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 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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Anti-Semitism, Part I

Anybody who follows the news knows that Antisemitism or Jew hatred is active and virulent all over the world. It has been with us for thousands of years. It is not getting better. On the contrary, it is the underlying reason for lack of peace in the Middle East and because of it the plans of men to bring peace to Israel and the Palestinians cannot ever succeed.

There is a root cause of Jew hatred. The Messiah, also known as Yeshua, also known as Jesus Christ, came to earth 2,000 years ago and shed his blood on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and so that we could have eternal life. He will return to earth soon and when he does he will destroy Satan, the archenemy of God. But the Messiah will not return unless the Jewish people plead for him to do so. For that reason, Satan’s plan is to annihilate every last Jew on the planet. Satan believes that he can accomplish this through Jew hatred and he has been working hard to do this for centuries.

The explanation for Jew hatred is in the Bible, in Genesis, the first of the five books of Moses. After Satan, who is the father of lies, the one who inhabited the serpent in the Garden of Eden, tricked Eve into eating the fruit that God had forbidden her to eat, God spoke to the serpent:

Genesis 3:14-15 NASB

The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; [15] And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Verse 15 spells out Satan’s final destiny. His head will be bruised. A better translation is crushed and this injury will be progressive so that finally Satan will be totally and permanently disabled, with no ability to cause trouble for mankind because he will be in the Lake of Fire for eternity. But even more important than this prophecy of what Satan’s end will be is the prophecy of who will accomplish this. It will be the seed of Eve, the woman. Please carefully note that “seed”, used twice in verse 15, is a singular noun in the original Hebrew. Although this word seed can theoretically indicate a “collective singular”, the symmetry of this verse, the context of this verse, and certain prophecies related to this verse, and explained below, make it clear that “seed” in this verse refers to a single individual. Therefore each use of the word seed in this verse refers to an individual and so there are two individuals here. Who are these two individuals? Who is the your seed and who is the her seed? Before we can answer this question we must look at two important rules of Bible interpretation.

The first is Dr. David Cooper’s Golden Rule of Scripture interpretation:

“When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.”

The second rule is this:

“The Old Testament and the New Testament together comprise one book, our Bible”.

Knowledge of these two rules is necessary for a proper interpretation of the two Bible verses we are considering, especially verse 15. Although Bible verses are generally meant to be taken literally, sometimes they can’t be. These two verses comprise a Bible passage where metaphor is used and we must understand that. If we don’t, we will be confused by these verses. We’ll talk about this more a little further on.

But we must talk about the second rule now, the rule that says the Old Testament and the New Testament together comprise one unified book. The first book in the Bible, Genesis, and the two verses we are considering describe the result of Satan’s rebellion against God at the beginning of human history. However in order to comprehend the full meaning of these two verses, and especially the meaning of verse 15, we must look at the last book of the Bible, the New Testament book of Revelation, because that book explains the final result of Satan’s rebellion at the end of human history, which is the crushing of his head (and that is a metaphor). Before we get to that point however we must see that the book of Revelation also tells us about the seed of Satan who is the Antichrist. You might say to me “Art, are you telling me that verse 15, from the first book of the Bible, tells us what is going to happen at the end of human history?” Yes! But we also need the New Testament if we are to understand who the seed of the woman is. We learn that from the New Testament Gospel of Matthew:

Matthew 1:23 ESV

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

This verse is the fulfillment of a prophecy given by the Old Testament prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 7:14 ESV

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

And this Isaiah verse is itself a prophecy of the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. Do you see how wonderfully interconnected the word of God, the Bible, is? This is in itself a miracle!

Now let’s get back to verse 15 and break it down in more detail:

Genesis 3:15 NASB

And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Let’s look at your seed first. That would be the seed of Satan. So who is the one who is the seed of Satan? Who has Satan “produced”? We know who from two verses in Revelation:

Revelation 11:7 ESV

And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them,

Revelation 13:2 ESV

And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.

This beast is metaphorically the seed of Satan, the product of the devil. This seed is the Antichrist. The dragon gives this beast his power, his throne, and his authority! This is metaphorical language. Satan did not literally give birth to the beast. But metaphorically he did in that he, Satan, gave his power, throne, and authority to the beast.

