How to Share the Good News With Jewish People

Ben Kaplan’s medical students were gathered in his office to begin the weekly meeting. Like Ben, Sarah was Jewish. Josh and Matt were Gentile. All were believers in the Lord Jesus, their Messiah.

“Dr. Kaplan, I’ve been reading the New Testament to try to get an understanding of how to share the Good News with Jewish people and there’s a passage that I’m having trouble understanding,” said Josh, as he put the passage on the screen.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NASB) For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

“I’m confused about this passage too,” said Matt. “I see that Greeks are mentioned twice and Gentiles are mentioned once. I thought that Greeks was just another name for Gentiles in the New Testament.”

“Good observation, Matt! The words in this passage for Greeks and Gentiles is the same word in the original language. The word is Hellen which means Greek or Greeks and in some Bible versions all three words are translated Greeks, but we should usually understand the word to mean Gentile or Gentiles,” said Ben.

“Is there some special reason that Greeks search for wisdom is used here rather than Gentiles search for wisdom?” asked Sarah.

“I think there is, Sarah. In my opinion, the NASB translators have made the right choice because Greeks searching for wisdom in this verse refers to people who are actually Greek. So we could read this verse as Greek Gentiles search for wisdom,” said Ben.

“How do you know that, Dr. Kaplan?” asked Josh.

“Because of a passage of Scripture in Acts, Josh. Do you remember when the Apostle Paul was speaking to Greek Gentiles in Athens?

Acts 17:18 (NASB) And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

“Greek philosophers were conversing with Paul. These were men who placed intellect and reasoning above all else. They were interested in the wisdom of the world, not the wisdom of God. Their minds were not open to supernatural things such as the resurrection of Yeshua,” said Ben. “Gentiles in general and Greeks in particular considered Paul’s message foolishness.”

“But what about Jews seeking for signs and Christ crucified being a stumbling block to Jews?” said Sarah.

“Sarah, Let’s look at a passage from Matthew:

Matthew 12:38 (NASB) Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

“Some of the scribes and Pharisees, Jewish religious leaders, who had already seen Jesus perform miracles were asking for an additional sign or miracle. These people should have known better and Jesus rebuked them:

Matthew 12:39-40 (NASB) But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

“Jesus was talking about His death and resurrection symbolized or foreshadowed by what happened to the prophet Jonah The scribes and Pharisees knew all about Jonah,” said Ben.

“Wow! That’s pretty clear, Dr. Kaplan. But what about Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block?” asked Sarah.

“Now that’s a little different, Sarah. The Jews of Jesus’ day knew that a Messiah would come. In fact they were waiting for him hoping everyday that he would come. They were looking for someone who would be a political and military leader, someone who would deliver them from the Roman yoke and bring glory back to the Nation of Israel.

“To them a carpenter, the son of a poor and uneducated couple, could never be the Messiah. On top of that, Jesus said He was God and He proved it from the Hebrew Scriptures and by miracles. He offered deliverance from sin and he offered eternal life. He taught that everyone is a sinner and needs deliverance. And to receive these things we must submit to His Lordship. To these leaders, who thought that they were righteous and needed no personal savior, the idea of Yeshua being their Messiah was entirely offensive. He was a stumbling block to them,” said Ben.

“I think I’m starting to get it, Dr. Kaplan. These people were not righteous. They were self-righteous,” said Josh.

“Exactly, Josh.

“Now let’s look at the 1 Corinthians passage again but this time let’s focus on verse 24. I’m showing it in bold:

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NASB) For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

“The group that is mentioned in verse 24 is comprised of Jews and Gentiles who are the called,” said Ben.

“Dr. Kaplan, are those who are the called the same as the elect?” asked Matt.

”Yes, Matt. I believe they are,” said Ben. “They are people whom God has chosen to save from before the foundations of the earth.”

“Does that mean that the first group, Jews and Gentiles who are obviously unsaved are not the elect?” asked Josh.

“Now that is a fantastic question, Josh. What do you think the answer is?” said Ben.

“I think that you’re asking me if all the people, both Jews and Gentiles, in that unsaved group are doomed to eternal separation from God in Hell. Is that right?” asked Josh.

“That’s right Josh. So, are they all doomed?” asked Ben.

“No. I don’t think they are, Dr. Kaplan,” said Josh.
“You are absolutely correct! There is something that we must never forget. As long as there is life there is hope. A particular Jew can regard Yeshua as a stumbling block and a particular Gentile can regard Jesus as foolishness but the eternal destiny of a particular person is not set until he dies. There is a verse in Hebrews that says so,” said Ben.

Hebrews 9:27-28a (NKJV) And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.

“But is there anything that can be done to save people in the unsaved group?” asked Sarah.

“You are asking if unsaved people can become saved people? Of course they can. All people are unsaved at birth. And we must remember that none will seek the Lord on their own. That is made clear in both the Old Testament and the New Testament,” said Ben.

Romans 3:10-11 (ESV) 
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.

Psalms 53:2 (ESV) 
2 God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.

“What can we do, Dr. Kaplan?” asked Matt.

“Several things. First, don’t forget that God desires that none should perish, but that all should repent,” said Ben.

“Is that a guarantee that every person with a heart that is hardened to Yeshua will change and be saved?” asked Matt.

“No, Matt,” said Ben. “Second, we need to pray for those people.”

“Dr. Kaplan, you say we should pray. What do we pray?” asked Matt.

“We pray that God would turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. We pray that God will send the Holy Spirit to convict the unsaved person of his or her sin and of the need to repent, and to give the unsaved person the gift of faith in Jesus Christ so that he or she will call on the name of the Lord and be saved.

Third, we share the Scriptures with them, one on one, as led by the Holy Spirit and we can ask them to come with us to hear Scripture expounded at a meeting where Messiah is exalted and where messages from the Old Testament and from the New Testament are preached, whether in a church or in a Messianic Jewish fellowship,” said Ben.

“Is there anything else? Can you be more specific, Dr. Kaplan?” asked Sarah.

“I can, Sarah. But for now, let’s pray for those we love to receive the gift of salvation. Next week we’ll talk more about specifics and about how to approach people with the Good News in today’s world,” said Ben.

The students and Ben joined hands and Ben prayed:

“Father in Heaven, we have friends and family members whom we love but who do not know You. We fear for them, that they might spend eternity in Hell, separated from You. We know that You desire that none should perish. We ask You LORD to send Your Holy Spirit to convict them of the truth that they are sinners just like we are and that they need to repent, to submit to Jesus as Lord, and to call upon Your Name, that they might be saved, as your Scripture says. Praise, honor, and glory to You LORD.”

Romans 10:12-13 (NASB) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Joel 2:32a (ESV) And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

“See you all next week,” said Ben.

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Am I Still A Jew After I Accept Jesus?

The weekly meeting was about to start and Sarah was agitated.

“Dr. Kaplan, I just told a Christian friend that I’ve accepted Yeshua as my Lord and Savior and he asked me a question.  “Sarah, when did you convert from being a Jew to being a Christian?”  Frankly I was flustered and didn’t know how to answer.  I know that there are many Jewish people today who would tell me that I’m no longer a Jew because I believe in Jesus, but I did not expect this from a Christian.

“Dr. Kaplan, what should I have said to my friend?” asked Sarah.

“Is your friend Jewish?” asked Ben Kaplan.

“No,” replied Sarah.

“Is he a believer in Yeshua?  Has he been born again?” asked Ben.

“Absolutely, Dr. Kaplan,” said Sarah.

“Did you sense any animosity toward the Jewish people in your friend’s question?” said Ben.

“No.  Jordan loves the Jewish people and has stood up for them at a cost to himself,” said Sarah.

“Sarah, your friend Jordan and many other Christians don’t understand that a Jewish person doesn’t stop being a Jew when he or she accepts Jesus as Savior.  This misunderstanding is in part due to Galatians 3:28 and several other verses like it in the New Testament,” said Ben.  “Let’s look at that verse.  I think the New International Version translates it best.”

