Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Points of Interest about Jesus Christ: Response to DACON9

Following an interview that was conducted by DACON9 on Paltalk with me, he asked me various questions to which I had to answer.

This article hopes to address the objections presented to me properly and to the best of my ability by God's grace. Let's look at some points one by one.

What is the Trinity?
This is covered in my response to Tovia Singer of Outreach Judaism which should help anyone who wants to know what the Trinity is:
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/response-to-tovia-singer-on-did-authors.html
For a cohesive defence of the Trinity, read the following:
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/classical-trinitarian-objections.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/challenge-from-facebook-unitarian.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-trinity-is-not-truth.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-angel-of-lord.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/more-on-angel-of-lord.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/even-more-on-deity-of-christ-and-angel.html

Check out also this series of videos done by Sam Shamoun on the subject of "Ego Eimi" and the "I AM" statements of Jesus:
Sam Shamoun on John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14 section 1
Sam Shamoun on John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14 section 2
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF7qgivEmRdfXPplZk9kyo-7HInJZh1Or

Lest anyone use the argument that the word Trinity is not in the Bible, this doesn't refute the doctrine, as there are doctrines in various religions that don't use terms found in their scriptures. For example, shituf, The late Dr Immanuel Schochet explains what Shituf is and how it applies in a given situation in his debate with Michael Brown in part 7 of the debate (7:04-7:57): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cDkiY8d2tw.

While shituf is a debated issue and I question it being in the Bible, Does the name not appearing in the Bible refute shituf? No. Shituf would only be refuted if it is not in the scriptures. Likewise, the Trinity would only be subject to refutation IF the doctrine wasn't there in the scriptures. The name doesn't have to be there, as long as the concept exists in the context of the scriptures, then it matters not if the term is used.

Pharisees and political power
The Pharisees in the Gospel of John were afraid of losing their political power, namely leadership when Jesus garnered a remarkably positive reception among the people. In fact one of the concerns that was raised can be found here in John 11:
"45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life."
This was one of the fears of the Pharisees that Jesus rising up would anger the Romans and bring destruction upon the nation of Israel.

It is also important to note that most of the Pharisees (Though not all I hastily add) hated the fact that Jesus had called them out on their hypocrisy and their man made traditions that substituted the word of God and rendered it void. Wouldn't you be angry if a man came along and started calling you out on things you shouldn't be doing? Most men hate correction. Such an example can be found in Mark 7 and Matthew 15, it's counterpart:
"Mark 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[b]
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[c] your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[d] and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[e] 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”"

"Matthew 15 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[c]”
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”"

While Jesus would have been perfectly fine with tradition that didn't violate the Torah, He would not accept any tradition that would violate what the Torah commands. While Rabbinic Jews may anachronistically read their oral Torah into the New Testament, this doesn't automatically entail that Jesus would accept every single tradition in the Talmud to be viable tradition.

Why Jesus came and what good he did?
Jesus came as a substitute for sin as found in Isaiah 53. He was the only one who could pay the penalty for sin and fulfil the law that no man could keep and no Deuteronomy 30 isn't a counterpoint as I demonstrate here: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/comments-on-deuteronomy-301-14.html
The points made by barry umansky may be addressed at a later date if the Lord Wills.

Through his vicarious death, Jesus takes our sin and imputes his to our account, namely declaring us righteous and innocent, in addition to the Holy Spirit enabling Christians, both Jews and Gentiles in Jesus Christ, to be sanctified. Either he takes up the tab, or we do and pay for our sin eternally. Personally, I'd rather have the Messiah, the God-Man, pay the fine so I can then be empowered to repent and accept his offer of salvation.

Lest any think I deny responsibility of man, namely man needs to recognise that he is responsible before a holy God, read my response to Sophiee Saguy on original sin and responsibility in which I defend original sin: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/adam-eve-and-fall-response-to-sophiee.html

Going back to Isaiah 53, Yes I know an argument can be made for Israel and have stated that I don't dismiss Isaiah 53 talking about Israel in the historical application. I have written a set of articles responding to Uri Yosef's second article defending Jesus being in Isaiah 53:
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/response-to-uri-yosef-on-isaiah-53.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/response-to-uri-yosef-on-isaiah-53-2.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/response-to-uri-yosef-on-isaiah-53-3.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/response-to-uri-yosef-on-isaiah-53-4.html

Regarding whether acknowledging Isaiah 53:10 as physical seed refutes Jesus or not, read the following:
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/seed-of-isaiah-5310.html

Who saw Jesus at his crucifixion?
The following verses need no explanation:
"Matthew 27:55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph,[f] and the mother of Zebedee’s sons."

"Mark 15:40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph,[d] and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there."

"Luke 23:48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things."

All three Gospels record witnesses being at the cross together but place different emphasises on certain details.

Who moved the 6ft stone and were people allowed near the tomb?
The angels who appeared to the angels were the ones to move the stone, the question presupposes that there isn't any supernatural forces being involved here. Not much to say on this topic. Also, the only reason the women were able to approach the tomb without any repercussions from the government, was because the soldiers near the tomb had been rendered unconscious by the angels at that same tomb.

