Challenging the way Jewish Rabbis "micro-manage" the Messianic prophecies
"Woe to you Torah experts! For you have taken away the key of knowledge! Not only did you yourselves not go in, you also have stopped those who were trying to enter!" (Luke 11: 52)
Included among the myriad ways rabbis attempt to debunk Yeshua is to "micro-manage" the Messianic prophecies.
Since the anti-missionaries claim that Yeshua is not the Messiah, and they are waiting for a "messiah-yet-to-come" to fulfill all the Biblical prophecies, then what about the prophecies that cannot be fulfilled NOW because they were, and had to be fulfilled in the past? This would mean that a "messiah-yet-to-come" cannot be the Messiah because he can't fulfill prophecies that have already happened.
The Refiner's Fire wants to put to rest, once and for all, the assertion that that Yeshua "couldn't possibly be" the Messiah. This article will prove that Yeshua is the only One who could ever have fulfilled the past prophecies, and who will fulfill the future prophecies - just as the Bible tells us! Unfortunately, there is no short answer or particular Scripture that serves as the "clincher". To find the answer, we must examine the entire Bible, IN CONTEXT.
Yes, this is long, but it's worth it!
Torah experts assert:
Deuteronomy 13: 1 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
Christians and "Messianic Jews and Gentiles" worship Jesus as God; he is nothing but an idol! If Jesus, as he professes, is truly the son of the one God of Israel, then why would he only partially complete his task? Why didn't he fulfill ALL the OT prophecies like he was supposed to? Until Jesus returns and fulfills all the remaining prophecies, he is nothing but a prophet who "produced great signs and wonders" in our midst. Beware, Hashem is "testing us"! If we are commanded to fear the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:13), anything less than a total fulfillment of prophecy will not suffice.
The Netzarim Response:
You're right: Christians have their own "god" going. They've effectively taken the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and put him in a box, decided that the Son has replaced the Father, and changed the dates of His birth, death and resurrection and come up with their own "holy days" of Christmas and Easter....And so we're not addressing what Christians believe, as they are hooked on the many mistranslations and misunderstandings of the writings of Rav Shaul who they seem to believe over and above the things Yeshua actually taught. Our responses are coming from the Netzarim perspective - those who knew the Torah observant Yeshua and obeyed YHWH!
Having said that, some of the prophecies the prophets of old (Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.) did not come true while they were alive - and some of the events have not come true yet. Yet the rabbinics still believe Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. are still True Prophets of G-d. Some of the same rabbis know Gog-Magog war is soon to take place so Ezekiel's prophecies did not all occur when he was alive. This shows the rabbis who hold to the above statement are hypocrites and that the above argument by unbelieving rabbis against Yeshua is ludicrous.
Furthermore, the "Old Testament" (Tanach) assures us that God DOES have a "son" and that that "son" shall be called "ADONAI Our Righteousness". In "Old Testament" times, God spoke through Himself, dreams, visions, and the prophets. Today, He speaks through His Son - through Whom He also made the world (John 1:3, 10; I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2):
Proverbs 30:4 - Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has cupped the wind in the palms of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know!
Hebrews 1: 2 But now, in the acharit-hayamin (these last days) he has spoken to us through his Son, to whom he has given ownershp of everything and through whom he created the universe. 3 This Son is the radiance of the Sh'khinah (Spirit), the very expression God's essence, upholding all that exists by his powerful word; and after he had HaG'dulah BaM'romim (the Majesty on High).
Micah 5:2 - But you, Beit-Lechem near Efrat, so small among the clans of Y'hudah, out of you will come forth to me the future ruler of Isra'el, whose origins are far in the past, back in ancient times.
Jeremiah 23: 5 "The days are coming," says ADONAI when I will raise a righteous Branch for David. He will reign as king and succeed, he will do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Y'hudah will be saved, Isra'el will live in safety, and the name given to him will be ADONAI TZIDKENU [ADONAI our righteousness].
Question 1: How many "signs and wonders" can one person perform - especially some really extraordinary ones such as raising people from the dead and walking on water - before someone realizes something truly supernatural is happening?
Question 2: Exactly where in the Bible are we told that Messiah would fulfill all the prophecies at once, and/or in his lifetime? Where does the Bible give us a timeframe for all the prophecies to be fulfilled?