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

“Sarah, you are still a Jew because you are a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  You are now a Jewish believer in Yeshua, or Jesus.  Some people would call you a Messianic Jew.  Others might call you a Jewish Christian or Christian Jew, or just a Christian.  When I am asked what I am, I usually say I’m a Jewish believer in Jesus, so I’m a Christian or better yet, I’m a follower of the Messiah, but I’m OK being called a Christian.  I haven’t stopped being a Jew.  That would be impossible.  Do you get the idea, Sarah?” asked Ben.

“I’m not sure,” Dr. Kaplan.

 “But what about Galatians 3:28?” asked Matt.

“Matt, the Bible divides all people into two groups.  The two groups are Jews and Gentiles.  When a Jew or Gentile accepts Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior he or she is converted from a Jewish or Gentile unbeliever into a Jewish or Gentile believer in Jesus and there is then spiritually no difference between members of these two groups.  They are both members of one body,” explained Ben.  The key phrase in Galatians 3:28 is in Christ Jesus.  

“So Galatians 3:28 is saying that there are no differences between Jews and Gentiles, in Christ Jesus and since all born again people are in Christ Jesus there is no difference between them in Him.  Jews and Gentiles are both saved the same way, through faith in Jesus, and God hears all of our prayers the same way.  However the verse is not saying that there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles,” said Ben.

“I’m confused, Dr. Kaplan.  Can you explain further?” said Sarah.

“Sarah, you are a woman, and Matt, Josh, and I are men.  In a physical sense we are quite different.  However, in a spiritual sense we are not different.  Does that help?” said Ben.

“Yes,” responded Sarah.

“Before we continue with our discussion we need to briefly digress.  I need to say something now, about the sexes, that even a dozen years ago I would not have needed to say.  The Bible recognizes a person as being either male or female.  There are no other sexes.  God did not create transgender people and He assigned our gender to us before we were born.  God also did not create homosexuals or bisexuals.  This is not our focus today but it is important and you all need to remember it,” said Ben.

“Got it Dr. Kaplan.

“So just as there are differences between the sexes, there are differences between Jews and Gentiles although those differences are not physical and are not as obvious as the differences between a man and a woman.  But in Christ Jesus, meaning spiritually, there are no differences,” said Josh.  “Is that right, Dr. Kaplan?”

“Exactly right, Josh!” said Ben.  “In fact Paul’s letter to the Romans talks about an Olive Tree.  It’s a spiritual Olive Tree.  It has natural branches which are Jewish believers and wild branches that have been grafted in which are Gentile believers.  We believers in Jesus are all branches in the same Olive Tree.”

“So what are the differences between Jews and Gentiles, Dr. Kaplan?” said Matt.

“Dr. Kaplan, can I just ask one other question before you answer Matt’s question?  Do some believers fail to understand that there are differences between Jews and Gentiles, even born again Jews and Gentiles?” asked Josh.

“Yes, Josh!  Sarah’s friend Jordan is one of them.  There are many people who fail to understand that there are differences,” said Ben.

“Does what they say or think matter?” said Matt.  “I mean, are we making a big deal over nothing?”

“No, Matt, because God made certain everlasting promises to the Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and God is going to keep those promises,” said Ben.  “He did not make those promises to Gentiles,” said Ben.

“Do the promises have to do with the Jews being God’s Chosen People?  What exactly does that mean?  And are the Jews still the Chosen People?” asked Josh.  

“Before the Jews entered the Promised Land the LORD, through Moses, said this to them:

Deuteronomy 7:6 (NASB)  For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

“And He said it again:

Deuteronomy 14:2 (NASB)  For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

“And this Chosen status of the Jewish people has never been taken away.  God has not canceled it,” said Ben.

“Now I’m going to say something that sparks outrage on the part of many Jewish people when they hear it.  But I have to say it because it’s true and Jewish people need to know this truth.  If they don’t know this truth they could spend eternity separated from God.  They could perish.  And we do not want that to happen!

“This truth is that  not all of the Chosen People are Jews in God’s eyes.  A Jew in God’s eyes is a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who has had circumcision in the flesh as well as circumcision of the heart,” said Ben.  “A Jewish person who has not had his or her heart circumcised will not inherit the things that God promised to the Jewish people.  Moses spoke about this as did the prophet Jeremiah and the prophet Ezekiel, ” said Ben.

“Can you please give us the Biblical evidence for this, Dr. Kaplan?  I mean, this is really heavy stuff.  I have a Mom and Dad and two sisters who need to know and understand this.  I don’t want them to perish,” said Sarah.

“Sure, Sarah.  Let’s start with three verses from the Old Testament,” answered Ben, as he adjusted the computer projector to bring the verses up on the screen.

Deuteronomy 30:6 (NASB)

“Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

Jeremiah 4:4 (NASB)

“Circumcise yourselves to the Lord

And remove the foreskins of your heart,

Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,

Or else My wrath will go forth like fire

And burn with none to quench it,

Because of the evil of your deeds.”

Ezekiel 36:26 (NASB)  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

“Wow!  Those verses are pretty clear!  Circumcision of the heart is equivalent to being born again!  Are there any verses that talk about this in the New Testament?” asked Sarah.

“Yes, Sarah.  Let’s take a look at Romans 9:6-7, where the apostle Paul is anticipating an objection or question that some readers of his letter will raise.  I’m going to paraphrase the question.  Why are the Jewish people, the Chosen People, seemingly no longer in God’s favor as they were in the time of Moses, King David, King Solomon, etc?  Did God’s promises  to His Chosen People, given in the Old Testament, fail?  Did God renege on His promises?” Here is Paul’s answer:

Romans 9:6-7 (NASB)  But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.”

“Paul is saying that Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, but Abraham’s descendants were named only through Isaac.  The same principle applies to God’s Chosen People, Israel.  God is saying, through Paul, that not all who are descendants of the Chosen People are Chosen.  In this very same chapter of Romans, Paul quotes from the prophet Isaiah,” said Ben.

Romans 9:27 (NASB)  Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;

“Wow!  Are you telling us that there is a subgroup within the Chosen People, the remnant, that are the true Israel, the true Chosen People and that only they will be saved?” asked Matt.  “They are the ones with circumcised hearts, right?”

“Exactly, Matt.  You’ve got it,” said Ben.

“Doesn’t that seem unfair?” said Sarah.

“It’s not unfair, Sarah.  God is never unfair except in His grace to us.  He graciously does not give us what we deserve, which is eternal separation from Him because of our sins.  That’s why He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins,” answered Ben.

“But what about Christians?  Are all Christians truly Christian?  Is everyone sitting in church on a Sunday morning a Christian?” asked Sarah.

“Now that’s a great question!  In fact, not all who claim to be Christian are Christian.  Many, maybe even most, sitting in church pews are not Christians.  They are not born again and they will spend eternity separated from God.  This overall group who profess to be Christians can be referred to as Christendom.  Only a subgroup, a remnant, of Christendom will be saved.  Christendom is in a way comparable to the Chosen People.   Only a remnant of the Chosen people will be saved.

“Many Jewish people say “I was born a Jew and I will die a Jew”.  That is true.  But many who say this don’t understand that a Jew who is not saved, who is not part of the remnant, will spend eternity separated from God.  Jewish people need to know this truth,” said Ben.

“What do we do with this knowledge, Dr. Kaplan?” asked Josh.

“That’s another great question!  Let’s look at what Jesus said about that in Luke’s Gospel.

Luke 19:12-13 (ESV)  He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’

“Jesus is speaking a parable and it has to do with the fact that He went away, back to heaven, 2,000 years ago and He is going to return, soon.  He has given each of us gifts, represented by money in the parable, and He expects us to “engage in business” until He returns.  I understand that to mean that we are to share the Good News of Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, the Gospel, with everyone He calls us to share it with, until He, Jesus, returns.  We are to share this Good News with Jews and Gentiles and we are to share with Jews first whenever possible just as the Apostle Paul did,” said Ben.  “And we must share this Good News because it is the only way a person, any person, can be saved.”

Romans 1:16 (ESV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

“How do we do that Dr. Kaplan?” said Sarah.

“Let’s make that the focus of our next meeting, OK?” said Ben.

“We can’t wait!” said Matt.  Josh and Sarah nodded their agreement.

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Rabbi Greenberg Accepts Yeshua as Lord and Savior

Rabbi Jonah Greenberg approached the reception window in Ben Kaplan’s office and was greeted by Denise.

