesus is that prophet. For evidence of this, again, I refer you to my
book. Jesus fulfilled every single one of the prophecies of the Messiah.
He was from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He was sold for 30 pieces of silver
(Zechariah 11:12,13). He was crucified (Psalms 22:16) and so forth.
Jesus said he fulfilled all the prophecies (Luke 24:44) and he was not
kidding. My book, Reasons for Belief goes into great detail on all these
things. (also available at www.ipibooks.com). Bottom line, Jesus claimed
to be the Messiah and he backed it up with a perfect life, with miracles
performed and with prophecies fulfilled. More on this is found in the
article Messianic Prophecies.

2) Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Peter said, “Salvation is found in
no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which
we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Logically, if we are forgiven of our sins
through the blood of Christ, then we are not forgiven of our sins by any
other means. That is the message of the New Testament. This may be an
unpopular teaching, but it is the inescapable consequences of what Jesus
taught. I would refer you to an article on other religions at my web
site where you will find an article on other world religions. I
would encourage you to look at this reference material. If you do, you
will see that the “scripture” of other world religions, (except Judaism,
of course) do not show the signs of inspiration found throughout the
Bible. You will also find that the basic teachings of these groups are
not possible to be justified with Christian theology. People say that all
religions have a similar teaching on morality. That may be somewhat true,
but salvation is not found in morality, as all of us are sinners and are
in need of the grace of God found in Jesus Christ in order to be right
with God. That, at least, is the teaching of the New Testament which is
backed up by the miracles, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

3) I do not believe that the Roman Catholic priesthood and hierarchy
represents Christianity at all. The Roman church became apostate from
true biblical Christianity a long time ago. Human beings are not perfect,
and one cannot expect perfection, even of true disciples of Jesus.
However, the corrupt priesthood system, the papacy, and many other
traditions of Catholicism are not part of true Christianity and the
Christian religion should not be judged based on the corrupt practices of
false Christians. Jesus said that “you will know that they are disciples
by their love for one another.” (John 13:35). Jesus demanded us to take
up our cross daily, deny self and follow him. I am deeply saddened that
these priests did these things. Even though they are not true Christians
(at least as far as I can tell), they give true Christianity a bad name.
I would urge you to look around until you can find a fellowship of true
disciples of Jesus. They will not be perfect, but their fellowship will
be marked by an uncommon love. They will not be perfect, but you will
find a heart-felt commitment to righteousness in the people. You will
find a group dedicated to putting the teachings of the Bible into practice
on a daily basis. You will find a group something like the model in Acts
2:42f. I urge you to keep looking until you find such a group of
followers of Jesus. I am willing to give a recommendation of a church in
your area if you would like. I can honestly say that if you came into the
fellowship I am part of, you will not find these sort of scandals. We are
far from perfect, but we show clear signs of being from God.

4) Again, you get right to some of the harder questions. As I understand
it, although it is not obvious, the geneaology in Luke is actually through
Mary, while the geneaology in Matthew is through Joseph. You
should be
aware that both geneaologies do skip generations as well. If what I am
saying is correct, then the grandfather of Jesus through his father is
Jacob. You may want to do some further study from commentators on the
geneaologies of Jesus. I am not a specialist, but I do know that Hebrew
geneaologies very commonly skipped generations: even multiple generations
at times.

5) My answer here gets back to the previous answer. Jesus was descended
from David both through his mother and through his father. In Jewish
custom, when a child was adopted (which is essentially what Joseph did for
Jesus) he becomes part of the family line. By our Western concept, Jesus
would not be a descendent of Joseph, but by the Jewish way of thinking, he
was. Both Mary and Joseph were direct descendents of David. Actually,
after dozens of generations, one can assume that a great number of Jews
had at least one direct ancestor who was from the line of David. David
had many children. If you trace your own ancestry back, say, twenty
generations, imaging how many thousands of people you are descended from!
It should not be a huge surprise at all that Jesus was a descendent of
David on both sides of his family line.

John Oakes, PhD

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