How do we know that the dragon is Satan (the devil) and that he is that ancient serpent who deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden? Revelation 12:9 tells us that this is the case.

Revelation 12:9 ESV

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

But what about the second part of verse 15? Here the pronouns referring to these two arch-enemies are also both in the singular. It’s not hard to see that the he in he shall crush your head is a singular pronoun but what about the you in you shall crush his heel? In modern English the word you can be either second person singular or second person plural. But things are different in Hebrew and in this verse the you in you shall crush his heel is in the second person singular. Oh, and by the way, the seed of the woman is no ordinary Bible phrase. In the Bible, geneologies and births are reckoned through the father and not the mother. In addition women don’t have seed. They have ova, i.e., eggs. So this is not a prophecy of any ordinary birth! This is a prophecy of the virgin birth described in the Isaiah verse above. The child born, the seed of the woman, is none other than the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

So God, through the Messiah, (who is the Son of God) is going to destroy Satan (a counterfeit God), as well as the Anti-Messiah (the Antichrist, Satan’s counterfeit Son of God). Do you see the symmetry here?

You should also know that the Antichrist has an important part to play in the famous 70 weeks prophecy in the Old Testament book of Daniel where he is the one who signs a treaty with Israel. That signing initiates the 7 year Tribulation. Half way through that 7 years the Antichrist breaks his treaty with the Jews and the Time of Jacobs’s Trouble begins. The Antichrist is one bad actor. We will talk about this more in a future post.

Daniel 9:24-27 NASB

“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. [25] So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. [26] Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. [27] And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

The Antichrist in this passage is the prince who is to come, and the people of the prince who is to come are the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD.

Satan’s seed, the Anti-Christ, also known as the man of lawlessness and the son of destruction, is also found in another New Testament book, 2 Thessalonians:

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NASB

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, [4] who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

Here we clearly see Satan putting forth the Antichrist as a counterfeit deity! Jesus, the true Messiah and divine Son of God, will destroy this Anti-Christ:

2 Thessalonians 2:8-9 NASB

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; [9] that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

Yeshua (Jesus) metaphorically crushes Satan’s head and we are told about this in the last Book of the Bible.

Revelation 20:10 NASB

And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Satan metaphorically crushed Messiah’s heel when Messiah was crucified. The Messiah, Jesus, recovered fully from that injury.

I need to emphatically state that if we do not properly understand these two verses, and especially the second verse of the two, i.e., Genesis 3:15, we will never understand God’s overall plan for the universe, we will never be able to understand what the Bible teaches, and we will never understand the root cause of Jew hatred. That is how important and foundational this verse is.

But, you ask, how could we possibly misunderstand these two verses? They seem to be so clear now. Let me show you how these verses can be easily misunderstood by someone who has not carefully studied them. They can be misunderstood because of something called interpretive bias. We’re going to look at these two verses as they are translated in the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, 1985 Edition, and we will see there an example of a translation with interpretive bias:

14Then the Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you did this,

More cursed shall you be

Than all cattle

And all the wild beasts:

On your belly shall you crawl

And dirt shall you eat

All the days of your life.

15I will put enmity

Between you and the woman,

And between your offspring and hers;

They shall strike at your head,

And you shall strike at their heel.”

(Italics added by me).

This translation of verse 15 confuses the meaning of this passage by substituting They and their, second person pronouns, for He and You which are first person pronouns. This translation is wrong and it changes the sense of the passage in a major way. Rather than depicting the ultimate battle between the Messiah and Satan, what is depicted is a battle between good people and evil people or really between “Good” and “Evil”. But that is not what the verse says and changing the meaning of this verse prevents us from understanding many critically important truths including the root cause of Jew hatred because Jew hatred is ultimately related to a battle that is between two specific individuals, the Messiah and Satan. My friends, you must understand this!