Question 3: Does the "Old Testament" - specifically Psalm 110 - tell us that Moses or any of the prophets are sitting "at the right hand of God"? The prophets of old might have been good men, but they - like ALL humans - sinned and disobeyed God. So, if Moses, a sinner, isn't sitting "at the right hand of God", who is?
As usual, the "learned rabbis" are putting God in a box and are insisting on understanding Him through their limited, human mindsets. Psalm 90:4 tells us that a "thousand years is like a day" in the eyes of the Lord. In other words, time as we know it, means nothing to Him. So, what makes you think God is working within YOUR idea of a timeframe when it comes to the prophecies?
Think about this fact: God said that the Jews would be a "light to the nations" (Isaiah 42:5-8). How would we have been that "light" without Yeshua, without all the controversy surrounding Him, and all the subsequent "religions" that originated because of Him? Without Him, Judaism would have been kept a huge, insignificant secret, confined to tiny Israel! Because of Yeshua - God's promised New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34) - the entire world eventually heard about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!
Matthew 28: - 18 Yeshua came and talked with them. He said, "All authority in heaven and one earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim (disciples), immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son, and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age."
Unlike any other "rabbi" who ever lived, Yeshua spoke with authority! The rabbis of old would always refer to Torah, but Yeshua dared to say, "I say unto you..." What made Him different from all the others? Different enough for the rabbis to want Him completely out of the way? Different enough for them to eventually have the Roman soldiers nail him to the cross? He taught God's Word properly, removing all the "rabbinic" bondage that the rabbis of the day had inserted into their teachings! He performed miracles beyond comprehension, including raising people from the dead, casting out demons, curing lepers, allowing the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear! The Tanach told us this would happen:
Isaiah 35: 5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped; then the lame man shall leap like a deer, and the mute person's tongue will sing....
What other Jewish rabbi has ever accomplished these things? Did Rabbi Menachim Schneerson (whose coffin many Jews are still watching in case he ever rises from the dead) do any of these things?
Granted, Yeshua and all His miracles mean nothing, unless one "believes" that the "New Testament" is true. So, let's step back into the "Old Testament" - TANACH! - for a moment to show how it foreshadowed what was to become part of the "New Testament"....
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore ADONAI himself will give you people a sign; the young woman will become pregnant, bear a son and name him 'Immanu El [God is with us]. (The word "Immanu El" is repeated in Isaiah 8:8.) (Jewish anti-missionaries will argue to the death about the word "alma" NOT meaning "virgin".
Isaiah 9: 6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name Pele-Yo'etz El Gibbor Avi'Ad Sar-Shalom [Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace], 7 in order to extend the dominion and perpetuate the peace of the throne and kingdom of David, to secure it and sustain it through justice and righteousness henceforth and forever. The zeal of ADONAI-Tva'ot will accomplish this.
When YHWH gave us His New Covenant, as seen in the Brit Chadasha (Renewed Covenant), YHWH's Son was physically walking among us! (Yeshua was human with a divine qnoma [nature] sent by YHWH Himself and he did everything His Father commanded - see Luke 4:43, Luke 8:1, Acts 28:23 and Acts 24:14!) If YHWH can speak through a burning bush or a donkey, or reveal Himself as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, WHY can't He also reveal Himself in the form of a man, through His own Son? After all, He already did it once with Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18:1-2;17). Who do you think spoke with Adam in the cool of the evening, especially since we are told we cannot look upon YHWH without dying? And with whom do you think Jacob fought all night before his thigh bone was broken (Genesis 32)? Certainly not YHWH Himself, but Yeshua....
Lest we forget, Yeshua fulfilled the prophecy of the Tzit-Tzit and the healing he has in his wings: Malachi 4:2 - But to you who fear my name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings...."
The Tanach reveals that Messiah would enter Jerusalem in triumph, gentle, and riding on a donkey. According to Daniel, there would be 483 years between the decree to rebuild the wall and the city of Jerusalem in troublesome times before Messiah would be cut off for the sins of the people. Exactly 483 years after the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its walls, Yeshua of Nazareth offered himself to the nation of Israel. He rode into the city on a donkey to the rejoicing of the people, just as the prophet Zechariah had predicted:
Zechariah 9: 9 Rejoice with all your heart, daughter of Tziyon! Shout out loud, daughter of Yerushalayim! Look! Your king is coming to you. He is righteous, and he is victorious. Yet he is humble - he's riding on a donkey, yes, on a lowly donkey's colt.