Did Jesus encourage disobedience to leaders?
The NT doesn't encourage disobedience to leaders and even tells Christians to submit to the government. Firstly, Let's look at Jesus points in the Gospels:
"Matthew 23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."
Jesus tells his disciples and exhorts them to listen to the Pharisees and obey their instructions but not emulate their lives, as the Pharisees were not living in accordance with what God had revealed in the Torah. There is obedience to Pharisees in the context but only if it doesn't violate God's commands.
Paul and Peter also stress the point of obeying the government, including paying one's taxes. First Romans 13:1-5.
"Romans 13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

And 1 Peter 2:13-17
"13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor."

Both these apostles, in accordance with Jesus' teaching exhorted obedience to governments, however the only time they should be disobeyed, which can be in the TANAKH, is if they tell you to do something against God's commands. Such an example is in Daniel 2 when Daniel's friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are thrown into the fiery furnace after refusing to bow to an idol created by Nebuchanezzar and of course the story of Daniel in the lion's den that needs no introduction.

Was Jesus already dead on the cross before the centurion stabbed his side?
Some individuals such as Osama Abdallah of Answering Christianity, Gomerozdubar and others assert that Jesus didn't die, namely due to dying too quickly or merely swooning. However the following contexts dispel such a notion.
"Matthew 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit."

"Mark 15:37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last."

"Luke 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[a] When he had said this, he breathed his last."

Mark and Luke use the word "exepneusen" (ἐξέπνευσεν), which means to expire, essentially, the word refers to the DEATH of a person.

Furthermore, one must consider the fact that Jesus was brutally scourged by ninetails whips.

Silas of Answering Islam has made the following point regarding the damage the nine tails whips caused: "Jesus could have never survived crucifixion, Romans were very careful to eliminate that possibility. Roman law laid the death penalty on anyone who bungled an execution.

The fact that the Roman soldier did not break Jesus legs, the procedure for hastening death, indicates that He had already died. The other two prisoners legs were broken. To breathe while hanging on a cross one had to push oneself up with one&146; legs, otherwise one would asphyxiate. That is why the legs of the crucified were often broken; to prevent the crucified person from pushing himself up to breathe. Obviously Jesus, out of exhaustion, stopped breathing and died before the soldiers needed to break His legs.  If Jesus were not dead, it would have been obvious because he would have been pushing himself up and down the cross to breathe. The Roman executioners were experts, they would not have been fooled. Some people have claimed that the Roman guards were really trying to save Jesus life by not breaking His legs. Why would the Roman guards try to save someone who was a seen as a threat to the empire? Further, by not insuring Christ's death, the Roman guards were putting their own lives at risk.

Jesus died from many different problems, one was the actual crucifixion. But before the crucifixion, Jesus was beaten and flogged. He was so exhausted that another man had to carry his cross.

To elaborate on the whipping, the Romans would strip a person down to the waist and would tie him in the courtyard. Then they would take a whip that had a handle about a foot and a half long. At the end of the handle, it had four leather thongs with heavy, jagged bones or balls of lead with jagged edges, wound into the end of the straps. There were a minimum of five straps of different lengths.  The Romans would bring the whip down over the back of the individual and all the balls of lead or bone would hit the body at the same time. The Jews would only permit 40 lashes, so they never did more than 39 so they wouldn't break the law if they miscounted. The Romans, however, were unhindered.  They could lash as many times as they wanted. So, when the Romans whipped a Jew, they struck 41 or more lashes out of spite to the Jews.  So Jesus had suffered at least 41 lashes.

There are several medical authorities that have done research on the crucifixion. One is Dr. C. Truman Davis, in the state of Arizona. He is a medical doctor who has performed meticulous study of the crucifixion from a medical perspective. Here he gives the effect of the Roman flogging: "The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across (a person's) shoulders, back and legs. At first, the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutalleous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises, which the others cut wide open. Finally, the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons, and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue."

Many people would die just from the whipping alone.  After Jesus was whipped, they took Him out to the execution area and drove spikes into His wrists and His feet.  It says that late that Friday afternoon they broke the legs of the two thieves hanging with Jesus, but they did not break His legs.  He was on the cross and they'd already acknowledged Him being dead.  Now the Roman executioners speared Jesus.  This was the method by which an executioner checked to see if a still victim was in fact dead.  If blood and pericardial fluid came out as in Jesus' case, it was an indication of death and there was no need for the legs to be broken to hasten death so that the cross could re-used for the next victim.  Eyewitness accounts said blood and water came out separated - indicating Jesus was already dead." (Silas, Evidence for the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ http://answering-islam.org/Silas/crucified.htm).

Josephus
Jesus is referenced briefly in one of Josephus' own letters, though some have dismissed his letter as a forgery. However, only part of Josephus' words regarding Jesus are not authentic, which is what people who try to deny Jesus is mentioned in Josephus fail to mention when they propound their belief. If you take out the interpolations, you are left with the following:
"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him and the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day."

Notice the reference to Jesus being the Christ or Messiah and also the reference to his resurrection are omitted, since they were a later addition to the words of Josephus, rather than his words. Even without the admissions, you still have an acknowledgement of his existence. Josephus, regardless of his reputation among Jews, good or bad, should not be dismissed as an invalid source of information.

Conclusion
I hope that this article has been of great help and has cleared up many issues that I was given in the dialogue with DACON9.

Another interaction will occur on the 6th of July 2014 on Paltalk, so this time hopefully I'll be prepared for that.

Hope this article helps, Thanks for reading.

Addendum: The interaction with DACON was cancelled.

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