Thursday, June 2, 2016

ENEMY TESTIMONY AND HOW IT SERVES TO AUTHENTICATE THE NEW TESTAMENT




Testimony offered against the interests of the testifier is as highly regarded as deathbed confessions. In contrast, Bill Clinton’s autobiography had been panned by the critics because his testimony was deemed as self-serving. He only confessed what everyone already knew – his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Likewise, it is expected that Orthodox Jews will justify their rejection of Jesus. However, when they admit the existence of evidence contrary to their position, this evidence carries more weight than if this disclosure had supported their position. Let’s look at several interesting instances of this.

In “Why the Jews Rejected Jesus,” Orthodox Jewish scholar, David Klinghoffer, admitted:

  • "The Talmud states that from forty years before the Temple's destruction and onward, there were supernatural omens of the disaster to come--that is, starting from the inception of the Christian religion following the death of Jesus. The eternal fire of the Temple altar would not stay lit. The monumental bronze Temple gates opened by themselves. Josephus confirms the Talmud's account of the inner Sanctuary's east gate and its mysterious openings. He adds other portents from these years: a bright light shinning around the altar and the Sanctuary at three in the morning, a cow brought for sacrifice giving birth to a lamb, apparitions of chariots and armies flying through the sky above the whole land of Israel." (pg. 117)

Amazingly, after the Crucifixion (cir. 30 AD) and for the next 40 years until the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, Israel had been encircled by a series of miraculous omens pointing ominously to their future destruction.

Why would someone trying to debunk Christianity make such an incredible admission? Klinghoffer tried to interpret the miraculous events as omens directed against the Jewish believers in Christ: "Was God not warning the people of the disastrous course some [the Jewish Christians] had set out upon?"

However, the Christians had fled to safety across the Jordan to Pella! According to Klinghoffer, it was the Christians who should have been penalized for their heresy. However, it was the Jews who didn’t believe in Christ, who were left to pay the price.

What is even more unbelievable about Klinghoffer’s explanation is the timing of the omens. They began, according to Klinghoffer, at approximately the time of the Crucifixion (30 AD) and lasted for forty years until the destruction of the Temple. They therefore served as a warning to repent to those who had crucified Jesus not those who had followed Jesus.

And when did the omens end. After repentance for the Jews who had rejected Jesus was no longer possible – at their death and destruction of their Temple. This had nothing to do with the Jewish believers in Christ. Had the omens been sent for their sake, they would have continued, but they didn’t.

Klinghoffer asserts that the warnings were directed towards the Jewish Christians who had gone astray. However, if this had been the case, calamity should have fallen on them. Instead, it fell upon the nation of Israel. Why? Israel had refused to repent of their sins and seek God’s mercy, as Jesus had warned:

  • "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.” (Matthew 23:37-38)

ANOTHER INTERESTING EXAMPLE COMES FROM THE TALMUD. In his responce to the question, “Why didn’t the red ribbon on the head of the Scapegoat [on Yom Kippur] turn white in 30 CE [AD]?” Jewish anti-Christian apologist, Rabbi Tovia Singer reluctantly admits:

·       “In Tractate Yoma 39b, the Talmud… discusses numerous remarkable phenomena that occurred in the Temple during the Yom Kippur service… There was a strip of scarlet-dyed wool tied to the head of the scapegoat which would turn white in the presence of the large crowd gathered at the Temple on the Day of Atonement. The Jewish people perceived this miraculous transformation as a heavenly sign that their sins were forgiven. The Talmud relates, however, that 40 years before the destruction of the second Temple [approximately 30 AD at the time of the Crucifixion] the scarlet colored strip of wool did not turn white.”

This is a damning admission. Following the Crucifixion, the scarlet wool would no longer miraculously become white! It seems that God had put Israel on notice that He would no longer accept animal sacrifices now that the ultimate offering of Jesus had been accomplished.

How does Singer explain this cessation at the very time of the Cross? He claims that various miracles were gradually disappearing because Israel’s “dedication to the golden rule slacked off.” However, the timing of this cessation couldn’t have been worse for the Jews who had rejected their Hope.

Singer also insists that God had been angry with Jesus for deceiving Israel. However, if so, we’d have expected Him to grant signs of His approval of the Crucifixion instead of a sign of disapproval — that He no longer honored the scapegoat to take away Israel’s sins. God’s timing couldn’t have been worse for Singer!