This edict to rebuild Jerusalem was issued in 444 BC by Artaxerxes Longimanus of Persia. Exactly 173,880 days later Yeshua rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. This was the first time Yeshua allowed Himself to be publicly proclaimed as the Messiah and King.
Daniel 9:25 - Know, therefore, and discern that seven weeks [of years] will elapse between the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Yerushalayim until an anointed prince comes....
Matthew 21: And when he approached Urishlim and came to Beth Pageh on the side of the Mount of Olives, Y'shua sent two of his disciples, 2. And said to them, Go to this village that is in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey that is bound and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to me. 3. And if anyone says anything to you, tell him that they are needed for our Master, and immediately he will send them here. (From the Aramaic English New Testament)
Daniel also says below that two startling historical things would follow Messiah's appearance. First, Messiah would be cut off. Second, the city of Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed shortly thereafter.
Daniel 9:26 - Then, after the sixty-two weeks, Mashiyach will be cut off and have nothing. The people of a prince yet to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary, but his end will come with a flood, and desolations are decreed until the war is over.
Here Daniel talks of the Messiah being killed. He also says the same thing that Yeshua said - that Jerusalem would be shortly destroyed. It happened in 70 A.D. and Josephus and others spoke of the "flood" of Jewish blood in the streets of Jerusalem....
The Refiner's Fire features 48 Dead-On Old Testament Prophecies About Yeshua that could ONLY have been fulfilled BY YESHUA whom God sent at the right time and place! Please check each Bible reference and then ask yourself: Since these have ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED, what are the odds of them being fulfilled AGAIN by yet another "messiah"?
Isaiah 53 is a hotly-debated topic by anti-missionaries who like to insist that Isaiah 53 points to Israel. If that's the case, please explain this:
Isaiah 53:9 - "And his grave was set among the wicked, and with the rich, in his death...."
When did Israel die? Surely it is not a Jewish belief that Israel will die, is it? Because the rest of Isaiah clearly indicates the opposite!
"Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the calamity that will come from far away? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave all your wealth...." (Is. 10:1-3)
"The way of peace you do not know, and there is no justice in their paths. Their roads they have made crooked; no one who walks in them knows peace. Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us; we wait for light, and lo! there is darkness; and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope like the blind along a wall, groping like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among the vigorous as though we were dead." (Is. 59:8-10)
To Isaiah, Israel does not qualify as one who has "done no injustice and spoken no falsehood" (verse 9).
"Yet it was OUR sickness that HE was bearing, OUR suffering that HE endured'. Who is the prophet speaking of here? Who is the OUR and the HE? Aren't there two different entities here?
"WE accounted HIM plagued, Smitten and afflicted by G-d. But HE was wounded because of OUR sins, Crushed because of OUR iniquities. HE bore the chastisement that made US whole, And by HIS bruises WE were healed."
"WE all went astray like sheep, each going his own way; and the L-rd visited upon HIM the guilt of all of US".
No innocence here. Whose guilt is it that is "visited" upon "HIM"?
Isaiah 53:11 is also the only place in scripture where the phrase, "My righteous servant" is used. Others are called, "My servant", but not "My righteous servant". A righteous servant must be holy. Who is this righteous servant?....
It was Yeshua - Yeshua who DID fulfill and qualify to "take the sin of the world upon his shoulders" because He is the ONLY innocent, guiltless, perfect being who ever lived! (See Qualifications of Messiah, in a Nutshell.)
Speaking of His qualifications, let's discuss THE ODDS of so many prophecies being filled by one Person:
By investigating the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, we find that hundreds of prophecies were all fulfilled in the life of one individual - Yeshua of Nazareth. Speaking of eight key prophecies, Peter Stoner, a mathematician, points out, "We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled eight of the prophecies is one in 100,000,000,000,000,000" (Science Speaks, Moody Press). And the probability of any one man fulfilling all of these hundreds of prophecies is a number too large to write down. He also discussed the probabilities of Yeshua fulfilling 48 prophecies being fulfilled in one person is the incredible number 10^157!