In order to see this more fully let’s look at two more Bible verses:

Zechariah 12:9-10 NASB

And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. [10] “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

These verses are telling us two things. Firstly there will come a future time when nations will come against Jerusalem to destroy her (We can see that taking shape today). Then, at that future time, the Jewish people will “look on me”, meaning they will recognize their Messiah as being Yeshua, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. They will then realize the enormity of their sin in rejecting him as their Messiah and they will mourn and weep bitterly. They will repent. The entire Nation of Israel will accept Jesus then and he will return to Jerusalem, save them, and destroy Satan. This will occur at the very end of an incomparably terrible time, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. It will be much worse than Hitler’s holocaust and that time is drawing nearer to us every day.

Satan will do anything in his power to totally destroy the Jewish people, so that there will not be one single Jew left alive to repent and to call for Messiah’s return, because Satan knows that when the Messiah returns, his (Satan’s) career is over.

That is the root cause of Jew hatred.

So what is to be done? Ultimately, Jew hatred will not stop until Yeshua returns to earth because only then will Satan be essentially destroyed.

But can we do anything in the meantime? Yes! Two things for right now:

1. We must pray for the Jewish people and we must be spiritual watchmen:

Psalm 122:6 ESV

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you!

Isaiah 62:6-7 ESV

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, [7] and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.

2. If you have not already done so, accept Yeshua as your Lord and Savior now that you might be born again, i.e., saved, and have eternal life. If you do this you also will not enter the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.

Romans 10:9-11 ESV

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [10] For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. [11] For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

But, you ask, isn’t there more that I can do? Yes! And we will talk about that in the next post.

Shalom, my friends.

Art Wolinsky

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Who is the Messiah? Part 2

This post is dedicated to Lynn Wright and Aaron Hyman.

My dear Jewish brothers and sisters, I think you know by now that I have an unshakable conviction that Yeshua, Jesus, is our Messiah. If I have this unshakable conviction, why is it that so many Jewish people refuse to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah? I practiced medicine for 46 years and my specialty was making the correct diagnosis in difficult cases. I was successful at it, and to be successful at it, I had to analyze data and weigh evidence constantly. Weighing evidence is a significant part of what we need to do when we approach a question such as “Is Yeshua the Messiah?” Nevertheless, there are reasons why most Jewish people do not believe Yeshua is The Messiah, and in attempting to find out why, I had to sift and weigh a great deal of evidence, both positive and negative. An important piece of negative evidence is something that is important in Judaism today. It is the 13 Articles of Faith formulated by a rabbi who has had a profound influence on Jewish thought and belief for the past approximately 900 years. His name is Maimonides, and there is no rabbi held in greater esteem today by Jewish people all over the world than Maimonides.

Maimonides, also known as the Rambam, an acronym for Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, was born in Spain, where his father was a prominent rabbi. The family was forced to leave Spain because of severe persecution from the Almohades Islamic Dynasty which ruled in Spain and in Western North Africa. The family relocated to Fez, Morocco, where persecution from the very same Islamic sect again forced the Rambam and his family to depart. After a brief stay in Palestine, Maimonides settled in Egypt where the Almohades Dynasty did not rule, and due to his brilliance, kindness, and love for his people, the Jewish people, he became head of the Jewish community in Egypt. It should also be noted that The Crusades started not long before Maimonides was born. So Maimonides lived at a very turbulent time and, in fact, things were so bad for the Jews that there was at that time great yearning for the coming of The Messiah so that peace would reign and persecution would cease. I think it would have been very hard for Maimonides to accept the belief that The Messiah, Yeshua, had already come and would come again at a later date. Maimonides had been taught that when the Son of David, The Messiah, came there would be world peace and that the Jews would never be persecuted again.

This brilliant young rabbi, Maimonides, codified Jewish Law from the Hebrew Scriptures and the Talmud in his monumental work, the Mishneh Torah. It is from the Mishneh Torah that we get the 613 laws that we Jews know about today. The Mishneh Torah is revered by rabbis all over the world.