“How are you Rabbi? I wasn’t expecting to see you today,” said Denise.

“Well, Denise, I have something exciting to tell Ben and his students. I know that today is the day of their weekly meeting and I didn’t want to wait another day to share my news,” said Jonah.

“Rabbi, please come with me. I’ll take you back to Dr. Kaplan’s consultation room,” said Denise.

“Thank you, Denise. But first a question for you if you don’t mind,” said the Rabbi.

“Of course I don’t mind, Rabbi.”

“Denise, do you believe in Messiah Yeshua?” asked Jonah.

“I most certainly do, Rabbi. Why do you ask?” said Denise.

“Because I’ve just accepted Yeshua as my Lord and Savior,” said the Rabbi.

Denise looked at the Rabbi. Within seconds tears of joy began streaming down her cheeks. She could not speak. Instead she hugged Jonah, hard, and then took him by the hand and led him in to Ben’s consultation room.

*

“It’s great to see you, Jonah. How is everything?” said Ben.

“I have some news, Ben. I’ve accepted Yeshua as my Messiah, my Lord, and my Savior,” said Jonah.

Susan, the Jewish student who had originally invited Jonah to come to these meetings, was overwhelmed. “That’s just wonderful, Rabbi!” said Susan, who promptly embraced the Rabbi and kissed him on the cheek.

“Wow, Jonah! What incredible news! The angels are rejoicing!” said Ben as he warmly embraced Jonah. “What finally convinced you?”

“There were many things that contributed to my decision, Ben. But two things in particular convinced me as I asked God to show me the truth. The first is that Yeshua is unquestionably God. Permit me to read from the prophet Jeremiah,” said the Rabbi.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 (ESV) “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’

“Could you please explain how this verse helped you decide, Rabbi?” said Josh.

“Sure, Josh. The Branch, or tzemach in Hebrew, is a title used for the Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures. He is a righteous descendant of King David. And in these verses God Himself, the LORD, Yahweh, expressly states that this Branch, the Messiah, has a name and that name is the LORD, Yahweh, our righteousness. Isn’t that staggering? The Messiah’s proper name is Yahweh! This is absolutely so wonderful that it’s mind-boggling to me!” exclaimed Rabbi Greenberg.

Matt had a question. “Rabbi, how can Yahweh, who is God the Father, say that His Son, the Messiah, will also be called Yahweh?”

“I think that I finally have the answer to that, Matt. The Father and the Son are equal and they are both Yahweh. They are equal and together with Yahweh Ruach Hakodesh (God the Holy Spirit), these three equal personalities are One God, whose proper name is Yahweh!” replied Jonah.

“Rabbi, that is staggering! That is mind-boggling! But, do you know what Rabbi?” said Matt.

“Please tell me, Matt,” said Jonah.

“I believe it! It makes perfect sense!” said Matt.

“It most certainly does, Matt!” agreed Ben Kaplan heartily. “Jonah, you said that there were two things in particular that helped you decide to accept Yeshua. Would you tell us what the second thing is?”

“Sure, Ben. It’s what Gamaliel said in the fifth chapter of Acts in the New Testament when the apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin. I’d like to read it to you if I may,” said Jonah.

“Absolutely,” said Ben.

Jonah picked up his Bible and read.

Acts 5:34-39 (ESV) But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (italics added)

“Ben, I know from my own research that the New Testament is historically reliable. I have absolutely no doubt about that. That being the case, I am confident that Gamaliel said what he is recorded as saying in the fifth chapter of Acts, and Gamaliel was among the most famous of Rabbis. In fact Saul, before he was chosen by God to be His Apostle, studied under him. So Gamaliel is to me an unimpeachable source. And Gamaliel said that what Peter and John were teaching would not be overthrown if it is of God. Well, 2,000 years later it has not been overthrown!

“Now Ben, these were just the final pieces of the puzzle for me in my quest. All that we’ve spoken of in our two previous meetings, and a great deal more, have combined to give me unshakable faith and assurance that Yeshua, Jesus, is my Lord and Messiah!” said Jonah.

“Rabbi, this is so wonderful! Who ever said that a Jew cannot believe in Jesus!” said Josh.

“You won’t ever hear that from me, Josh!” said Sarah.

“Can we all please lay hands on Jonah? I have some anointing oil here. Jonah, may I anoint you before we pray?” said Ben.

“By all means, Ben,” said the Rabbi.

Ben anointed Jonah and then they prayed.

“Father, Lord God, please bless this Son of Israel who has come to faith in You today through Your only Son, Yeshua, our Lord, Savior, and Messiah. Please show Jonah what to do next. Lay out your path for him that he may know the way to go. Please use him mightily in bringing others, both Jew and Gentile, into your kingdom. We pray in Yeshua’s Name. Amen.”

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A Rabbi Comes Closer to Accepting Jesus. Another Jewel From the Shema.

Today’s meeting promised to be an exciting one. Rabbi Jonah Greenberg, Ben Kaplan, and Ben’s three medical students, Sarah, Josh, and Matt, were all gathered together in Ben’s office. They had all done their homework and were ready to present information on the all important question: Does the Shema support One God with a plural or complex nature?

Ben opened the discussion.

“Let’s look at the Shema again. I have it written on the whiteboard in English, in an English transliteration of the Hebrew, and in Hebrew:

Deuteronomy 6:4 1. HEAR, O ISRAEL: THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE.

Shemah Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad

שׁמע ישׂראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד׃

“Last week, Jonah explained the significance of the Shemah when he said ‘These words, recited morning and evening in the synagogue represent the core of what it means to be a Jew. God is One. There is, simply put , no polytheism in Judaism and Moses made that abundantly clear to the Nation of Israel before the people entered the Promised Land’.

“In addition we made a strong case that the word echad means one but not an indivisible one. There is a Hebrew word for an indivisible one and that word is yachid. Echad means one but it is clearly a complex one and we gave a number of examples of this from the Hebrew Scriptures. There are an enormous number of additional examples.

“Thus echad was the first portion of our “case” that the Shema speaks of a God who is most definitely One but He is a complex One. He is a single God with a plural nature,” said Ben.

“I’m with you Ben. Echad is a complex one. So God being called Echad could definitely mean that God is a complex One,” said Rabbi Greenberg.

“Thanks, Jonah. Let’s now take a look at the word Elohenu, written in bold above, and see where that takes us,” said Ben. “Then, we’re going to discuss Dr. David Cooper’s take on all this, OK?”

The Rabbi, and Sarah, Josh, and Matt, all nodded their agreement.

“Now, as we said before, Elohenu is a masculine plural construct noun. That is not controversial,” said Ben.

“Ben, I’ve studied Hebrew for many years and I agree. Elohenu is a plural noun. It is the first person plural possessive of Elohim and so it is essentially the same word as Elohim which everyone knows is a plural noun. No orthodox Jew would debate that. We orthodox Jews consider Elohim, the first word for God in the Torah, to represent the prerogative of a supreme ruler to refer to Himself in the plural form. It’s like a human king saying to his subjects We command you to do this or that. So I don’t see the significance of Elohenu being plural in your argument,” said the Rabbi.

“Jonah, I think that the point here is that Elohenu, a plural noun, cannot be explained by the majestic plural. It just can’t work that way in the Shema,” said Ben.

“Why can’t it work in the Shema, Dr. Kaplan?” asked Matt.

“The LORD gives Moses further instructions for the Children of Israel as they are about to enter the Promised Land.  Let me paraphrase the relevant verse.  Because I hope to make this as understandable as possible, I’m going to paraphrase this as if the instructions were being given to Jewish people today.  And I’m going to put some additional words in parentheses to further facilitate understanding, to make things as clear as possible.  I’m putting it on the whiteboard now.

We (the LORD, using the majestic plural, is speaking to Moses, the Leader and Lawgiver of Israel) command you (Moses) to tell the children of Israel (God wants all Jews everywhere to know what He is about to say) to speak the following twice daily in the synagogue: The LORD Our God (Our God meaning the God of the Children of Israel) is One.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t see any way that the majestic plural has any possible place, grammatically or otherwise, in the translation of Elohenu. The majestic plural simply does not fit into Our God. There is just no way,” said Ben.