ONE FINAL EXAMPLE:

Did Jesus perform many miracles? If so, the miracles would validate His claims, and His detractors would have to offer alternative explanations or deny them altogether. However, they did not deny His miracles but instead ascribed them to black magic and Satan. This is exactly what we find in many of the Talmudic writings:

  • Shabbath 104b, p.504 "Jesus was a MAGICIAN and a fool. Mary was an adulteress".

  • Sanhedrin 107B of the Babylonian Talmud: "Jesus... stood up a brick to symbolize an idol and bowed down to it. Jesus performed MAGIC and incited the people of Israel and led them astray."

  • Sanhedrin 43A: "On Passover Eve they hanged Jesus of Nazareth. He practiced SORCERY, incited and led Israel astray...Was Jesus of Nazareth deserving of a search for an argument in his favor? He was an enticer and the Torah says, 'You shall not spare, nor shall you conceal him!"

  • “The Avodat Zerah, however, says that Jesus did MIRACLES as no other rabbi, that his disciples not only healed the sick but even raised the dead in His name, that after He was crucified He rose from the dead, and that He ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives. All of that is actually in the Talmud – even His enemies acknowledged the truth of what He did. This was written by rabbis who were trying to prevent other Jews from believing in Him; but they had to deal with the historicity of His miracles, of His disciples doing miracles, and not only of His crucifixion but also of His resurrection and ascension into heaven – the Talmud admits He did it!” http://www.moriel.org/articles/sermons/jesus_in_the_talmud.htm

OTHER JEWISH SOURCES:

Josephus, (Antiquities, XVIII 3.2):

  • About this time arose Jesus, a wise man, who did good deeds and whose virtues were recognized. And many Jews and people of other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. However, those who became his disciples preached his doctrine. They related that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Perhaps he was the Messiah in connection with whom the prophets foretold WONDERS.

According to The Jewish Encyclopedia, Jesus was often accused by the Talmudists of performing magic:

  • “It is the tendency of all these sources to belittle the person of Jesus by ascribing to him illegitimate birth, MAGIC, and a shameful death …

  • “Magic may have been ascribed him over against the miracles recorded in the Gospels.”

According to Celsus, perhaps a non-Jew (in Origen, “Contra Celsum,” i. 28):

  • “Jesus learned MAGIC in Egypt and performed his MIRACLES by means of it; the latter work, in addition, states that he cut the magic formulas into his skin. It does not mention, however, the nature of his magic performances (Tosef., Shab. xi. 4; Yer. Shab. 18d); but as it states that the disciples of Jesus healed the sick “in the name of Jesus Pandera” (Yer. Shab. 14d; Ab. Zarah 27b; Eccl. R. i. 8) it may be assumed that its author held the miracles of Jesus also to have been miraculous cures. Different in nature is the witchcraft attributed to Jesus in the “Toledot.” When Jesus was expelled from the circle of scholars, he is said to have returned secretly from Galilee to Jerusalem, where he inserted a parchment containing the “declared name of God” (“Shem ha-Meforash”), which was guarded in the Temple, into his skin, carried it away, and then, taking it out of his skin, he performed his MIRACLES by its means. This magic formula then had to be recovered from him, and Judah the Gardener (a personage of the “Toledot” corresponding to Judas Iscariot) offered to do it; he and Jesus then engaged in an aerial battle (borrowed from the legend of SIMON MAGUS), in which Judah remained victor and Jesus fled.”

While these sources (except for Josephus) demean Jesus, they still acknowledge that He had performed miracles. This is remarkable, because it would have been easier to deny that the miracles had ever taken place. Evidently, they were not able to do this without being derided by the many who knew that He was a miracle worker.

But could He have been evil and used black magic, as the Jewish sources allege? Evidently, if they could have proved this allegation, their trial of Jewish would have been easy. However, they were unable to find witnesses.

His miracles not only stand as facts, but they also testify in favor of His teachings and the New Testament claims.

4 comments:

  1. Wow.

    Wow!

    WOW!!

    This is an amazing post. Simply remarkable. Thanks so much Mr. Mann for compiling this unassailable set of facts serving as compelling evidence for the Savior and Lord Jesus *from* an Orthodox Jewish perspective.

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    1. These facts certainly serve to coroborate our faith

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  2. Curious. Have you ever used these the information in this post as a pre-evangelistic apologetic with a devout Jewish person? If so, how did it go? If not, what do you speculate the response would be to your recital of their own sources?

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    1. Truth, I can't remember using it face-to-face. However, I never get a positive reaction among Jews from posting it. But Jesus didn't get much of a positive reaction either.

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