|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 1||Part 1|
I was once asked by a Christian scholar, "Why do you Jews refuse to believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, evidence concerning him having been given by the true prophets, in whose words you also believe?"
And this is the answer which I gave him: How is it possible for us to believe that he was the Messiah, as we do not see any actual proof of his Messiahship throughout the prophetic writings. As for the passages which the authors of the Gospel adduce from the words of the prophets, to demonstrate that Jesus the Nazarene was the Messiah, they advance nothing relating to him, as will be shown in the second part of this work, in which we shall, in regular succession, point out the fallacies set forth in the Gospel. On the other hand, we shall see many incontrovertible proofs in support of our conviction that Jesus was by no means the Messiah. A few of these arguments may be here introduced,
He was not the Messiah is evident:--
1st, from his pedigree;
2ndly, from his acts;
3rdly, from the period in which he lived; and
4thly, from the fact that, during his existence, the promises were not fulfilled which are to be realized on the advent of the expected Messiah, whereas the fulfillment of the conditions alone can warrant a belief in the identity of the Messiah.
1st. As to the pedigree of Jesus, he was not a descendant of David, being merely affiliated to him through Joseph, as is testified in the Gospel. For in Matthew, chapter 1, it is written, that Jesus was born of Mary during her virginity, and that Joseph knew her not until she had given birth to Jesus. According to this statement, the pedigree of Joseph can be of no avail to Jesus, and at the same time it is quite evident that the ancestry of Mary was unknown to the authors of the Gospel. But even the relationship of Joseph to David is wanting in proof, there being a discrepancy between Matthew and Luke in their account of his pedigree, which appears clearly, when we compare the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 1, with that of Luke, at the end of chapter 3. Here we see conflicting testimonies; and where that is the case no belief can be attached to either statement. The prophets, on the contrary, predicted to us that the expected Messiah should be no other than a descendant of David.
2ndly. As to the works of Jesus, we find that He says of himself, Matthew 10:34, "Think not that I am come to make peace on earth; I came not to send peace but the sword, and to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." On the other hand, we find Holy Writ attributing to the true and expected Messiah actions contrary to those of Jesus. We see here that Jesus says of himself, he is not come to make peace on earth, whereas Scripture says of the true and expected Messiah, in Zechariah 9:10, ''And he shall speak peace unto the heathen," etc. Jesus says he came in order "to send the sword on earth," but Scripture says, Isaiah 2:4, "And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." Jesus says he came "to put father and son at variance," etc, but Malachi says (at the end of his book) that "before the coming of the true Messiah the prophet Elijah shall appear, and turn the heart of the fathers to their children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." Jesus says, concerning himself, Matthew 20:28, that he is not come to be served by the son of man, but to serve others. Concerning the true Messiah, however, Scripture says, Psalm 72:11, "Yea, all kings shall prostrate themselves before him; all nations shall serve him." And Zechariah 9:10, "His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the end of the earth." Thus states also Daniel, 7:27, "And all rulers shall serve him and obey him."
3rdly. As to the period of his existence, it is evident that he did not come at the time foretold by the prophets; for they predicted the advent of the Messiah to happen at the latter days, see Isaiah 2:2, "And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains," etc. Further we read there, verse 4, concerning the king Messiah, "And he shall judge among the nations and arbitrate among many people, and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks," etc. Thus is also recorded in Scripture concerning the wars of Gog and Magog, which are to take place in the time of the king Messiah. Vide Ezekiel 38:8, "After many days thou shalt be visited; in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword," as will be explained in the proper place. The same is evident from Hosea, 3:5, "Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and shall revere the Lord and His goodness in the latter days." So we read also in Daniel 2:28, "And (God) maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days." Which passage refers to the subsequent prophecy, ibid verse 44, "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the sovereignty shall not be left to other people," etc. Hence we see clearly that the prophets predicted that the coming of the true Messiah would happen at the " latter days," and not before.
4thly. We have to consider the promises contained in the words of the prophets, which were not fulfilled in the time of Jesus, but are to be realized in future at the time of the true Messiah, who is still expected. They may be classed under the following heads:-
(a.) At the time of the king Messiah there is to be only one kingdom and one king, namely, the true king Messiah. But the other empires and their rulers shall cease at that period, as we read in Daniel 2:44, "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." Whereas, we now actually see that many empires, different in their laws and habits, are still in existence; and that in each empire a different king is ruling; consequently the Messiah is not yet come.
(b.) At the time of the king Messiah, there is to be in the world but one creed and one religion, and that is the religion of Israel, as is proved by Isaiah (52:1), "Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean." And further (chapter 66:17), "Who sanctify themselves and purify themselves [we prefer the literal translation of this obscure passage to the unwarranted and still more obscure translation of the Authorised Version] in the gardens, behind one in the midst of them who eat the flesh of the swine, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together saith the Lord." "And (verse 23) it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come and worship before me, saith the Lord." Moreover, it is written in Zechariah (14:16), "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles." In the same book (chapter 8:23) we read, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men of nations of diverse languages shall take hold, even shall take hold of the skirt of a Jew [Authorised Version renders it "of him that is a Jew"], saying, We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you." There are many other passages in that book to the same effect.