“I think you’re right Ben!” said the Rabbi. “But I have a question. Why is Elohenu, a plural noun, always translated as our God in the Tanach?”

“May I speak?” asked Josh and then, in an excited voice, proceeded to do so. “I don’t know Hebrew. But, I’m blessed to be able to use software that at least partially overcomes this lack of knowledge. Elohenu is translated our gods, meaning pagan gods of course, in the Tanach in Isaiah 42:17:

Isaiah 42:17 (ESV) They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, “You are our gods.”

“This is great research, Josh. Jonah, what do you think about all this?” said Ben.

“I’m impressed,” said the Rabbi.

“OK, how about we get an opinion now on Dr. Cooper’s work on the Shema?” asked Ben. “Sarah, please share your research with us.”

“For sure, Dr. Kaplan,” said Sarah. “Matt, could you lead off please?”

“Sure, Sarah. Straight and simple, here is how Dr. Cooper translates the Shema, literally. I’m writing it on the whiteboard now,” said Matt.

“Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our Gods is Jehovah a unity.”

The Rabbi was quick to speak up. “Ben, I don’t buy that translation for one second. Do you?”

“No Jonah. I don’t.

“Jonah, I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Cooper. He was a great scholar. He profoundly loved the Jewish people. His works are phenomenal and have helped me personally. But, although his translation of the Shema may be literally correct, Dr. Cooper is missing the point in this case. Our God is a plural God. Our God has a complex nature. But our God is emphatically One.

“And, the correct translation of the Shema is what we said it was earlier, as it is still written on the whiteboard,” said Ben.

HEAR, O ISRAEL: THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE.

“Jonah, are you getting closer to accepting the notion that God could be three persons making up one complex God?” said Ben.

“I am Ben, I definitely am. I’m not quite there yet however. I need to pray and think about all this. I’d like to come back in a few weeks. Is that OK?” asked Jonah.

“I think we are all more than OK with that,” said Ben.

Josh, Matt, and Sarah vigorously nodded their agreement.

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Can a Rabbi Believe in Jesus? What the Shema Can Tell Us.

“Hi, I’m looking for the office of Dr. Benjamin Kaplan,” said the young man.

The man was tall and appeared to be about 30 years old. He wore a black frock coat, a black Homburg hat, and had a full black beard. Instead of typical sideburns he had peyes; they were long, full, and spiral. He wore a smile and looked to be approachable.

Dr. Kaplan’s receptionist, Denise, answered. “You’re in the right place. Are you Rabbi Jonah Greenberg?”

“Yes, I am. I’m Sarah’s friend,” said the Rabbi.

“You must be here for the weekly meeting,” said Denise. “Please, come with me Rabbi.”

*

“Shalom, Rabbi Greenberg,” said Ben Kaplan. “We are so glad that you’re here today. Of course you know Sarah. Let me introduce you to Josh and Matt.”

Ben made the introductions, and the Rabbi took a seat.

“Rabbi, Sarah said that you have some concerns but she didn’t tell me what they were. Do you feel comfortable sharing your concerns with the four of us? Of course you know Sarah is Jewish and I’m Jewish. Josh and Matt are Gentile and are believers in Jesus,” said Ben.

“I’m comfortable sharing, Dr. Kaplan. I want to know about Jesus, or Yeshua as you call him. I’m told that you believe he is God. I don’t understand how that could be. If Jesus is God, then who is my heavenly Father? Certainly He, my heavenly Father, is King of the Universe and He is my God. Do you believe in my Father and King, God of heaven and earth, and LORD of the universe?” asked Rabbi Greenberg.

“I certainly do believe in Him, Rabbi,” answered Ben.

“Do you believe in one God? Do you believe in monotheism, Dr. Kaplan?” said the Rabbi. “Do you know the Shema?”

“Rabbi, I want to tell you something before I answer. I sense that your questions are sincere and that you want to know the truth.

“Rabbi, I know the Shema and I definitely believe in one God. I also believe that Yeshua, who is the Messiah, is God and I believe that my heavenly Father and King is also God. God is One but He is a complex One. He is One God in three persons,” said Ben.

“Now you’re including the Holy Spirit, Ruach HaKodesh. He is God too, Dr. Kaplan?” asked the Rabbi.

“Yes, Rabbi. He is God too, the third person of the one triune God,” said Ben.

“Can you prove this to me?” said the Rabbi.

“I believe I can, Rabbi, and I’d like to begin making the case using the Shema,” said Ben.

“Dr. Kaplan, it would be truly amazing if you could do that by using the Shema. I’m all ears,” said the Rabbi.

“OK, Rabbi. Let’s start by looking at the Shema, first in English and then in Hebrew”, said Ben.

With burning curiosity, Josh exclaimed. “Rabbi, what is the Shema?”

“Josh, the Shema was given to the children of Israel by the LORD through Moses. You will find it in the Tanach in Deuteronomy 6:4, which says:

Deuteronomy 6:4 1. HEAR, O ISRAEL: THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE.

“Josh, these words, recited morning and evening in the synagogue represent the core essence of what it means to be a Jew. God is One. There is, simply put , no polytheism in Judaism and Moses made that abundantly clear to the Nation of Israel before the people entered the Promised Land.

“Dr. Kaplan, can I use your white board?” asked the Rabbi?

“Of course, Rabbi,” said Ben.

The Rabbi quickly wrote on the board.

“The transliteration of the Shema from the Hebrew is:

Shemah Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad

“And in Hebrew the Shema looks like this,” said the Rabbi.

שׁמע ישׂראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד׃

“So, the Shema essentially defines Judaism. It is the most emphatic statement that God is One. Do I have it right, Rabbi?” said Matt.

“You’ve got it Matt!” said Rabbi Greenberg.

“And I could not agree more!” said Ben Kaplan. “But I want to ask a question at this point. Could One have more than one meaning?”

“What do you mean, Dr. Kaplan?” said Sarah.

Ben stepped up to the white board and rewrote Elohenu and Echad so that they alone were in bold.

“I want you all to please focus on the two words that are now the only ones in bold.

Shemah Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad

שׁמע ישׂראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד׃

“Now let me try to explain. Let’s look at the word Elohenu in bold above, the third word from the end, in both English and Hebrew. No expert in Hebrew grammar would deny that this word is a masculine plural construct noun. So it seems to me that Elohenu is a plural One.

“And Echad, the last word in each sentence, means One but it is often a complex one,” said Ben. “Let me give you some examples. I’ve italicized the pertinent words.”

Genesis 2:24 (ESV) Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Numbers 7:27 (ESV) one bull from the herd, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering;

Numbers 13:23 (ESV) And they came to the Valley of Eshcol and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them; they also brought some pomegranates and figs.

Exodus 26:6 (ESV) And you shall make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains one to the other with the clasps, so that the tabernacle may be a single whole.

“There are a great many other examples I could give today but I want to give just one more because in a way, it especially agrees with the use of Echad in the Shema. The verse speaks of the future time of the Messianic Kingdom:

Zechariah 14:9 (ESV) And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.

“Rabbi, you are an expert in the Hebrew language, so I don’t know that I have any explaining to do to you. But for the benefit of my students, I’m going to explain. Each word printed in italics in the above verses is echad in Hebrew and has the cardinality of one whether it be the word one or whether it be the word single. In each verse the single unit described is made up of more than one component yet it is still single or one. A husband and wife become one flesh. One bull, one ram, and one male lamb, become one offering. Many grapes comprise a single cluster. Components of the tabernacle combine to make a single whole. And lastly the LORD who is going to be King over all the earth, is a plural One and His Name, Hashem, is a plural name.

“There are hundreds of examples like this in the Tanach. But what about a one that has no complexity. What about a single unit that can have no distinguishable separate components?” said Ben.

“Dr. Kaplan, you are talking about the word yachid and it is used very infrequently in the Tanach. Let me give you an example and I will identify this word, in English and in Hebrew, in italics to make it easy for your students to follow.

Genesis 22:2 (ESV) He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Genesis 22:2 (Hebrew OT)

ויאמר קח־נא את־בנך את־יחידך אשׁר־אהבת את־יצחק ולך־לך אל־ארץ המריה והעלהו שׁם לעלה על אחד ההרים אשׁר אמר אליך׃

“So when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, his one and only son, God used the word yachid, “ said Rabbi Greenberg. “Do you agree with me Dr. Kaplan?”

