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|Some Jews Say||Marty Replies|
|Jesus did not fulfill four specific prophecies of the Messiah. Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright, and no concept of a second coming exists.||
The Jewish emphasis on these prophecies in the case of Jesus is inconsistent with their own history. On three well-known occasions, and many more that are not well-known, highly respected rabbis named as the Messiah men who did not fulfill this prophecy. (1) Rabbi Akiva, convinced that the great Jewish general Shimon Bar Kosba would be the new Yehuda haMaccabi, before he had met the Jewish-tradition requirements, proclaimed Bar Kosba the Messiah and changed his name to Bar Kokhba in 133 AD, even though he did not meet the criteria of the Israelite prophets. Bar Kokhba considered himself the Messiah. Coins struck by his forces saying, “Year one of the redemption of Israel,” have been discovered by archaeologists. However, by 135 AD, when Bar Kokhba’s forces were defeated, Rabbi Akiva changed his name again, this time to Bar Kosiba, son of a lie. (2) Shabbatai Zevi, a man with a flair for the dramatic, announced in 1665 that he was the Messiah. Before he had met the requirements, most of the world’s rabbis accepted his claim until the following year, when he was faced with a choice of death or conversion to Islam. When he chose Islam, most of the rabbis, realizing that the Messiah could never apostasize, abandoned him. (3) Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, died on June 12, 1994. Many in Chabad-Lubavitch consider him the Messiah, even though he had not met the Jewish-tradition requirements and died before completing them. (Orthodox Jews outside Chabad-Lubavitch do not consider him the Messiah.)
These “Jewish sources” showing that the Messiah will fulfill these prophecies outright are theological opinions of the sages. The sages are entitled to great respect when they interpret the Law of Moses. But Jewish Law has no category for the arrival on earth of a divine Person, because it is a body of law for man.
Now let us look at the four specific prophecies.
|A. Jesus did not build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).||
Let’s look at what the Scripture says. Ezek 37:26 “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I the Lord sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is in the midst of them for evermore.”
This verse does not mention Third or Temple. In fact, Jesus did fulfill it. Jn 2:19 “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.” Jesus is the third Temple, raised up in three days, always in our midst. Mt 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
|B. Jesus did not gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).||
The Scripture says, Is 43:5 “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth.”
Does this verse mean what some Jews say it means? Let’s go back to the beginning of that chapter. Is 43:1 “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.’” This is about the redemption. In the Old Testament we find the law of the goel, the redeemer. Lev 25:25 “If your brother becomes poor, and sells part of his property, then his next of kin shall come and redeem what his brother has sold.” Goel is the Hebrew word for the kinsman who redeems for us. The original sin had closed the gates of paradise. Gen 3:24 “[God] drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” We needed redemption. Jesus’ last words on the Cross were, Lk 23:46 “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.” The Jews standing beneath the Cross recognized His quotation from Ps 31:5 “Into thy hand I commit my spirit,” and silently completed that verse, “Thou hast redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.” They knew the law of the goel. He had told them what He was doing.
But what about Isaiah 43:5? After Solomon’s Israel was divided into the northern kingdom of Israel with its ten tribes, and the southern kingdom of Judah with its tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the northern kingdom fell first. Most members of the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher were resettled in what is now northern Iraq and Syria, and northwestern Iran. There they married the local people. Like the Samaritans, their children were half-Israelite, their children’s children quarter-Israelite, and so on until the Israelite presence completely merged into the local populations. They are often called “the ten lost tribes of Israel.” Isaiah’s prophecy was that they would be redeemed, brought back. The same prophecy was much more explicit in Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones. God led Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones and commanded that he prophesy. Ezek 37:7 “So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And as I looked, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the LORD GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great host.”
An exceedingly great host! Our Father had promised Abraham, Gen 15:5 “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. … So shall your descendants be.” When the people Israel went into the promised land they were few. Deut 7:7 “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples.” Our Father was clear. Ezek 37:11 “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel … and I will place you in your own land; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done it, says the LORD.” Again, your own land. The whole people Israel would be as the stars in heaven! Jesus had redeemed all of the twelve tribes of Israel. He had become the new Temple, and the new Israel. The ten tribes had been concealed in the pagans who came to the Church, and as each one was baptized into the Church he became part of the new Israel.
The Catholic Church affirms that she is the new Israel. New Israel is found in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council document Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, November 21, 1964, § 9. “So likewise the new Israel which while living in this present age goes in search of a future and abiding city is called the Church of Christ.” It is found also in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council document Ad Gentes, the Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, July 12, 1965, § 5, “Thus the Apostles were the first budding - forth of the New Israel, and at the same time the beginning of the sacred hierarchy.” And it appears in the Catechism of the Catholic Church § 877, “… the Lord Jesus instituted the Twelve as ‘the seeds of the new Israel and the beginning of the sacred hierarchy.’”
|C. Jesus did not usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4).||
The Scripture says, Is 2:4 “He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
The prophets certainly see the Messiah as bringing a time of justice and peace. Jesus opened the kingdom of heaven, in which these conditions eternally prevail. On the Cross, Jesus told Dismas, Lk 23:43 “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” God never promised that Messianic prophecies in Scripture will be fulfilled in earthly life, only that they will be fulfilled by the Messiah.
|D. Jesus did not spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all the world -- on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).||
The Scripture says, Zech 14:9 “And the Lord will become king over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be one and his name one.”
It may be that this will occur in this earthly existence, but has not yet occurred. Jesus’ followers expected Him to conquer the Roman Empire. He did, in His own time. Today the only worldwide authority based in Rome is the Catholic Church. His followers asked Him, Acts 1:6 “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” After the Holocaust, which many people see as a “crucifixion” of the Jews, Jesus did restore the kingdom to Israel, as a resurrection. Jesus told us, Acts 1:7 “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.”
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