Let's not forget also, that Yeshua has fulfilled the first four of the seven Biblical feasts - feasts which most Jews simply repeat by rote, with no comprehension of their true meaning: Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzot), Firstfruits (Yom HaBikkurim), and the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot).
The first three major events for believers in Yeshua - His death, burial and resurrection - fell EXACTLY on the first three feasts, and the symbolism of the feasts appears to be beyond coincidence:
- While Passover was being celebrated - which included the slaying of an unblemished Lamb - Yeshua was being slain on the cross (1 Cor 5:7).
- The feast that followed, Unleavened Bread, is a picture of sanctification, as Yeshua was buried. Leaven is representative of sin, of which Yeshua had none.
- And then the feast of Firstfruits, to be celebrated on the morning AFTER the first Sabbath following the feasts of Unleavened Bread (Sunday) (Lev 23:10-11) is symbolic of Yeshua being the first of the Firstfruits (1 Cor 15:23).
- Even more interesting, the next big event for believers was the coming of the Holy Spirit. And it fell EXACTLY on the next feast 50 days later, on what Christians call Pentecost. The symbolism is again obvious as two loaves of bread are offered, which is a picture of the Old and New Testaments.
If the first four major events of the "New Testament" theology happened on the first four Jewish feasts, the next big event should fall on the next scheduled feast - the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah. Again the symbolism is seemingly beyond coincidence as this is to be a day of regathering and rejoicing. So, perhaps the "Rapture" will occur on Rosh Hashanah - the Feast of Trumpets?
- Yeshua said His words would spread worldwide, and that His words would never be forgotten: As quoted in Luke 21:33, Yeshua said that regardless of what happens in the world, His words will never be forgotten. Here we are 2000 years later and the words of Yeshua are all around us. There are 2 billion believers in the world and the Bible is most widely published, most widely circulated book in the history of the world. Of course, we still have the recorded sayings of other people who lived in ancient times. But, their words are not as well-known as the words of Yeshua - the One who brought the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to the entire world! As quoted in Matthew 24:14, Yeshua said that His teachings would be preached throughout the world before the End Times arrived. This prophecy has been fulfilled. The lessons of Yeshua have been taught to people in every country in the world. And this feat was accomplished before the worldwide availability of radio, television or the Internet! Can any other religious figure make this same claim? Yeshua did. And that claim has been fulfilled.
- Yeshua prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple: In Matthew 24:1-2, Yeshua says the Temple would be destroyed. In fact, He said that not one stone would be left standing on top of another. This was fulfilled about 40 years later, in the year 70, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and killed an estimated 1.1 million Jews. During the destruction, fire was set to the Temple. The fire caused the gold leaf on the Temple ceiling to melt. The melting gold flowed down the walls, settling into crevices. The Romans later pried apart the stones to remove the gold. This fulfilled the prophecy of Yeshua that not one stone would be left standing on top of another. In Luke 21:24, He says that the Jews soon would be forced out of Jerusalem and that the city would be destroyed. He said Jerusalem would be trampled upon by the Gentiles (non-Jews), meaning the Gentiles would take control over Jerusalem.
And, that is precisely what happened. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem in the year 70, and again in the year 132. During the two destructions, the Romans killed a total of about 1.6 million Jews. And more than 100,000 Jews were forced into slavery and exile. For the next few centuries, Jews were not allowed to live in Jerusalem. And the Jews did not regain control of Jerusalem until the Six Day War in 1967. (Some scholars contend that the Jews still do not have full control over Jerusalem). A non-believer could claim that there is no way to be certain that Yeshua's prophecies were written down before or after the destruction of Jerusalem. But, if these prophecies had been faked, and written sometime after the destruction of Jerusalem, then why didn't ancient non-Christians reveal this to us? What evidence is there to support a claim that Yeshua's prophecies were faked? And, how would one explain away His long-term prophecies, such as His prophecy that His teachings would spread to all nations, or that His words would never be forgotten? Surely these particular prophecies could not have been faked or written after the events had already happened.
- Yeshua prophesied His own death and resurrection: According to the New Testament, Yeshua prophesied His own death and resurrection. Of course, a non-believer could argue that there is no way to physical evidence to prove that He was resurrected. But, if He wasn't resurrected, then why did people who lived during the time of Yeshua continue to believe that He was a true prophet? Certainly, there have been many false prophets throughout history, but would any of them have been taken seriously if they had falsely prophesied their own resurrection?