“Yes!” said Ben.

Matt had a question. “Didn’t Abraham have two sons at this point? Didn’t he have both Ishmael and Isaac as sons? So why is Isaac, Abraham’s one and only son?”

“Dr. Kaplan, do you mind if I answer that question?”

“Not at all Rabbi,” said Ben.

“Matt, Isaac was the son of promise, the son who God gave to Abraham through Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Through Isaac came Jacob and through Jacob came the 12 tribes of Israel. And it is through one tribe, the tribe of Judah and later through King David that God promised that the Messiah would come. This line of inheritance could come through one, and only one, son. That is the reason that Isaac was Abraham’s one and only son,” explained the Rabbi.

“What a great explanation, Rabbi. Now I have a question for you. When the Rambam, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, formulated his 13 Cardinal Principles of the Jewish Faith he said that God is an absolute indivisable unity. But if that is the case, would not God have used yachid in the Shema rather than echad? Why didn’t the Rambam, Maimonides, say that?” said Ben. “Surely what Maimonides said has influenced many millions of Jews over the centuries,” said Ben.

“You know, that is a very interesting question, Ben. May I call you Ben?” said the Rabbi.

“Please do call me Ben. And I’ll call you Jonah if that is OK with you,” said Ben.

“Absolutely, Ben!” said the Rabbi.

“Well, I think we’ve established something today. The Shema refers to God as echad and that means that God could be a complex single God, a complex unity. I do not see this as contradicting any basic tenets of Judaism.

“But there is another word in the Shema that we must investigate. That word is Elohenu and as we noted earlier it is a plural noun. What might that signify?

“Sarah, before our next meeting, I’d like you to go online to www.biblicalresearch.info and see what Dr. David L. Cooper had to say about the Shema. Would you do that please?” said Ben.

“I can’t wait to do it Dr. Kaplan! And if you don’t mind, I’m going to ask Josh and Matt to help me with that assignment,” said Sarah.

“Great Sarah.

“Jonah, could you join us for our next meeting? And would you close us in prayer today” asked Ben.

“I look forward to that next meeting, Ben,” responded the Rabbi. “And let me pray the Aaronic benediction over all of you right now.”

The Rabbi recited the blessing from Numbers, chapter 6.

24 The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

“Thanks, Jonah! See you all next week,” said Ben.

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Does the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) Help to Support One Triune God?

Yes it does, with two Hebrew words.

Our God, Elohenu (אֱלֹהֵינוּ), is a masculine plural construct noun.

One, Echad (אֶחָד), is a singular word but is often used to describe a single thing which has more than one part.

More about this, in the next full post, coming soon.

The Shema:

Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָֹה אֶחָד

(Bold added by author to help the non-Hebrew reader more easily see the two key words discussed in this post).

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A Muslim Student is Saved! Questions About Islam, Part II

“It’s great to be here again, Dr. Kaplan,” said Sarah. “I’m really excited about our topic today.”

“It’s great to see you too Sarah, as well as all the rest of you. How are you Josh, Matt, and Hassan?” said Ben.

Josh spoke for all four students. “We’re looking forward to gaining an understanding today about why so many Arab nations are hateful toward Israel and the Jews.”

“And for that matter, I’d like to know why they hate Christians too,” said Matt.

“But Dr. Kaplan, it is not just Arab nations that are involved. My family is from Iran and we are not Arabs. We are Muslims however,” said Hassan.

“Absolutely Hassan. Islam started in Arabia, the home of Muhammad, but it spread widely and there are many Islamic nations that are not Arab nations.

“We do indeed have some difficult things to discuss today,” said Ben. “But first, I want us all to remember that the most important thing we can ever do is lead people who do not know the Lord Jesus to saving faith in Him. Anything else we talk about here pales in significance compared to that. Do you understand that Josh, Matt, and Sarah?”

“We certainly do, Dr. Kaplan,” responded all three.

“But what about me, Dr. Kaplan? Don’t I get to believe in Yeshua too?” said Hassan.

“Most definitely Hassan! But are you ready to accept Him?” asked Ben.

“Believe it or not, I think I’m getting close! I’ve been thinking about Yeshua constantly since our last meeting. In fact, I want you to ask me again if I am ready to accept Him after we finish today’s discussion, OK?” said Hassan.

“I promise you that I will not forget to ask you!” said Ben.

“OK. Let’s start our discussion by defining some terms. Islam is the religion practiced by Muslims. The holy book of Islam is the Qu’ran. The Quran is to Islam what the Bible, comprised of Old and New Testaments, is to Christianity, and what the Tanach, the Old Testament, is to Judaism. Like the Bible, the Qu’ran teaches that there is one God. Islam is a monotheistic religion,” said Ben.

“So the three great religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all have one God. How do we know which religion is the right one? Or could they all be right?” asked Hassan.

“Yes, Dr. Kaplan, why couldn’t they all be right?” asked Sarah.

“Great questions!” said Ben. “I believe there are clear answers. Let me try to explain. Jews and Christians both believe the Old Testament, so there is no disagreement there, although Christians and Jews do not interpret all of the Old Testament in the same way. But those Jews who do not accept Jesus as their Messiah, the vast majority of Jews, do not believe the New Testament. What about Islam? Islam teaches that the Bible, but not the Bible we have today, is the inspired word of God. Islam teaches that all Bibles today are the product of corrupted translations from the original languages and are wrong. Although we might discuss this issue in the future, I need to tell you emphatically now that this is completely wrong and there is an enormous amount of evidence to back up what I am saying.

“Practicing Muslims certainly do believe the Qu’ran so we need to examine the Qu’ran. The Qu’ran definitely disagrees with the Bible so one of those two books is wrong. That’s why all “three great religions” cannot be right.

“Let’s look at some passages from the Bible and from the Qu’ran today and compare them. We’ll look at passages that talk about salvation, about how God forgives our sins.

“We’ll look at the Bible first,” said Ben.

Leviticus 17:11 (ESV) For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

“In this Old Testament verse, God is telling us about the need for a substitutionary sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. This is the reason that animals were slaughtered daily by the Jews in ancient times. The blood of the sacrifice provided atonement for sins. This forgiveness of sins was not permanent however. Each new sin committed required a new blood sacrifice. But an important principle was established by God. A blood sacrifice, the death of a living being, was required for forgiveness of sins.

Romans 5:8-10 (ESV) but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

“These New Testament verses also speak of a blood sacrifice, a much better one. The Son of God, Yeshua the Messiah, was sacrificed one time, on the cross. His death and shed blood provide permanent forgiveness of sins for all who accept Him as Lord and Savior because His sacrifice is perfect. But there is something in addition to forgiveness of sins that is provided. Just as the Son died on the cross, He was resurrected to life. We who believe this are included in what happened to Jesus on the cross. We are baptized into His death. Water baptism is a picture of this true spiritual baptism. We see this explained in Romans, chapter 6.

Romans 6:3-5 (ESV) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

“We died in Christ when we believed and we were born again to newness of life. We are now slaves to righteousness rather than slaves to sin. The Jewish Messiah, the God-Man, did this for us at great cost, at an incalculable cost.

“Let’s now look at two verses from the Qu’ran, from surah 2,” said Ben.

“159 Those who conceal the evidence of the truth and the guidance We have revealed, after We have made them clear to people in the Scripture, will be rejected by God and so do others.

160 But from those who repent and mend their ways and make known the truth, I will certainly accept their repentance: I am the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful.1

“Verse 159 explains that those who go against the teaching of the Qu’ran, who sin, will be rejected by God. But verse 160 explains that Allah will forgive those who sin if they repent and change their ways because Allah is most merciful. No mention is made, here or elsewhere in the Qu’ran, of the need for a substitutionary blood sacrifice for God to forgive sins,” concluded Ben.

“Dr. Kaplan, why does God require a substitutionary sacrifice in order to forgive sins?” said Hassan.