Maimonides also authored the 13 Principles of the Jewish Faith, mentioned above, which in his eyes every true Jew should know and believe. In fact, The Principles are recited in synagogues around the world today in the form of the Yigdal prayer found in the Siddur. I have it in my very own Artscroll Siddur1. Each of the 13 Principles begins with “I believe in perfect faith”. These Thirteen Principles are taken very seriously indeed. Although Maimonides lived about a thousand years after Yeshua’s time, understanding the Rambam’s 13 Principles can help to explain why many Jewish people today refuse to believe in Yeshua.

I want to talk with you now about one of The Thirteen Principles, namely the Third Principle. The Third Principle is the negation of corporeality. God cannot have a body. Since Jesus had a body and said that he was God the Third Principle makes Jesus a liar and a scoundrel. Jesus also said that he was the Messiah. How could a Jewish person accept a scoundrel and a liar as The Messiah? There is no way! Except for one thing: the Rambam, as great and good as he was, was dead wrong. Let me show you the evidence for this by looking at a portion of Scripture with you from the New Testament that shows us that Maimonides’s Third Principle is absolutely incorrect. This Scripture portion will show us two things: that Yeshua was, and is, God, and that God can be corporeal, meaning that God can have a body. Here is the Scripture portion:

“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)

So what happened here? A number of things:

  1. Yeshua said to a paralytic, who could not walk, “your sins are forgiven”.
  2. Because only God can forgive sins, Yeshua was saying that he is God.
  3. This was clearly recognized by some of the Jewish scribes because they said “This man is blaspheming”.
  4. When a person is forgiven of his or her sins there is no immediate way to know that that has occurred. There is no outward change in the person’s appearance that can be observed.
  5. Therefore, Yeshua offered proof to the scribes that he had authority on earth to forgive sins by doing a miracle which was much more difficult to do than proclaiming “Your sins are forgiven” to a person and which could be verified by an easily observable external change: Yeshua told the paralyzed man to pick up his bed and go home, and the man immediately did this. He was healed.

Please also note that Yeshua referred to Himself here as the Son of Man:

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—

Yeshua did this to call attention to the fact that not only is he God, he is also human, and that would of course be obvious to anyone who saw him. He was and is a man. But because he could and can forgive sins, he is God. He is the God-Man. He has two natures: he is perfectly human in every way, except for the fact that there is no sin in him (unlike each and every one of us) and, he is God, the Son of God, with all the attributes of God. He had to have both natures, that of God and that of man in order to save us. Because to save us required the ultimate blood sacrifice and that means that Yeshua had to die, and as God he could not die. He had to have the nature of man in order to die and the nature of God in order to forgive sin by becoming the perfect blood sacrifice. Please remember that the Torah makes it clear that a blood sacrifice is required to make atonement for sin (Leviticus 17:11) and please also note that the blood of animals could not provide permanent forgiveness of sins. That is why animals had to be sacrificed again and again. Yeshua’s one blood sacrifice provides permanent forgiveness of sins for anyone who will accept it by faith.

Please note one other thing. Jesus proved he is God. God does not lie. Jesus said he is the Messiah. Therefore, he is The Messiah..

So, my dear Jewish brothers and sisters, can you see how Maimonides’s Third Principle can seriously discourage a Jewish person from accepting Jesus as Messiah and God? And can you imagine the effect that this Third Principle could have on a modern Rabbi, who’s job it is to teach people the truth, but who may be unwittingly teaching his people an untruth embedded in this Third Principle? And do you know that because this Third Principle is so embedded in our prayerbooks, teachings, and culture, that you, as a Jew today, can be affected by it even if you have never heard of Maimonides or his 13 Principles of the Jewish Faith? Let me say it once more: The teaching that God can not have a body is incorrect (more about this another time; our Hebrew Scriptures spell this out clearly also). And saying, and believing, that God came to earth as The Messiah and God, as The God-Man (there is only One!), does not make you a heretic. On the contrary, it makes you a truer Jew than you could ever otherwise be!

We will talk about these things more in future posts because there is much more to say. But in the next post, we’ll switch gears and talk about something different. We will talk about something that Yeshua paid the price for us to escape from, if we have faith in Him. We will talk about something called The Time of Jacob’s Trouble and we will also talk about something called The Rapture.

Hope to see you next time!

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