- The fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies after the crucifixion and death of Yeshua: The Old Testament tells us that the Jews were chosen to record the words of God and share the words of God with people worldwide. Recording and sharing the word of God was a very difficult and important job. And so, it must have been important that God discipline His chosen people if they made mistakes. This could explain why the Jews have been punished so greatly, and rewarded so greatly, at different times in history. As explained in the Old Testament, there were times when many Jews of ancient Israel had turned away from God and worshipped the false gods of their Gentile neighbors. Many Old Testament prophets had warned the people that they would face these punishments if they turned away from God:
- Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed.
(See Micah 3:11-12)
- The Jews would be forced out of Israel.
(See Deuteronomy 4:25-30, 28:36-37)
- The Jews would be scattered worldwide.
(See Deuteronomy 4:25-30, 28:36-37)
- The Jews would endure persecution worldwide.
(See Leviticus 26:33)
- Enemies would move into the Jewish homeland.
(See Leviticus 26:31-32)
- But the Jews would never be completely destroyed.
(See Zechariah 8:13, and implied in Deuteronomy 4:25-30)
- The people who persecuted the Jews would be punished.
(See Genesis 12:2-3 and Jeremiah 30:11)
- And the Jews would return to Israel.
(See Jeremiah 32:37-41, Deuteronomy 4:25-30)
- And Israel would be restored. (See Deuteronomy 30:3-5, Isaiah 35:1-2, Amos 9:11-13)
All of these things happened. In fact, they happened twice, once after many people had turned away from God, and once after Yeshua had been rejected by many people as God's anointed Messiah.
The first time that this cycle of exile, persecution and restoration began was more than 2,500 years ago. At that time, as explained by writers of the Old Testament, many people had turned away from God and began to worship the false gods of pagan Gentiles. As punishment, the people were exiled and scattered to many countries by the invading Assyrians and Babylonians. And, as the prophets had promised beforehand, the Jews later returned to their homeland and rebuilt Jerusalem and the Temple, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians.
The second time that this cycle of exile, persecution and restoration began was about 2,000 years ago, after Yeshua was rejected as the Messiah by many people in Jerusalem. Shortly after the rejection, the Romans crucified Yeshua. Then, about 40 years later, the Romans suppressed a Jewish uprising for independence and killed 1.1 million Jews and forced others into exile and slavery. The Romans also destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. Only recently, during the past 100 years or so, have the Jews returned in large numbers to their ancient homeland to re-establish the sovereign nation of Israel. (See how Israel became a nation in one day, as prophesied in Isaiah 66:7-8!) So why did this cycle of exile, persecution and restoration - the punishments for disobeying God - begin the second time? We believe the reason is clear - because many people turned away from God by rejecting Yeshua as the Son of God.
The point is, God himself provided salvation, as only he is able (see Isaiah 59:17, 63:5, 43:11, 49:26). No ordinary man and no other "messiah" is, or was ever up to the task. What is so hard to believe about the fact that sent an Emissary - His "SON" - to be "born" as a man with a divine Nature - so man could better identify with and relate to Him - in order to fulfill the Messianic prophecies and bring about the salvation of Israel and the world?
YHWH uses whom He will to deliver his people. The prayer for the Davidic Messiah in the Amidah talks about waiting for God's salvation to come through his Messiah, the one literally called "the horn of salvation". The footnote to the benediction in the Siddur, reads "...here we are taught that the ultimate salvation of the Jewish people is possible only through the Davidic Messiah."
What about those things anti-missionaries claim that Yeshua has not accomplished? Isn't Messiah supposed to bring about a new order of world peace and bring all Israel to the Promised Land to dwell in safety? Undeniably, the Bible is full of such predictions. And since ALL of the others happened in the past, what makes us think that the future ones WON'T happen also IN GOD'S TIMING? Surely, Yeshua will fulfill them all when He returns, but He had to fulfill the other prophecies first. Clearly, if the Messiah is to be rejected and die and also to reign over New Jerusalem, the rejection must come first - and it did. (Please see Talmudic Evidence for Messiah at 30 BCE).
John 14: 6 Y'shua said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except by me. 7. If only you would have known me, you would have also have known my Father. And from now on you know Him and you have seen Him. (AENT)