“Let me explain, Hassan. God is perfect and His Law is perfect. So when a person breaks God’s Law, He requires the punishment that His Law demands. That punishment is death. Only by this punishment, capital punishment, can perfect justice be rendered. God can have nothing less than perfect justice because He is God and God is perfect. But God is also love. He loves us so much that He provided a substitute to die in our place. God sent His own Son, Jesus the Messiah, who is equal to God, to bear the penalty for the sins of all of us so that instead of death we can have eternal life,” said Ben.

“And Allah just forgives sins because he is merciful, without requiring a blood sacrifice?” said Sarah. “Isn’t that OK?”

“I’m afraid not Sarah. In order to forgive the transgression, the penalty required by God’s Law must be paid. A blood sacrifice, a death, is required. A life for a life. Do you see the divine symmetry here?” said Ben.

“I think I do,” said Sarah.

“Why doesn’t Allah require what the God of the Bible requires?” asked Matt.

“Matt, do you remember that at our last meeting Hassan showed us that Allah, the god of the Qu’ran, contradicts himself? Well, just as the one true God cannot contradict Himself, the one true God cannot forgive sin without demanding perfect justice and perfect justice means the sinner must die,” said Ben. “The only way around that is to accept Yeshua, Jesus, as your substitute. Either He pays the price for you by His death or you pay the price by your own death.”

Hassan spoke up. “How could Allah be God and be less than perfect?”

“He can’t be, Hassan. Allah is not God and the Qu’ran is not a divinely inspired book. I’m afraid that the religion of Islam, the god Allah, and the holy book called the Qu’ran, are all satanically inspired and they are all false. There is no other way I can say it, Hassan. I can only speak the truth,” said Ben.

“So why do Muslims hate Jews?” asked Sarah.

“Sarah, not all Muslims hate Jews. There are millions who do not hate Jews. But Islam and its holy book, the Qu’ran, teach hatred of Christians and Jews and worse,” said Ben.

“Couldn’t those Muslims that don’t hate Jews and Christians modernize the religion of Islam, rewrite the Qu’ran, and remain Muslims?” asked Sarah.

“I’m afraid not Sarah, not if they want to know the true God. He has ordained only one way of coming to Him and that is through His Son, Yeshua the Messiah,” said Ben.

John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

“But why are so many Muslims deceived? It is so sad. I have a number of Muslim friends and I love them. I don’t want them to die separated from the true God,” said Josh.

“Do you remember from previous meetings that there is an adversary of our souls? His name is Satan. He has other names too. One of them is the thief. Look at what Jesus said about him,” said Ben.

John 10:9-11 (ESV) I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Hassan burst out. “There is such a contrast between Jesus and Allah! This cannot possibly be fiction! Dr. Kaplan, I believe! You don’t have to ask me again if I want to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior! I want to accept Him and I want to accept Him now!”

Hassan prayed.

“Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for me. Thank you for paying the price for my sins. Thank you that I now have eternal life instead of eternal death. Please come into my heart now and be with me forever and also please save baba and maman, and my sisters and my brothers. Thank you Lord!”

“Wow! I am so blessed!” said Sarah. “You are now my brother in Christ! How wonderful! I so look forward to all of us having fellowship together.”

“Absolutely!” said Josh.

Ben spoke. “Having you all here today has been a tremendous encouragent to me! We must get the word of truth and love out to Muslim people anyway we can. I know that it’s not easy. I’m so glad that you brought Hassan to this group!”

“See you all next week,” said Ben.

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Questions About Islam, Part I

“Hi Dr. Kaplan.  I hope you don’t mind that we’ve brought another student with us today,” said Matt.

“Of course I don’t mind.  In fact I know Hassan Taqizadeh. Glad to have you with us Hassan!  How is your father?  Is he still doing cardiac surgery?” said Ben.

“Yes he is sir.  He is well and sends his regards,” said Hassan.

“Dr. Kaplan, Hassan has some real concerns about the Islamic faith.  Could we talk about that today?” said Josh.

“Sure we can.  I’ve just finished reading the Quran for the first time and I’d love to talk about Islam,” said Ben.  “Hassan, is there a particular question that you have?”

“Yes, there is.  My greatest concern is how I can get to heaven after I die.  I’m not sure that I can accept what Allah says in the Quran about that,” said Hassan.

“My understanding is that the Quran teaches that a Muslim can get to heaven if his good deeds outweigh his bad deeds in Allah’s judgment.  Because a believer can’t know this before judgment day he lives with uncertainty all his life as to where he will spend eternity, whether in heaven or in hell.  This was true even for Muhammad.  But there is another way according to the Quran.  And that way allows the believer to know that he is going to heaven.  That way is to die fighting for Islam.  Is that what’s bothering you Hassan?” said Ben.

“Yes, Dr. Kaplan.  Can I read you 3 Quranic verses that speak to this?  I’m reading from surah 47:4-6,” said Hassan.

“[47:4]  If you encounter (in war) those who disbelieve, you may strike the necks. If you take them as captives you may set them free or ransom them, until the war ends. Had GOD willed, He could have granted you victory, without war. But He thus tests you by one another. As for those who get killed in the cause of GOD, He will never put their sacrifice to waste.

[47:5]  He will guide them, and bless them with contentment.

[47:6]  He will admit them into Paradise, that He described to them.”

“Dr. Kaplan, can you understand why this upsets me?  According to the Quran the only sure way to be admitted into Paradise, heaven, is to die in the cause of God in a war against non-Muslims; Allah could have granted victory without war but he chose not to.  He uses war to test Muslims.  So if as I’m striking the neck of my enemy someone kills me my reward is guaranteed.  I will spend eternity in Paradise. It seems to me that these verses encourage war and killing by Muslims.  Would a religion of peace have such a teaching?” said Hassan.

“Hassan, I can understand why this upsets you.  I think there are a couple of issues that we need to address here.  One of them involves how the Quran is interpreted.  The second involves whether most Muslims know what the Quran actually says,” said Ben.

Josh spoke.  “The Quranic verses above seem very clear.  Isn’t there only one way to interpret them Dr. Kaplan?”

“I wouldn’t say that Josh.  Hassan, can you tell us what the doctrine of abrogation is?” asked Ben.

“Sure, Dr. Kaplan.  I’m going to read a verse from surah 2 and a verse from surah 9.  There are 114 surahs or chapters in the Quran.”

“2.256 Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.”

“9.29 Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

“Do you see how these 2 verses contradict each other?  The first verse says that nobody should be forced to convert to Islam.  The truth of Islam will make itself known.  This verse is compatible with a religion of peace.  The second verse says to fight those who do not believe in Allah, until they pay a tax, the Jizya, and are subdued.  So an imam who wants people to believe that Islam is a religion of peace may quote the first verse and then quote the second verse to promote jihad when speaking to a different group of people.  If someone asks ‘What about the first verse?’ the imam can say that it has been nullified by the second verse.  This doctrine of abrogation, also called nasikh,  can be used to deceive people and promote Jihad,” said Hassan.

“Wouldn’t a Muslim who studies his Quran see the contradiction here and wonder about it?” said Matt.

“Possibly,” said Hassan.  “But many Muslims don’t read the Quran and have no idea what is in it.  And the Quran itself has a few verses that even seem to endorse this doctrine of abrogation.  Let me read one of them.”

“2.106 None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?”

“So surah 2.106 can be used to justify verses that contradict each other, such as one verse proclaiming freedom of religion and another commanding that all unbelievers be subdued or pay a tax or worse,” said Hassan.  “Dr. Kaplan, do you think that a book with contradictions like these and additional text which even justifies these contradictions can be divinely inspired?”

“I don’t think so Hassan.  A God who transcends the universe and who is beyond time and who is all knowing could not contradict Himself.  And that is what Allah is doing in his Quran.  So the question is did the Quran come from God  or did it come from somewhere else?  Our God does not contradict Himself,” said Ben.

“That was what I was afraid you would say Dr. Kaplan.  I’m afraid that Allah is not God.  But the cost to me of denying Allah, of leaving Islam, could be huge.  I could even be killed,” said Hassan.  “But regardless of that I must know the truth.”

“Dr. Kaplan, couldn’t Islam be reformed?  Wouldn’t it be okay then?  I seem to hear increasing calls for  Islam to be reformed, on various news programs,” said Josh.