(c.) At the time of the Messiah, the idolatrous images and their memorial, as also the false prophets and the spirit of profanity are to vanish from the earth, as may be seen in Zechariah 13:2, "And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols from the earth, and they shall no more be remembered, also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit [literally 'the spirit of uncleanliness'] to pass away from the earth." So also it is written in Isaiah 2:18, "And the idols he shall utterly abolish." So it is also said in Zephaniah 2:11, "The Lord will be terrible unto them, for he will cause all the gods of the earth to waste away, and men shall worship Him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen."
(d.) At the time of the Messiah, there will be no sins and iniquities in the world, particularly not among the Israelitish nation. Thus we find in the law (Deuteronomy 30:6), "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart and the heart of thy seed to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." Again, in Zephaniah 3:13, "The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth." Again, in Jeremiah 3:17, "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem, neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart." Again, in Ezekiel 36:25, "And I will sprinkle clean water upon you: from all your impurity, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. And I will give unto you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them." Moreover, see Ezekiel 37:23, "Neither shall they defile themselves any more with the idols nor with their abominations, nor with their transgressions, and I will save them out of all their dwelling-places wherein they have sinned, and I will cleanse them, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, and David my servant shall be king over them, and they shall have one shepherd, and they shall walk in my judgments and observe my statutes and do them."
(e.) At the time of the king Messiah and after the war with Gog and Magog there will be peace and tranquility throughout the world, and men will no longer require any weapons of war. So it is written in Isaiah 2:4, "And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." See also Ezekiel 39:9, "And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years (ibid verse 10) so that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests, for with the weapons shall they kindle the fire." With these words agrees the prophecy of Hosea 2:20, according to the division of chapters in the Hebrew Bibles, (in the English version it is chapter 2 verse 18) "And I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and I will make them to lie down safely." So says also Zechariah 9:10, "And the battlebow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace unto the heathen," etc.
(f.) At the time of the king Messiah there will be peace in the Holy Land between the ferocious and domestic animals, so that they will not injure each other, and much less injure a human being, as is evident from the following prophecies of Isaiah 11:6, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them." (Verse 7) "And the cow and the bear shall feed together; their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." (Verse 8) "And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den." (Verse 9) "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord," etc. and (ibid 65:25) "And the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock, and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord." (See also Ezekiel 34:25) "And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land, and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods." (Verse 28) "And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them," etc. (See also Hosea 2:20, or in the English version, 18) "And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground," etc.
(g.) At the time of the Messiah there will be no troubles, cares, and anxieties, among the restored Israelites, who will then be blessed with a prolonged and more happy life, as is foretold in the following passages of Isaiah (65:16). "He who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth, and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth, because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. (Verse 19) "And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people, and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying." (Verse 20) "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days, for the child shall die a hundred years old, but the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed." (Verse 21) "And they shall build houses and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them." (Verse 22) "They shall not build and another inhabit, they shall not plant and another eat, for as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands."
(h.) At the time of the Messiah the Shechinah (effulgency of divine presence) shall return to Israel as in former days, and the people of Israel increase in prophecy, wisdom, and knowledge, as may be seen by the following quotations from the prophets. (Ezekiel 37:26) "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will establish and multiply them, and set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore." (Verse 27) "My residence also shall be among them. Yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Verse 28) "And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore." (Ibid 39:29) "Neither will I hide my face any more from them, for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God." (Ibid 43:7) "And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever," etc. (Ibid 48:35) "And the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘The Lord is there’" (Joel 2:27) "And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and there is none else; and my people shall never be ashamed." (Ibid 3:1), in the English Version 2:28) "And it shall come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions." (Ibid 3:17) "So ye shall know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through it any more." (Ibid 3:21) "For I will avenge their blood that I had not avenged, for the Lord dwelleth in Zion." (Zechariah 2:14; in the English Version, 2:10) "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for, lo! I come and dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord." (Isaiah 11:9) "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." (Jeremiah 31:34) "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall know me, from the lowest of them to the highest, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more."
The above indications pointed out by the prophets as indispensable attributes of the true Messiah, have not been fulfilled in Jesus the Nazarene. Nor have we hitherto seen realized the prophetic assurances already named, or others that we have omitted, to avoid prolixity. And we therefore arrive at the just conclusion, that the true and expected Messiah has not yet come. In him alone all the predicted attributes undoubtedly will be manifested, and through him alone and in no other way, the scriptural promises will be accomplished.