“The problem with that Josh is that the Quran would need to be rewritten to eliminate contradictions such as the one we’ve been discussing today.  If that were to happen then Islam would no longer be Islam.  Can you imagine an imam or mullah preaching to his people about the Quran being in error?  He’d be better off urging his people to change their religion.  And of course that is exactly what I pray for, that Muslims would become followers of Jesus, the Son of God.

“Jesus is the only way.  Let me quote a verse from the gospel of John.  Jesus is talking to his disciples,” said Ben.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 3:16, ESV)

“But Dr. Kaplan, isn’t that awfully arrogant?” asked Hassan.

“No Hassan.  It’s not arrogant because Jesus is God, and God is not arrogant.  It is exclusionary and it is meant to be.  Yet every person is welcome to come to Jesus.  God desires this,” said Ben.

“But how can a religion be exclusionary and at the same time welcome everyone?” asked Hassan.

“Hassan, God transcends the universe, is beyond time, and is all knowing.  He is also all powerful and He is good.  Such a God has provided a way of salvation for all people and this way is perfect.  That’s why it’s the only way.  That’s why it’s exclusionary.

“Everyone is welcome because God loves everyone and does not want anyone to perish,” said Ben.

“You said Jesus is God.  Jesus is in the Quran as a prophet but not God. Tell us how you know that Jesus is God, Dr. Kaplan,” said Hassan.

“Let me read you a passage from the Gospel of Matthew which is in the New Testament,” said Ben.

“And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home.” Matthew 9:1-7 (ESV)

“Hassan, in this passage Jesus is explaining to his audience that what he just did proved that he is God.  I think this proof is pretty convincing,” said Ben.

“Hi, Dr. Kaplan.  I have a question too.  Remember me?” said Sarah with a chuckle.  “I’m your Jewish medical student who believes in Jesus.”

“I’m sorry, Sarah.  I didn’t see you back there in the corner.

“And Sarah, I remember that you raised a question last time that still needs to be answered,” said Ben.

“Yes, Dr. Kaplan.  It’s this: Why do Islamic nations nearly always hate the Jewish people and Israel?” asked Sarah.

“I’m going to give you the short answer today.  Islam is a false religion, inspired by Satan, who hates people and does not want people to love the true God of the Universe.  For that reason, Islam has Jew hatred as one of it’s core principles.  Satan wants to use followers of Islam, Muslims, to annihilate the Jewish people and Israel,” said Ben.

“Wow!” exclaimed Sarah.  “Can you explain that in more detail, Dr. Kaplan?” said Sarah.

“Yes.  Let’s plan to cover that at our next session,” said Ben.

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Who is Least Likely to Believe in Replacement Theology?

The person who believes in the Pre-tribulation rapture.  But, you ask, why is that? Don’t those people believe in a Tribulation designed to torment the Jews and liberate the Church which is full of Gentiles? Aren’t those people anti-Semitic?

No, no, no, my friend! The person who believes in the Pre-tribulation rapture is the most likely to believe these things and in this sequence:

  1. The Church is raptured, caught up to meet the Messiah in the air, and returns to heaven with Him.
  2. The Tribulation begins, 7 years, and it is all bad, but the full fury of the anti-Christ is unleashed during the final 3.5 years.  This second half is The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.  2/3 of the Jewish people will die during this time.
  3. Then Yeshua the Messiah returns with all His saints and the anti-Christ is destroyed (not annihilated).
  4. Yeshua then sets up his Messianic Kingdom which will last for 1,000 years, during which time Satan is bound.  Then comes Eternity.

In order to believe all this a person must take the Bible’s promises literally.  The Jewish people will suffer during the Tribulation, as will Gentiles.  But out of this Tribulation will emerge those Jews who are in Messiah, i.e., saved.  These are the true Jews, circumcised of the flesh and, more importantly, circumcised of the heart.  These are those of whom it is said: all Israel will be saved.

The Jewish people who die in the Tribulation, 2/3 of the total population of the Jews, are those who never accepted Yeshua.

Now do you see that those who believe this are indeed the most likely ones to love the Jewish people and to reject Replacement Theology?

This is the truth my friends.  Please believe it.

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Anti-Semitism Part II, Replacement Theology

As we continue the discussion of anti-Semitism – Jew hatred – I’ve decided that this would be an excellent topic for Dr. Benjamin Kaplan and his medical students, Josh, Matt, and Sarah, to handle, so we will go to Ben’s office for that discussion right now.

*

“Hi Dr. Kaplan. I understand that we are here today to talk about Jew hatred and that we will be focusing on replacement theology. You know that I’m interested in all of the manifestations of Jew hatred because I’m Jewish, but I don’t know what replacement theology is,” said Sarah.

“Dr. Kaplan, Josh and I have been talking a little about replacement theology since we knew that was today’s topic but we don’t really understand what it is either. Even though we’re not Jewish we are definitely opposed to any form of Jew hatred, so we are all ears today,” said Matt.

Ben continued the discussion. “Replacement theology has been with us for a very long time, possibly as far back as the end of the first century A.D. but it’s gotten much more complicated, widespread, and subtle over the centuries. It used to be simple. People who hated the Jews would say that the Jews killed Jesus, or rejected their Messiah, or both and because of that God has canceled his promises to the Jews. The Abrahamic Covenant, an unconditional covenant God made with Abraham, promised a number of things to Abraham and his descendants through the Jewish line of descent, meaning through Abraham’s son Isaac and through Isaac’s son Jacob and on down the line through Jacob’s 12 sons and their physical descendants, the Jewish people. Included in this covenant is a promise of a land for the Jewish people, and I will refer to this land as The Promised Land. Other critically important things were also promised in this covenant, including promises for the Gentiles. We’ll discuss all of the promises made in this covenant at a later date but for now we’ll stay with the promised land provision in order to keep things as simple as possible. Those who believe in replacement theology say that the promises made to the Jews by God are null and void because of what the Jews did to Jesus. Because of this crime the Church has replaced Israel so that all the blessings given to Israel by God and the promises of good things made to Israel by God, in the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant and in three other unconditional covenants (the Promised Land Covenant1, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant) have all been transferred to the Church. But the curses and the promises made by God of bad things for Israel remain. Those have not been transferred to the Church.”

“Dr. Kaplan, is replacement theology sometimes called supercessionism? Do the people who use that term mean that the Church has superceded Israel and the Jewish people in God’s eyes?” asked Matt.

“Yes Matt, that is correct” said Ben.

“So the Church has replaced Israel in receiving good things, but Israel receives all the bad things?” said Josh. “How do the people who teach this theology justify their teaching?”

“That’s an excellent question Josh,” said Ben. “We’re going to deal with that question a little later. But first I want you all to understand that replacement theology has become much more subtle over the centuries and there are numerous variants of it today. So contending against replacement theology can be like fighting the multi-headed hydra of Greek mythology; whenever one head was cut off another would grow back. But an even better analogy might be that of mutating virulent bacteria. As soon as one strain is killed by an antibiotic a new strain pops up that is resistant to that antibiotic and a new antibiotic must be found. For this reason I think we need the equivalent of a vaccine to prevent this deadly replacement theology from spreading and infecting more people.”

“What would be the equivalent of a vaccine in this case? And how would you administer it?” said Sarah.

“Great question, Sarah,” said Ben. “But before we attempt to answer your question I’d like to try to give you all a way to recognize replacement theology when it confronts you. Do any of you know what the Messianic Kingdom is?”

“Isn’t that when the wolf lies down with the lamb?” said Matt.

“That’s right,” said Ben.

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6 (ESV)

“And nobody will die at at young age?” said Josh.

“Right again,” said Ben.

“No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.” Isaiah 65:20 (ESV)

“And there will be peace everywhere?” said Sarah.

“Also correct!” said Ben.

“He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes 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 anymore.” Isaiah 2:4 (ESV)

“You’ve all got it! And please also note that this Kingdom will be ruled by the Messiah and his reign will be from the throne of David which is in Jersusalem.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV)

“These five Bible verses, and there are many more, describe the Messianic Kingdom or what the Rabbis sometimes referred to as ‘the days of Messiah’ ”, said Ben. “These and other verses describe the Kingdom that the Messiah will bring in when he comes back. Most Jewish people don’t understand that the Messiah, Jesus, has already come once and that he will bring in the Messianic Kingdom described by these verses when he comes again.

“But I want you to notice that the above verses are all from the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament. These verses and others don’t tell us how long this Messianic Kingdom will last, ” said Ben.

“Can we know how long this kingdom will last? I’ve heard of something called the Millennial Kingdom. Is that the same kingdom?” asked Josh.

“Millennium means a thousand years doesn’t it?” asked Matt.

“Precisely Matt. And yes, Josh, the Messianic Kingom is the same as the Millennial Kingdom,” said Ben.

“Where does the Bible say that, Dr. Kaplan?” said Sarah.

“In the New Testament. It’s in chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation. It tells us the duration of this Kingdom which is 1000 years. In fact this one chapter mentions the 1000 years six times in six separate verses. I’m going to read just one of those verses,” said Ben.

“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4 (ESV)

“So the Old Testament gives us many verses that describe the character of the Messianic Kingdom, many more than the New Testament gives us, but the New Testament gives us the length of time this Kingdom will last. It will last 1000 years. That will be the duration of Jesus’ reign over this kingdom. The Messianic Kingdom and the Millennial Kingdom are one and the same,” said Ben.

“Wait a minute, Dr. Kaplan. Doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that 1000 years is equal to a day? Doesn’t that mean that the thousand years isn’t literal? Isn’t the thousand years just a figure of speech?” asked Sarah.

Ben replied. “Great question Sarah, but no, the Bible doesn’t say that. Let me explain. Let’s take a look at a verse from Peter’s 2nd letter which is in the New Testament.”

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8 (ESV)

“First of all, Peter is telling us that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. So Peter is not telling us that one day and a thousand years are the same. Secondly, this verse is expressing something important about the Lord and time. The Lord does not dwell in time. He dwells in eternity. Finally the context of this verse is crucial. In the passage which contains this verse Peter is telling us about the Lord’s patience and about His heart. Let’s look at verse 9,” said Ben.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

“OK. I get it. The thousand years in Revelation 20 is literal. So the Messianic Kingom is a literal thousand years and the Millennial Kingdom and the Messianic Kingdom are the same. But how does this relate to replacement theology, Dr. Kaplan?” said Josh.

“I’m so glad you asked!” said Ben. “This is where things get really interesting.

“Now stick with me please because this gets a little complicated. We have to be careful when we lump people together into groups but sometimes it’s useful to do that as long as we recognize the limitations. I’m talking about categorizing different groups of people who might believe in or reject replacement theology. Now just as Jews, like Sarah and me, do not wish to be stereotyped, we do not wish to stereotype other people either. Yet certain groups of people can be characterized in certain ways, within limits, by who they are. For example, Jewish people traditionally believe in one God and they also believe that Moses was a great prophet who delivered them from Egyptian bondage and who received the Law from God for them.

“So would you be surprised to know that many Gentiles who believe in a literal Millennial Kingdom believe that this Kingdom will be ruled by the Jewish Messiah from Jerusalem? These people believe that, because they believe the Old Testament verses about the Messianic Kingdom and they believe the New Testament verses in Revelation 20. Now that certainly makes sense to me.

“But not all who believe in a literal Millennial Kingdom do believe that it will be governed by a Jewish Messiah reigning from a restored Jerusalem in a regathered Israel which will be the Nation above other nations. These people believe that there will be a Millennial Kingdom but their belief is based only on the verses in chapter 20 of the New Testament Book of Revelation. They don’t believe that any of the Old Testament prophecies about this Kingdom have anything to do with Israel,” said Ben.

“But why wouldn’t they believe that those verses are prophecies of the Millennial, or better Messianic, Kingdom?” said Sarah.

“Because they have written off anything in the Old Testament that prophecizes blessings or fulfillment of promises made by God for good, for the Jewish people,” said Ben.

“Are you kidding, Dr. Kaplan?” asked Matt. “Why in the world would they do that?”

“Great question, Matt, and we have to answer that question on more than one level. The most fundamental answer is that Satan, the deceiver, is relentlessly working to confuse people about what is true. He and his minions have convinced millions, perhaps billions, of people that God has gone back on His promises to the Jewish people because they are guilty of killing Jesus and guilty of doing other terrible things so that God no longer loves them. As we discussed last time, Satan is interested in completely annihilating all Jews from the face of the earth, so he will do whatever it takes to cause susceptible minds to condemn and hate the Jews and ultimately to destroy them. All of them,” said Ben.

“But how does Satan implement this?” said Josh.

“That’s a super-important question Josh. Let me give you just one example today. There is an ancient document, The Epistle of Barnabus, which was written around the end of the first century or the beginning of the second century, AD. It is an apocryphal letter meaning it is not God inspired and it is not part of the Bible. It is also not written by the Barnabus of the New Testament. But a lot of people have read it and believe it. It states that God broke His covenant with the Jewish people and gave the covenant to the Gentiles, because the Jews disobeyed God and because consequently the first stone tablets of the Law that Moses brought down the mountain from God were broken. This completely erroneous teaching is based on a misinterpretation of a passage of Scripture from Exodus. It’s so important that you understand all this, that we will read the passage in its entirety.

Exodus 32:7-14, 19 (ESV)

7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.

8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’”

9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.

10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”

“The LORD says in verse 10 that He wants to consume, or destroy, His people.

11 But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people.

13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’”

“Moses is “reminding” God of the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That was and is an unconditional covenant.

14 And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.

“So the LORD “relented” and did not destroy His people. Now please take note that He, God, never would have done this because He always keeps His promises. The LORD was very angry because His people disobeyed Him and made an idol and worshipped it. The Israelites broke the Law, they violated the Mosaic Covenant. But this was not an unconditional covenant. God knew that His people would never be able to keep it. But the Epistle of Barnabus is saying that God broke “the covenant” with His people. The people indeed broke the Mosaic Covenant but the much more important and foundational Abrahamic Covenant is not broken because it is an unconditional covenant from God and it is everlasting. Of course The Epistle of Barnabus does not tell us that.

Exodus 32:19 (ESV)

19 And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.

“The Epistle of Barnabus equates broken stone tablets with a permanently broken relationship between God and His Chosen People, the Jews,” said Ben. “That is a completely wrong interpretation of what the Bible teaches.”

“Dr. Kaplan, I see what you mean when you say that Satan is subtle,” said Sarah.

“He surely is Sarah.

“I think we need to wrap this up for today. But before we do so, let’s review:

  1. Most people who believe in the Old Testament and New Testament promises of a literal Messianic Kingdom do not believe in replacement theology.
  2. Most people who believe that Revelation 20 speaks of a future literal 1000 year reign of Christ, a Millennial Kingdom, but deny the Old Testament promises of such a Kingdom, do believe in replacement theology.
  3. People who don’t believe in a Millennial Kingdom at all almost have to believe in replacement theology. This would be the biggest number of church going people who believe in replacement theology and would include many members of Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican, and Episcopal churches, as well as the Roman Catholic Church, because the official teachings of those denominations have generally been that there is no Millennial or Messianic Kingdom. They do not interpret the Bible literally.
  4. And there is another group, and we haven’t discussed this group yet, but we will. These people believe in the Old Testament and New Testament promises of a literal Messianic Kingdom, and they believe in Daniel’s 70th Week, described in Daniel 9:24-27, which is a future literal 7 year Tribulation, and they believe in a Pretribulation Rapture. The people in this group are the most likely of all to reject replacement theology,” concluded Ben.
  5. And of course people or groups or even countries who deny the right of the Jews to the Promised Land of Israel and believe that that Land belongs to the so called Palestinian people, believe in replacement theology. Islamic nations can be included in this category but there are many other people and groups who fit here as well. Some of these groups sponsor something called BDS, which is against Israel. BDS is short for Boycott, Divest, and Sanction, and BDS is an overtly antisemitic activity.

“But Dr. Kaplan, just one second please. Why are those people who believe in the pretrib rapture the least likely to accept replacement theology?” asked Josh.

“And why are Islamic nations so likely to hate Israel?” asked Sarah.

“And what about the vaccine against replacement theology? What is that?” asked Matt.

“Those are all great questions. The answers are a bit complicated. How about we cover those next time?” said Ben.

“We can hardly wait!” exclaimed all three students together.

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